Last week I worked on a story about a condo development in Jollimore. A company called Solterre Design bought a large family estate, and is hoping to build some smaller homes on it. The company says it intends to preserve the heritage homes that are already on the property, and to build the other homes in the existing style. Some of the neighbours were concerned this would add too much traffic to the area. The Jollimore neighbourhood is a very quiet one without sidewalks, and the lanes are often only 10 feet wide. The neighbours asked the developer to reduce the number of homes from 14 to 12, and she agreed to do this. I received a note after the story from a neighbour who said he’s satisfied with that number of buildings.
View the CBC News article here.
I also have a note from local historian Iris Shea, who contributed a lot of historical information to the Solterre development. Here it is:
In 2009 the Finley family, owners of the property at 10 Kirk Road, decided to sell, hoping to attract a buyer who would appreciate its history and beauty. The nearly 3.5 acres of land on the Northwest Arm contains four very old structures, beautiful old rhododendron gardens and rock walls. Jennifer Corson of Solterre Design was just who they were looking for…someone who had an interest in conservation and in heritage properties. Other proposals could have bulldozed the property and replaced the four existing heritage structures with up to 16 new houses. Corson and her partner, under the name of Marterra Incorporated, became the new owners and set about restoring the Arts and Crafts house, designed in 1914 by Halifax architect William Brown as a summer residence for well known Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat specialist Dr. Evatt Mathers. Municipal Heritage Status for the buildings and property was applied for by the developer (the oldest building on the property dates back to 1865). To make it a viable “bare land condominium” project, it would be necessary to build 11 new single family dwellings, and incorporate the existing buildings into one single family dwelling and one semi-detached. The existing gardens, trees and rock walls would be retained, with the 1937 cement swimming pool and the 1865 cottage restored as common amenities. A lot of planning went into this project over the past year and a half by Marterra Inc. and by members of the HRM Planning Department. The residents of Jollimore had an opportunity to voice their opinions at a public meeting in September 2010. They were concerned about the size of the development, the streets being too narrow to accommodate more traffic (especially the trucks during the development phase), and the noise during the development phase. The roads in Jollimore are more like country lanes, some as narrow as 10 feet or less. The project was approved by the HRM Planning Department and, at a meeting of Chebucto Community Council on July 4, 2011, a public hearing was held. Jollimore residents once again voiced their objections to the development. A motion was made by the councilor for that area, Linda Mosher, to downsize the development by two houses. It was seconded and passed unanimously.