Will ECoB have grounds to appeal the 421 Brant project? And what will the city get in the way of community benefits - and how are those benefits calculated?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

February 20, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Where is ECoB and their plans to appeal the decision to approve that 23 storey at the north east corner of Brant and James opposite city hall? The on across the street from city hall.

The question being asked is: Can council overturn the 5-2 vote on the 23 storey building at 421 Brant, to stop the project?

421 Brant

Sometime in the year 2020 people will be looking out from those balconies and the Brant Street we know today will be a thing of the past. The tomato processing plant that used to be where the Waterfront hotel is today is also a thing of the past as is the Riviera Motel. The world does move on.

Answer: Technically, the final decision on 421 Brant has not been made; that won’t happen until the amending bylaws come forward for a council vote.

Usually, the bylaws are presented at the same time as the vote on the application, except when community benefits are negotiated. Those are negotiated after council votes on an application, and the benefits come back for final vote alongside the amending bylaw.

Community benefits are being negotiated for this development, because of the increased height/density, the bylaws and community benefits will come back at a future date (likely in the spring) for council vote. That vote will be the final decision on the matter.

When that final vote is taken ECoB then has something they can appeal.

Council could choose at that time NOT to approve the amending bylaws, which would stop the project. That is unlikely but technically possible.

The fact that the final decision on this matter hasn’t yet been made is why in December the Engaged Citizens of Burlington could not file an Ontario Municipal Board appeal of the council “decision” on 421 Brant; a decision hasn’t been made until there is a vote on the bylaws, which hasn’t happened yet. The bylaw vote triggers the appeal period to file an appeal with the OMB (or the new Land Planning Appeals Tribunal).

Reconsideration Motions:

In general terms, council can choose at any time to “reconsider” a vote – (but that doesn’t apply in this case because the final vote hasn’t yet occurred).

A motion to reconsider an item requires a 5-2 vote to get the motion to the floor; and if that passes, a simple 4-3 majority is all that is needed to make a new decision on the item.

Only someone who voted in the affirmative on the original motion can present a motion to reconsider the decision.

web

Taylor said he voted for the 23 storeys but was going to ensure that buildings on Lakeshore and Brant didn’t go higher than 17 storeys. The the OMB gives a developer four blocks to the west approval to put up 26 storeys. would that cause Taylor to have another change of heart?

 

Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster thinking through the answer to a question. Tends to be cautious.

Councillor Blair Lancaster might get soft and decide that 23 storeys is too much. Unlikely though.

That means one of Councillors Taylor, Craven, Sharman or Lancaster would have to move a motion to reconsider and then five of the seven members would have to vote for that motion.

Looks pretty slim doesn’t it?

And the OMB decision that gave the ADI Development Group the right to put up a 26 story tower just blocks away kind of makes the idea of an appeal questionable.

The matter keeping the development away from city council is determining just what the community benefit are going to be.

Many people wonder just what does a developer have to give the city in the way of community benefits. How is that benefit calculated?

In the planning world the benefit is called an “uplift”

A calculation is done on the increased value of land as a result of a rezoning, the idea being that land zoned at 8 storeys will be worth more than land zoned at 4 storeys.

The land in question is 421, 425, 427, 429, and 431 Brant St. and 2007 to 2015 on James St. Whatever they were worth with a four storey zoning is the base value – what would the properties be worth if zoning were increased to 23 storeys.  One of the properties was already zoned at 12 storeys.

421 Brant st frontage

How much are these properties worth with their current zoning and how much would they be worth with the zoning that is being applied for? 50% of the increased value of the land will get paid to the city for community benefits.

Once that increase in value is calculated (called “value uplift), typically the city takes 50% of that, in cash or other benefits, or a combination of the two.

The value that is determined is not related to the number of additional units a developer will be able to create and sell – It is not related to the market value of the additional units that could be built as a result of a rezoning to increase height or density.

It is related to what the increased value of the land becomes – a fine distinction.

That equation will surprise a lot of citizens.

Some of the content in this article was copied from the A Better Burlington website.

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Can the ADI development on Martha be appealed - yes but the basis of an appeal is very very limited.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

February 15th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Those unhappy with the Ontario Municipal Board decision will look for ways to appeal the decision.
OMB decisions can and have been appealed but only on an error on a question of law.

nautique-elevation-from-city-july-2016An appeal cannot be made on a matter of evidence that was presented. If the hearing officer, in this case Susan de Avellar Schiller, made a reference to or relied on some law and was wrong – that can be appealed.

