Burlington’s Mayor and City Staff disappointment over the OMB decision to allow a 26 storey building on Martha St. seems like just so many crocodile tears.

By Jim Younopinionandcommentg

February 14th, 2018



crocodile-tears-Forgive my cynicism but the disappointment expressed by Burlington’s Mayor and City Staff over the OMB decision to allow a 26 storey building on Martha St. seems like just so many crocodile tears. This from a city who already amended their own zoning bylaws to approve 24 storeys a few hundred metres away at 421 Brant St.

The ADI appeal, while complex, was not based on a good building /bad building argument but was based on a “No Decision Appeal” to the OMB which is allowed when City Councils fail to come to a decision on a developer’s building or zoning application.

nautique-elevation-from-city-july-2016Essentially The City of Burlington failed to consider the ADI application within a reasonable time so ADI took their case to the OMB and won. The questions our city, which seems hell bent on intensifying its downtown core at all costs, must now answer are:

Why was there “no decision” by council on the original ADI application, thereby forcing the appeal?

Was this an oversight, in which case shame on them?

Was this a deliberate tactic so that council gets a 26 storey building in line with the other 23 & 24 storey buildings on Brant St. and the 20-25 Waterfront Hotel Development on Lakeshore while hiding behind the developers and the OMB? In which case who are they to be trusted with the New Official Plan which they now tout as a saviour from developers.

The New Official Plan is just as open to amendments and appeals by developers and planners as the old plan and in fact by removing Brant St. from the Official Downtown Core in the New OP, and designating it a “Special Development Precinct” they may in fact leave it open to ever more amendment and modification resulting in more hi-rises.

When the city had the opportunities to control development in the downtown they either failed to decide, leaving the decision to the OMB or voted to amend their own plans allowing ever taller buildings. Their hand wringing and expressions of disappointment sound very hollow to the people of Burlington this morning.

Jim YoungJim Young, is a founding member of ECoB, the Engaged Citizens of Burlington

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7 comments to Burlington’s Mayor and City Staff disappointment over the OMB decision to allow a 26 storey building on Martha St. seems like just so many crocodile tears.

  • Perry Bowker

    No appeal process is available. The City must be take the OMB to court, at which time their defence will be that the “process” was been followed to the letter by the developer and the OMB. You will not win by arguing that the process was correct but the result it produced is wrong. You will, however, make many more lawyers rich. (I was involved in a citizen appeal to the OMB which cost many, many thousands of dollars of dollars, and that’s what happened. Fortunately, the land involved still stands empty, since even the developer realized the project would not fly. But the OMB lives happily on, unchallenged.)

  • Penny

    I have been told that there is an appeal process that is available. Once we find out if we qualify residents should demand that the City go this route.


    I am borrowing this statement from an email I received.


    Come on Burlington get involved…Stop waiting for others to make things right….

  • Jeremy

    Please also read the comments made by Mr. Bernstein in the companion Burlington Gazette article entitled “ADI Development wins their case at the OMB”.

  • Susie

    Your words Jim are bang on! We ask, what don’t they see or understand? It is all about the taxpayers money coming into their coffers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • “[107] The far more compelling evidence is that all of the land use planners and both urban designers testified that the Subject Site is not only suitable for development at heights that exceed the as of right four-storey height but is also suitable for development at heights that exceed the discretionary eight-storey height. In other words, all of these experts agreed that the Subject Site is suitable for development that is more transit-supportive than the four-storey, as-of-right OP designation.“

    When you own planners agree the ADI proposal is suitable, what do you expect them to do?

    The problem is not that the OMB doesn’t read the official plans – the problem is that it does.

    The New OP doesn’t provide any method for determining when too much height or too much density might be created. There are no stops on quality of living, that has gone out the window.

    All that matters is how many people we can shove into an area – that is the only mark of success. How many “transit-supportive” hostages can you create.

  • bonnie

    Jim we need you to run for a council seat in October.

  • Allen Jones

    Disgusting, upsetting and shameful … that council (except one) has gotta go!!!