Sackville Town Council’s repeal of its heritage bylaw on Monday will make it easier for Lafford Realty Inc. to construct a controversial three-storey apartment building with underground parking on land once owned by the United Church.
During the question and answer period at Monday’s council meeting, Sackville’s Chief Administrative Officer Phil Handrahan said the Laffords had not yet applied for a building permit even though they’ve removed trees, installed a temporary orange fence around the perimeter and excavated the site at Main and York Streets.
“No [building] permit has been issued to proceed,” Handrahan acknowledged, “and the developer is waiting on what the decision of council is going to be with respect to heritage.”
Town planner Lori Bickford said a building permit is not required for the work that is going on at the site.
Under persistent questioning from Sackville resident Brian Lane, Bickford said the orange fencing at the site is temporary, not structural, and therefore does not require a permit.
Town manager Jamie Burke acknowledged that without the repeal of the heritage bylaw, the developer would have to apply for a permit from the Heritage Board for construction of the new building.
“It does require Board approval,” Burke said. “It is somewhat of a subjective process for Board members as there are no specific requirements in terms of a particular style the building has to be other than the need to complement the existing streetscape,” he added.
‘They can do whatever they want’
During a public hearing on repealing the bylaw held last month, Lane urged councillors to delay scrapping it at least until the new Lafford building goes through the process.
“You’ve got a chance of a major development for the downtown area,” he said.
“It should comply to the existing heritage bylaw. You get rid of that, they can do whatever they want,” he added.