It's all digital for the planners - one of the benefits that has come out of the pandemic

News 100 blueBy Staff

June 26th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The City of Burlington is now able to digitally review and finalize decisions for all types of development applications.

digitize documentsWhile City Hall remains closed to the public due to COVID-19, our virtual services are open for business and we are ready for the future beyond the current State of Emergency.

There is all kinds of information on the digital approach on the city web site at: urlington.ca//developmentinfo

*those with an asterisk must go through a pre-consultation with planning staff

Development Resources
Radiocommunication Faculty Review Protocol (PDF)    An 8 page document on the locating of cell towera
2020 Development Application Fees (PDF)  Very interesting document – worth keeping at hand.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward has been pushing for a digital approach to everything since her first term of office in 2010. “It’s great news that we’ll be able to provide this extra level of service” she said. “I have been intending to go in this direction for a long time. One of the silver linings of the circumstances we find ourselves in with COVID-19 is that some of the digital plans we’ve had at the City that had previously been on a backburner are now front and centre as we look to new ways to adapt. We’re looking forward to offering this new level of service.”

Blair Smith talking to planner Heaher MacDonald

Chief Planner Heather MacDonald speaking to a resident at on of the public preconsultation meetings.

Heather MacDonald, Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility now has tools that make it much more efficient for her people to complete their tasks. “With the advancements that we have made since March, we are positioned with a new modern process that will continue beyond the current State of Emergency. This is a key milestone in the intention to create a City of Burlington online portal for development applications.”

Return to the Front page

Mayor has become a dog with a bone - doing everything she can to prevent a developer from getting an extension he is entitled to.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

June 25th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

That request for an extension from EMSHIH Developments and their Garden Trails II development is getting a little messy and revealing some cracks in the cohesion of city Council.

The request for an extension – several have been given in the past – on a development that is close to 20 years old.

Garden Trail Phase 2

EMSHIH Developments did the first Phasae of the Garden Trail subdivision tears ago. The area coloured green is their Phase II plan. The want an extension to the end of the year to complete the paper work and eventually get a building permit. Staff has argued so much has changed on the regulatory side that a new application should be filed.

Council spent more than an hour at a Standing Committee on this matter earlier in the month – ending up with a 4-3 vote to grant the extension.

That decision had to go to Council – same thing – more than an hour of debate during which the mayor commented on the amount of lobbying that Councillors Galbraith and Kearns has been involved in.

The vote was the same 4-3 with the extension limited to the just end of August. The Mayor worked the Council meeting and managed to get two Staff Directions added. One to the City Treasurer and another to the City Solicitor.

In her A Better Burlington Newsletter, Mayor Meed Ward sets out her position on this development:

It’s clear to me that the application has not met conditions of OMB — they’d had 20 years to meet those conditions and they haven’t. They expire in June. What should Council do? We’ve been told by staff that so much has changed, the studies the applicant will have to do, the work all agencies will have to do is the same as a new application. We’ve been told the applicant is willing to pay fees. We don’t make handshake deals, we have an accountable fees system. We heard the applicant’s concerns is time delays, not paying the fees.

MMW standing O Canada

Mayor Meed Ward standing during the playing of the National anthem at the start of a virtual city council meeting.

I believe the right path for us is to call this application what it is and that is a new one. The timeframe for processing this, we have been told, is roughly the same. We have an obligation to the applicant to ensure things are processed in a timely manner – we have new legislation to make sure. We’ve heard concerns that the new studies will cause the delays, but there are no ways around that — those studies must be done. The facts are fairly clear on this file.

This report from staff has been straightforward – the work required is that of a new application and the recommendation from them is for us to treat it as such. We need to give our planning staff the resources they need, so that Council is not the cause of any delays. A new application has protections in place for the applicant and the City.

With that said, I am OK giving a two-month extension on the deadline to hear from staff on the financial and legal implications on this file.

That is really very generous of the Mayor. She’s Ok a shorter extension wrapped with two Staff Directions that will eat up more than an hour of council time when it is on the agenda in August.  The will of Council is clear – a majority voted for the extension twice.

The last we heard a majority counted mattered. Kearns, Galbraith, Sharman and Bentivegnia voted to give the extension.

Return to the Front page

Burlington's Committee of Adjustment isn't holding meetings - small variances are being held up.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

June 23rd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A seasoned commercial real estate developer bought a home in Burlington in 3Q 2019.

He and his wife and their child were looking forward to the move but before the moving trucks were called the met with an architect who drew up some plans they wanted to make to the house,

The architect met with the appropriate people in Burlington’s Planning department where the plans had to be approved before a Building Permit could be issued.

City-hall-plabbing-Christmas-2013-1024x814

City of Adjustment counter at city hall during a festive season.

There was a bit of confusion that got cleared up. The Planners weren’t the problem. The property owner needs a building permit which he can’t get until there is a decision from Committee of Adjustment (CoA). The planner’s hands are tied.

An application was made to the CoA for a minor variance– that was turned down.

The property owner understood, he knew the rules and was more than prepared to abide by whatever those who gave permissions required.

The plan for the addition to the newly purchased house were revised again and ready for the second submission to the CoA early in March

Then Covid19 hit – and everything came to a grinding halt.

The problem for the homeowner who now owned the Burlington residence was that he had sold his home elsewhere in the GTA.

The need to get before the Burlington CoA took on a new urgency.

The problem was made more complex when the CoA found that it could not give dates for hearing that were going to be virtual.

Hamilton was able to hold Committee of Adjustment hearings but none of the smaller municipalities were ready.

The homeowner met with a real estate agent in Burlington looking for a home that could be rented. He found one that would meet what was becoming a pressing need.

The home that was being sold was due to close at the end of June – which was fast approaching.

All the homeowner could get from Burlington’s Committee of Adjustment was that they expected to begin holding hearings in July – not when in July – just July.

The homeowner wanted to know where he stood in the pecking order – was he number 1 or number 101.

Everyone is being polite – what isn’t understood is – what is taking the Burlington CoA so long to get to the point where they can hold virtual hearings.

No one seems to have an answer.

The property owner wasn’t able to get much from the ward 4 Councillor.  He got a bit more from the ward 1 Councillor who was more attuned to development issues

Burlington city council has been doing business virtually for a couple of months. The Regional government has been doing things virtually for several months.

Why not the Committee of Adjustment? No one is talking.

The property owner needs to know how long he has to rent for.  He is currently looking at a year.  Yikes!

Return to the Front page

Planners wanted $1 million +; developer thought he could slide by for $9,000 - a majority went for the developer.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

June 10th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It was an arm-wrestling contest worth watching – except you couldn’t see the contestants.

With city council meetings now viral – we don’t get to see the players – we can hear them though.

Yesterday, Dana Anderson, of MHBS, a planning consulting firm, was before council delegating for an extension to the development application the Emshie interests had before the city.

Street and lot GArden Trails

The original plan of sub-division for what has been named Garden Trails looked something like this. Conservation Halton had some issues.

The problem with the application is that it came out of an Ontario Municipal Board hearing in 1958 when Tony Millington and Associates was representing the Emshie people.

It had languished for years – with as much as five years passing with nothing being done.

The city planners had issued a number of extensions – they felt the one had reached the end of the line. They asked council to force Emshih to file a new application, partly because all the technical reports would have to be updated.

In the Staff Report planners concluded that:

Staff must confirm that the draft approved lot configuration is able to achieve compliance with the current policies. Given this uncertainty, it is not appropriate to grant an extension request for the draft approved plans. Staff are of the opinion that the current proposal should be reviewed against current policies, regulations and standards as part of a new application.

The policy framework has changed substantially since draft plan approval in 2001, and given the ecological significance of the lands, it is important that current standards and regulations are considered and maintained. It is not appropriate to assess the proposal using outdated policy framework given that the applicant has not actively been working toward clearing conditions. In the opinion of staff, these requirements are not minor and should not be considered as part of an extension request; but rather, be more appropriately comprehensively reviewed as part of a new plan of subdivision application.

Dana Anderson planner

Dana Anderson – MBHS

The problem was that – creating a new development application file carried fees that approach 1 million dollars – whereas staying with the current application the fees would come in at around $12,000.

You can see what the issue was – Council spent more than half an hour debating that one with the Mayor saying that if the planners have to do the same amount of work on the extension as they would have to do on a new file – then she wanted them to be paid for the work they were going to have to do.

Councillors Stolte and Nisan agreed with the Mayor but the other four felt that Emshie should be give some time to do what they could to get the issues resolved.

Councillors Galbraith, Kearns, Sharman and Bentivegna voted for an extension to not later than December 31st.

The planners left the meeting feeling they were being taken – the city manager wasn’t happy.

When this gets to a Council meeting one of the four who voted for the extension might flip.

While discussing the fees involved we learned that the city take a bundle, the Conservation Authority takes a bundle and the Region takes a bundle – then they all take an additional fee per house built.

Return to the Front page

Biggest high rise development in city history: seven towers up to 37 stories - no public input

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

June 10th,  2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There is a massive development planned for Fairview Street – just east of the Burlington GO station.

It is the biggest development ward 2 has seen – the only development bigger is the Georgian Courts in Aldershot. In that situation it is the complete redevelopment of an existing community.

Seven buildings - not that much in park space and a layout that reflects what developers put up in the 50's

Seven buildings – not that much in park space and a layout that reflects what developers put up in the 50’s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The former Holland Nursery lands are now known as the Holland Park development, a tribute to the garden supplier that was on the site for years. It is on the North side of Fairview.

The lands are owned by a joint venture announced in June 2019. Brookfield Property Group joined a partnership with InterRent REIT and CLV Group to develop a multi-family-anchored, mixed-use project.

Because the development meets the current Official Plan and the zoning for the area it doesn’t have to go before City Council. It does have to undergo a Site Plan Review – that process is managed by the Planning department and they aren’t required to hold public meetings.

In an interview in March with ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns we commented on the heights that will be permitted and the density.

We asked at the time why the development wasn’t on the list of properties being developed.  Kearns told us that it met wit the Official Plan and the Zoning – all the city had to do was review the Site Plan and that was not a public process.

