Planning upgrades pending in Wolfville

Wendy Elliott
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Town of Wolfville

By Wendy Elliott

Due to development pressures, Wolfville is getting ready to establish a design review committee to offer expertise to the community development committee.

Coun. Wendy Donovan said, due to the pressures exerted last spring during the Micro Living Boutique process, input from a group of experts needs to be in place for the large developments that are on the horizon, such as the St. Andrew’s church and L’Arche building. Those two properties have been added to the architectural control area.

Chief administrative officer Josh Pyrcz said the parameters for the new design committee will be drawn up as quickly as possible. Coun. Mercedes Brian, who chairs the community development committee, says she’s eager to get away from her committee negotiating with developers.

The new volunteer committee will be composed of a maximum of five people with qualifications, such as architecture, built heritage, engineering, urban design or landscape design.

The committee will offer professional advice to staff regarding the compatibility of larger development proposals in terms of the town’s Architectural Guidelines and Municipal Planning Strategy.

Senior planner Chrystal Fuller has been appointed as a development officer for the town and she will be transitioning into the role of development director in January. Fuller will be taking on responsibility for development and subdivision review.

She has been revising planning processes and public hearing procedures on the recommendation and hopes to bring in alternative dispute resolution process.

 Coun. Carl Oldham said he was looking forward to better clarity around public hearings.

Donovan recently reported on the Core Housing Study that a group of volunteers completed over a three-month period. She told council there were a dozen recommendations in light of the deterioration of the downtown core housing stock. Some of the properties in the worst condition in the core are providing affordable rental accommodations, she said, but they appear to be sub-standard living conditions.

Pyrcz said the study will become strategic in the town’s planning framework and will help to prioritize action moving forward.

Organizations: Micro Living Boutique

Geographic location: Wolfville

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