Developer asks Berwick to help with ‘cost impact’ of subdivision

Nancy Kelly
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BY NANCY KELLY

Kings County Register

Requests from Berwick’s Alderwood Estates developer generated considerable discussion at the July 11 meeting of Berwick’s Planning Advisory Committee.

In a letter to PAC, developer John Nichols thanked members of PAC for handling his rezoning request “in a very positive and professional manner.” Nichols requested the rezoning to facilitate development of a new subdivision off West Main Street next spring. “The intent of Alderwood Estates is to provide semi-detached housing for people who are 55 years of age or older who want smaller housing and still maintain the independence they have always enjoyed,” stated Nichols in his June 12 letter. His letter also makes a request for PAC to make changes to bylaws in order to lower the cost impact of his project.

Nichols would like to be able to install less expensive asphalt curbs and sidewalks, rather than those made of concrete. He also wants to be able to put in above-ground electrical services, rather than the below-ground wiring required by Berwick Electric. Additionally, he thinks the town should assume some of his responsibility for addressing the issue of water run-off and site drainage.

On the pavement-versus-concrete issue, planner Chris Millier said, because “curbs take such a beating,” asphalt is not a good option. "The lifespan of asphalt is three to five years, whereas concrete will last 25 to 30 years.”

He added it is an important consideration, given the town is responsible for upkeep of developer-installed curbs and sidewalks.

Councillor Don Clarke questioned the need for any sidewalks. “Why do we need sidewalks? Kentville doesn’t have them.”

Committee members Joan Levack and Councillor Mike Trinacty disagreed with Clarke. “You don’t want to discourage ‘walkability’ of the new subdivision,” said Trinacty. He sided with Levack’s position that a neighbourhood predominantly consisting of seniors, “some with mobility issues,” would definitely require a sidewalk. Trinacty also pointed out the developer should be encouraged to connect the subdivision to a street outside the development with a walking path. “That subdivision will need ‘connectability,’ or people will end up driving everywhere,” added Trinacty.

Millier noted some storm water management deficiencies have been identified in the area, but said Nichols’ plans will “ultimately have to handle the water that will be dishcharging from the new development.”

He explained, even if the town were to remediate the current drainage issues, the proposed Alderwood Estates will “bump-up the water run-off considerabley. And planning for that is Mr. Nichol’s responsibility.”

Any changes requested by the developer would require amendments to Berwick’s subdivision bylaws. No decisions were made at the meeting, but the committee referred the issue to staff, requesting more information on what neighbouring communities are doing with respect to curbing and sidewalk installation, and a more detailed breakdown on costs of the electrical services.

Organizations: Planning Advisory Committee

Geographic location: West Main Street

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