There is no maximum height for buildings on the site – the sky is the limit.

Kearns said that her “own platform position was to work towards a collaborative relationship.”

In her discussions with one of the partners, the CLV Group; known apartment operators in the city Kearns said there was mention of a possible curling rink.

We asked Kearns if she had any concerns about the 47 storey height the developer had asked for.  Kearns replied “Over my dead body”.

Due to the size of the development and the impact it will have on that part of the city the public will want to have the opportunity to make some comment.

At this point public input has come from the ward Councillor and people she has chosen to involve. Kearns has not identified those people.

The review of the site plan is in the hands of the Planning department where a senior planner manages the file

However, there is a process where Council can undelegated the authority the Planning department has to proceed with the Site Plan Review.

They just pass a motion undelegating the Site Plan review – which means that Review is overseen by Council.

Kearns hasn’t made any mention of getting this site Plan Approval put in the hands of Council where citizens can look at what is being proposed and delegate to comment on the plans

The Gazette asked the Planning Director Heather MacDonald how this might be done. Jamie Tellier, Manager of Planning Applications,  responded through Kwab Ako-Adjei, Director, Corporate Communications & Government Relations who wrote:

“The approval authority for site plan applications is delegated to the Director of Community Planning. Notwithstanding this, Council can “undelegate” the approval authority for a specific site plan application from the Director of Community Planning back to Council.”

The Gazette was not permitted to talk to Tellier directly.

In a recent Newsletter ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns said: “Many residents are taking a keen interest in the lands for development near the Burlington GO – casually known as ‘Holland Park’. ”

The site is a very short walk to the Burlington GO station and the location many felt high rise should be located in. Did anyone expect this many buildings on a site this size?

The site is a very short walk to the Burlington GO station and the location many felt high rise should be located in. Did anyone expect this many buildings on a site this size?

“The owners have been working with City staff to develop the plan over the past 2 years. Meetings included Planning pre-consultation, Burlington Urban Design Review Panel, public site walking tour and several other informal meetings with various City of Burlington departments.

“My Councillor Office has met with the applicants in 2019 and 2020, as captured in the Ward 2 Business Meeting Registry.

The Councillors meetings are interestng; does she meet with just developers and are there any detailed minutes?

The Councillors meetings are interesting; does she meet with just developers and are there any detailed minutes?

“There is a proposed phased mixed-use development consisting of 7 towers with heights ranging from 29-37 storeys. Towers will include a combination of residential and commercial uses. Parking will be accommodated both underground and at the rear of the property in a parking structure utilizing the required 30 metre setback from the rail.

Kearns Lisa side view Mar 2019

Kearns listening

“The site is an 8.5-acre parcel located east from the Brant and Fairview main intersection – within 250 and 500 metres of the Burlington GO Station (3-5-minute walk), which is recognized under provincial policy as a Priority Transit Corridor and a Gateway Mobility Hub.

“The proposal features a public realm experience that includes a linear park located on top of the parking structure, Public Park, focal intersection at the heart of the site and POPS (privately owned public space).

“This site is zoned MXT in the City’s existing zoning bylaw, which is a Mixed Use Corridor zone in proximity to the Burlington GO Station.

The MXT zone does not have an established maximum height in the existing zoning bylaw. This application will be reviewed in accordance with the City-initiated Zoning By-law Amendment 2020.418 that resulted from the findings of the 2019 Interim Control Bylaw Land Use Study and which was approved by Council on Jan. 30, 2020.

“Zoning By-law Amendment 2020.418 requires a maximum building height of six storeys within the first 10 metres of Fairview Street and Drury Lane to ensure that future development will achieve an appropriate transition to adjacent areas through a mid-rise, pedestrian-scale built form along these streets.

Councillor Kearns at one of her ward meetings.

Councillor Kearns at one of her ward meetings.

“However, this Zoning Bylaw amendment is currently under appeal and therefore the Interim Control Bylaw (ICBL) is still in effect. As a result, no approvals will be granted until the appeals have been resolved and the ICBL is no longer in effect.

Kearns adds: “ This is one of the rare sites in the City of Burlington where the applicant intends to comply with the Zoning By-law, the site is zoned MXT. This means that a development application proceeds straight to Site Plan – which it now has – and does not follow the process many are familiar with.

In contrast, when a Zoning By-law Amendment is requested, the proponent will go through community meetings, a statutory public meeting, and receive a planning recommendation report for Council to vote on. None of these steps are required for applications that are in compliance with the regulations of the Zoning By-law – as is the case for the lands known as “Holland Park”.

“For the property including 2243, 2269 Fairview Street & 864 Drury Lane, a subject Site Plan Application was deemed complete and materials have been circulated internal and external review.

“Currently in the review phase, this file has not come to the Councillors office for comments as of yet, nor is there an established timeline to announce, including what the impacts of the ICBL on the site’s zoning.

“Residents have inquired why this development is not available for public review on the City of Burlington website Current Developments – Ward 2. This is because, unlike a Zoning By-law Amendment and/or Official Plan Amendment, Site Plan Applications are not a public process under the Planning Act.”

But the Site Plan Review can be made public – if the Councillor asks her colleagues to approve a motion to undelegated that work and put it in the hands of Council where the public can be included.

“As Councillor, I know how important it is to keep the community informed and engaged on such a significant development” said Kearns.  “I intend to continue a collaborative approach on this development and bring options to create a complete community with useful the facts amenities on an established transit line. In all likelihood, this will be a size and scale unseen in Burlington, potentially bringing with it anxiety and unrest; without doubt there will be lessons learned to apply to future applications.

Audit Kearns 5

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns at a council meeting

“I continue to work with City Staff on new ways to provide the public with technical information and timely progress updates. It is important to be clear that the applicant is working within the existing zoning (set by previous Council) and that decisions on height and density will not come before this Council to grant planning permissions. That said, I remain optimistic and diligent that this development can be done right.”

It could be done very right if the Councillor includes all the public and not just her chosen few.

Return to the Front page

Traffic comming into the downtown core from the east is going to be slower for the next few years at least.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

May 29th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

nautique-elevation-from-city-july-2016If you thought traffic was tight on Lakeshore Road as you come into the downtown core from the east – get ready for a real squeeze.

Hoardings up and lane closed May 28-20The Adi Development Group is now getting serious about their Nautique Development. A passageway for pedestrians in the north side of Lakeshore Road is being put in place; it will take up one of the two lanes that run west from Martha.

They will be in place for years. Hopefully they will not find themselves with a timeline similar to that of Bridgewater on the south side and a block to the west.

Adi has had a bumpy relationship with the city; they are a little on the roguish side but do build smart looking buildings. Their architecture is progressive and we’ve yet to hear a negative word about the quality of their developments.

Adi is also putting up the Station West development in Aldershot at the same time.

This development and The Gallery (26 storeys) that is being built across the street from city hall will, in the future be seen as the beginning of a process that changed to feel of the downtown core.

What that change will come to look and feel like is something we won’t know for another four, maybe five years.

Add to this the difference the pandemic is going to have on the whole world – leaves one asking the question: what will it be like ?

Return to the Front page

Round two on the Nelson Aggregate expansion begins: applications have been filed and the Jefferson Salamander has a home.

16 Rendering of bowl Golf club or main quarry

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

May 22nd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Brian Zeman packed five cartons of documents into his car last Thursday, put cheques totaling $350,000 into his brief case and headed south from his Barrie office.

He was filing an Application for an extension of the quarry license held by Nelson Aggregates on Colling Road west of Guelph Line.

He isn't exactly pretty but nevertheless plays an important role in the local environment. Comes in different colours as well.

He isn’t exactly pretty but nevertheless plays an important role in the local environment. Comes in different colours as well.

That quarry was the object of a lengthy re-licensing application in 2012 – the application was turned down because the land they wanted to mine was the habitat for the Jefferson Salamander.

Zeman is a planner who provides urban and regional planning analysis and research for MHBC clients that are involved in the aggregate resource sector.  He has considerable experience in aggregate site planning and licensing and processes relating to aggregate applications. He is a qualified and experienced aggregate Compliance Assessment Report inspector.

Having worked on this file for more than a decade Zeman knows it inside and out and can spit out statistics better than anyone I’ve heard before.

He will tell you that the application meets all the rules and regulations; that the Region has defined the area for aggregate extraction; that the City of Burlington’s Official Plan sees the area as compatible for aggregate extraction. The city will be asked to  Amend the Official Plan from Escarpment Rural Area to Mineral Resource Extraction Area.

Tighter view of the sitesNelson Aggregate believes they are onside with the Niagara Escarpment Commission and Conservation Halton.  There is a very good argument for the Conservation Authority running the parks when they are eventually  – they have solid experience with seven parks that they operate.

Each of those agencies received copies of the application, along with the appropriate fee and will now look for consultants to review the documents and return with an opinion.  The consultants that will be hired will also be paid for by Zeman’s client – Nelson Aggregates, to review the documents.

There are different views on any extension to the expansion. Under the current license the quarry can quarry where they are for the next 50 years and then sell the land to anyone who wants to buy. Zeeman points out that once the quarry has been filled with water the site would become very attractive to anyone who wanted privacy on a small island surrounded by a large lake that is private,

The current license is for a 218 hectare area from which they can extract from 210 hectares.

The demand for aggregate is solid and is expected to be so for some time. Zeman has all kinds of numbers on what has been built with aggregate from the existing quarry as well as a very strong argument for using local aggregate for local area projects: 60% of the cost of a truck load of aggregate is the cost of getting it from the quarry to the construction site.

He is quick to point out as well that the Nelson quarry contains the highest quality aggregate resource in southern Ontario.

How has aggregate from the quarry been used in Burlington?

71,375 private dwellings
47,217 driveway
734 km of city roads
34 public schools
7 community centres
The Joseph Brant Hospital and City Hall.

The province has a “close to market” policy on where aggregate is extracted.  The Nelson site has served the Halton, Hamilton and Peel markets for some time.

