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Provincial policy document: Places to Grow to get an upgrade - it will set out how much more residential growth Burlington will have to absorb.

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 3rd, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The policy announcement made yesterday by the provincial government covered a lot of bases.

It said that: “The Greater Golden Horseshoe is the economic engine of our province, generating more than 25% of Canada’s Gross Domestic Product. Right now, approximately 9.2 million people, or 25% of Canada’s population, live in this area and that number keeps growing – fast.
GGHS

And added that: “To make sure that our policies put people first, we are updating A Place to Grow: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe. It is the product of a broad consultation where we heard from more than 1,100 people and received more than 650 submissions. We heard the government should facilitate the building of affordable housing options near transit to prevent sprawl and protect agricultural lands. The plan will help manage growth so communities in the region develop in ways that expand economic opportunity, while maintaining protections for our environmentally sensitive areas, including the Greenbelt, cultural heritage assets, and key employment and agricultural lands.

“We need to build more housing that people can afford so people have places to live near stable, reliable employment. That’s why we’re creating provincially significant employment zones to make sure that businesses – from manufacturers and industrial parks to high-tech offices – have room to grow.

Star front page

Toronto Star headline

What do they plan to do?

“Across Ontario, there are empty-nesters who want to downsize, but they can’t find or afford the home they need near family and friends. If they could, it might free up a larger home for a young couple looking for a house with more space for their growing family, close to a park and a great school. Instead, everyone feels stuck.

high profile 421

Approved – across the street from city hall – with the block to the immediate south awaiting a development that will want the same heiight.

“It can take years of paperwork before a shovel ever breaks ground on a new housing project. Some government policies and processes are duplicated and can create delays for no reason, which drives up costs for home buyers.

“That’s why we’re reviewing every step of the development process and every policy, regulation and piece of legislation to eliminate unnecessary steps, duplication and barriers. We are cutting red tape and as we do, we are holding firm to our commitment to ensure the health and safety of Ontarians, and protect the environment, agricultural lands and our rich natural heritage.

Making it easier to build new housing

bring housing to market faster by speeding up local planning decisions and making the appeals process more efficient

make it easier for homeowners to create residential units above garages, in basements and in laneways

help build housing, including affordable housing, near transit

help municipalities implement community planning permit systems (e.g. in major transit station areas and provincially significant employment zones), which will streamline planning approvals to 45 days

simplify how funds are collected for community benefits such as parks and daycares

make upfront development costs easier to predict

give communities and developers more certainty on what they can build, and where they can build it

Go trains and high rises

Increased GO train service and high rise towers – all about being open for business.

“An item sent to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal is still waiting for a decision, seven years later. That’s thousands of homes stuck in the pipeline, waiting to be built, and seven years of rising costs. Getting rid of that backlog will bring new housing to market, today.

“Conflicts can arise during the process of land use planning. The Local Planning Appeal Tribunal hears these disputes, but there is a backlog of Ontario Municipal Board legacy cases — approximately 100,000 units are tied up in Toronto alone. There are also too many complex processes standing in the way of creating new housing.

The province is proposing changes that will:

hire more adjudicators to help address the backlog of legacy cases by investing $1.4 million in 2019-20

ensure the tribunal has the powers and resources needed to make more timely decisions

allow the tribunal to make the best planning decisions in the place of Council

charge different fees and move towards a cost recovery model, while allowing community groups and residents to maintain affordable access to the appeals process

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Where do those who have to rent or choose to rent fit into the new policy?

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 2nd, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The provincial government announced a program that, they say, will allow all Ontarians to find a home that meets their needs and their budget.

The plan that was announced will:

Cut red tape to make it easier to build the right types of housing in the right places
Make housing more affordable
Help taxpayers keep more of their hard-earned dollars

“Housing innovation isn’t just about new designs and materials, it’s about creative partnerships too. By working together, non-profits, co-ops and the private sector can help solve Ontario’s housing crisis.

5 point plan

A 5 point plan – is it really that simple?

“When individuals find a home, they are healthier and more productive. This benefits not only the individual, but also the province, as each person has the opportunity to contribute to our economy.

“More housing that meets people’s needs and budgets boosts Ontario’s economy by helping us keep jobs and support job creation. Businesses – from manufacturers to high tech firms – need employees, and those employees need affordable places to live. By making housing more affordable, businesses large and small will invest in Ontario again.

“More homes, more choice is about unlocking the development of all kinds of housing. From ownership to rental housing, whether built by private developers or non-profits, our action plan will help give people more choice and help bring costs down.

The plan is complemented by our Community Housing Renewal Strategy, which helps people with low and moderate incomes who can’t afford today’s high rents to find affordable housing. It will transform a fragmented and inefficient system into one that is more streamlined, sustainable and ready to help people who need it most.

It also includes early steps to improve community housing across the province:

helping tenants become economically self-sufficient
making it easier to predict and calculate rent
shortening waiting lists
helping people in greatest need
making community housing safer

We will work with municipalities and non-profits to sustain, repair and grow our community housing system.

Together, these plans respond to the diverse housing needs of all Ontarians.

What are they going to do for renters

Priorities - when looking pie chartIn today’s market, finding an affordable rental apartment can feel like winning the lottery. People are renting longer and more people are looking for a place to rent, but new construction has focused on condominiums rather than rental apartments.

Many people prefer to rent. But high home prices mean those who want to buy are also renting, or renting longer, which drives rents up. We need more housing – to own and to rent – to bring the market back to balance.

More homes, more choice will make it easier to build rental housing. For example, right now, home builders pay development charges up-front. A developer who builds a house and/or condominium builders can offset these development charges by preselling units. A developer who builds a rental unit can’t.

By postponing development charges until the buildings are rented, developers will be encouraged to start building rental housing again. More homes, more choice will also work to cut red tape around development approvals so new homes will be available to rent sooner.

Making it easier for landlords to navigate the complex building code approvals process will help create more rental housing. In Ontario, roughly 30,000 to 35,000 new homes are built each year, and many of them could include secondary suites, like basement apartments.

For rent signWe’re encouraging small landlords to create new rental units too, by making it easier to build second suites (like basement apartments) and helping them navigate the complicated building code approvals process. We are also expanding development charge exemptions to include second units in new homes.

As more rental units are built, tenants will have more choices and rents will decrease.

Creating more rental units is an essential part of our action plan. But once they have a place to live, renters shouldn’t have to worry about being treated unfairly or being unlawfully evicted. Ontario has strong protections for renters and we will do more to help tenants and landlords know their rights and how to resolve disputes.

Helping renters and landlords resolve disputes is the role of the Landlord and Tenant Board, but a shortage of adjudicators has created delays – average wait times are more than two months! The government is working with Tribunals Ontario on addressing shortages of adjudicators at the Landlord and Tenant Board. There have been a number of recent appointments and recruitment is underway to fill other adjudicator vacancies.

The government is also providing more than one billion dollars in 2019-20 to help sustain, repair and grow community housing and help end homelessness. Hundreds of organizations across Ontario have long-standing agreements to provide community housing to Ontario’s most vulnerable, and as many of these agreements approach their end, our government’s Community Housing Renewal Strategy will help them become more sustainable.

Delays for a NfP

Can this type of delay be brought to an end.

The changes all have merit.  A first read suggests that the delays, the red tape and the costs are all bunched at the municipal end of the spectrum.

There isn’t a thing the province can do about how effective the municipal bureaucracies are.

Skip over to the series of meetings on Red Tape and the attempt Mayor Meed Ward is making to roll out a Red Carpet for people who have to work with city hall to get a sense as to just how bad it is.

A couple of the more painful comments:

• City is too slow to react
• City staff have a lack of knowledge behind the scenes/of private sector and are unresponsive
• Staff are inconsistent in their application of policy
• Turnover of City staff

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Resident discovers a solution that might put a crimp in the developers plan for the east end of the city.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

April 18th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There is nothing more powerful than a motivated citizen with research skills who takes the time to read lengthy, incredibly boring documents.

Lucy - M A St James at 1st open house July18 (2-4)

Lucy Belvedere in conversation with ward 5 candidate Mary Alice St. James

Lucy Belvedere didn’t like the look of the proposed development for the Lakeshore Village Plaza but she wasn’t prepared to sit idly by and let the developer roll over the residents of the community.

After delivering a zinger of a delegation Belvedere went over the documents that were public and realized she had missed something.

