By Richard Bell
HRM’s sudden decision to choke off development permits for 25-acre lots was not the only surprise blow against rural development this year. Regional Council also overrode the recommendation of its staff and decided to require lot-grading permits for all new buildings in the municipality. Staff had recommended these expensive permits—(up to $6,000 and weeks of additional waiting time)—only for areas serviced by municipal sewers.
At the Save Rural HRM protest on September 20 this fall, Mayor Savage promised rural relief from the lot-grading law in the form of a motion that Councillor David Hendsbee was introducing that same day.
The good news is that Regional Council passed Hendsbee’s resolution unanimously, ordering up a staff report “with respect to initiating the process to repeal or amend the Lot Grading Bylaw L-400 to exclude those areas outside the serviceable boundary.”
The bad news is the staff has informed Hendsbee that this report will not be ready until February 2017. In a phone interview, Hendsbee said that he was pushing to get the report done earlier, so that the 25-acre lot bylaw and the lot-grading bylaw could be finished together.