The Nelson quarry site is identified in the Niagara Escarpment Plan, the Regional and City Official Plan as locations that can be considered for expansion of the quarry.

The licence application is to expand the area by 78.3 hectares and allow for aggregate extraction in 50.2 hectares from which they will extract +/- 30 million tonnes.  The application makes the assumption that 1 million tonnes will be extracted each year

Phasing and extraction

These are the new extraction areas.  A former golf club (still operating) on the left and farm land on the right.

When there is quarry work being done – there are water concerns. The Nelson site is no different. The site has been operational since 1953 during which time there have been no adverse impacts to existing residential and agriculture wells. There have been studies including hydrogeology, karst, surface water modelling. The predicted effects on ground water levels are consistent with existing quarry, and significant available groundwater resources remain through the development and closure phases.

Nelson has, on several occasion re-drilled a well for an area resident or farm operation.

Air pollution and noise – they are also part of extraction work.

There have been complaints yet the reports from the consultants, who are all certified, maintain that “with respect to health impacts (for air quality) the study determined that no significant health impacts are expected.”

Quarries are seen as noisy operations. The dynamite blasting is tightly controlled – they can blast once a week and only at a prescribed time. In the past there have been complaints about blasting when there was no blasting taking place.  The blasting that does take place is carried out by professional engineers who design the blast and monitor what takes place. Nelson doesn’t get anywhere near that blasting. Sirens are sounded and the blasting takes place on a specific day (Add to this) and at a specific time that is broadcast to the community. An email is sent out.

A quarry is a big hole in the ground that does impact the natural heritage.  The proposed southern extension does not contain any key natural heritage features.

The proposed west extension is predominantly an active golf course with a single butternut tree; three golf course maintenance building.
Traffic patterns will not change as a result of either extension.  The proposed extension includes a maximum limit of 2 million tonnes each year. Nelson expects to ship 1 million tonnes each year.  Shipping will continue from the existing exit-entrance on #2 Side Road east to Guelph Line.

Rickli studio

The Walt Rickli studio, that produce sculptures that have been sold world wide were once done on the site

While there isn’t all that much in the way of cultural heritage resources in the area; the biggest cultural resource was the Walt Rickli sculpture operation that once rented space from the quarry. He had to find a new home when Nelson wanted to aggregate underneath his big shop. Rickli is quick to say that Nelson was very fair and gave him all the time he needed to move his equipment.

There are no significant built heritage; there are no significant archeological resources nor are there any significant heritage landscapes.

The application points out that the site is private property and could continue to operate as a quarry for another 50 years. It would operate at reduced production and would primarily supply the onsite asphalt plant.

They believe there is potential for future underground mining that could further extend the life of the quarry.

Private landThe quarry is prepared to consider selling the land with the following:

Private lake with 1 residence
8 rural residential lots
2 farm lots

Taking up 317 hectares

The Nelson quarry application takes a much bigger view – they believe there is an opportunity to create a magnificent park – two of them actually.

One on the north side of #2 Side Road where there would be the Jefferson Salamander habitat and then a small lake.

On the north side of the road there would be a huge park with every amenity you would want to see in a park.

Nelson describes it as a unique opportunity to significantly enhance public open space.

What could be doneLegendNelson quarry would deed the land to either the Region or the city who would be expected to develop the park.

Yes – that park would be built sometime in the future’

However – some of the land would be turned over quickly

To date there hasn’t been much in the way of comment or reaction from either the ward councillor or the Mayor.

Rory Nisan, the ward Councillor at one point said he was not going to meet with the Nelson Aggregate people because he didn’t want to have anyone influence his thinking.

Mayor Meed Ward has said she has no interest in the idea until the rehabilitation of the site has been completed.  Most recently she said she is waiting until the application is complete. To be politically realistic there isn’t all that much in the way of political Brownie points for the politicians.

The residents of the community have no time for the quarry they have; they were delighted when they won the last battle for an expansion application.  They see the rural community as something that is there home and they don’t want any change. Nimbyism defined.

Burlington’s population is growing – people will want to get out into the country where they can do something.  The locals would just as soon keep that country side to themselves.

Long term thinkers would have cozied up to this opportunity and begun now crafting how the opportunity could be maximized.

Return to the Front page

4th phase of the ambitious Elgin Promenade on target - will the $$ needed to complete be available?

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

May 17th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Elgin Promenade, that pathway that serves as a pedestrian and cycling corridor will extend from Brant Street to Martha Street connecting the downtown core to the Centennial Multi-Use path is about to embark on the 4th phase.

The idea has been on the drawing boards for some time – when a funding opportunity came up in 2017, the city moved on it quickly.
It was a grad idea when it was first presented to the public in 2017, made possible by a federal gas tax rebate grant of $700,000.

Overall area - big pictureThe Promenade will eventually allow people to cycle or walk across the width of the city from the BurlOak Park in the east end to the Canal that separates us from Hamilton on the west end.

The first thing it did was open up the space opposite city hall and a little to the south of city hall. Some parking spots were removed and the first of four phases between Brant and John Street was done.

phases graphic all 4

Done in phases; the fourth one will begin in the Spring of 2021.

 

No one was really sure how many people would use the Promenade; when a pedestrian counter was installed on John Street from October 25th, 2019 to December 2, 2019 the counter showed approximately 346 people per day which is significant number of users, especially in the off-season.

A second pedestrian counter was also installed for all of 2019 at Martha Street and the Centennial Multi-Use Trail which is located beside the east end of the Elgin Promenade. The 2019 daily average count for 12 months at this location was 688.

Phase 4 connects Pearl Street to Martha Street – Site Constraints
The final phase that will connect Pearl Street to Martha Street, comes with a series of challenges and site constraints including land ownership, vehicular circulation of the adjacent parking lot and underground utilities.

The land for this proposed walkway is not owned the City however the City Realty Services department is in negotiation with the landowner of 425 Pearl Street to acquire the northern section of this parking lot in order to build the connecting link of the Elgin Promenade.

The proposed walkway is on top of two easements; Transnorthern (high-pressure gas pipeline) and Halton Region (sanitary and water). In advance of tendering this project, all those permits and approvals from various agencies have to be in place before a tender can be released.

The existing two-way driveway into the parking lot at 425 Pearl Street will be converted into a one-way in drive lane. A secondary driveway further south along Pearl Street will be built to accommodate egress from the existing parking lot.

concept plan BEST

All of phase 4

 

enlargement area # 1

A tighter look at the west side of phase 4.

area #2 enlarged

A closer look at the west side of phase 4

The Elgin Promenade Phase 4 – Design Program

The finished phase 4 will be a 4m wide pedestrian facility that is uninterrupted by cars (except at intersecting streets).

The illustrations for phase 4 represent approximately 60% design completion.

Two additional properties

Looking east. The two white structures are properties that will have to be acquired.

view looking west

Looking west. Phase four has space for more than just a walk – there are small areas where people can congregate.

Proposed Crossovers

There will be three pedestrian crossovers where the Promenade crosses Martha Street, Pearl Street and Elizabeth Street.

Martha Street and Pearl Street will be installed in conjunction with Phase 4 of the Promenade. Transportation Services staff are reviewing the Elizabeth Street pedestrian crossover to determine if it can be installed prior to completion of the Elgin Promenade.

In addition to the three pedestrian crossovers proposed, John Street is still under evaluation given the additional movements related to the Downtown

Parking Summary
The overall parking count from phases 1 to 3 resulted in a net zero loss of city parking stalls.

The project will result in 17 parking stalls being removed from a privately- owned parking lot at 425 Pearl Street. Currently, the owners of the lot do allow the public to use the space during evenings and weekends.

Capital funds have been committed in 2020 to complete a needs assessment with the goal of developing a plan to add parking supply to the downtown.

Project Schedule
The Elgin Promenade construction is anticipated to start in spring of 2021. Below is high-level schedule for the balance of this project.

High level time line graphicThe addition of a handsome rather splendid path for pedestrians and cyclists does present a repetition of a problem at Spencer Smith Park where cyclists tend to forget to respect the rights of those walking to safe passage.

This part of the city is rich in historically significant properties. The heritage value and appropriate protections (including possible Heritage Act designations) for the potential built heritage resources and potential cultural heritage landscapes will be addressed.

A report released last September, “Cultural Heritage Resource Assessment of the Downtown Mobility Hub”, will be reporting back to Council in 4Q; a funding source has yet to be determined.

One of the potential cultural heritage landscapes, the properties known as 431 and 435 Pearl Street, which are adjacent to the Elgin Promenade on the east side of Pearl Street.

Community Planning Department staff will report back to Council in spring 2020 concerning the scope and financial considerations for the heritage study.

Given the financial constraints brought about by the COVID crisis – could this part get put on hold ?

Part of Phase 4 includes new landscape construction on the rear portion of the city-owned property at 431 Pearl Street.

The project is going to significantly improve the way people use the downtown. It is going to require the purchase of a part of that parking lot, the purchase of the properties at 431 and 435 Pearl  – all at a time when dollars are going to be in short supply.

The success of the Elgin Promenade to date is a direct result of the number of stakeholders that have participated in the development of this multi-use pathway facility. Formal engagement with the downtown business community, members of council, advisory committees and area residents started in 2017. Since the project start, there have been two formal PIC sessions as well other related initiatives such as the Urban Parks Strategy Workshop and Downtown Streetscape Guidelines public engagement process.

dfer

Marianne Meed Ward as a citizen delegating to a council that she would lead in 2018

In Q2 of 2020 staff will host a design session, open to project stakeholders and members of Council, in order to complete the conceptual design for the area behind 431 Pearl Street.

view looking west

The view looking west

There was a phrase that Marianne Meed Ward used frequently when she was the ward 2 Councillor – ‘these are nice to have projects that we can’t afford.’ Didn’t hear that phrase once during the discussion of what was a Receive and File report from the Planning department on this project.

Return to the Front page

Emma's is now part of the city's history - closed forever.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

May 13th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Some background on the closing of Emma’s Back Porch.

Emmas lakeside

Emma’s at its best – it was the place to be.