“I don’t know how I missed this! I discovered that in the Official Plan now under review, there is already a designation for the smaller sites of mixed-use properties that can apply to the Lakeshore Village Plaza site.

This designation is called Local Centre Designation and describes Policies for sites that are 1 to 4 hectares.
Belvedere argues that “Lakeshore Village Plaza should be given the designation as a Local Centre since it is under 4 hectares. This would resolve many of the major concerns of height and density and in reality it reflects the Neighbourhood Commercial designation of the existing Official Plan beautifully…allowing intensification without being excessive.”

The controversy over this redevelopment proposal could have been avoided had Lakeshore Plaza been given the correct designation: it is under four ha and should be designated a local designation centre.

“I don’t understand why it was given the Neighbourhood Centre designation that applies to properties that are 4 – 12 Hectares, especially considering the narrow roads that serve this property and the character of this east-end neighbourhood surrounding the site.

Local Centre Designation better suits a Secondary Growth Area Designation allowing reasonable intensification, but not to the extent of a Primary Growth Area.

Belvedere’s finding was sent to everyone that mattered.

During the delegation none of the council members raised the designation that was given, Lola xxx didn’t make any mention either. Did they not fully read the report?

A complete application has been in the hands of the city for some time. Are the east end residents looking at yet another development application that is going to squeeze through because of a timing goof?

nautique-elevation-from-city-july-2016

This one at Martha and Lakeshore.

high profile 421

This one opposite city hall.

That’s how ADI got away with their Nautique development in the downtown core. The OMB approval of the ADI development gave the Carriage Gate development the loop hole they needed to get a 24 story structure approved opposite city hall.

Skinner graphic of the site

Is this what the residents of the east end can expect for the Lakeshore Village Plaza?

Will Lucy Belvedere have run the alarm bell soon enough?

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Residents hammer the plans for the redevelopment of the east end Lakeshore Village Plaza plans.

News 100 redBy Staff

April 16th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The big news for the city last week was the delegations made at city hall on the proposed development plans for the plaza in the east end of the city that had fallen into disrepair and much in need of an upgrade.

There were 14 registered delegations at the required Statutory Public meeting with an additional 10 walk ons.

Lucy Belvedere set the tone that was heard throughout the evening when she said:

LVP aerial rendering

The proposed development.

“The Plaza isn’t in a major commercial area. Lakeshore Rd. isn’t a major road. It has less width than Guelph Line, Fairview St., New St. or Appleby Line. The proposed Official Plan Neighbourhood Centre Policy should be revised to distinguish between the smaller and larger properties given this designation. Halton Region doesn’t support this plaza proposal because this site isn’t in the regionally mapped Intensification area where such a density is generally supported.”

The proposed Neighbourhood Centre Policy applies to sites between 4 to 12 hectares. At 3.84 hectares, this Plaza falls under the minimum size. The new policy permits a reasonable 2 to 6 storey height. However, the floor area ratio established at 2.5:1 is far too much and unwarranted for this smaller site. That same floor area ratio is used in the Uptown Corridor, a Primary Growth Area.

Lucy B Stat meet

Lucy Belvedere

Further, variance applications can even increase this floor area ratio and allow a height of up to 11 storeys. But, the city has stated that Lakeshore Road, a minor arterial 30 meter road will never be widened. A max of six storeys with a reduced floor area ratio makes more sense. It sufficiently increases the existing OP policy for a Neighbourhood Commercial site under five hectares, with the CN1 zoning which permits 3 storeys, and a lesser floor area ratio. In contrast, Appleby Village is Community Commercial with a CC1 zoning because it is larger in size and has wider roads to serve it.

Accepting this proposal will permit many undesirable taller buildings and allow the unbelievable and incompatible 900 residential units, in addition to the expansive 14,655 square metres for commercial use. It is ludicrous, over-crowded and completely unsuited to its surrounding neighbourhood.

East-end Lakeshore has only 2 tall residential buildings: one, 19 storeys built in 1978; the other, 12 storeys built in 1983. The rest built since the 80’s have much less height. The average for all 12 buildings is 8 storeys, stretching across 900 metres; these are well spaced and surrounded by green open spaces. This sharply contrasts the claustrophobic concrete jungle created by this proposal. On the Plaza frontage, a mere 165 metres, it proposes 6 buildings, with 4 far exceeding the 6 storey limit.

They are presented as 2 massive structures separated by a dangerously narrow entrance and hide the other 5 buildings in the back. These unacceptable taller buildings, with such extreme density that can’t be justified and don’t enhance the streetscape. On such a small site, the proposed Policy variances are abused by this proposal.

Dana at Stat Meet

Dana Anderson, planner for the developer.

The developer’s lead planner has successfully pressured and swayed city planners through numerous meetings and delegations to the previous Council to form the Neighbourhood Centre Policy that favours this excessive density and height, absolutely impractical for our neighbourhood. Former Councillor Dennison called it “a Golden Egg in our basket of opportunities”.

Is money and greed to be the primary goal? The proposed policy illustrates the unprecedented influence of the project’s lead planner to shape the proposed Policy to clearly benefit her employer, the developer. It totally ignores residents’ legitimate concerns regarding increased traffic congestion, increased overflow traffic on neighbouring streets, and increased noise levels.

It will result in decreased safety for children and seniors, decreased air quality and decreased sky view. It threatens to jeopardize our present quality of life.

The 5 stage phasing locks us in an endless lengthy construction zone, a nightmare of noise, dirt, dust, and traffic tie-ups, estimated at 7 to 15 years, as I was told at the July Open House. What if the developer abandons these intense, complex plans mid-way and doesn’t complete the project? We could end up with a very unbalanced, unattractive plaza.

The developer is Joseph Popack, who has owned this property since 2001. This American billionaire developer, absentee owner, appears as #7 on the list of top 10 worst landlords in the Crown Heights area of Brooklyn, New York where he owns over 3000 apartments. He has allowed Lakeside Plaza to deteriorate to its present inglorious state.

This over-intensification is ultimately meant to maximize his profits and represents his greed. He doesn’t care about our neighbourhood!

Please revise the Neighbourhood Centre Policy to distinguish between larger and smaller sites, to prevent future development proposals from ruining residential neighbourhoods similar to ours.

Jeremy skinner

Jeremy Skinner

Belvedere, a retired school teacher covered all the bases – those who followed her weren’t able to add all that much – except for Jeremy Skinner who has a penchant for getting into the weeds on any task he takes on.

We will report on his delegation later this week.

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Somewhere the vision that east end residents had for their community got lost.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

April 15th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A crowd that filled the city council chamber, spilled out into the foyer and had people sitting in the room adjacent, wanted to know what happened to the visions that were expressed at the public meeting four years earlier where hundreds poured over large drawings of what existed at the Lakeshore Village Plaza and what could be done to the site.

Everyone knew the plaza needed an upgrade desperately but what the developer had proposed was offensive to many.

Denise Beard at Lakeside Plaza visioning

City staff were on hand to help residents develop the vision they had for their community.

They wanted to know what happened to all the ideas that were expressed at the 2015 public meeting when residents talked about what could be developed and the amenities that might be available. People were excited and at the time the city was quite prepared to be an active player in the development.

More than a dozen staff members took part in the visioning exercise. There was a lot of enthusiasm. The then Mayor met with the developer – who turned out not to be the developer – just a representative for the developer.

An architect was on hand, a planner who once worked for Oakville and now represented the interests of the property owner was on hand to listen. It was an interesting start with a lot of potential.

There were some early stage drawings that showed great potential.

Then things went quiet for a while during the lead up to the municipal election that put everything on hold.

Prior to the election there was huge concern over the changes that were being proposed for the downtown area of the city. The east end of the city sort of got forgotten.

The Planning department got swamped with the number of development applications and the focus shifted to the downtown core.

Approval of one high rise tower opposite city hall and then the approval by the Ontario Municipal Board of a second 24 storey building resulted in the election of a new Mayor and five new members of a seven member city council.

Prior to the October election, in July of 2018, the public got to see what the developer wanted to do with the Lakeshore Village Plaza – they were stunned.

Lucy - M A St James at 1st open house July18 (2-4)

Lucy Belvedere on the left with ward 5 candidate Mary Alice St. James.

“Accepting this proposal” said Lucy Belvedere, ” will permit many undesirable taller buildings and allow the unbelievable and incompatible 900 residential units, in addition to the expansive 14,655 square metres for commercial use. It is ludicrous, over-crowded and completely unsuited to its surrounding neighbourhood.

