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The exterior of Saint John City Hall is pictured in this file photo. Image: staff photo

Converting hotels, motels into housing now easier in Saint John

By Brad Perry Mar 8, 2023 | 3:30 PM

It is now easier for developers to convert hotel and motel structures into dwelling units in Saint John.

Council voted this week to approve a new “Converted Accommodation” use within the city’s zoning bylaw.

Jennifer Kirchner, the city’s manager of community planning, said it eliminates the need for site-specific rezonings.

“In addition, this would provide a standard set of regulations to ensure the successful transition of this building type from commercial to a residential use,” Kirchner told council during a recent public hearing.

According to a staff report, hotels and motels are allowed within the city’s commercial zones, which may or may not permit the creation of dwelling units.

This creates a situation where some properties would need a rezoning to allow this type of use, whereas others would only need a building permit.

The proposal stems from an application by a local developer to convert an unnamed hotel structure into a multi-unit affordable housing project.

Stephen Brittain told council there is a “tremendous need” for affordable housing units in the city and across the country.

Brittain said using an existing building — like a hotel or motel — rather than starting from scratch will save time and money.


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