The process for this is a motion to the Divisional Court for an order of the Court allowing the appeal to proceed.

In certain rare circumstances, you may be able to seek Judicial Review in the Divisional Court.

People usually hire a lawyer to appeal to a court or to ask for a Judicial Review because of the complicated procedures and issues.

The starting point for a Judicial Review is a call to the Registrar of the Court for more information about court processes and procedures.

If the Mayor’s blog and the media release from the city are any indication, the city is going to gulp, swallow the decision and move on. The spin, so far, has been that the OMB decision is all the more reason to press on with approving the draft Official Plan.

There is a Statutory meeting at which residents can have their say on the draft Official Plan:

Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018
1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
City Hall, Council Chambers, level 2
426 Brant Street

That draft might want some additional modification based on the OMB decision. Taking their lumps for the failures in the city’s case – and that is what they were, the city now needs to take the time to fully assess what the decision says and figure out how to live with it and work with it going forward.

This isn’t the time for hasty decisions.  It is the time to fess up and apologize for mistakes.

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward has set out her position on the decision, the Mayor has thanked staff for all their fine work.  The Gazette reached out to Mayoralty candidate Mike Wallace for a comment, they have said they will get back to us – nothing yet.

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

By Jim Younopinionandcommentg

February 14th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The magnitude of the changes in a six block area in the downtown core are quite stunning.

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 14th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

For those concerned about what is happening to their city and what the downtown core is going to look like the following numbers are pretty brutal.

22 – 23 – 24 – 26

The Bridgewater condominium will top out at 22 storeys.

The 421 Brant project has been approved for 23 storeys

The 409 Brant project (where Elizabeth Interiors used to operate) is asking for 24 storeys

The ADI Development Nautique has just has its 26 story project approved by the Ontario Municipal Board.

Joe Gaetan, a downtown resident who delegated against more height said: “the city is a goner”

In a prepared statement Meed Ward said:

“The OMB decision to approve the 26-storey ADI proposal at Martha/Lakeshore is devastating for the downtown. This will be the new precedent height.

“The decision referred to the Bridgewater at 22 storeys (and other tall buildings in the area); it also referred to the fact that the city had “received” other 23 storey applications (how is that relevant is anyone’s guess; these were only “applications” with no approval at the time of the OMB hearing).

“I am not confident that by rushing adoption of the proposed new Official Plan we will gain more control over planning; the proposed plan calls for 17 storeys for this site. The OMB approval is nine storeys higher. The Brant and James corners (north and south) are both 17 storeys in the proposed new Official Plan, but council approved 23 storeys on the north side and we just got an application for 24 storeys on the south side.

“Developers can, and will, continue to ask for more than what is permitted in the existing or proposed plan.

“The decision also referred to the downtown as an Urban Growth Centre and transit hub, thus the development needed to meet certain densities appropriate for those designations.

“Until we remove those two designations from the downtown (Urban Growth Centre, Mobility Hub), we will not wrestle control of planning back into the hands of staff, council and the community. (Credit goes to Gary Scobie for suggesting these designations be removed, which is what led to my motion.)

“My motion Jan 24 to move the Urban Growth Centre from the downtown to the existing Burlington GO Station Mobility Hub (as Oakville has done to protect their downtown), and to eliminate the downtown as a Mobility Hub, failed 6-1.

“In light of this OMB decision, we have to reconsider this vote. I will bring a reconsideration motion to the next Official Plan statutory public meeting (starts Feb. 27, 1pm and 6:30, extending to Feb. 28 if another day is needed)

“What can residents do? Use your democratic tools:

“There is a provincial election coming up June 7. Ask all candidates who are running if they will work with the city to remove the Urban Growth Centre and Mobility Hub designations from the downtown.

“There is a municipal election Oct. 22. Ask all candidates who are running if they will work with the region to remove the Urban Growth Centre and Mobility Hub designations from the downtown. There is still time: our new plan isn’t in effect until the Region approves it, which won’t happen until the Region begins its review of its own plan in 2019.”

In its media release the city in part said:

In its decision, … the OMB states that the city’s current land-use policy for the site does not reflect Provincial Policy.

As the OMB noted in its ruling, “the evidence suggests to the Board that the current designation is no longer appropriate for the site and a proposal that is taller and more transit-supportive is both preferable and better implements the transit-oriented and intensification policies of the province.