Sharman pointing LVP

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman had a fight on his hands to hold his seat in the 2018 election.

For the residents a development of this size, scale and scope was just not on. The Council member would have lost his seat had the vote not been split amongst two women who individually were strong contenders but collectively they let the incumbent hold the seat.

The public had been led to believe that Joe Elmaleh was the owner of the property. He is the authorized agent for the owner, Joseph Popack, an American with a rough edged reputation based on his Crown Heights rental apartments that has him listed as #7 on the list of top 10 worst landlords in the Crown Heights area of Brooklyn, New York where he owns over 3000 apartments.

Lakeside Village Goldring - Zahoruk and Emilio

Former Mayor Rick Goldring, architect Cynthia Zahoruk and property manager Joe Elmaleh in discussion at the 2015 visioning event for the east end of the city.

In city documents prior to 2018, the owner is shown consistently as United Burlington Portfolio Inc. Then the name Glanelm Property Management begins to appear giving the impression that Joe Elmaleh is the owner.

During the Statutory Public meeting on the development Elmaleh was referred to as the developer.

Popack is the owner of the property, Elmaleh is the agent for the owner. There are some very good public relations reason for creating the confusion.

SKYWAY-WITH-SHOPPERS-SIGN

The plaza site as it is today – desolate and close to empty.

The Statutory meeting is a required event under the Planning Act during which the city planners explain what they have been given and the public gets to say what they think.

The members of council, the Mayor and the residents don’t like what they saw.

LVP aerial rendering

The four towers along Lakeshore Road would hide everything behind them.

During the questions and comments part of the meeting staff didn’t have very much to say, other than that there were a number of other city departments involved – Parks and Recreation and Transportation.

The meeting was not an occasion when decisions were going to be made. It was a Receive and File event – the report and public reaction are part of the record.

There wasn’t the feeling that anyone on the staff side had a firm grip on what was taking place or that a something even remotely like what had been presented would ever see the light of day.

That feeling used to exist within the hearts and minds of those who live in the downtown core learned the hard way that keeping their elected representatives fully accountable is not a part time job.

Frank Toews made the point when he told city council during the Statutory meeting that they were the “gate keepers” in place to prevent projects like this from getting beyond the talking point.

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East end residents tell council: 'This isn't the development we expected'.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

April 10th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Council chamber was packed.

They were sitting in the foyer and in the room next door to the council chamber.
They were there to express their concern with a development proposal that stunned most people when it was made public.

Crowd Stat meeting

The council chamber was filled – the foyer outside the chamber had people watching the proceedings on monitors and the room next to council had people watching. Largest meeting Burlington council has seen in close to a decade.

The re-development of the Lakeshore Village Plaza in the east end of the city has a long history. The city has been involved with the developer since 2014.

What started out in November of 2015 with a visioning exercise where people were enthused, excited and optimistic turned into really sour feelings when the drawings of what was proposed by the developer.

The meeting last night was the required Statutory Public meeting at which the Planning department sets out what they have been given by the developer.
There were 14 registered delegations and another ten that were walk-ups.

The Gazette will report on those in depth.

Council listened carefully, asked good questions and were very aware that they were facing a public that was not happy.

Lucy B Stat meet

Lucy Belvedere gave a strong, detailed delegation on what was wrong with the development and where the public had not been properly engaged.

Frank Towes, a resident of Admiral’s Walk, across the road from the proposed development made the point very well when he said to Council: We elected you last fall to be the gatekeepers – keep developments like this outside the gates.

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Public engagement seen through the eyes of citizen:

opiniongreen 100x100By Lucy Belvedere

April 8th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

How has the community been engaged in the redevelopment of the Lakeside Village Plaza ?

Jennifer Johnson at Lakeside Plaza visioning

Staff with a resident at a Visioning exercise for the Lakeside Village Plaza. in November of 2015

Our first inkling of the redevelopment of the Plaza came at the Community Visioning Workshop held November 24th, 2015. A summary of key fears listed from this event repeatedly included: fear of too much density and height, numerous concerns for intensified traffic congestion and lack of safety, and that it will take too long to redevelop, to name just a few.

We only learned of the actual proposal in the summer of 2018 with open house sessions in the afternoon and evening—July 18th and August 8th. It was appalling because what was presented appeared to totally ignore residents’ fears expressed in 2015.

The July Open House session provided limited information since no formal presentation was made and proved to be disappointing with angry, worried residents milling about trying to get answers, but in truth we were all stunned with what we were facing.

Lakeshore elevation

This is the look of the plaza from Lakeshore Road – if the development is approved.

At the August Open House some new charts were created for us. One summarized comments from July and are worth noting here. Under land uses it listed support for revitalization, for new tenants, for a range of housing and rental units. However, the rest on the chart was not as positive and echoed the same fears from the initial workshop with criticizing the proposal’s height and density and generally being overdeveloped. Concerns with traffic impacts, congestion and insufficient parking were listed.

SKYWAY-WITH-SHOPPERS-SIGN

The Plaza as it stands today. Few shops.

Apprehensions about lack of public green spaces with trees, and connection to the parks were recorded. Under design and construction appeared that a better design for seniors be considered and worries about construction and phasing were noted. It’s safe to say that all residents’ first fears were simply stressed once again.

The August Open House also produced a new timeline: that community input would be assessed and a community meeting would be held in January with a statutory meeting held in March. This was encouraging and gave us hope that our voices from the open house events would be heard. Sadly, our hopes evaporated in January when we were unexpectedly notified by the City of the February 12th Statutory Meeting. The proposal remained the same at that time.

Inclement weather cancelled that meeting. Now it is set for Tuesday, April 9th.

Has a revised proposal been presented to Council? If there are any revisions, they are unknown to residents the day before the Statutory Meeting. Our delegations for the Statutory Meeting have been prepared based on the original proposal.

Layout - pedestrian

Residents who took part in the Open Houses last July and August were not impressed with the size and scope of the proposed development,

What happened? I quote from page 29 and 30 of the developers proposal under the heading of Public Consultation: “…We anticipate that a local community meeting will be held following the application submission…to present a master plan and engage the community for comments and input…We will summarize all public input through the community engagement process and identify how community input has been addressed with updates and changes…The consultation strategy described herein will ensure that members of the public are given an opportunity to review, understand and comment on the proposal.” Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Obviously, that didn’t happen!

It seems that developers’ proposals always sound fantastic on paper, but they don’t put it into practice in reality. Residents have been locked out with this very limited, almost meaningless engagement process. The developer’s planners spent 3 years engaging with the city planning staff, making presentations to Council and convincing all involved at City Hall that it was the most fantastic, enlightened plan for this property. The developer’s planners were so effective in this regard that they were able to shape the new Official Plan policies for the Neighbourhood Centre designation to perfectly suit and allow their proposal amendments. The numerous amendments they request are mind-boggling with many bylaw modifications needed. The proposal mixes policies from the present Official Plan in effect regarding zoning, but presents plans that apply to the Neighbourhood Centre policies in the new Official Plan now under review. It is very confusing. The original proposal for this relatively small site—3.84 hectares represents over-development on steroids!

Wendy M

Wendy Moraghan will be delegating on Tuesday – she was a candidate for the ward 5 seat in the October election.

Where do the neighbourhood residents’ concerns fit into the picture? Why have we not had an official community meeting where we have the opportunity to have the proposal presented and the opportunity to ask questions? How disheartening! What surprise awaits us at the Statutory meeting? Will there be a revised proposal to show that residents input is taken into consideration? We shall see.

Related new stories:

Part one of a two part series on the Lakeside Village Plaza development.

Part two of a two part series on the Lakeside Village Plaza development.

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Lakeside Village Plaza development to be shown at a required Statutory Public meeting on Tuesday.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

April 6th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The two pictures below tell the story – the first is what is in place today in the eastern part of the city. A plaza that has been allowed to deteriorate to the point where more than half of the units were empty.

The second is the first version of what the owners of the property showed the public at open houses last August. The people who live in the neighbourhoods are up in arms.

SKYWAY-WITH-SHOPPERS-SIGN

A drab rundown property on Lakeshore Road in the eastern reaches of the city might get a huge makeover if the developer can convince the planners and then city council that their idea is beneficial to everyone.

Lakeside village plaza proposal

Massive in scale, overwhelming in scope – but it does go some distance to meeting the intensification targets.

The city went to considerable lengths to pull in feed back from the public.  Two packed meetings took place at which the public had a chance to look at drawings and ideas put together by the Planning Department.

