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HRM height restriction causes possible federal funding snag for new homes

An affordable housing funding disagreement is brewing between the Halifax Regional Municipality and the federal government.

Following the city's recent application for funding to help pay for more affordable homes, Federal Housing Minister Sean Fraser asked HRM Council to amend its application in four areas -- including allowing four-story buildings for all residential structures.

That height is currently prohibited.

Councillor Waye Mason would rather see an increase in lot coverage for shorter story buildings, instead of higher structures.

However, he doesn’t think this request is a funding deal breaker and expects negotiations to take place in the coming weeks.

“What we heard from the developers in the industry, was we should go from three stories to six stories because those ones in between are hard to do," said Mason. "Five is possible, and most people don’t want to build four, but there is some utility to consider it in some circumstances."

HRM staff has been asked to further examine the issue.

"What is important, is that we make units quickly," said Mason.

Mason wants the federal government to tell the city what height is acceptable, and then both sides will ideally get a deal done in the coming weeks.

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