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Developer hopes to move forward on plans for Sackville seniors’ complex

Pictured above is an artist’s rendering of a proposed development for downtown Sackville.
Pictured above is an artist’s rendering of a proposed development for downtown Sackville. - Submitted

Rezoning request goes to public hearing next month

SACKVILLE, N.B. – A new seniors’ development could soon be in the works for downtown Sackville, if town council approves a rezoning for a small piece of property that’s part of the former United Church site.

Local developer John Lafford is hoping to build a new apartment building on the property located on the corner of Main and York Streets, this time for the 55-and-over crowd.

The proposed new apartment building would feature between 28 and 34 units, depending on how much underground parking can be included in the site plan, said Lafford.

Although Lafford didn’t specifically term his development as a “luxury” apartment building, he did say the units would be “really nice and really spacious,” with the units sized at about 1,200 to 1,350 square feet. Each unit will be accessible and include two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room area and kitchen, and will be priced at $1,250 to $1,700 per month.

Lafford is confident there will be strong demand for these units. He said Lafford Realty Inc. has a waiting list for the 1,150 square-foot units it developed a couple of years ago on Waterfowl Lane as well as the seniors’ complex it owns on King Street.

“I’m pretty confident there’s a need in the market for this type of housing,” he said.

With an aging population in New Brunswick, Lafford said many people are on the lookout for larger units they can move into and not have to worry about ongoing maintenance and upgrade costs, as well as regular services such as snowplowing and lawn care.

The proposed three-or-four storey building is calling for balconies included on each unit, a shared fitness centre and common area/entertainment room, and underground parking. Situated a bit behind and in between the other two commercial/apartment buildings already on the former church site, Lafford said some of the new units within the new v-shaped structure would overlook the Mount Allison swan pond and the Waterfowl Park.

“It will have a beautiful view.”

Local developer John Lafford is hoping to build a new apartment building on the property located on the corner of Main and York Streets.
Local developer John Lafford is hoping to build a new apartment building on the property located on the corner of Main and York Streets.

The location is also an obvious benefit, he said, which is easy walking distance to amenities such as the banks, the post office, the grocery stores, downtown shops, and more.

“You’re close to everything you need,” he said.

But just how the development will proceed will be up to town council.

A public hearing has been set for next month – Tuesday, May 15 – to hear about the proposed rezoning and to allow for residents to raise any objections or speak in favour of the project.

The requested rezoning is for a small portion of the property to be changed from institutional to mixed use.

Lori Bickford, planning manager with the local planning commission office, said the entire church property was previously zoned institutional but, other than the cemetery, was switched over to mixed use when the Laffords purchased the property several years ago. But since boundaries at the time were still being determined, a corner of the property wasn’t switched to mixed use, she said.

“It’s still a zoning that is hung over from it being the church property.”

Councillor Bill Evans said he doesn’t foresee any hitches in rezoning the piece of property that should have been switched over to mixed use in the first place.

“Had the property been accurately identified then, the whole thing would have been zone mixed use then. There was no reason not to do it then except they weren’t sure where the boundary was,” he said during council’s monthly discussion meeting last Tuesday.

Evans said the “mixed use” designation is consistent with the other use of that whole area and with the town’s municipal plan and zoning bylaw, so “for me, this is any easy one to justify.”

He also pointed out that he’s been hearing from some of his constituents over the past couple of weeks who are excited about the proposed development.

“There’s been a whole lot of excitement. People have come up to me and said ‘how do I sign up for this?.” Said Evans. ““This is an attractive option, the location is ideal . . . so I have no problems with this, this makes sense to me.”

Mayor John Higham pointed out that, even if this rezoning is not approved for the portion still designated institutional, Lafford could opt to build a smaller building on the site with a parking lot in behind.

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