Land Use By-law Requirements for 25 Acre Lots

A public hearing will be held by Regional Council on Tuesday January 10, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. at the at the Council Chamber, 3rd Floor, City Hall, 1841 Argyle Street, Halifax, NS. Read the Staff Report for more information.

The HRM Charter enables lots that are 25 acres (10 hectares) or more in size to be created outside of the municipal subdivision approval process. This exemption is generally intended for resource uses, such as farming or forestry. In recent years, however, it has become more common for people to utilize the exemption with the intent to create such lots forContinue reading

A public hearing will be held by Regional Council on Tuesday January 10, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. at the at the Council Chamber, 3rd Floor, City Hall, 1841 Argyle Street, Halifax, NS. Read the Staff Report for more information.

The HRM Charter enables lots that are 25 acres (10 hectares) or more in size to be created outside of the municipal subdivision approval process. This exemption is generally intended for resource uses, such as farming or forestry. In recent years, however, it has become more common for people to utilize the exemption with the intent to create such lots for cottage or residential development. Although such lots can be created without meeting Subdivision By-law or Land Use By-law (LUB) requirements, the lots must meet LUB requirements in order to obtain development permits.

While the vast majority of permits are accurately issued, in spring 2016, staff discovered that several permits had incorrectly been issued on lots created through the HRM Charter 25 acre (10 hectare) lot exemption that did not meet LUB requirements regarding road frontage. Under the HRM Charter, staff cannot issue permits for development that does not meet the requirements of the LUB. As a result, staff ensured that LUB requirements were applied more consistently across the municipality and clarified the existing LUB requirements with several land owners and the Nova Scotia Land Surveyors' Association.

Although planning regulations have not changed, several land owners have raised concerns regarding 25 acre lots and the investments made in preparing properties for development. Given these concerns, on April 12, 2016 Regional Council requested a staff report commenting on the advisability of an amendment to the rule which requires that HRM no longer issue building permits on lots of land that are 25 acres (10 hectares) in size. This report responds to Council’s request for information and advice and seeks Council direction to initiate the Municipal Planning Strategy (MPS) amendment process.

Thank you to those who filled out our discussion question, which closed to submissions on October 20. Any landowner with questions or concerns are encouraged to call 311 or email contact@halifax.ca.