Craig Kowalchuk, the operator of Emma’s Back Porch didn’t own the property; he rented it from Mayrose Tyco.

That company has significant property interests in Burlington. They owned that land on which the Bridgewater development is taking place.

The property to the east of Emma’s is a vacant lot, also believed to be owned by Mayrose Tyco.

The property to the west, the motel is owned by Solid Gold people in Aldershot.

The Water Street Cooker is also owned by Mayrose.

CORE tower

This is what the CORE development group is proposing; the heritage building will continue as a restaurant; traffic will flow on to Lakeshore Road the other side of this rendering. The proposal is for a 27 storey structure.

CORE

The outline represents the properties that were acquired and assembled by the CORE group

Directly across the road from Emma’s is the location of a major development proposal; some xx storeys high.

That development had some problems – there was no space for much in the way of amenities.

My guess is that the CORE group bought the property and will make it part of the development.

Nothing is going to be built on the Emma’s site.

There is a planning term: “top of bank” that determines how far back a structure has to be set back from the top of the bank.

That top of bank limitation made the development of anything very high impossible.

That part of the city, known in planning circles as the “football”, which has Lakeshore Road on the north and Old Lakeshore road on the south is about to undergo huge changes.

From Lakeshore and Martha

The Carnacelli development at the east end of the football will become the focus to the entry to the city.

The Carnacelli development on the east end of the football is before LPAT; the CORE development is before LPAT.

The property at the west end of the football is owned by a trust, one of the leading real estate agents ii the city has his fingers in that pie.

Developers saw huge opportunities in Burlington.  The city council at the time didn’t seem prepared to fight for its authenticity; of the seven just one Councillor was prepared to fight – she became Mayor in the 2018 election.

The new Offical Plan, adopted but not approved – it has to go to the Region first- has very clear guidelines – but most of these developments were filed before the Official Plan became real.

Can changes be made?  Time will tell.

Core model-3-d-0f-the-site-768x929

An architects model of what the east downtown core along Lakeshore Road could look like.

Football-1-400x232

The football – where developers have some very big plans. While no one anticipated the closing of Emma’s – it might be the cost of the developments that a lot of people don’t want. However, people are going to buy the units.

It will be interesting to see how this all rolls out.

Related news story links.

The development of the football

The background behind the CORE development.

 

Return to the Front page

That Closer Look at the Downtown will be back on Stage for its next presentation - will this be the final one?

OPreview-FINALBy Staff

May 12th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Closer Look graphic

The Closer Look was that part of the Official Plan Review that focused on the downtown – what did we want and what was possible.

Remember the Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown? The exercise that had people taking walking tours and talking one-on-one with the planners, sitting in on Standing Committee and Council meetings to hear what the consultants had to say about what could be done and what couldn’t be done in terms of setbacks and height, and shadows resulting from the different height options?

Alison Enns

Alison Enns – she mothered that Closer Look from the very beginning. She introduced a number of innovative approaches to engaging the public; a public that wasn’t as engaged as it should have been.

The group involved in working with the the public, Alison Enns and members of the team she was leading, churned out document after document. Two options were put forward, one of which didn’t seem to please anyone – the other began to look like the best of the lot but not all that good.

The problem wasn’t so much with the ideas but with the graphics and illustrations that were used to get the concept across to people – they just didn’t work all that well.

3-D-rendering-Concept-2-Mid-Brant

A graphic of one of the concepts for Brant Street looking south: it doesn’t convey all that much information.

The announcement that we were now facing a pandemic changed everything. The province shut everything down; then the Mayor declared a State of Emergency and the city administration began running the city on a day to day basis – the crisis was something during which any immediate decisions that had to be made could be made without getting tied up in the procedural process that is required at council.

The COVID-19 infection was running rampant and it took some time for the health people to get a grip on the outbreaks that were taking place.

Most of them, it turned out, were cases where people working at several different nursing homes at the same time were spreading the disease.

Early in the game the disease was brought into the country from China, Italy, other parts of Europe and the United States.

Then the health people learned that the disease was being transmitted from one person to another in the community.

May 3 fig 5

On May 3rd the Halton Region Public Health Unit said the infections came from the following sources. Travel was significantly reduced.

We had to stay home and we had to be careful about the way we conducted ourselves around other people when we were outside.

City Hall staff didn’t go to city hall anymore.  Some exceptions – several of the members of Council go to city hall because it is a quiet place where they can get some work done.

The “Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown” project was the name the planners gave to the Scoped Re-examination of the Adopted Official Plan: it has experienced delays due to COVID-19. There is now an updated project timeline.

It includes opportunities for public engagement.

End of May 2020: The City will release:
• the recommended policy changes for Downtown Burlington,
• the associated staff report,
• consultant report and
• technical studies.

Enns group

From the left: Paul Lowes with SGL Planning and Design, one of his staff, Alison Enns and one of her planning colleagues.

These documents will be posted for public review on both the Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown project webpage on Get Involved Burlington and the New Official Plan webpage.

July 2020: The City will share two more documents:
• Financial Impact Analysis concerning the recommended policy modifications, and
• Draft Downtown Burlington Placemaking and Design Guidelines for public review.

Aug. 28, 2020: Anyone with comments on these documents should submit their comments to the project team by Aug. 28 so the project team has time to consider the feedback in advance of the Sept. 30 Committee meeting.

Sept. 30, 2020: City Council will review all reports at a public meeting of the Community Planning, Regulation, and Mobility Committee on Sept. 30. This meeting will include a presentation from City staff and the project consultants, and opportunities for the public to delegate.

Oct. 7, 2020: Council will consider the Sept. 30 recommendations at a Special Council meeting on Oct. 7.

 

Return to the Front page

Kearns forgot to share the microphone and left her sense of fun and at times cutting humour at home.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

May 1st, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

She isn’t ready for the big stage – not yet

And she needs to let the microphone slide into other hands.

Lisa Kearns Election Photo

For her first Zoom solo – she did Ok.

On the positive side – Lisa Kearns deserves credit for taking a shot at using Zoom to talk to her people,

She drew 35 people – nice to see Jackie Isada again. I think Paddy Torsney should have been less blatant with the wine glass.

Kearns chose to cover the complete waterfront – her audience was well plugged in – they didn’t need be told to wash their hands.

Kearns likes the new TelePlus program the city Parks and Recreation has rolled out. Few fully understand what the city has gotten itself into. Time will reveal where the problems are.

Two parts of the presentation were disturbing – before questions were permitted Jenn Morrison from CLV development that is going to put up seven structures that range from 29 – 37 floors, got to make comments. There was no opportunity to discuss that development in more detail.

The rules appear to be a bit different for this development.

We did learn that those sites that are permitted to continue construction can work from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm used to be 7 to 7.

If a development site has risen above grade it is deemed essential and can continue building.

Bridgewater April 2020

Section on the right is residential – construction can continue – section on the left is a hotel – not essential – continued construction not permitted.

Bridgewater site that looks as if it is going to be under construction for some time. The residential parts can continue with construction – but the hotel which is on the west side cannot – hotels were not deemed essential.

Cyclists are causing a lot of people considerable grief. They are on pathways that were not meant for bikes and they “just fly by” as one commentator said.

There was a “hint” that a way might have to be found to limit the number of people who access the park – where you are expected to walk with no dilly dallying or sitting on a bench for a break.

It was a good effort – do it again – but listen more and talk less.

Return to the Front page

The John street bus terminal has lost its status - now it is just a rinky dinky little bus transfer spot.

Newsflash 100By Staff

April 27th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In her A Better Burlington newsletter, Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said:

Our community has received some great and long awaited news today from Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation: the city and Region can immediately work together to remove the Major Transit Station Area (MTSA) and Mobility Hub designations downtown.

These designations have been used to justify overdevelopment in downtown Burlington.

In a letter addressed to myself as head of Burlington City Council and Gary Carr, Chair of Halton Region Council, the Minister states:

werv

There was a point at which a former Director of Transit suggested tearing the building down. Then it became a technical point on which a developer won the right to put up a 24 story building.

“There is no provincial requirement for mobility hubs to be identified in municipal official plans, including Downtown Burlington…. Therefore, the Region of Halton, working with the City of Burlington, has the ability to remove the identification of a mobility hub and an MTSA in Downtown Burlington, centred on the John Street bus terminal, from its Official Plan.”

nautique-elevation-from-city-july-2016

The developers of the Naurique will always have a soft spot for that little transit station.

The letter further states that the change can be made through an Official Plan Amendment now, or during the next Municipal Comprehensive Review, scheduled at the Region for later this year.

“This means that the Region can submit an amendment to remove the Downtown Burlington mobility hub and MTSA designations in the Region of Halton’s Official Plan now.”

The mobility hub designation for downtown Burlington and the Burlington GO station first appeared in Metrolinx documents in 2008, and was later embedded into the Region of Halton Official Plan in 2011, based on the 2008 Regional Transportation Plan.

The 2041 Regional Transportation Plan, issued in 2018, refined the concept of mobility hubs to focus on MTSAs along subway lines and priority transit corridors.

As a result of changes to the policy framework for planning in the Greater Golden Horseshoe introduced by the current government “we do not require mobility hubs to be identified in municipal official plans.”

The ministers have also directed Metrolinx “to remove legacy documents that refer to the 2008 mobility hubs.”

Both ministers also specifically thanked our Burlington Member of Provincial Parliament Jane McKenna for her “tireless advocacy” on behalf of residents to remove the MTSA/Mobility Hub.

“As a result of extensive advocacy from MPP Jane McKenna since July 2018 we agree that the John Street bus terminal does not constitute a mobility hub given that it is not at the intersection of multiple Frequent Rapid Transit Network routes.”

City and Region planning staff are reviewing the letter and will have more information for the community on next steps and timing in coming days.

With news like that in the air it didn’t take MPP Jane McKenna long to get a place in that parade. In a media release from the Office of the MPP, the first the Gazette has received in over a year, McKenna said: ““I’m happy to report today that there is no longer a provincial requirement for the mobility hub or Major Transit Station Area designation in Downtown Burlington,” said MPP Jane McKenna.