The OMB further notes that “While the provincial policy regime emphasizes the importance of a municipality’s official plan, there is no suggestion in the provincial policy regime that a municipality’s official plan may undercut provincial policy.”

Mary Lou Tanner, the Deputy City Manager, comments: “In light of the OMB’s ruling, it is even more important that the city move forward with the adoption of the new Official Plan. As this ruling shows, our current OP is a liability; it is out of date and is open to challenge. The area-specific plan for downtown Burlington will strengthen the city’s position on development in the downtown by replacing outdated polices with a plan that better reflects provincial policy, while also protecting the character of the city.

 

Downtown 4 projects

The black diamond shapes show where the four developments are going to be located.

Rendering with Bake Shop

409 Brant – south of James Street. Application is for 24 storeys.

nautique-elevation-from-city-july-2016

Nautique – Lakeshore at Martha – OMB approved for 26 storeys.

421 Brant

421 Brant, north side if James – city council approved for 23 storeys.

The Delta Hotel will give the city some first class convention space that could radically change the way the city is seen by the small corporate convention community. Add the Performing Arts Centre to the portfolio and the city has a good offering. Now to put a team in place that could work with the Delta Hotel organization.. We don't have that in place today.

Bridgewater development – under construction at Lakeshore and Elizabeth – 22 storey condominium

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ADI Development wins their case at the OMB.

News 100 redBy Staff

February 13, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

nautique-elevation-from-city-july-2016

Nautique, the ADI Development project has been approved by the Ontario Municipal Board.

The ADI Group has won their argument before the Ontario Municipal Board to build a 26 storey structure at the corner of Martha and Lakeshore Road.

Details to follow.

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City holds additional casual public meetings on the Grow Bold concept that is driving the creation of a new Official Plan.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

February 13th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It was a respectable turn out

The high point had about 35 people in the room along with five staff members from the Planning Department.
Large maps were set up on easels along with copies of the latest versions of the draft of the new Official Plan in 3 inch binders.

Rendering with Bake Shop

Rendering of a 24 storey structure a developer wants to build across the street from the 23 storey tower already approved by the city.

The interest in the Official Plan has been highest in the downtown core where the city is going to see a 23 storey tower rise opposite city hall. For those who live downtown the idea of seeing something so big so close is, to some, frightening.

That there is a 22 story tower under construction a five minute walk from city hall doesn’t seem to be as bothersome.

The city has planned Town Hall type meetings where people can meet informally with Planning department staff to ask questions and seek clarification.

Andrea Smith

Andrea Smith, the planner doing much of the heavy lifting getting the new Official Plan written and revised and ready to go before city council on April 4th for approval.

Andrea Smith, the planner who has been doing much of the actual writing of the new Official Plan, was the lead person in the room.

Councillors Paul Sharman and Jack Dennison were on hand; Sharman was briefing Mark Carr, host of Cogeco TV’s The Issue, on what the mobility hubs were all about. Not sure Carr was getting the most balanced explanation.

The meeting was held in the Haber Recreation Centre, the most vibrant place in the city where hundreds of kids are on the gym floor practicing basketball or volleyball.

Lancaster as Dep Mayor Sept 28-15

Councillor Blair Lancaster once sat in for the Mayor during a Council meeting.

Missing in action was the ward Councillor Blair Lancaster.

Mark Bales, lead talker for Carriage Gate, the corporation that has city council approval to build that 23 story tower opposite city hall, was working the room and making sure that the message was being delivered.

ECoB, the Engaged Citizens of Burlington, are waiting in the wings to file an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board arguing that the development doesn’t comply with the Official Plan that the city is working from.

When ECoB met with the Mary Lou Tanner, Deputy City Manager last week they asked if an additional public session could be held during the day time that would allow seniors to get out and take part. Ward 2 Councillor Meed Ward supported that idea – there will be a meeting at the city hall on the 15th from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.

The casual – opportunity to ask questions meetings – are being followed by a Statutory meeting required by the provincial Planning Act; an occasion when anyone can delegate and give a ten minute view point on what they like and don’t like about the proposed Official Plan.

Expect this to be another boisterous meeting during which those opposed to the plan press city council to defer the plan until after the October municipal election.