Lakeside Villge visioning - Kaitline Tsp planer

The public had hours to go over drawings and talk through ideas with city hall staff. Why is it that the ideas never seem to be reflected in the proposal the developers put forward?

Lakeside Village - visioning meeting Nov 24-15

The room was packed – the public interest was there.

Few if any of those ideas made it to the plan the developer brought forward in July and August.

A required Statutory Public meeting is to take place on Tuesday evening at city hall.

City staff will present a report to provide background information for the statutory public meeting required under the Planning Act for Official Plan and Zoning By-law amendment applications. The report provides an overview of the proposed applications, an outline of the applicable policies and regulations and a summary of technical and public comments received to date.

There is a chance that the developer will have heard some of what the public had to say and maybe moderate the size and scale.

Linking-the-parks

Some of the early thinking about development ideas for the site had the city contributing the arena and the parkland on the north to a project that would pull together the area, the plaza and the Burloak Park to the south.

The original design put together when the idea of getting something done to the plaza pulled together the park-arena on the north side with the upgraded Burloak Park on the south side. Some of the original design work done then appears below as well.

Carie DeMunck

Carrie DeMunck

Carrie De Munch, a resident in the eastern part of the city who was active in one of the ward 5 election campaigns said: “Lakeside Plaza is a huge concern for all of the east end of Burlington, particularly for our senior friends who reside in the immediate area. The redevelopment of this plaza will impact all of the south of Burlington, and those from southwest Oakville that utilize our corner of Burlington, and also those beyond our western borders who commute along Burlington Lakeshore daily at all hours to get to their workplaces and back.

This development is not part of the area covered by the Interim Control by law that has frozen development in the downtown core.

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Completion of the five tower Paradigm development on Fairview impacted by Interim Control bylaw.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

April 4th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

They are sometimes referred to as “unintended consequences” and that appears to be the kind of hole that the very successful Molinaro development on Fairview next to the Burlington GO station has fallen into.

Paradigm from the west Nov 2017

Towers 1 and 2 when they were under construction.

The development is going to be a five story project with building 1, 2 and 3 clearly visible on the city’s skyline.

The structures are bold and have been selling very well.

The development was planned as one that would be completed in phases.
The company is now ready to begin the final phase – the last two building that will front on Fairview.

When the Interim control bylaw was dropped on the development community with no notice everyone assumed the Molinaro project would not be included. They were well past the site plan approval stage which was the cut off stage.

Ed Fothergill, the planning consultant who spoke for the firm on Tuesday, explained that complex projects that are approved in principle go through several site plan approvals – partly because as a project is built some things change – mostly minor in nature but the kind of thing for which approvals are required.

paradigm layout

Layout of the five tower Paradigm project on Fairview.

The size, nature and scope of the Paradigm project meant there would be several site plan approvals. One would like to believe that the intention was not to shut down everything that moved on a construction site in the Urban Growth Centre while the city figured out just what it wanted to see done with the land within those boundaries.

The Paradigm has been described as the largest residential property development the city has ever done and may well be the largest for a some time.

When it was first taken to the public the Molinaro’s met with the area residents; they listened carefully and went back to the drawing boards and made some significant changes.

As developers they have set the standard for listening to the public.

Because of the way the development was structured the approval of the site plan for the last two buildings was on hold – there weren’t any problems with the development – it was always understood that there were to be five towers and that the site plan approval for the final two towers would get taken care of when the company was ready to begin construction.

paradigm crash wall

A massive concrete barrier had to be built between the development and the GO train tracks.

Much of the infrastructure for the final two towers is already in place – that work was done when the three towers on the north side was being done.

But – the Interim Control bylaw is clear – if the site plan of a project has not been approved the project cannot go forward.

The ICBL was put in place for very good reasons – no one fully understood what this would do to the Molinaro’s.

Mayor Meed Ward didn’t have all that much to say about the implications on the Molinaro’s at the Standing Committee meeting yesterday afternoon and there wasn’t a word from Lisa Kearns, the ward council member.

Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith made it very clear that he understood what was happening and that he would do everything he could to correct the situation.

The Molinaro’s are getting ready to put together the marketing plan for the last two towers and expected to be able to begin work on those two towers next year.

paradigm marketing piece

Marketing campaigns don’t get written on the back of an envelope over a weekend.

Marketing plans don’t get put together on a weekend. They are carefully crafted using the most recent data to ensure that the product they are going to market meets the needs of those buying condominium units.

There are additional issues. The actual registration of the condominium units gets held up as well.

City planner Heather MacDonald didn’t appear to be all that sympathetic to the problem.

The new city council had very solid reasons for putting a pause on the rate at which developments were flooding into city hall.

The Councillor for ward 2 said she has had conversations with people who are thinking in terms of towers that are in the 50 storey range – and along the GO station mobility hub this kind of intensification might make sense.

Burlington was seen as the place to make a killing in development; firms with cash and the kind of in-house expertise needed to put projects together quickly couldn’t get to the city fast enough.

The Molinaro’s aren’t a Toronto based operation – they built most of what we have on Lakeshore Road and have plans in the works for developments on Brant street north of Prospect where many felt high rise construction should take place.

There is a solution to the Paradigm predicament – the brain power in the Planning can find it. It may include an exemption.

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Council nixes the idea of exemptions to the bylaw that has frozen developments; Mayor takes a swing at one developer.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

April 3rd, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It is now close to crystal clear that there will not be any exemptions to the Interim Control bylaw that froze all development in the Urban Growth boundary in downtown Burlington for one year and possibly two.

It is also crystal clear that when the Mayor is angry – she lets you know just how angry she is. That was something Cindy Prince learned yesterday afternoon at a Standing Committee meeting where the matter of allowing exemptions to the new bylaw was debated.

There are not going to be any exemptions approved by this council at this point.

None – even though there is at least one that has to be given a hard look if developers are to be treated fairly. The Molinaro development on Fairview has run into a snag related to site plan approvals for its five tower Paradigm project.

Amica site location

Site location: an awkward piece of land that was made usable when the co-op to the east was acquired. Project looked great – until the interim control bylaw froze everything within the Urban growth boundary – the development is on the very western edge,

Cindy Prince spoke for Amica, the retirement home operator that wants to build a rather large retirement home on the North Service Road where it intersects with Hwy 403 – right across from the Joseph Brant Hospital.

Co-op view

Amica made what they described as generous offers to the owners of the co-op units – that offer may not close.

The plan has been in the development stage for more than three years and started when Amica made an offer for the 56 residents at the co-op that is presently on the site.

The deal, which Prince described as a “premium + + +” offer to the residents over the market value at the time was to expire on May 17th. Amica is also reported to have paid the co-op residents a non-refundable deposit.

Building

One resident called it a “warehouse” for older people”.

Amica doesn’t want to close on that deal unless it can be assured that city council is going to give them an exemption from the bylaw that has frozen development.
The owners of the co-op units just want to get on with their lives and have the deal close. Amica said they were prepared to make changes and that they had been meeting with the Planning department.

Ward 6 Councillor Angelo B asked if there were any drawings to show just what any changes might look like. No one seemed to be able to say that there were renderings of possible changes.

There was considerable public comment on the size of the development – one Burlington resident called it a “warehouse” for older people”.

Based on what the mood of Council was on Tuesday no one is going to get an exemption.

Meed Ward H&S profile

Mayor Meed Ward – not the lady you want to attempt to mislead.

Mayor Meed Ward was close to scathing in her comments. She said she felt Amica should not use the co-op owners as hostages while the the corporation works to get an exemption.

Meed Ward also took issue with the way Amica made statements in the Planning Justification report they provided when they found them useful and then changed direction when they found that the comments no longer served their purpose.

It has been some time since Burlington has heard very direct and pointed comments about both a development and the people behind the development.

 

If there is ever a ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of a retirement home on the site – don’t expect the current Mayor to be a participant.

Councillor Sharman pointed out that the development freeze is highlighting a serious problem for the city. There is a serious shortage of space for seniors to live in when they get into their late retirement years. Sharman said that “intensification is not the issue” – the lack of space for seniors accommodation is the issue for the city. It is coming at us and we are not prepared.

Council was meeting as a Standing Committee where they voted 6-1 to take a pass on any exemptions.  The matter goes to a city council meeting at the end of the month.

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Public gets an in-depth look at what a developer wants to do on Old Lakeshore Road.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

March 27th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The early announcement stunned a lot of people.

