Housing Accelerator Fund Halifax

Housing Accelerator Fund Changes - May 2024

This month has marked major changes to the Halifax Regional Planning Strategies, particularly in the Centre and Suburban Areas. On Thursday, May 23rd, 2024 after a public hearing lasting three days, Regional Council unanimously approved the Housing Accelerator Fund changes.

What is the Housing Accelerator Fund?

The Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF) is an initiative started by the Canadian Federal government to incentivize municipalities to reduce barriers for new housing. The federal government would provide funding to municipalities if they increased opportunities for residential density in areas where municipal services, like water and sewer, already exist..
Over the past year, HRM Planning Staff developed proposed changes to the current Municipal Planning Strategies in the Centre and Suburban areas that would align with the federal directives and be eligible for the funding. Sightline contributed to their engagement period and advocated for additional housing density at key sites across the region. The changes proposed by HRM planning staff would align with the initiatives of the 2031 Regional Plan, like concentrating density around Bus Rapid Transit corridors and adding gentle density to existing neighbourhoods.

What does this approval mean?

The HAF changes allow more flexibility in building form, reduce parking requirements, and permit more residential units on almost all properties in the Centre and Suburban areas. While property requirements like building setbacks and lot coverage will still apply, residentially zoned areas within the serviced boundaries of HRM can now have up-to four-units on every property. If you own a single-family home in a Suburban community of HRM this means you could convert your basement into an apartment or add a secondary suite, or both! These changes can add value to your property, increase housing options for the community, and contribute to solving the housing crisis without greatly changing the form of our neighbourhoods.
In addition to allowing four residential units in all serviced areas, the municipality took this opportunity to upzone many properties in the Regional Centre that are close to bus rapid transit stations and post-secondary institutions. which would allow higher density. These upzonings will allow for more people to live in the core of the city and have easier access to the many services and amenities in this region.

What does that mean for my neighbourhood?

If you curious about what the new HAF changes would affect in your neighbourhood, you please visit HRM’s Interactive map here. If you would like more information on how these changes may affect your specific properties, or have any zoning questions, Sightline Planning + Approvals can complete a Planning Brief. Contact us for more information!

Jane Rideout
Planning Manager

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