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Civil, civic conversations. If you can’t do that – don’t waste your time writing.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

February 13th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It was the call for a Task Force on Bullying and Harassment that got us started on this. Then the note from    James Schofield that led to our asking: “Are we part of the problem – we thought we were part of the solution.”

The Gazette opened up a comments section on the newspaper and the response was robust.  But we began to notice that people were disrespecting one another and we began to tighten up the rules on what was acceptable.

We then began to look at the comments section of the Gazette and decided that we needed to tighten up on what we were permitting.

censored

Removing content that is disrespectful is not censorship.

We learned that this isn’t going to be a simple process.

We edited a comment from a reader taking out disrespectful language – here is what came back

“I’m out” said Michael Drake. He added: “I appreciate the Gazette trying to cover these issues but can’t abide censorship of any kind. Time to go yell at some clouds.

“Good luck everyone (that includes you too James).”

The comment that we edited removed the name calling. We wanted the comments section to be a place where civil, civic conversations could take place. So Michael will no longer be with us because he feels respect for those we share this planet with is akin to censorship.

James Schofield put it very well when he said in the article that “I think the recognition that commenting on your site is a privilege, not a right, and certainly not a “free speech” right, is also important.”

Civil, civic conversations. If you can’t do that – don’t waste your time writing.

Related content:

Lancaster calls for a Task Force

Whose interests are being served

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The last farm house in what was once Appleby Village was rich in history and the city's farming past.

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 12th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

When we published the story on the Taylor farm and the house on the property at Appleby Line at Mainway we didn’t have access to much in the way of pictures.

A Gazette reader with a keen interest in heritage had taken some snapshots and made them available to us.

Site with address and backhoe

Backhoe sitting on the plot of land where what became known as the Taylor house existed. Not only was the structure the last farmhouse in what was once called Appleby Village it was demolished without a permit.

Historical picture

Burlington once had many houses like this – they were the homes of farmers who worked the land that is now covered by six lane expressways and factories. Prize Short Horn cattle and proud Clydesdale horses were in the field and milk sold for 10 cents a gallon and one cow earned the farmer $5.34

“We all understand that we need to progress and modernize” said our reader, “ As long as it is done with collaborative stewardship.” Nothing collaborative about the sound of a backhoe tearing away at the walls of a house that is the last piece of what was once a small village.

This is one of the last remnants of the Village of Appleby, which was almost entirely demolished in the 1950s to make way for service roads for the expanded QEW. The house is set back from the road, with a well kept lawn and rows of trees on either side of the house. The landscaping is traditional.

It was built in 1896 for Charles Fothergill; there is a date stone and name found engraved in the chimney.
In 1877 the property was owned by John Fothergill.

rubble

Somewhere in that rubble there is a stone with the date the house was built and who it was built for – the people who arranged for the demolition chose not to collaborate with the city to salvage some of our history – no wonder we know so little about ourselves.

According to Memories of Pioneer Days, pp. 171-172, John Fothergill was the only son (of ten children) of Christopher and Frances Fothergill, who immigrated from Applbey, Westmoreland, England to settle on this new world Appleby Line in the early 1830s.

John married Charlotte Tuck and in 1878 purchased the Balsam Lodge farm from Arnanda Baxter.

In 1889 Charles, their eldest son, married Amelia Cole and took over this part of the Fothergill farm property on the east side of Appleby Line. His younger brother Christopher went to the Yukon and is mentioned in Laura Berton’s book, I Married the Klondike…

The third son, Thomas, married Lucy Matthewman of Appleby and farmed the Fothergill property on the west side of Appleby Line.

Burlington crest - with city reference

The city crest pays homage to a proud past.

According to an article by Alana Perkins in the 24 May 1997 issue of the Spectator, their house was the Lucas Farmhouse which was dismantled, moved, and rebuilt at the (former) Ontario Agricultural Museum at Milton.
According to Murray Fisher’s ‘Farewell to the Garden of Canada’ (1984), this farm was owned by H. Featherstone, Mixed farming, sold to J. Taylor, Mixed Farming.

Ruth and Jack Taylor were the last people to live in the house.

The property is identified as “employment land” and given its location that is likely what it will remain as.

One wonders if that stone with the date and name were recovered during the demolition.

There are rules against tearing down a building without a permit. The fine is reported to be $2000 an d it is the city that will have to take any action that is going to be taken.

Expect the city manager to be tough on this one.

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Two open houses and a Statutory public meeting on the new Official Plan scheduled. Planners want council to approve the plan in April.

