Architect of rejected apartments says St. John’s needs higher-density development

Daniel MacEachern
Published on March 27, 2014

The architect of a proposed two-building, 10-storey apartment project on Logy Bay Road rejected by St. John’s city council says he and his client will likely consider other options.

“Obviously, I’m not pleased with it, but we’ll certainly follow up with it,” Philip Pratt said  Wednesday.

Pratt submitted the application to the city on behalf of a numbered Newfoundland and Labrador company. Pratt said he couldn’t comment very much, as he was still getting information from the city. “It’s the public process, right?”

The application, which came before council Monday night, was for a rezoning that would allow the development to build higher than the six storeys currently allowed in the area’s current apartment medium-density zone.

The proposed project would sit on 8,550 square metres of currently undeveloped land on the northeast corner of Logy Bay Road and Selfridge Road, and consist of two buildings with 141 units altogether.

City staff recommended sending the project for a land-use assessment report, but several councillors said the city shouldn’t even consider a project of that height.

The vote split council, with councillors Dave Lane, Tom Hann, Jonathan Galgay, Sandy Hickman and Bruce Tilley voting in favour of the assessment.

Councillors Art Puddister, Bernard Davis and Wally Collins, Deputy Mayor Ron Ellsworth and Mayor Dennis O’Keefe voted against letting the project go that far, and the tie vote meant the application was rejected.


Too high

“This piece of property is already zoned to accommodate six-storey buildings,” said Puddister. “That is a very mature neighbourhood, going back to 1962, 1963 when all the homes were built. It’s because of its proximity to the park, the residential component, that I’m essentially against us considering 10 storeys.”

Lane — who voted for the project to go through the normal assessment — noted he grew up in the area, which he said is prone to flooding, and was concerned development would exacerbate the problem.

“The land that we’re talking about looks like a wetland of some sort,” he said. “This will come out in the land-assessment report, but we need to make sure we’re not making a bad situation worse by removing a natural service provider.”

Davis said the project even at the currently allowed six storeys would be a “monstrosity.”

“I would have great issue with trying to approve two 10-storey buildings in that area, and I think it would take away from the golf course there and the residents there,” he said. “I think we’ve really got to take leadership on trying to protect our residents in that area.”

Pratt said he was disappointed there was so much opposition based on the height of the building.

“One of the main problems that St. John’s has got at the moment is urban sprawl from here to Holyrood,” he said. “This is a little bit of higher density near the downtown.”

Twitter: @TelegramDaniel