Rendering with restaurant

26 storeys high – 250 units with a park and retention of the restaurant.

A 26 storey tower on the north side of Old Lakeshore Road on a property that would run from Old Lakeshore north to Lakeshore Road at the base of Martha Street was seen as a bold move on the part of the Core Group – a Toronto developer who took their proposal to the public last night and, for the most part, got a decent response.

The height for almost everyone was the issue. Come back with a 15 storey proposal and you might have a deal was the way most people seemed to feel.

Mayor Meed Ward was on hand along with Councillors Nisan and Bentivegna who joined Councillor Kearns who hosted the event.

The existence of a one year development freeze didn’t deter the developers – they were getting their story out and, to some degree, setting the agenda.

Other developers in the room who had property interests in what is referred to as “the football” that stretch of land that is between Old Lakeshore and Lakeshore sat rather glumly as the Core people told their story.

model 3 d 0f the site

A 3D model was on display – showing very clearly where the structure would be and its relationship to other buildings in the area.

The design is very smart looking, the developer used all the right buzz words – “context” seemed to be the preferred word at this point.

View lines Core development

The Bridgewater, while it has fewer storeys, does loom as large on the horizon

The Gazette will report at length on what the plans are all about. The key features were the retention of the Carriage Gate restaurant and the creation of a park that will make the location a place where people will want to hang around and enjoy the setting.

The Core Group brought a team of six people to the presentation. They were professional and answered a lot of the questions – but there were some gaping holes in the context.

More later in the week.

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26 storey development proposed for Old Lakeshore. Presentation scheduled for March 26 at Central high school.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

March 8th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Earlier this week city council slapped an Interim Control Bylaw on large portions of the city.  The freeze was for a period of one year and became effective the moment the by law was signed.

The rules of the game are such that the city is required to accept every application that is presented.  New development applications cannot go beyond the Statutory Meeting phase.

This development, being put forward by the Core Development Group that works out of Toronto has scheduled a meeting at which they will present the development.  That meeting will take place at Central High School on March 26th:  6:30 to 8:30.  Expect it to draw a large audience.

The developers have said that the Mayor and the ward Councillor have been invited.  Wild horses couldn’t keep them away.

Marianne Meed Ward used her opposition to development on the waterfront to get herself into office and hasn’t wavered a bit since she became a resident of ward 2.

ICB lands tighter #2

Everything within the shaded area has had new developments frozen for a period of one year.

 

Rendering

The rendering doesn’t show the full height – there is a reason for that.

The proposal is for a 26-storey mixed use residential development with commercial uses at grade at what is known as 2093-2101 Old Lakeshore Road & 2096-2100 Lakeshore Road.

The heritage building located at 2101 Old Lakeshore Road will be retained as part of the development.

It is this kind of development application that pushed the planners to the point where they felt a development freeze was needed.  City Council readily agreed but the agreement wasn’t unanimous.

nautique-elevation-from-city-july-2016

The Nautique – approved with construction underway.

There are funds in the 2019 budget for some research to look into what can and should be done in the way of development for the land between Lakeshore Road and Old Lakeshore Road; often referred to as the football because of its shape.  Land assembly has been quietly taking place in that part of the city.

The proposal for 26 storeys would make the building the same height as the ADI Development Group Nautique which has been approved.  The contractors have been drilling to learn just where the water table is – they plan on five floors of underground parking for their project.

SaveOurWaterfront- Meed ward

The battle to save the waterfront continues.

The Mayor just might decide to pull some of the banners used in her Save the Waterfront days out of storage and rally the troops once again.

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The trip down the windy road to the Official Plan Council wants begins March 18th.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

March 6th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

On Feb. 7, 2019, Burlington City Council voted to re-examine the policies in Burlington’s Official Plan, adopted in April 2018.

The motion, approved by Council, directs Burlington’s Director of City Building to immediately commence a process to re-examine the policies of the Official Plan adopted April 26, 2018 in their entirety related to matters of height and intensity and conformity with provincial density targets.

Council and staff will discuss the scope of work for further study related to the Official Plan (including Mobility Hubs) at an upcoming Committee of the Whole Council Workshop.

Aerial looking west from pier

City used this photograph in announcing the Official Plan workshop – most of the development is going to take place on the other side of the city.

Council Workshop
Monday, March 18, 2019, 1 – 4 p.m.
City Hall, 2nd floor, Council Chambers
Burlington, Ontario, L7R 3Z6

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Planners want to impose a freeze on development in parts of the downtown core.

News 100 redBy Staff

March 5th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The bylaw is pretty clear, almost blunt and it has $100,000 behind it to, get the work done “expeditiously”.

The task is to:

Assess the role and function of the downtown bus terminal and the Burlington GO Station as Major Transit Station Areas, including assessing the existing and long range planned transit service for the Study Area and the connections between the two respective MTSAs;

Examine the planning structure, land use mix, and intensity for the lands identified on attached schedules. (These are the maps included in the Staff Report.

Update the Official Plan and Zoning By-law regulations, as needed, for the lands identified.

Delegate authority to the City Manager in conjunction with the Director of Finance, the ability to single source or sole source work for this initiative that may exceed $100,000, allowing staff to begin the Study expeditiously.

To do all that the city wants to put a one year freeze on all development within a designated area. They will use an interim control by-law to permit the development freeze. That bylaw they want to have council pass states:

Notwithstanding any other by-law to the contrary, no person shall, for the lands identified on Schedule ‘A’ attached hereto:

a) use any land, building or structure for any purpose whatsoever except for a use that lawfully existed on the date of the passage of this By-law as long as it continues to be used for such purpose; or

b) be permitted to construct, alter or expand any building or structure, save and except where such construction, alteration or expansion is an outcome of a site plan application currently in process on the date of the passage of this By-law that is fully in accordance with the approved zoning bylaw. Site plan applications received for lands within the study areas include: 374 Martha Street, 490-492 Brock Avenue, 421 Brant Street, and 442 Pearl Street.

This By-law shall come into force and take effect immediately upon its passing by Council and shall be in effect for a period of one year from the date of passage of this By-law, or until such time that the Study is completed to the satisfaction of the City Council, unless this By-law is otherwise extended in accordance with the provision of the Planning Act, R.S.O., 1990, c.P.13, as amended.

The Municipal Clerk is hereby authorized and directed to proceed with the giving of notice of the passing of this By-law, in accordance with the Planning Act.

This means those developers with projects that have yet to be approved will be getting a letter in the mail.

Putting the brakes on

Planners asking council to put the brakes on development.

What does it all mean? The city has put the brakes on the number of development applications being put before the Planning department – with the exception of the four that are exempted because they are in the site plan phase.

Anything else is on hold while the city figures out what it wants to do with the Urban Growth Centre boundary and the Downtown mobility hub that has been a contentious issue almost from the day it was dropped on us.

The Planning department explains:

“The need for an interim control by-law is due to staff concerns with the cumulative growth pressures quickly emerging in the Urban Growth Center and on lands in proximity to the Burlington GO Station that are requesting intensities significantly higher than anticipated by the Official Plan.

“The proposed study area includes lands that are within the Urban Growth Centre and lands in proximity to the Burlington GO Station. The interim control by-law will allow the City the opportunity to complete a land use study.

“An interim control by-law would ensure that new developments within the Study Area will be informed by the City’s transit, transportation and land use vision for the Study Area. The recommended interim control by-law will ensure the City can realize the following objectives as set out in the City’s 2015-2040 Strategic Plan:

“An interim control by-law puts a temporary prohibition or limitation on the development of certain lands while a municipality is studying or reviewing its land use policies. This “freeze” can be imposed for only a year, with a maximum extension of a second year. In accordance with the Planning Act, there is no ability to appeal an ICBL when it is first passed; however, an extension to an ICBL for the second year may be appealed.

“The Planning Act provides that an ICBL remains in effect if the new zoning regulations resulting from the ICBL are appealed. The Planning Act also sets out that when an ICBL ceases to be in effect on certain lands, a subsequent ICBL may not be imposed on those lands for a period of 3 years.

ICB lands

The part of the downtown core that will be subject to a development freeze. There are more detailed maps below.

“lCBLs are an important planning instrument as they allow a municipality to reconsider its land use policies by suspending development that may conflict with any new policy. ICBLs can also be exercised in situations where unforeseen issues arise, as a means of providing breathing space during which time the municipality may study the issues and determine the appropriate planning policy and controls for addressing the issues under study.