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 11th, 2018

BURLINGTON ON

 

The issue that has some of the people in Burlington quite upset is the subject of two Open Meetings this week; one at city hall and another in the Alton community at the Haber Recreational Centre.

These meetings are an opportunity for the public to ask questions; in its announcement the city has said there will not be formal presentation at the Open meetings but planning staff will be on hand to answer questions.

The proposed new Official Plan articulates Burlington’s vision to the planning horizon of 2031 and beyond, and has been developed in recognition of the opportunities and challenges ahead as the city continues to evolve.

421 Brant

The 421 Brant development has been approved by city council. The project went through some significant changes and was originally going to be a 12 storey structure that was a rather squat and unattractive looking building. There were also extensive negotiations between the developer and the planners.

The issue for some is the high rise towers that are going to be built in the downtown core.  A 23 storey structure has already been approved by city council on a 5-2 vote.  A second application has been submitted for a 24 storey structure across the street from the 23 storey tower.

Rendering with Bake Shop

An application for this 24 storey tower was submitted last week – it is across the street from city hall.

Two Open House opportunities:
Monday, Feb. 12, 2018
6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
Haber Community Centre, Community Room 2-West
3040 Tim Dobbie Drive

Thursday Feb. 15, 2018
6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
City Hall, Room 247, level 2
426 Brant Street

These two meetings will be followed by a Statutory Public Meeting at which people can delegate and provide comments to City Council on the proposed new Official Plan (February 2018), and for Council to consider the feedback prior to adopting the new Official Plan.
The provincially mandated Statutory Public Meeting will be held on:

Site - south of 421

The red outline is the location of the approved 23 storey tower – the black outline is the location for a 24 storey tower application that was filed with the city last week.

Site map

This part of the downtown core is under immense development pressure. Most of the property on Brant Street as far north as Fairview has been assembled. The city is dealing with at least ten more that are in the que waiting for a the planners to get to and through all the supporting data.

Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018
1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
City Hall, Council Chambers, level 2
426 Brant Street

Delegations are invited to register but are not required to register in advance to speak. All delegations are expected to be accommodated in the afternoon or evening session. Additional time may be scheduled if required.

The Official Plan is a statutory document that sets out land use policy to guide growth, land use planning and development approvals in Burlington. The Planning Act requires that municipalities revise their Official Plans no less frequently than 10 years for a new official plan and every five years for an update to an official plan.

The City initiated an Official Plan Review project in 2011 which included policy, research, analysis, studies, staff reports and community feedback on a number of topics. The review of the City’s current Official Plan demonstrated significant changes were required to the document to reflect the city’s new priorities established through the city’s Strategic Plan. As a result, a new Official Plan was prepared.

The proposed new Official Plan project was undertaken to clarify Burlington’s local vision for the future, as well as to conform to Halton Region’s Official Plan. It also implements Council’s direction to accommodate growth within the urban area and protect Burlington’s rural boundary. The Plan directs growth in Burlington based on the principles of protecting the natural environment and agricultural lands, building healthy communities, increasing travel options, making efficient use of existing and planned infrastructure, and maintaining a strong economy.

The proposed new Official Plan (February 2018) contains revisions based on feedback received at the November 30, 2017 Statutory Public Meeting and January 23, 2018 Public Meeting, and through written submissions. The proposed new Official Plan also contains the proposed new Downtown Precinct Plan and associated polices, resulting from the Downtown Mobility Hub Area Specific Planning process.

The proposed new Official Plan (February 2018) as well as a tracked change version can be accessed:

• online at www.burlington.ca/newop

• for viewing at the Clerks Department (City Hall, 426 Brant Street, Main Floor) from Monday to Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm.

• for viewing at the City’s public libraries.

A staff report concerning the proposed new Official Plan (February 2018) will be available for public review on February 16, 2018. This report will provide an overview of the changes made to the Official Plan based on the feedback received on the proposed new Official Plan (November 2017). The report will be available on the City’s website at www.burlington.ca/calendar by searching for the meeting date for the Planning and Development Committee, which is a standing Committee of Council. Copies of the reports can also be picked up at the City’s Clerks Department on the main level of City Hall.

Since this is a Statutory Public Meeting, you do not have to register in advance in order to speak. Speakers are limited to a maximum of 10 minutes each and are webcast online. If you have presentation materials, they must be submitted to Ms. Rudy by noon the day before the meeting to allow for their distribution and review by all members of the Committee. Please note, the content of all submissions is considered to be public and will be posted to the city’s website.

