Amherst town council amended its Proceeding of Council Policy when it met on Tuesday, May 25, 2021.
The amendments will allow the council to continue holding virtual meetings, under certain conditions, following the lifting of provincially mandated COVID-19 protocols that currently require the holding of online meetings.
The town intends to revert to in-person meetings following the lifting of the protocols, but the amendments would allow one or more of a meeting’s participants to attend via video conferencing should circumstances prevent their attendance in person.
Council members will be required to seek permission in advance if they wish to participate in a meeting via electronic conferencing.
Several other municipalities have made similar amendments to their council procedure policies and the Nova Scotia government has amended the Municipal Government Act to allow municipal units to hold electronic meetings.
The council gave second reading to a development agreement that paves the way for the construction of three, six-unit, townhouse dwellings on Lot 19-3B, located between Dusker Way and Dickey Street, to proceed.
The development agreement was the subject of a public participation opportunity that was held on March 3, 2021, following which the town’s Planning Advisory Committee recommended council enter into the agreement.
Council gave the first reading to the development agreement on April 26, 2021, and a public hearing was held before council on May 19. It was attended by three members of
the public, including the developer. No opposition to the application was expressed at that time.
A staff recommendation to discharge a development agreement affecting 8 Croft St. was approved by the council.
Established in 1991, the development agreement enabled the Bridge Adult Service Centre to expand the size of the centre it operated on the Croft Street property.
Since the centre’s move to Station Street, the Croft Street site has been used for a mix of commercial and residential uses, which comply with the Land-Use Bylaw. As a result, the development agreement is no longer necessary, nor does it reflect the current use of the property.
A new subdivision policy that will allow developers to turn ownership of streets within a new subdivision over to the town prior to the streets being paved was approved by the council.
Under the new policy, the developer would have to enter into an agreement to pave the streets in a new subdivision by a certain date and provide a surety equal to 125 per cent of the cost to pave the streets.
Before being amended, the policy required the paving of streets before the final approval of a subdivision plan was given. Developers said this delays their projects because they could not subdivide the land or begin building construction until after the streets were paved.
Council noted the new policy is common in many other units. It also noted all the streets and underground infrastructure, such as water lines, sanitary sewers and storm sewers, must meet town standards before being accepted by the town.