McKenna arms up outside polling

Jane McKenna the night she was elected the first time

“This means that Halton Region, working with the City of Burlington, can submit an amendment to the province now to remove Burlington’s downtown mobility hub and MTSA designation from the Region’s Official Plan.”

“The Ford government has taken the position that municipalities may choose to take a phased approach to their municipal comprehensive review through multiple municipal official plan amendments under section 26,” said Minister Steve Clark. “As a result, removing the MTSA designation from Downtown Burlington could occur through a municipal official plan amendment under section 17 of the Planning Act.”

Return to the Front page

Councillor Sharman weighs in on the 2100 Brant development - says the city will take a $28,000 hit on the legal costs.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

April 27th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman weighs in on what happened to that development on Brant Street.

On August 31, 2017, the Planning and Building Department acknowledged that a complete application had been received for an Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendment for 2100 Brant Street to facilitate the development of 233 townhouse units.

Aerial-of-2100 brant site

The ward Councillors; first Rick Craven and now Kelvin Galbraith were not opposed to the development.

The original applications proposed the development of 233 townhouse dwelling units comprised of street townhouses located along Brant Street and a proposed public street and standard condominium townhouse units. The original net density of the development was 43.55 units per hectare and gross density was 21.07 units per hectare. The applications were requesting site specific exceptions to allow for the development.

Further to technical comments received from staff, other agencies and public feedback received through the processing of the applications, the applicant made changes to the proposed development and submitted revised studies, reports and a reconfigured draft plan of subdivision.

The applicants appealed the subject applications to the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal after the required time period established by the Planning Act expired. Notwithstanding the appeals, the City continued to work with the applicant in an effort to resolve what the City and its residents were concerned about. The result of these negotiations with the applicants, was Minutes of Settlement. This agreement was reached in November 2018 and supported a 212-unit townhouse development. This settlement agreement was based on the assessment from staff that the application satisfied all regulatory and planning requirements and was therefore defensible at LPAT.

Sharman hand to head

Paul Sharman listening to a delegation

Despite the advice of staff, on December 17, 2018, the newly elected City Council, in a vote that was not unanimous, repudiated (i.e. cancelled) the settlement agreement. That decision not only pushed the City and the applicants towards an LPAT hearing but is also expected to lead to an awarding of costs to National Homes in an amount of approximately of $28,000 when the final settlements and awards are confirmed.

Notwithstanding the grim reality facing Council, City staff continued to work with the applicant in an effort to further refine the proposal to address concerns raised by members of Council and the neighbourhood surrounding the property.

At its meeting of April, 20, 2020 Burlington City Council approved the planning staff recommendation of Confidential Legal Report L-10-20 to accept a new offer of settlement between National Homes (Brant) Inc. (“National Homes”) and the City.

This settlement agreement presented to us was essentially based on the assessment from staff indicating that proposed amendments to the development proposal satisfied all regulatory and planning requirements and was therefore defensible at LPAT. The settlement proposed is almost identical to the rationale provided to the previous Council.

Sharman pointing LVP

Paul Sharman fighting for his political life in the fall of 2018

Sharman says he is “the only returning member of Council in 2018 who voted to support of the original settlement agreement with National Homes. That decision was based on two considerations.

The first being that the applicant had worked with community members and staff to achieve several modifications. Original 2018 approved settlement included:

• reduction of 21 units
• addition of 0.76 parkland
• addition of 7 townhomes suitable for families and seniors

The second consideration being the assessment of staff that the application satisfied all regulatory and planning requirements and was therefore defensible at LPAT.

“On April 20th, 2020, I again voted in support of what was essentially the same application that I supported in 2018, for the same reasons although, as I have noted, there were some further, minor, modifications.

“Ironically, it is possible that increased setbacks included in the 2020 settlement will actually increase the net density of the development. In other words, the development will be more compact.

“It is unfortunate that taxpayers will likely foot a $28,000 legal fee that will be awarded against the City resulting from the new 2018 Council decision to scrap the first settlement agreement.”

Is that a shot over somebody’s bow?

Related articles:

John Calvert’s J’Accuse

The Mayor’s rationale

Return to the Front page

Mayor and ward 1 Councillor respond to the decision council made in a CLOSED session on the 2100 Brant development

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

April 22nd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In a Statement published in the Mayor’s Newsletter – A Better Burlington – Mayor Meed Ward wrote:

City Council, at a Closed session accepted a proposed revised plan for a townhouse and semi-detached development at 2100 Brant Street. The proposal will be decided by the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) at a hearing scheduled in July.

National Homes

It is a piece of land that was farmed for centuries. It was pristine – and good have been a model community. The plans do not include anything near the traditional back yard.

The original proposal was for 12 townhouse blocks with a total of 83 units and three condominium townhouse blocks with 150 units, for a total development of 233 units. There was no parkland. Also included in the applications are a woodlot block as well as a natural heritage system block. The proposed development site has a total area of 11.1 hectares (27.2 acres). The developable area is 5.04 hectares.
The land is currently vacant and has been historically used for agricultural purposes.

The former City Council had approved a revised proposal in November 2018, before the new council was sworn in but after the election when 5 of 7 members of the previous council were not returning due to defeat or retirement.

Current City Council rescinded that plan in December 2018 in an effort to give residents, staff and the applicant additional time to improve the plan and come to a consensus on a revised development.

A group of citizens, primarily representing residents in the neighbourhood north of the development, formed Vision 2100 Brant Neighbours Association, an incorporated group that received Party status at the LPAT hearing to present evidence on behalf of residents.

Representatives of the townhouse condominium board immediately to the south of the project had earlier issued a letter of support for the November revised proposal, considering their issues (primarily around setbacks and drainage) to be settled.

City Council and Vision 2100 received a revised proposal in March 2020. This proposal was provided directly to the Vision 2100 citizen’s group at a meeting March 10 with the applicant and Ward Councillor. The proposal was further discussed April 2 via teleconference with Vision 2100 representatives and the Ward Councillor and Mayor, to seek citizen input on the proposal.

To date, Vision 2100 has not provided any suggested changes or feedback on the proposal, but did raise additional questions around parking, snow storage, traffic, and storm water management. These were answered by the applicant by email to the residents (see background below), and addressed in the revised proposal to the city’s satisfaction.

The new proposal improves on the original application as well as the November 2018 proposal with the following changes:

Reducing the unit count from 212 to 210 (down from 233 in the original proposal)

In the Northwest area of the development on both sides of the Almonte Drive extension, replacing six 2-storey townhouse units with 4 semi-detached 1.5 storey bungalofts

Increasing setbacks from the homes to the north, from 9 metres to 10 metres; in some areas the setback is 11 metres

Increasing the senior-friendly units with ground floor bedrooms to aid accessibility, from 7 to 16 units

Provision of a 0.3 hectare (0.76 acre) centrally located Public Park.

City council voted to accept the revised proposal at the council meeting of April 20, 2020.

The details of that March plan, and the planning justification for supporting it provided by city staff, are included in the planning staff analysis here: 2100 Brant Planning Analysis

National Homes image

The orange is where the proposed 233 units were to go – that has been reduced to 210

Unlike the vast majority of municipalities, Burlington releases the planning analysis for matters which the municipality is supporting approval of by the LPAT, in advance of the hearing. This policy change was implemented by the new City Council to ensure maximum transparency with residents about the basis of our decision-making.

The final decision on the revised proposal will be made by the LPAT. The city and applicant will appear in support of the proposal.

Vision 2100 is a registered Party to the hearing which gives them the right at the hearing to call evidence (witnesses, studies or both) to refute or support the proposal, cross examine city or applicant witnesses, or suggest further modifications to the proposal. The City of Burlington, the applicant (National Homes) and the Region of Halton are the other registered Parties to the hearing. There are two registered Participants to the hearing who can provide feedback at the hearing as well.

Details on the original application submitted in 2017, revisions to the proposal, and details of the LPAT hearing are available on the project page for the development here created when the application was received: Current Development Applications, Ward 1, 2100 Brant St

Below is additional background, answers to some questions and a statement from the Mayor and Ward councillor.

Statement from Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith on 2100 Brant:

MMW silence

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

Resident input over several years, including the work of Vision 2100, has improved this application for the better, and we thank them for that.

Though the most recent proposal may not be exactly what residents or Councillors were hoping for, it does include more green space than the original proposal, including a new park, fewer units, less height and density, more variety and senior-friendly options, increased setbacks and better transition to the neighbourhoods to the north and south. The recent questions raised by residents around parking, traffic, snow storage and storm water management have been addressed.

Kelven as a DJ

Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith – working part time as a DJ?

In accepting the revised proposal, council considered a number of factors, including public input, the improvements made that addressed some of the concerns raised, the planning justification provided by staff, and advice from legal counsel.

Our decision also factored in some practical realities, including the inability to secure a planning witness that was of the opinion that the November 2018 proposal did not overall represent good planning, the likelihood that a hearing would not produce a different result, and the possibility that city taxpayers could be required to pay the entire costs of the applicant at a lengthy hearing. In addition, city staff who supported the November proposal would likely have been required to testify on behalf of the applicant, at city taxpayers expense.

We also considered that notwithstanding council accepting a revised proposal, there remain options for continued public input, especially for Vision 2100, which can provide feedback or modifications on the revised proposal, and/or proceed as a party to the hearing and call evidence and witnesses.

We believe we achieved the best outcome possible for residents in this case, and your input directly made that happen.

Background and Answers to Questions:

How has public input been gathered on this application?

This application has been under review since 2017, with multiple points of public input along the way. A citizen’s group, Vision 2100, was formed to represent the concerns of residents primarily north of the development site. A citizen’s group was formed to the south to represent the interests of the townhouse development to the south. They submitted a letter of support for the November 2018 revised proposal.

The applicant met with the public over 12 times in that period, in either organized public meetings or smaller resident meetings.

There was a neighbourhood meeting Oct. 12, 2017, a statutory public meeting April 3, 2018 where residents presented detailed feedback and suggested modifications to council. Some council members at the time remarked that they were the best and most comprehensive presentations they had heard. There was a further open house to discuss revised plans July 17, 2018.