A staff report recommending adoption of the proposed new Official Plan is scheduled for consideration at the April 4, 2018 Planning and Development Committee meeting.

If you wish to be notified of the decision of Burlington City Council on the proposed new Official Plan, you must make a written request to Jo-Anne Rudy, Committee Clerk, City of Burlington, City Hall, 426 Brant Street, P.O. Box 5013, Burlington, Ontario, L7R 3Z6.

audience

Citizens listening to or waiting to delegate at city council.

If a person or public body does not make oral submissions at a public meeting or make written submissions to the City of Burlington before the proposed new Official Plan is adopted, the person or public body is not entitled to appeal the decision of The Regional Municipality of Halton (the approval authority) to the Ontario Municipal Board.

If a person or public body does not make oral submissions at a public meeting or make written submissions to the City of Burlington before the proposed new Official Plan is adopted, the person or public body may not be added as a party to the hearing of an appeal before the Ontario Municipal Board unless, in the opinion of the Board, there are reasonable grounds to add the person or public body as a party.

Meed Ward H&S

City Councillor Marianne Meed Ward has pressed her colleagues to defer the adoption of an Official Plan until after the October municipal election.

Two critical meetings have already taken place at city hall on the re-write of the Official Plan – November 20th, 2017 and January 23rd, 2018.

Both were contentious; the January meeting heard 35 delegations of which 34 were opposed to the plan as it was written and the time line.  The one in favour of the plan and the time line attached to it turns out to have been the planner who has been hired by the developer, Revenue Properties who submitted an application for a second high rise to go up on Brant Street across from city hall.

Many feel the time line is just too much too fast and have asked that any adoption of an Official Plan be delayed until after the October municipal election.  Councillor Marianne Meed Ward was the mover of the motion to defer and the only person who voted for it.

 

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Downtown resident responds to Councillor Sharman and his reasons for approving the 421 Brant Street 23 storey condo.

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 11th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Deborah Ruse was one of the 34 people who delegated to city council when the committee decision was made to approve the development (a 5-2 vote for the project) of the 421 Brant Street 23 storey condominium opposite city hall.

During the discussion after her delegation Ms Ruse said she was not aware of any Councillors’ reasons for support of the project.  Councillor Sharman corrected Ms Ruse saying he had made his reasons public in his newsletter, and offered to send it to her.  After doing some research on the points Sharman made in his Newsletter Ruse responded.

“I have some comments on your newsletter regarding the approval of the 421 Brant Street project. I hope these thoughts can project the strong feelings from many people in the community regarding Council’s confusing approval of this project. Especially given the current Official Plan guidelines, and other new motions which have recently been passed, particularly:

Direct the Director of City Building to modify the building height permissions of the Downtown Core Precinct so that development shall:

i) have a maximum height of 12 storeys; or
ii) have a maximum height which shall not exceed 17 storeys, subject to a site-specific Zoning By-Law

Amendment, with additional storeys above that permitted in the Downtown Core Precinct being provided in accordance with the following:

1. one additional storey for every 150 sq m of dedicated office and/or employment floor space; or

2. one additional storey for every 8 publicly accessible parking spaces provided in an underground parking structure.

As far as I am aware, the 421 Brant St project offers neither of these gains, with only 8 visitor parking spots and actually less office or retail space than what is there now. Could you please provide me your thoughts on this?

Here are the Ruse comments on the point made by Sharman in his Newsletter.  Sharman is in bold; Ruse is in regular typeface.

421 BrantA number of residents said they simply want to keep Brant street the way it is. – No, actually most delegates and people posting comments online said they want Brant St to be developed in accordance with the current OP (4-12 stories), or even the new OP (up to 17 stories)

Yet a discussion that focuses on one location and on one measure (i.e. height) without giving sufficient consideration to other important and complex matters will cause much long term, serious problems in the City that Council is focused on trying to address. – Delegates were addressing the issue at hand, the over-development of 421 Brant. We’ll get to the other ones now that we will be more aware. But we thought that developments would move forward according to the Official Plan in place, so we didn’t know we would have such drastic deviations. And citizens can comprehend complex issues, given a full explanation and time. It will just take time for citizens to catch up to Staff and Council once they have full explanations, to understand all the details.

