KENTVILLE - The owners of Allen’s Motel are seeking permission to convert the business into six apartment units.
Michael Coakley, president of Allen’s Motel Limited, has informed the Town of Kentville of the Coakley family’s desire to retire from the motel business, but continue living in the main dwelling on the property as on-site managers of the proposed rental units.
A letter dated for Feb. 28, and signed by Michael and Joan Coakley, asks that town council support their request for a development agreement that would allow for the 11-unit motel to be transformed into six one-bedroom apartments designed for senior retirement living. The letter states that the small cottage on the property, considered a 12th unit, would not be included in the development.
“The facility would be based on the Scandinavian model, which features a small, single-level micro community for independent living, but allowing residents to be supportive of each other,” the Coakley letter reads.
“To further promote the concept of community living, there will be a common garden with raised beds and a shared greenhouse available for residents to grow their own vegetables and herbs. A woodland trail is also planned.”
A recommendation report staff prepared for the town’s March 12 council advisory committee meeting indicates that the motel was built in the early 1950s, and the Coakley family purchased the property at 384 Park Street in 1971. Michael Coakley took over the family business in 1994.
Director of Planning and Development Beverly Gentleman recommended that council allow Coakley’s request to go to through the development agreement process.
“An approved development agreement to convert the motel commercial use to a residential development meets the future intended use per the residential designation policy of the property,” a recommendation report submitted by Gentleman reads.
“The (conversion) to create small, affordable residential units further promotes the intention of the (Municipal Planning Strategy) to harmoniously integrate a variety of housing types within residential neighbourhoods.”
At a regular monthly meeting March 26, Kentville’s town council voted in favour of holding a first reading to adopt the requested development agreement “for the change of use of a non-conforming structure to another non-conforming structure,” and to host a public hearing on the matter April 30 at 6 p.m.
In an interview March 20, Kentville Mayor Sandra Snow said she’s happy the Coakley family is interested in finding a way to ensure the site is still put to use following their retirement.
“We can never complain about getting more living accommodations for people, particularly seniors,” said Snow.
She added that town council is keenly aware Kentville is in need of a new hotel or motel development, especially considering the number of large-scale events on the horizon.
“I like to say that we keep hoping but hoping is not planning, so It is on our priorities. It is something that we are actively pursuing,” she said.
“There is capacity, but there is not the capacity that we need for the business and tourism that is here in the Town of Kentville.”