Throughout 2019 there have been numerous additional consultations with the applicant, city staff and Vision 2100, individually or as a group, to address the remaining concerns of the community. They included general over development of the site with related issues, and the interface of the development to the single family neighbourhood to the north, at Almonte Drive/Belgrave Court/Havendale Blvd.

In February 2020 the applicant advised it was prepared to make changes to the plan to address the resident concerns. In March they submitted a revised proposal to Vision 2100, and city staff. City Council received the proposal in early April.

How is public input reflected in the final proposal?

Since the original application, there have been at least 11 major revisions as a result of public, staff and council input, including a reduction in units, increased parkland, increased setbacks from the neighbourhoods to the north and south, reduced height of some units and conversion from townhouses to semi-detached, and provision of accessible, senior friendly semi-detached bungalofts. There have been three different proposals including the most recent one.

The proposal was provided directly to the Vision 2100 citizen’s group at a meeting March 10 with the applicant and Ward Councillor. The proposal was further discussed April 2 via teleconference with Vision 2100 representatives and the Ward Councillor and Mayor, to seek citizen input on the proposal.

To date, they have not provided feedback on the most recent proposal, but they did raise several outstanding questions via email related to traffic, parking, snow storage and storm water management. These questions were raised with the applicant by the Mayor and Ward Councillor on residents behalf, with the response as follows:

Traffic on Havendale, Fairchild and Brant St. Was a traffic study produced and taken into account? ANSWER: A traffic study was provided to Vision 2100 previously with the analysis describing the difference of a single family development and a townhouse development completed by a professional traffic engineer, outlining that a single family home development would generate more traffic. City staff reviewed and supported the findings of the study.

Parking, no street parking on private roads and limited visitors parking. Where do visitors park? ANSWER: Visitor parking is provided in the development on both public roads interior to the site and private roads as detailed in the attached site plan (also provided to Vision 2100).

The Zoning By-law requires 54 visitor parking spaces, whereas 59 are proposed. In addition 25 on-street parking spaces could be accommodated along the Almonte Drive extension.

Snow removal. There is no room to pile snow. Does the City have a plan to resolve that problem? ANSWER: The site plan attached to the revised proposal identifies areas where snow storage will be designated, in the bottom left and top right areas of the development.

Storm Water management. This has been a serious issue for the residents, based on actual flooding experiences where the empty lot at 2100 Brant served as a sink which helped to mitigate the flooding. Now there will be no sink because the area will be developed. The proposal is for an underground collection system with tanks which can be drained into the existing stormwater sewer at Brant Street. The question is, will there be enough capacity to accommodate two major rain storms in a row and will the system work properly? ANSWER: The design was prepared by a professional engineer based on their experience and history of developing many projects within the GTA with a similar design. Burlington City engineering staff had their professional engineers along with the Region of Halton’s professional engineers review the design of the system and both have been satisfied.

Why was this appealed to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal?

Developers and residents have equal legal right in Ontario to appeal any decision of city council on a development matter to the LPAT, to seek a different decision.

Further, an applicant can appeal to the LPAT if the municipality exceeds the provincially mandated timelines to make a decision, which at the time of this application were 180 days.

The applicant, residents and staff agreed to continue to work together on the project beyond the 180 day time frame to try to come to a better outcome, thus setting aside the deadline. This application is now in its third year of review.

However, this changed when the previous provincial government announced it was making changes to the LPAT (then called the Ontario Municipal Board) to restrict what could be appealed and giving more priority to local council decisions. The current provincial government rolled back those changes so the LPAT functions essentially the same as the OMB did.

However in that transition period thousands of applications across the province, were preemptively made to preserve rights to a hearing under the old OMB rules, including this one which appealed using the tool of “non decision” within the deadline, because council had not made a decision within the 180 day time frame.

What happens now?

This application and the proposed revised plan will be heard by the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) at a 12-day hearing scheduled to begin July 27. At that hearing, the applicant and city staff, based on City Council’s instructions, will jointly be requesting that the LPAT approve the revised application.

Due to COVID19, the province has cancelled all hearings till the end of June, but that does not apply to 2100 Brant Street as it is beyond that window of time. As such, all parties to the hearing, including Vision 2100, are required to produce evidence and experts to refute the application and revised proposal if they wish to challenge it.

To date, neither the city, nor Vision 2100, were able to find a planner to refute the proposal. This would leave the city without a witness at the hearing, compromising any ability to reach a different outcome at a hearing than the proposed application. In addition, city staff would most likely be called by the applicant to support the proposal, as they initially recommended approval of the November 2018 proposal. This factored into council’s decision to accept the third revised proposal as the best outcome possible, and an improvement on both the original and November proposals.

Entering a hearing without a witness could have also led to an award of costs against the city for the applicant’s expenses of the entire 12-day hearing, saddling taxpayers with a significant bill with no improvement in the outcome of the development. This also factored into council’s decision.

What are the opportunities for further public input on this application?

The next steps and opportunities for further public input at the hearing are detailed below, and were outlined via email to Vision 2100 from the Mayor and Ward Councillor April 10.

Vision 2100 has party status at the hearing. They can present evidence at the hearing regardless of whether any other party enters into a settlement. As such, they retain the opportunity (and obligation as a party) to call evidence against the revised proposal if they are opposed.

An issues list identified for the hearing outlines the issues raised by the various parties. The list is available on the project page on the city’s website. Issues list, attachment 3

There are four parties to the hearing: National Homes, City of Burlington, Vision 2100 and Region of Halton. On the issues list there are 16 issues cited by the city and Vision 2100 (Items 1-12, 14-17); 4 issues cited solely by Region of Halton (Items 13, 18, 19, 21), one issue cited by Region of Halton and Vision 2100 (Item 20), and 2 issues cited only by Vision 2100 (Items 22, 23).

We understand that Vision 2100 has wanted to see the city’s response to various issues and concerns to use in their own efforts at a hearing. Given that city staff previously approved the initial, and the modified (Nov 2018) application, and recommended approval of the March 2020 proposal, any concerns can assume to have been resolved to the city’s satisfaction.

The bulk of the issues raised by the city relate to planning justification matters. These were resolved to the city’s satisfaction, as outlined in the planning justification analysis

Any party can withdraw its issues or settle. Where issues are jointly raised, if one party withdraws from an issue, the remaining party to that issue can still raise it as an issue at a hearing.

Thus, regardless of the actions of the other parties, Vision 2100 retains the option in a hearing to call its own evidence on any of the issues they are listed under, as noted above.

According to the LPAT procedural order, where there are multiple parties listed beside a single issue, those parties have the option to call one single witness together to deal with that issue. This has led to some confusion that the city would call evidence and pay for it on behalf of Vision 2100. That is not the case, as each party remains separate. The City has been clear with Vision 2100 throughout the appeal process that each party, although having the same issues, was separate and should prepare to call its case separately in the event that one of the parties reached a settlement of the appeal.

If the city chose to call evidence on a particular issue, Vision 2100 could rely on that evidence themselves, rather than hire a second individual. If the city did not choose to call evidence, Vision 2100 would then be required to do so themselves. Each party retains independence, with the option to collaborate.

If one of the parties withdraws an item as an issue, or deems it settled and taken care of, the responsibility would be with the remaining party to call its own witness at the hearing, if that party believed that issue has not been resolved, based on their own expert review.

The format of the hearing is that each party must call its own witnesses to support their position of whether or not the application as presented should be approved; each party has the ability to cross-examine the witnesses provided by any other party. The documents in support of the application have been publicly available online since 2017, and residents can review this in advance of a hearing to plan their response. The planning analysis from the city is now also available to residents to plan their response.

A party to the hearing can produce their own evidence to refute the application, and would have opportunity at a hearing to ask questions of others. Regardless of whether there is a settlement, Vision 2100 has this opportunity to ask questions at a hearing, but also an obligation to produce its own evidence for any issues that Vision 2100 has identified on the Issues List.

Summary of options for continued public input:

1. Vision 2100 can undertake to hire their own experts to respond to the material that has been provided by the applicant and is publicly available online. This review may satisfy the concerns raised, or lead to suggested modifications which could in turn be requested of the applicant. Understandably, this is a significant financial undertaking, and may not be feasible.

2. As a resident’s group and as a party to the hearing, Vision 2100 has a unique opportunity to provide a direct public voice on the revised proposal, which they have not done yet. Vision 2100 has an opportunity to review the revised proposal, determine if it satisfies the concerns raised and if not suggest modifications.

3. If the proposed modifications are not accepted, Vision 2100 also has the option to proceed to a hearing, with the obligation to hire experts to refute the applicant’s material (which is publicly available online) and present new evidence in support of any additional proposed changes.

Did the city follow proper planning process on this application?

In dealing with this application, the city has followed the provincial planning process, which is not unique to Burlington but is required across Ontario. The process allows any party independently to determine whether or not its issues have been resolved.

The process allows any party to determine that its issues have not been resolved and proceed to a hearing, but in that case would need to present its own evidence to refute the application.

What is City Council’s role?

City council has an obligation to review and consider any revised proposal. In reviewing the proposal, we consider input from our planning and legal team, the applicant, as well as resident’s groups or individuals. The public is represented in this process in a variety of ways, including through your elected representatives and our voices carrying your input/questions forward, as well as any direct input you have provided to the city, applicant and elected representatives.

Your elected representatives also undertake to ensure that outstanding questions/issues have been addressed in making any decisions.

All means of public input described above have occurred throughout the processing of this application.

2100 Site plan

Think traffic flow onto Brant – and pity those that want to make a left hand turn on Brant in the morning rush hour.

Return to the Front page

City council decides to climb into bed with the developer - they make that decision at a closes session of Council - 'plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

News 100 blueBy Staff

April 22nd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

Proposed Development
A proposal has been submitted for the development of 12 townhouse blocks with a total of 83 units and three condominium townhouse blocks with 150 units. Also included in the application are a woodlot block as well as a natural heritage system (buffer) block. The proposed development has a total area of 11.1 hectares (27.2 acres). These lands are currently vacant and have been historically used for agricultural purposes.