Clearly, the owners had a right to build something new on the site that would be larger in scale. – Yes they do, and the right to build something larger than what is there is 12 stories, as in the current Official Plan.

Site map

City hall is across the street from the site. Another development application has been filed for the property to the south on Brant (left of the red hash marked site) The properties to the right will feel development pressure – mist have already been assembled.

Clearly, the City had created a plan to encourage redevelopment of the site with something new and large. – The plan the City had created says 4-12 stories on this site – this could be considered large vs the existing 2 story building (up to 8x as high).

Staff had to negotiate with developers over what design characteristics would be acceptable. Clearly, height is one such concern, but there are others. These include “massing”, set-backs, shadowing, parking, design and others. – One wonders what sort of negotiation was held – how did ‘negotiations’ go from 12 stories in the Official Plan to 23? And what about affordable units, green space, public parking, retail or office space gains? From the final plan none of these areas will be delivered to the level they could or should have been.

This was a requirement from the Province, not a suggestion. – But this location was not a required location. Location was up to our city councilors to plan – like in Oakville. How can Oakville be in compliance with their only intensification around a single GO station, when Burlington has 3 GO stations to intensify near? And actually, the Mayor has stated that we are meeting our provincial density targets currently.

3d rendering intersection

3d rendering showing the intersection of Brant and James

They calculated the number of square feet of residential space that would have been allowed in the 12-storey block building and redistributed the floor space in a design that has a smaller street level foot print, with a four storey “podium”, on top of which they then proposed a 19-storey “slender” tower. This design would satisfy all legal requirements. It also meant the developer was required to reduce the total amount of floor space in the building by 25%, part of which meant including less commercial and less retail space in the first four floors – First, how was the total square footage calculated? Only one property has allowance for 12 stories; the other 4-5 properties assembled were allowed 4 stories or 8 stories with community benefits so if the 12-story limit was applied to the whole property, it would have been over-calculated. Second, what “legal requirements” are you referring to? And third, how was the 25% reduction of total floor space calculated? I do not see a calculation for this in the planning report. What are the actual numbers leading to this percentage? And less commercial and retail space works for the developer because they don’t have to own and lease that space, constantly overseeing the tenants/leases, etc. It is much easier to sell a condo once and be done. Could you please provide feedback to these questions?

Finally, the residents’ discussion became a debate about personal preferences and opinions about how something might look without taking into account all the other considerations. – The residents were not allowed a discussion, so it did not become a debate about personal preferences – a Councilor, and later the Mayor, ASKED each delegator what their personal preference was – delegator’s mostly focused on asking why the planning department deviated so completely from the OP.

a reasonable compromise. – Given the citizen backlash, many would beg to differ that this is a reasonable compromise.

Burlington home prices increased 73% in the last 4 years.-  Royal LePage data: The average house price in Burlington in 2014 was $502,000 and today it is $750,000 so about a 66% increase. This only includes detached homes. It may vary a little depending on what and where we include.

Our goal is to increase the availability of housing for the young and old that they can afford – let’s ask 25-39 year olds in Burlington if they can afford the condo prices set for these buildings. And even if these young people can afford these condos, they won’t be able to stay long if they want to raise a family as there are not enough two- and three-bedroom units since a larger unit is “not as profitable, per square foot as a small unit. Developers will cater to the more profitable market segment, even if there is a strong market interest for two- and three-bedroom units. But it’s not the job of [the] Planning [Department] to maximize the profit of developers. Developers will argue that two- and three-bedroom units are not viable, but it’s false. Economic analysis shows that two- and three-bedroom units can be less profitable than one-bedroom or studios, but that’s not the same as saying that they aren’t viable”. This quote is from Brent Toderian (article by David Roberts, VOX, June 21, 2017)

421 James street rendering

3d rendering of the 421 development from James Street with city hall in the background. The condominium entrance is to be on the James Street side.

The plan is to allow only 5% of Burlington land to increase in density, most of which will be less than 11 floors and that will be along Fairview St., Plains Rd. and some areas around plazas – So then why was 23 stories downtown presented and approval?

Most of the Brant Street height will occur close to Burlington GO. Even that will not be anything like Toronto or Mississauga where 50 floors is common. We expect the maximum to be in line with the buildings at Burlington GO station which are more like 25. – So there will be buildings taller than 23 stories near the GO? And the towers in Toronto and Mississauga that are 50 floors are on major arterial roads of 4-6 lanes, or the Gardiner Expressway, not a 2-lane street. And if most of the Brant St height will occur close to the GO station, then how did this lower Brant St development get approval in this height bracket? Again, such a drastic deviation from the OP begs the question.

