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IRAC rejects 27-unit apartment complex on Pine Drive in Charlottetown

A small apartment building on a large lot at 11-13 Pine Dr. in Charlottetown is the subject of a development proposal by Bevan Enterprises Inc. The proposal was rejected at Monday's council meeting.
FILE PHOTO: A small apartment building on a large lot at 11-13 Pine Dr. in Charlottetown is the subject of a development proposal by Bevan Enterprises Inc. ©THE GUARDIAN - Nigel Armstrong

The Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC) has rejected a developer’s proposed apartment complex near Sherwood School in Charlottetown.

Pine Cone Developments, of which Bevan Enterprises is a partner, had been trying to get the City of Charlottetown to give the green light to a proposed 27-unit complex that would sit on a property on Pine Drive, between Mount Edward Road and Maple Avenue.

It has been a proposal Pine Cone has been trying to get off the ground for the past few years. City council initially turned down the request, despite the fact Pine Cone argued it has an “as of right” to build on the lot. It also rejected a request by Pine Cone to have its decision reconsidered.

“As of right” means a public meeting is not necessary and the developer only needs a building permit.

So, Pine Cone took its case to IRAC, which recently rendered its decision.

The city’s planning and development office didn’t think any of the Bevan proposals fit in with the surrounding neighbourhood, which is made up of residential homes.

Despite the fact Pine Cone has an “as of right” to build on the property, it still needs a building permit from the city to proceed. And that’s something the city has thus far refused to grant.

Wayne Bevan, one of the developers on the project, said they’re still considering their options.

“We’ll talk it over and see if there’s anything we want to do there,’’ Wayne Bevan said.

Trevor Bevan, another developer, said regardless of the decision they still have a good working relationship with the city.

“We’re obviously disappointed with the decision as we had the correct zoning and required no variances,’’ Trevor Bevan said. “We do still have development rights on the property and will continue to work with the (city’s) planning department on another option.’’

During earlier testimony before IRAC, the Bevans introduced photographs of various multi-unit residential buildings within the city that are located adjacent to single family homes.

Pine Cone also argued the city’s decision was arbitrary and based on subjective opinions (there was considerable public opposition) rather than objective criteria. And, it noted the existence of two different zones on adjacent properties, R1 and R3, creates the disharmony.

“This dual zoning was done intentionally,’’ Pine Cone argues.

Laurel Palmer-Thompson, planning and development officer with the city, characterized the proposal as “an infill project’’, testifying that the role of planning staff was to ensure the project fit into the existing neighbourhood.

She further identified bulk, mass and scale as factors that made it difficult for Pine Cone’s proposal to fit into the existing streetscape.

Coun. Greg Rivard, chairman of the planning committee, concurs.

“It was for that reason . . . for the sheer size of it,’’ Rivard said. “It was big.’’

The city indicated that it is not saying no to a multi-unit residential development on the property. Rather, the city is saying this particular proposal is not appropriate in light of the neighbourhood, the Official Plan and the bylaw.

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