“The 2017 Growth Plan identifies an Urban Growth Centre as an existing or emerging downtown area and mandates a density target of a minimum of 200 residents and jobs combined per hectare. It is noted that there is a minor discrepancy in the boundary for Burlington’s Urban Growth Centre (UGC) when comparing between the city’s current and in force Official Plan and that of the Halton Region Official Plan. For the purposes of this interim control by-law, the boundaries of the UGC as shown in the Halton Region Official Plan will be used to establish the boundaries of the study area relating to the UGC.

ICB lands tighter

The northern part of the study area.

 

ICB lands tighter #2

The southern part of the study area.

The 2017 Growth Plan defines a Major Transit Station Area as:
“The area including and around any existing or planned higher order transit station or stop within a settlement area; or the area including and around a major bus depot in an urban core. Major transit station areas generally are defined as the area within an approximate 500 metre radius of a transit station, representing about a 10-minute walk.”

GO train Go Bold

This is part of the transportation system.

The 2017 Growth Plan defines Higher Order Transit as:
“Transit that generally operates in partially or completely dedicated rights-of-way, outside of mixed traffic, and therefore can achieve levels of speed and reliability greater than mixed-traffic transit. Higher order transit can include heavy rail (such as subways and inter-city rail), light rail, and buses in dedicated rights-of-way.”

“The 2017 Growth Plan does not define a Major Bus Depot.

Transit terminal - John Street

Is this part of the “higher order” of transit?

“It is also noted that amendments to the Major Transit Station Area (MTSA) policies are currently proposed by the Province in Amendment No. 1 to the Growth Plan. For example, the area around a Major Transit Station Area where intensification may be supported is proposed to be increased from 500 to 800 metres.

“In the context of the UGC and lands in proximity to the Burlington GO Station, staff are concerned about the role and function of the Downtown John Street Bus Terminal as an MTSA as set out in the 2017 Growth Plan, and as relied upon by the Ontario Municipal Board (0MB) in the Adi Decision for 374 Martha Street.

“While the concept of an MTSA has existed since the emergence of the 2006 Growth Plan, the 2017 Growth Plan differentiates between those MTSAs located along a priority transit corridor (such as the GO Transit rail network) and those that are not. For those MTSAs located along priority transit corridors, the Growth Plan assigns prescribed minimum density thresholds of 150 residents and jobs combined for lands served by the GO Transit rail network. It is noted that this density threshold is less than the minimum density threshold of 200 persons and jobs combined as ascribed to the UGC by the 2017 Growth Plan.

“For all other MTSAs, the Growth Plan directs municipalities to plan and design these to be “transit-supportive” in accordance with Section 2.2.4.8 of the Growth Plan. Transit­ supportive is defined by the Growth Plan to essentially mean compact mixed use development that has a high level of employment and residential densities.

Burlington aerial

In order to get a better grip on development in the downtown core the planners are asking city council ti impose a freeze on development for one year.

“The 2017 Growth Plan does not include minimum density thresholds for transit supportive MTSAs that are not located on a priority transit corridor.

“While the Terminal is located in the UGC and a number of bus routes connect to it, it generally would not be considered to be “higher order transit” as would a GO Transit Station (for example: Burlington GO Station) or a conventional subway station as is the case in the City of Toronto where significant transit ridership occurs.

“The Study will allow for a detailed examination of the future planned function of the Terminal, which is a critical element of planning justification for the Downtown precinct framework which is absent in the Official Plan. The Terminal comprises a potential key land use element of the Downtown, and in staffs view, pursuant to the Adi Decision, is emerging as an unanticipated driver of residential intensification which may be unjustified, and which has not been planned for in the context of community and infrastructure services.

“Studying the appropriate role and function that the Terminal should play is critical in shaping the final pattern and mix of land uses and transit supportive development within the UGC and is consistent with MTSA policies.

“Moreover, given the close proximity of the Burlington GO station to the northern part of the UGC, it is prudent to study these two MTSAs and the areas around them in concert as they could have a direct influence on one another.

“The Growth Plan has steadily promoted the intensification of development within settlement areas since its inception in 2006. The 2017 Growth Plan has placed additional importance on intensification and transit through prescriptive policies targeting all UGCs and MTSAs. This is readily apparent from the Decision of the 0MB in the Adi case for 374 Martha Street. The 0MB held that compliance with the provincially prescribed minimum density target for Burlington’s UGC is not entirely sufficient; that the provincially prescribed target for the UGC is but a minimum, which municipalities should not hesitate to exceed, subject to good planning. Moreover, lands located within the boundary of the downtown MTSA deserve even higher densities.

“The City strongly objected to this Decision and requested a Section 43 review by the 0MB. The Section 43 Decision was released on November 5, 2018, and dismissed the City’s appeal for a re-hearing.

ADI Nautique sign

The OMB approval of the ADI development threw all the long term thinking in the air. The Director of Planning at the time missed a major opportunity to change the way the original hearing was proceeding.

“The Adi property is located within the Downtown Core Precinct which has a maximum height limit of 8 storeys in the Official Plan. Contrary to the Downtown Core Precinct policies, the 0MB approved a height limit of 26 storeys for the Adi property. The Adi Decision causes serious concern as it throws into question the merit of the established land use framework of the current and in force Official Plan for allocating and distributing the Growth Plan’s mandated density target within the UGC and the Terminal’s capacity to absorb the transit impacts of such unanticipated growth.

“When the boundary for the UGC was defined, staff’s best estimate at the time indicated that at build out, the densities prescribed in the current and in force Official Plan could meet the target set by the Growth Plan.

“With the incorporation of Adi’s recently approved density, together with other pending development applications that are requesting intensities higher than anticipated by the current and in force Official Plan (or the 2018 adopted Official Plan now before the Region for approval and currently under review), staff are concerned about the cumulative growth pressures quickly emerging in the UGC. At the Adi hearing, the Terminal was seen to be an MTSA that supports intensities well in excess of those contained in the Official Plan. Moreover, the OMB’s view was that by not approving the Adi proposal, it would be contrary to MTSA policy of the Growth Plan.

A portion of Growth Plan policy reads as follows:
“Within all major transit station areas, development will be supported, where appropriate, by …
d) prohibiting land uses and built form that would adversely affect the achievement of transit supportive densities” After considering the Adi decision, and the reliance that other developers in Burlington will place on the downtown MTSA as a rationale for additional intensity, it is imperative that the role and function of the Terminal in concert with the Burlington GO Station, be determined as part of a land use study.

“The Study will provide certainty as to the future use of the Terminal and in turn, provide staff with the planning justification to undertake any policy refinements which may be warranted, both to the study area and to the City’s urban structure as a whole. Clarity respecting the long term structural role of the Downtown as an intensification area will also assist in setting infrastructure priorities for the City as a whole, including the land in proximity to the Burlington GO Station.

“The findings of the Study will facilitate an examination of the mix of land uses within the study areas and the role of their respective MTSAs in these intensification areas. The Study will also assess the existing and long range planned transit service for the study areas and the connections between the two respective MTSAs.

“Considering the two study areas together will inform staff and Council on the future planned function of the Terminal with regard to transit supportive development.

Matammy - James St

Developer is requesting intensities that are well in excess of those anticipated by the current and in force Official Plan. James at Martha

“There is an urgency that this Study proceeds as soon as possible as cumulative growth pressures in the UGC continue to escalate. Planning staff are aware of multiple pending developments in the application review stage such as 2082-2090 James Street, 409 Brant Street, 2069-2079 Lakeshore Road, as well as other expressions of high density development interests in the UGC and on lands in proximity to the Burlington GO Station, which similar to Adi, are requesting intensities that are well in excess of those anticipated by the current and in force Official Plan (or the 2018 adopted Official Plan now before the Region for approval and currently under review).

Brant looking north - Kellys

Development proposed for south east corner of Brant and James.

“It is noted that there is an appeal of the application at 409 Brant Street, which at the time of writing this report is scheduled for a case management conference in summer 2019. Staff are also aware of a number of major land assemblies within the UGC where higher than prescribed intensities are anticipated to be applied for over the next few years.

Land Use Study Exemptions
“Applications for site plan approval fully in accordance with the approved zoning bylaw, received prior to the date of the passage of this by-law, on lands within the study areas shall be exempt from this by-law given that most of these developments have received planning approvals by the OMB/LPAT or Council.