 

LPAT Appeal Update – April 22, 2020

Is this progress?

At its meeting of April, 20, 2020 Burlington City Council approved the recommendation of Confidential Legal Report L-10-20 to accept an offer to settle the issues in dispute between National Homes (Brant) Inc. (“National Homes”) and the City with respect to National Homes’ appeal currently before the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (“LPAT”).

As part of this approval, Council approved the recommendation that the planning analysis attached as Appendix ‘B’ to L-10-20 be released publicly and posted on the City’s webpage under Planning and Development Applications for Ward 1, while retaining solicitor/client privilege over the balance of this matter in its entirety.

The settlement between the City and National Homes resolves the issues in dispute between the City and National Homes on the basis that National and the City will seek LPAT approval of a revised development proposal for the subject lands.

The revised development proposes 210 dwelling units in townhouse, street townhouse, and semi-detached dwelling forms abutting public and private roadways, surrounding a 0.31 hectare centrally located Park block.

In particular, the revised development plan makes changes to where the proposed development inferfaces with the existing residential neighbourhood to the north, reducing the unit count in the area and replacing proposed 2-storey townhouses with 1.5-storey semi-detached bungaloft units. The revised development plan also increases the minimum building setback for the proposed semi-detached units backing on to existing lots on Havendale Boulevard from 9 metres to a minimum of 10 metres.

A copy of the planning analysis is available on the development application webpage, along with a copy of the conceptual site plan and proposed plan of subdivision for the revised development.

How does this impact the hearing scheduled to commence on July 27, 2020?

While the City and National Homes have settled the City’s issues in the appeal, there are two other parties to the hearing- the Region of Halton and neighbourhood association Vision 2100 Brant. As a result, the appeal hearing will proceed on July 27, 2020 with the City and National Homes attending to seek LPAT’s approval of the revised development plan and to respond to the evidence called by one or both of the other parties in opposition to the revised development.

Should the remaining parties both individually reach a settlement with National Homes in the appeal, the parties could seek to have a settlement hearing scheduled in advance of July 27, 2020 in order to present the settled plan to LPAT for approval. If that were to occur, the hearing scheduled to commence on July 27, 2020 would not be held.

The City’s development application webpage for 2100 Brant Street will be further updated to advise of any additional settlements between the other parties and National Homes or the rescheduling of LPAT hearing dates.

If the LPAT hearing proceeds, the good people in the Havendale community are going to find themselves city at a table with the city on the other side opposing what they want.

The Vision 2100 document and the delegations that were part of the protest against the development was one of the very best the Gazette has seen in the past ten years.  A new city council was elected to oppose this kind of over-intensification.

It would be nice to know just how each Councillor voted on this matter in that Closed Session of Council.

Return to the Front page

City Planning was in Crisis before the Crisis Struck

opinionred 100x100By Jim Young

April 16, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

I have lived on Silwell Court, which backs on to the controversial 2100 Brant Street Development, for 28 years. I know the neighbourhood and the people involved, they were my neighbours. I also know John Calvert; a quiet, capable former Mississauga city planner. He and I share notes on planning issues and I am always the wiser for his thoughts.

Like John, I worked for change at the last municipal election, hopeful that those changes would bring greater local resident input on city plans. Also, like John, while happy with much of our new council’s work on Transit, Climate Change and the recent Covid-19 crisis response, I am equally disappointed in their approach to land planning issues. His Op-ed piece on 2100 Brant Street and the Gazette picture juxtaposing the proposed 233 units with the 236 surrounding homes says all that needs to be said about over-intensification, poor planning and design.

National-Homes-766- 233

The blue area denotes the Havendale community with 236 homes. The orange area is the proposed National Homes development where 233 homes would be built.

But greater than any objection to that development is my fear that the process to approve it indicates how future planning applications will be handled and resolved by the city. A process that not only limits the public input electors demanded in the 2018 council rout, but leaves us wondering whether it is an unfortunate confluence of conflicting provincial / municipal planning ideologies or intentional city planning policy; forsaking local input for expediency.

First it is only fair to point out that, even with the best of intentions, municipal planners are severely limited by The Ontario Planning Act. Developer amendments to zoning bylaws and official plans, are assessed, not necessarily on the local impact or wishes but more on how they comply with provincial planning legislation and guidelines. Also, the time for city planners to assess those amendments is severely limited by the Planning Act. Even the much debated Official Plan, still in the works after so many years, must comply with The Act and subsequent provincial guidelines on density, transit and mobility.

The land use planning, amendment and appeals process was already complex and changes by two successive provincial governments and an ongoing Official Plan review by the city have made the whole process so complex as to be un-navigable by planners and unintelligible to us mere citizens.

The old process was: The city’s Official Plan regulates what may be built. Developers who wanted to deviate from that submitted amendment applications to the city are approved or disapproved. Prior to submitting the application, developers held a statutory public meeting to inform residents of the proposed changes. Cities had 120 days to respond to applications. Developers could appeal unfavourable planning decisions to the OMB (Ontario Municipal Board). Failure by the city to respond in time was also grounds for an appeal by the developer.

The first change, in early 2018, saw the OMB replaced by LPAT (Local Planning Appeals Tribunal), a supposedly more municipal and resident friendly body. It allowed 180 to 210 days for cities to respond to amendment applications and made it, theoretically, easier for local residents to contest developer proposals. Before any of this could be tested, the Provincial election that year changed the government.

Ground break - Oct Suz Hammel, +

Burlington MPP Jane McKenna at the ground breaking of The Gallery, the 23 storey tower going up opposite city hall. The provincial government delivered regulatory changes that kept developers smiling.

With that change, a more development friendly government cut amendment application response times to 90 or 110 days and changed much of the amending criteria in favour of development. In a city which still had no official plan in place and a large number of pending applications, this was an impossibly tight deadline to meet. Throwing further confusion into this was the Review of the Official Plan, demanded by the electorate and concentrating on the downtown.

In a bid to allow planners time to develop the new official plan free from ongoing amendment applications the city froze the planning process using an Interim Control Bylaw. (ICBL)

We can argue whether this was undertaken properly, if the (ICBL) was successful? If the Downtown Transit Hub should have been addressed first? If the revised downtown plan is any better? But those are arguments for another column.

The outcome has been that on top of all the in-process amendments, frozen by the ICBL, developers lodged a further thirty one appeals to LPAT opposing the new plan and the ICBL. Add to this a city and a province beset by a Covid 19 lockdown and the whole process has simply seized up. Applications are frozen again, LPAT appeals are suspended and there seems to be confusion about whether the application deadline clock is still ticking or not. An email from Heather MacDonald, Executive Director, Community Planning Regulation and Mobility suggests to me the clock is frozen too, an article in the Gazette, April 14 suggests the issue is being debated at the province but there is no decision as yet.

The debate now becomes: Is the city a victim of powerful and shifting provincial planning whims? Or is the city happy to hide behind a land planning regime it cannot win against and capitulates to quietly while still disingenuously proclaiming its defence of resident interests?

I am beginning to believe the latter. Reading John Calvert’s plea to our mayor, one might reasonably conclude that the city’s new approach to planning amendments is: Receive the application. Sit on it until the response time runs out. Let the developer appeal to LPAT, then negotiate a settlement agreement with the developer with almost no input from local residents.

I worry that, with the city’s planning in an unresolvable mess and aware that municipalities are virtually powerless anyway, our elected council has found a way to live with a pro developer provincial planning regime while shrugging off responsibility for the outcomes.

I further worry that in a “Covid Shutdown” political environment, what little resident or municipal input exists in the planning process will be further eroded by meetings in camera, with no traditional citizen delegation.

Related news articles:

Calvert letter to the Mayor on trust

The pain Calvert carries

Marianne Meed Ward on trust.

Jim Young 2Jim Young is an Aldershot resident who delegates at city council on transit and local development.  He is consistent in his mission to ensure local government is transparent and accountable to the people who elected them.

Return to the Front page

Government considering 'making it possible to suspend certain municipal planning decision timelines during the state of emergency'

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

April 14th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Queens PArk bannerA breath of fresh air ?  Included in the debate in the Legislature today was a decision “making it possible to suspend certain municipal planning decision timelines during the state of emergency, and change the Development Charges Act to ensure municipalities can continue to count on a vital source of revenue that helps pay for local growth-related infrastructure, such as roads, water and sewers as well as fire and police services.”

The announcement was made in the Legislature – we now have to wait for the specifics that will be released by the Minister of Municipalities and Housing.

Many will wait to see what reference is made, if any, on the processes and procedures that apply to Local Planing Act Tribunal.

Return to the Front page

I heard a very distraught man who was deeply hurt

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

April 14th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

I didn’t know John Calvert. I knew of him. He was Director of Planning in Mississauga at a time when Hazel McCallion was Mayor – and he survived – Hazel was one tough cookie.

I was sent a copy of the letter Calvert wrote to Mayor Marianne Meed Ward expressing his profound disappointment on how the National Homes development on Brant was proceeding.

John Calvert has lived in Burlington for more than 30 years.  Watching the shape, look, and feel of the city disintegrate has bothered him for some time.

John Calvert with model

John Calvert: Deeply hurt and disappointed

I had to ask a friend for contact information and see if Calvert would take a call from me.

He said he would and we had a ten minute talk.

I heard a very distraught man who was deeply hurt talk about the Due Process that he did not feel had taken place and the need for public input on planning decisions.

He agreed with me that people were excited when Marianne was elected Mayor – many believed that the development proposals on the table were going to ruin the city.

Calvert said he “likes Marianne” he just didn’t seem to like what she was doing.

“It took me some time to write the letter” said Calvert. “I showed it to my neighbour Ed Doer who was heavily involved in the opposition to the National Homes development; he said I had written what needed to be said.”

When Mayor Meed Ward went to France to take part in the 75th WWII anniversary she went with Calvert’s wife who was one of the Burlington residents who made the Juno Beach reception centre possible. Calvert told me that the two women travelled together and got along very well.