“At the time of writing this report, site plan applications received for lands within the study areas include: 374 Martha Street, 490-492 Brock Avenue, 421 Brant Street, and 442 Pearl Street. No new site plan applications for lands within the study areas will be processed from the date of the passage of this by-law.

nautique-elevation-from-city-july-2016

Nautique will rise at the corner of Lakeshore Road and Martha.

high profile 421

The Carriage Gate development – The Element will get built across the street from city hall.

“Staff recognizes that there are some existing uses such as low density residential within the study areas that will be affected by the ICBL and they will be prevented from being altered or expanded during the term of the Study.

“There are some downsides and perhaps unintended consequences. “Potential financial matters as an outcome of an interim control by-law will likely include: reduced planning development application fees and revenues, reduced building permit and construction activity, reduced development charges received, and deferral of Capital Works projects within the study areas.

“Given the need to proceed expeditiously with the Study, this report recommends that the City Manager be delegated the authority for single or sole source the required work should the value exceed $100,000.
“The Study will require collaboration with the Transit and Transportation Departments to ensure the function of the Terminal aligns with the planning structure of the UGC and lands in proximity to the Burlington GO Station. It will also provide greater clarity to the Capital Works Department when predicting life cycles and investments for various city assets within the study areas.

“No notice is required prior to the passing of a by-law for an interim control by-law however, notice has been provided for the proposed interim control by-law. Notice of passing of the interim control by-law shall be provided pursuant to the provisions of the Planning Act.

Conclusion:
“Given the implications of the recent Adi Decision and its reliance upon the MTSA status for the approval of 26 storeys, which is beyond the density level established in the Official Plan, and the above-noted significant development pressures, staff recommends that an interim control by-law be passed as outlined in the Recommendation section of this report. The interim control by-law will provide sufficient time for the Study to examine the planning structure, land use mix, and intensity for the lands within the study area. It is planned that this Study would be initiated immediately by staff in order that there be an expeditious planning process in 2019.”

This gets debated at a Standing Committee meeting this afternoon.  Assuming the recommendation coming out of the meeting is to go forward – the Standing Committee will become a city council meeting and the by law will be passed.

Would it be fair and reasonable to cal this a Bold move?

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Capital budget for the city comes in at $96.4 million.

Budget 2018 ICONBy Pepper Parr

February 28th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The first part (Capital) of the 2019 budget has been approved;city council now moves on to completing the debate on the Operations part of the budget.

This city council has shown that it is ready to do things differently. The capital focus has been on infrastructure and transit. Spending for 2019 will amount to $96.4 million with a 10-year program of $819 million.

Seventy two per cent of the 10-year capital budget will be invested in renewing Burlington’s aging infrastructure.

A breakdown of spending for the 2019 capital budget of $96.4 million includes:

We have ream upon ream of data that sits on computer hard drives or dervers - Burlington wants to let the public at some of it instead of it all going down some kinf of a tunel to information never, never land.

Burlington has to do a major upgrade of its information technology systems – some of it is urgently needed.

• $49.5 million, the largest component, for roadways
• $10.1 million for facilities and buildings
• $8.4 million for parks and open spaces
• $6.3 million in storm water management
• $10.6 million towards fleet vehicles and equipment
• $9.5 million for information technology
• $0.9 million for local boards (Burlington Public Library, Burlington Performing Arts Centre, Art Gallery of Burlington, Burlington Museums)
• $1.1 in parking.

Some highlights of the 2019 capital budget include:

Burlington Transit getting new buses - to deliver less service.

Burlington Transit getting new buses – to deliver less service.

• $1.9 million in funding to improve public transit with the purchase of three new conventional buses
• $234,000 in funding to purchase one new para-transit bus
• $550,000 in funding to build a new splash pad in Brant Hills Community Park
• $450,000 in funding for a new sports lighting system for the ball diamond and pathways at Maple Park
• $600,000 in funding for new amenities at Tansley Woods Park.

Council was able to whittle away some of the Finance department recommendation of $96.8 million down to $96.4 million.

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Mayor has her finger prints all over the 2019 budget - she will deliver on the promise.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

February 27th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

As city council works its way through the 2019 budget, determined, it would appear, to come in with a tax increase of not more than2.99% over what they dinged the public for last year, a number of things become evident.

The Mayor is front and center on this budget.

Reserves are not just money that is kept for a rainy day

And a new expense doesn’t just get added to the base budget where Mayor Marianne Meed Ward believes it gets forgotten.

Mayor Meed Ward

No doubt about who is steering the direction the 2019 budget is going in – Mayor Med Ward is very hands on.

Mayor Meed Ward is all over this budget; she speaks on every item, listens carefully to staff and will adjust her thinking when she hears a good argument.

She is keeping staff on their toes – and letting the Finance department know that she, the Mayor, doesn’t see those reserves as sacrosanct.

Municipalities are not allowed to show a deficit. They rely on reserves when income doesn’t match expenses.

When it looks as if there isn’t going to be enough revenue the municipality will borrow. Debt for Burlington is set at not more than 15% of revenue which is defined as what can be collected through property taxes.

In the municipal world they never know what is going to hit them next: a flood, an ice storm or a winter when snowfall exceeds what was expected – and with climate change the word “expected” isn’t something that makes sense anymore.

During the current budget discussions Meed Ward made it clear that asking her to go along with the addition of staff isn’t a given.

The Joseph Brant Museum people made a request for staff needed to operate the museum expansion expected to open around July of this year.

Any new people were going to be needed on an ongoing basis going forward – it would make sense to add those costs to the base budget – no?

Meed Ward didn’t see it quite that way. She was prepared to go along with new staff costs on a one time basis and have the museum staff return the following year and let council know how they had done in terms of revenue. She wanted the museum people to know that she expected the museum to earn at least a part of their keep.

It would be a little on the harsh side to say that the Mayor was being hard nosed – but she is certainly not being a push over. If Burlington’s bureaucrats want public money for their operations – they are going to have to show this council that they are going to put the funds to good use and bring back as much as they can as a return.

House view west

Joseph Brant Museum – undergoing a rebuild – scheduled to open in July, will look a lot different.

There was a staff Direction included for the Executive Director of the Museum that set out what was expected of her – Barb Teatero had left the meeting before that document got read into the record.

The Mayor is working with five people who are new to the world of municipal finance. One would hope that much of this new approach to financing city operations rubs off on these new Councillors – Meed Ward isn’t going to be Mayor for life. Our guess – two terms and she will be off for bigger things.

Shawna looking lost

Councillor Stolte on the right with Councillor Nisan during budget discussions.

When determining who the Standing Committee Chairs would be, Meed Ward didn’t have much to pick from. Ward 4 Councillor Stolte struggles at times with the numbers side of things, Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna doesn’t always fully grasp what the issue is, Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan seems to want to align himself with ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman but also wants to go out on his own – he just isn’t sure quite where that is.

Angelo + Kelvin

Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith explaining a point to ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna.

Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith certainly understands the numbers – at times he seems positively amazed at what goes on in the world of municipal finance.

Kearns - office art

Ward 2 Councillor with art by a local painter in her office that has a lot of non issue furniture as well.

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns has a sound understanding of what she has to do and has surprised many with the way she handles herself. She has the most developed sense of humour on this council and doesn’t let anything on the numbers side get past her –at least not so far.

As for Councillor Sharman, ward 5, he appears to suffer some indigestion when he sees the way Mayor Meed Ward drains funds from the surplus accounts.

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Council very close to getting the budget increase number the Mayor wanted - a full 1% less than what staff came forward with.

Budget 2018 ICONBy Pepper Parr

February 26th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It has been chop, chop, chop at the Operational budget review meeting that started this morning.

City staff came in with a proposed tax increase of 3.99% – Mayor Meed Ward said she liked the look of 2.99% – and at noon this council had the amount whittled down to 3.1%

This new Council is looking to the reserve funds for the dollars that are needed to pay for some of the new asks. They actually debated on whether or not they would hire new bus drivers for the new buses they approved of last night.

Museum Teatero

Brant Museum Executive Director left the Standing Committee meeting before getting the wording on the Staff Direction that was prepared for her.

The Brant Museum got a close close look – and had its funding request handled as a one time expense – council wants to see what the Museum staff can do on the revenue side.

Kelvin Angelo MMW

Councillors Galbraith, Bentevegna and Mayor Meed Ward worked at lessening the new spending and using reserve funds to pay for new services.

This is a different council – one that talks openly about how big an advocate ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte has become for the fire department. There is a ride on a fire truck in the works for her. Mayor Meed Ward seems intent on being on that fire truck as well.

Good work so far for this council.

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What Buildings, Cars and Trees Have in Common

opiniongreen 100x100By Jim Feilders

February 25th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

Building height and tree removal are like car speed.

There is no maximum.

After a certain point you pay for it in the form of a fine.

The higher the building, the more you pay the government.

The more trees removed, the more you pay the government.

The more you speed, the more you pay the government.

The Planning Act of Ontario has what is known as a Section 37 which allows a developer to offer a benefit to a municipality for additional height. There is no specific rate for the size of the benefit and the additional height permitted.

Section 37 Benefits
Burlington heights1 to 5 storeys over the limit, XXX per floor
6 to 10 storeys over the limit, XXX per floor
11 to 20 storeys over the limit, $26,316 per floor*
21 to 30 storeys over the limit, XXX per floor
30+ storeys over the limit, XXX per floor

The Highway Traffic Act of Ontario sets out what it is going to cost when you exceed the speed limits.

Speeding fines1-19 km/h over the speed limit is a $2.50/km speeding fine.
20-29 km/h over the speed limit is a $3.75/km speeding fine.
30-49 km/h over the speed limit is a $6.00/km speeding fine.
50+ km/h over the speed limit comes with a court decided fine.

Burlington Roseland Pilot Private Tree Bylaw set out what it will cost to remove trees of a specific size

Tree removal size30 to 50 cm, $1400 per tree removed
Over 50 cm, $2100 per tree removed
Specialty and boundary trees, see details

That is the Law

If nothing is done, exit signs on the QEW coming from Hamilton might well say:

Next Exit Burlington Downtown, Brant Street
CAUTION
Tall Buildings
Narrow Streets
No Sun
No Trees
No Oxygen
No Beach
No Parks
No Parking
No Transit (call Uber)
No Grocery Stores
No Community Gardens
PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK

Next Exit Burlington GO Station Mobility Hub, Guelph Line
CAUTION

No Development for 20 Years

Next Exit Oakville Downtown, Trafalgar Road

Low Rise Buildings
Wide Tree Lined Streets
Sun
Trees
Oxygen
Waterfront Park
Community Parks
Parking
Public Transit
Grocery Stores
Community Gardens
Boating, Swimming, Museums, Shopping, Libraries

Developers Proceed to GO Station Intensification Area

What can be done to create a vibrant Burlington downtown?

Community benefits increased to $500,000 per floor to pay for infrastructure, affordable housing and sustainable development.

City wide private tree bylaw requiring equivalent caliper diameter replacement on site, with no cash in lieu (same as Site Plan Application Guidelines Section 9).

Rezone employment lands for mixed use with minimum job criteria.

Rezone religious institution blocks for mixed use with minimum affordable housing criteria.

Enforce Sustainable Building and Development Guidelines by passing net zero energy/net zero carbon/net zero waste building bylaw.

Feolders-with-unit-300x266Jim Feilders is an engineer by training and an environmentalist by choice.  He drives a hybrid car, heat and air conditions his house at a cost of of approximately $375 a year. The views expressed here are solely his  own and not necessarily those of the various organizations with which he is associated.

 

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29 Storey Pearl and Lakeshore Proposal Ignores Entire Planning Context

 

opinionviolet 100x100By Roland Tanner

February 23, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

If the new 29 storey proposal for Lakeshore and Pearl is ultimately approved at the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal (LPAT), and forced on Burlington in a form anything like this first proposal, ECoB Engaged Citizens of Burlington, believes we are seeing an Ontario-wide collapse in the ability of municipalities to govern their own planning and development.

The public meeting held for the Carriage Gate development at 2069-2079 Lakeshore Road and 383-385 Pearl Street on January 29th was one of the most heated yet held in Burlington. Over two hours, residents at a packed Art Gallery of Burlington submitted the numerous objections and reservations they had with the proposed 29 storey development. No citizen spoke in favour of the development.

While ECoB continues to stress that it does not oppose reasonable development or intensification, it absolutely believes developers have an obligation to work within the in-force and provincially-approved planning context established by democratically elected councils.

Residents have recently expressed their preferences in unambiguous terms about over-development in downtown. It is therefore dismaying to see proposals coming to City Hall at a rapid rate which don’t just exceed planning maximums, but completely ignore the entire planning context that Council has established over the last decade and a half.

Pearl and LakeshoreThis new proposal from Carriage Gate (the developer behind the 421 Brant St development which led to the creation of ECoB) suggests a level of massing, setbacks and overall height that massively exceeds both the in force Official Plan and the ‘Grow Bold’ Official Plan introduced by the last council. Regardless of one’s opinions at the 2018 municipal election, this development completely disregards all attempts by Council to moderate development downtown.

Here are just some of the concerns raised by residents, which, according to how the planning process is intended to work, should be addressed before this proposal comes to council for approval.

Increase on already excessive ground-level windspeeds on Lakeshore/Pearl
Loss of commercial space.
Lack of justification for exceeding proposed Official Plan by 12 storeys.
Traffic impact.
Dramatically lower parking provision than required by by-laws.
Need for City Planning Department to respond in time on all applications to avoid automatic appeals.
Practicalities of reversing delivery and garbage trucks.
Lack of respect for residents in proposals which ignore all City Planning objectives and maximums.
Need for 3-D models
Need for any Chapter 37 benefits to be honoured and not reneged on.
Possibility of impact of failure to provide Chapter 37 benefits promised on other developments.

Pearl Street Cafe was a recent Carnacelli property acquisition - part of a small land assembly that reaches down to Lakeshore Road.

Pearl Street Cafe was a recent Carnacelli property acquisition – part of a small land assembly that reaches down to Lakeshore Road.

ECoB believes this proposal is the most obvious case yet of over-development in downtown Burlington. While we hope, and aspire, to work collaboratively with developers to make their proposals align better with residents’ objectives, there seems little way in which this development, even if scaled dramatically back, would reflect the democratically expressed preferences of the residents of Burlington.

We believe this development is likely to be a test case, not just for the new council, but for the role of municipalities and local democracy in Ontario. The outcome will tell us much about the power of municipalities versus the power of developers to demand, and receive, approval for developments which bear no relation to legally adopted and provincially endorsed Official Plans.

Roland Tanner is an academic, a community activist, a member of the Shape Burlington Report committee and a candidate in the last municipal election. He is also vice chair of ECoB and has a very dry sense of humour

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Minister wants to 'speed up the time it takes to get the right kind of housing built in the right places' - music to the ears of the developers?

News 100 redBy Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

February 22nd, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward released the basics of a letter she received recently from the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. We will let the Mayor speak for herself.

My office recently received a letter from Minister Steve Clark of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing regarding their work on the provincial government’s Housing Supply Action Plan.

Minister Clark outlined their desire “to take swift action to streamline the development approvals system” and “speed up the time it takes to get the right kind of housing built in the right places”. He further explained that “land use planning and development approvals are critical to achieving housing and job- related priorities” in our communities.

I agree with these assertions and am glad to see their continued commitment to expediting these processes. As part of the new Red Tape Red Carpet Task Force that my office has initiated to support local business attraction and growth, I am committed to cutting red tape for development applications that are supported by council and the community.

The Minister’s office continues to consult on proposed changes to the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe and review the Planning Act and Provincial Policy Statement as well, with the intention to bring forward legislation and policy changes in the coming months.

While Minister Clark’s letter advises local municipalities to consider pausing on activities that may be impacted, such as Official Plan reviews, I want to reinforce that until we get more specific details from the Province related to the municipal land use planning process, the City of Burlington will continue to move forward as planned with our review of the Official Plan as per the motion approved by City Council on February 5th.

On a related matter, I am disappointed to learn today that the province has announced the June 30th closing of the Local Planning Appeal Support Centre (LPASC), a resource that offers support to the public in navigating both land use planning matters and the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal. Public participation, a vital part of democratic community planning, should not be sacrificed in the name of ill- defined or non-existent efficiencies.

The best way to save time and money is to eliminate the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal altogether. The tribunal, like the Ontario Municipal Board it replaced, provides unelected and inefficient involvement in planning matters that are best left to local councils, unnecessarily slowing down the development process.

Leaving planning in local municipal hands would not only speed approvals and remove red tape, but also provide more incentives to the development industry to work with municipalities and their residents to plan full communities rather than just build housing.

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