Calvert said he was asked to speak at one of Meed Ward’s campaign funding events. “I did so willingly” said Calvert
Calvert knows the ins and out of the planning profession. He told me that the communities we build today will determine the kind of society we will have a couple of decades later.

He talked about the lack of amenities in a community that was to have 233 homes – which may have been chiselled down to 215.

“The traffic problems will be horrendous.”

Calvert hopes that this Council decides to take a sober second look at what is being proposed.

The issue for Calvert is trust and quality in developments. By quality he doesn’t mean quartz counter tops and shiny high end stoves. He means space for people to live, back yards where there is room for one of those large Italian families and parks where children can play and enough room for a child to learn to ride a bicycle.

Calvert said he was excited when Meed Ward came along – mistakes that had been made were going to be corrected. Now it doesn’t look that way.

“Someone has to stop this” he said

Related news item:

The Calvert letter

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

Return to the Front page

Mayor loses a major fan: Planner 'profoundly disappointed and personally offended' over expected LPAT settlement on the 2100 Brant development.

opinionred 100x100By Pepper Parr

April 14th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

She broke his heart – he truly believed that after working his buns off to get her elected that she would not sell him out – the Mayor has lost a fan.

John Calvert with model

John Calvert

John Calvert, former Chief Planner for the City of Mississauga when Hazel McCallion was Mayor wrote Marianne Meed Ward saying:

Madam Mayor

Trust, Honesty and Commitment are the qualities I value most in family, friends and colleagues.

It appears that Council is considering a settlement agreement with National Homes on their application for a townhouse development at 2100 Brant Street.

Nationa; homes - Brant Master landscape

A planned 233 homes for the property on Brant Street

It pains me to write this letter after all you did on the file, as a Councillor and Mayor, and the extensive work by Vision 2100 Brant, in addition to the commitment I made to your campaign. I am so profoundly disappointed and personally offended in this process and possible outcome.

Aerial-of-2100 brant site

It has been a farm field for decades – owned by the Catholic Church. Then a developer saw an opportunity.

This file is a critical example of where you could demonstrate keeping your campaign promises which all residents expected.

I regret having believed that you would actually fulfill your two main campaign promises – to oppose over-development and improve public engagement. The proposal for 2100 Brant is probably the worst case of over-development the City will experience (except the mess being made of our downtown) and yet you appear to support it.

 The current planning process in Burlington, which is not practiced by other municipalities, consists of ….file an application…no decision….appeal to LPAT…settlement hearing. This not only denies Due Process but takes away residents’ rights.No public input into the settlement.  It is not what we were told after this Council rescinded the 2018 settlement.  We were told no more settlement hearings. Tell that to the residents along Townsend Ave after settlement hearings at 92 and 484 Plains Road. You supported these two settlement hearings.Why are the majority of development applications decided by LPAT and not Council?

You agreed that staff were compromised on the 2100 Brant file and the City would retain an outside planner to review the file, and if required, would be the expert witness at the LPAT hearing. The planner would be retained by the City and for the City. The planner was not for Vision 2100 Brant. It was your decision and now, at the last minute, there is a change of mind.

 At the second LPAT Pre-hearing (April 3. 2019), Legal staff told the LPAT Chair that the City would have two Expert Witnesses, a land use planner and a traffic engineer. The Chair gave us permission to “umbrella” or use the City’s witnesses, and made no mention that each Party needs to provide their own independent witnesses.  Check the minutes of the Pre-hearing. Once again, the residents are disappointed.

National Homes image

The intensification is obscene. The blue area denotes the Havendale community with 236 homes. The orange area is the proposed National Homes development where 233 homes would be built.

Have you challenged staff on why 2100 Brant is not compliant with the Official Plan policies on Compatibility based on the Intensification Strategy? Why have an Official Plan if the residents cannot count on Council to address the policies in their decisions? In addition, how can you support the need for 26 variances to the zoning development standards to allow National Homes to overdevelop the site?

Do you really think this is Good Planning? What impact will it have on the rest of the City? If you support it here, what does that say to all residents? This will be a precedent established by this Council. This is exactly what residents expected you, and the new Council, to oppose on our behalf.

I feel you did not keep your promise for the Downtown. How could you not remove the MTSA designation for the John Street bus stop and why hasn’t the City filed a motion with the Province to review the location for the Urban Growth Centre following MPP McKenna’s letter? The numerous delegations were counting on you to protect the Downtown by avoiding developers using these elements to ask for increased height and density as in the Adi application. Again I feel let down and unfortunately I am not alone.

I commend your leadership and time commitment in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, but feel compelled at this time to make my feelings known prior to the next Council meeting where the apparent settlement agreement might be dealt with. All of us are counting on you, and our elected councillors, to support us and the City at large will expect the same when this is all brought to light.

Related news stories.

Meed Ward’s view on September 2018

New council gets the development – what do they do?

Council gets another chance to debate the development

Return to the Front page

City announces new time lines on Planning and LPAT matters: public gets some breathing room.

News 100 redBy Staff

March 27th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The City has had to make changes to various timelines and processes related to Planning and Building and By-law matters.

“To that end, the Statutory public meeting scheduled for April 6 on the official downtown policies has been pushed to fall to better enable the public and all stakeholders an opportunity to provide full feedback to staff and Council as decision makers, in a public and accountable forum.

“The City is currently processing development applications and building permit applications received by March 13.

The Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) has suspended all LPAT hearings until the end of June. As a result of COVID-19, processes for building inspections have been modified accordingly to keep both staff and the public safe.

Staff and consultants Rosa +

Detailed policies on the Downtown are being developed by the consultants and staff – preparing them for public review

Official Plan Update
Over the past few months, the Official Plan project team with help from planning firm, SGL Planning and Design, have been working on developing detailed policies.

“The endorsed land use vision and built form concept for the Downtown was largely endorsed by Council this past January. The detailed policies were going to be available for public review during the week of March 23 and presented to Council in April 2020 as recommended modifications to the policies of the Adopted Official Plan.

“However, these timelines have been delayed to protect the public and City staff and to help minimize the spread of COVID-19 virus, the City has closed facilities, including City Hall. These closures and workplace changes have had an impact on the project timeline. As a result, the public release of the detailed policies and associated reports will be delayed.

“The detailed policies will now be released at the end of April and the Statutory Public Meeting will be scheduled for the fall.

The City recognizes the work of the Scoped Re-examination of the Adopted Official Plan is vitally important to continue to move forward.

The City remains committed to ensuring the public has the full ability to comment on the detailed policies and for this reason, the associated timelines have been changed.

Planning Applications

Millcroft logo• Development applications received by March 13, 2020 are currently being processed.
• Inquires continue to be handled by Planning staff via phone and email.
• Staff are exploring how new applications might be accepted and processed.
• No Pre-application public meetings will be held at this time, including Millcroft Green, and will be re-scheduled at a later date.

The Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) has suspended all LPAT hearings scheduled to take place between March 16 until the end of June.

The cancelled hearings will be rescheduled at a later date. Currently, hearings July onward will proceed on their scheduled date. Burlington applications affected include:

Amica development rendering

Amica – proposed development

• March 20 – HHHBA Appeal of Parking rates- first Case Management Conference
• March 20 – 1085 Clearview/St. Matthews- a telephone CMC
• April 17 – 1157 Northshore Blvd (Amica)- a telephone CMC
• April 30 – 2069 Lakeshore /Pearl Street (Carriage Gate)- first Case Management Conference
• May 11 – OPA 107 (Evergreen)- a Case Management Conference
• May 19 – 1085 Clearview/St. Matthews- Hearing

There were no Burlington hearings scheduled for June.

Building Permits and Inspections

• Building permit applications received by March 13, 2020 are currently being processed.
• Staff have implemented a modified level of building inspections. Exterior building inspections continue and a modified process for interior inspections is in place that does not involve staff going into buildings and protects staff from physical contact in line with COVID-19 safety precautions.
• Staff are exploring how new applications might be accepted and processed.

Signage in Commercial Districts

City hall told the merchant signs like this were a no, no. Why then would a merchant break the rules? what else would this merchant do?

City hall told the merchant signs like this were a no, no.

• A-frame signage on private property is still permitted in front of any business during regular business hours and no permits are required.
• Portable sign permits and renewals are still being processed by sending necessary information to building@burlington.ca.

Business License Renewal
• Existing business licenses that require renewal will be extended during the COVID-19 crisis.

Meed Ward - tight head shot

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward had this to say: “This is an extraordinary and unprecedented situation we’re facing, and we know it won’t be business as usual for some time. As a City, we’ll continue the operations we can, while putting the health and safety of our community and employees first.

“Our downtown policies and Official Plan are vitally important to our entire community. We want to ensure the public and all stakeholders have the opportunity to provide full feedback to staff and council as decision makers, in a public and accountable forum. This work is appropriately put on hold till we can provide that opportunity. Releasing the policies early affords everyone significant time for review and comment, before decisions are made. This is perhaps the silver lining in this situation. ”

Heather MacDonald, Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility Community Planning added: “The City continues to process applications received prior to March 13th and City staff remain available by email and phone to connect and answer questions. In light of the situation with COVID-19 and the rapidly changing updates from healthcare professionals and our partners across all levels of government, our priority remains on keeping staff and the public safe. Since March 16th, City Hall remains closed to the public and we will continue to do our best to ensure transparency and accountability to the public while protecting our staff and the public.”

Dev fee guy STAFF

Nick Anastasopoulos, Chief Building Official / Director of Building & By-law

Nick Anastasopoulos, Chief Building Official / Director of Building & By-law explained that: “Our primary focus is on the safety of the public, our staff and buildings in our city when we do our building inspections. Exterior building inspections are continuing with our normal process and the reality of COVID-19 has made us look at creative ways to deliver on interior inspections. We have created a modified process for interior inspections to respect physical distancing and avoid the need for staff to go into buildings. We appreciate the continued understanding of our community as we continue to address this challenge together.”

Return to the Front page