Sharman - bullying meet Feb 5-2018

Councillor Paul Sharman

Some people think the precise number of floors in a building is more important than everything. I disagree. – So do most of the delegators who spoke. The issue the public has is with Staff and Council providing an approval that deviates so glaringly from the OP.

As proof that this concern is city-wide and goes deep, look at the online comments about the approval of the 421 Brant St project from just one article published on the inhalton website. “23-Storey Condo Approved for Downtown Burlington” (by Alan Kan, November 17, 2017).

Each entry is from a different reader, tough to ignore.

very sad;
what’s the use of having a city bylaw then approving this?;
terrible decision;
no affordable [units];
agree there is a place for high-rise development in our city, but it is not in our very compact downtown core;
sad to see this happen;
destroying the core of Burlington;
we are not Toronto or Vancouver;
thanks Burlington city council;
it is a freaking disaster;
very disappointed that council have gone against the wishes of most Burlington citizens;
this building is far too tall for our downtown;
sad;
barely any traffic control to begin with let alone room for more traffic to come in;
it’s a mess;
supposed to have geared to income rentals in there;
sold out to the developers;
council hands out exemptions to the building codes/bylaws like its Halloween candy;
this is terrible;
downtown is already ridiculously congested;
total disgrace!;
awful idea;
such a nightmare;
would like to know what council is thinking;
bad decision;
try to find a parking spot like the rest of us who struggle to find a spot;
councilors and builders just don’t listen to us;
yet another monstrosity;
the roads are already a nightmare;
gridlock down there now;
traffic is going to be insane;
I don’t think council cares;
we don’t need it and we don’t want it;
these councilors they are not speaking for the residents of Burlington;
this is a travesty;
please no;
it’s just becoming a corridor of condos;
very sad;
why are we trying to be like Toronto?;
awful decision;
horrible decision;
we aren’t Toronto;
hate it!!;
very disappointed;
not impressed;
major fail;
terrible decision;
they will never listen to the people;
very sad;
high rise cement jungle on Brant St;
disgusting;
more traffic is gonna be awful;
traffic is terrible already;
shorten it and then I will accept it;
traffic is a mess down there now;
horrible idea;
terrible decision;
terrible news;
thumbs down symbol;
I lived in Van .. hated the downtown core;
we aren’t Toronto!;
sad;
so very sad;
turning into Toronto;
hate it;
very sad;
what do I think? Not much!;
very sad;
just shaking my head;
we don’t need this;
traffic chaos;
shake up council;
terrible decision;
short sighted;
shame; absurd;
not great decision;
what a mistake!;
no; 3 thumbs down;
BOO!;
5 thumbs down;
this is an abomination.

Is Paul Sharman a member of city council who has lost the ability to hear what residents are saying and has decided to dig in his heals and maintain his position despite the considerable protest against too much height in the downtown core?

The public does have the opportunity to turf a politician that is not listening to them – at this point there is no one prepared to run against Paul Sharman in ward 5.

That is a fact the citizens are going to have to contend with.

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ECoB responds to the announcement of the second condominium on Brant Street across from city hall - 24 storeys.

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 10th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It didn’t take the Engaged Citizens of Burlington (ECoB) to put out a response to the news of another high rise project for lower Brant Street.

ECoB said they were “expecting more new applications and we suspect 409 Brant is the first of many. Anybody who has been paying any attention to downtown development would have seen this coming”.

Rendering with Bake Shop

The Reserve Properties application was announced on Friday – 24 storeys with the retention of two historical properties on the south end – one on Brant and the other on James.

The ECoB team had a meeting with Deputy City Manager Mary Lou Tanner and several planning staff members on Thursday during which the 409 Brant application was not mentioned. News of the application came out early Friday.

ECoB has been warning council and staff that accepting the 421 Brant zoning amendment would open the door for other very hi-rise developments. “Despite assurances from council and staff, this is exactly what has happened. It is worth noting that the developers representative is the same Glenn Wellings who was so critical of citizen delegations on the Official Plan and suggested all were NIMBYs.”

421 Brant

City council approved the construction of the 23 storey 421 Brant project by a vote of 5-2.

The height allowance for 421 Brant street far exceeds the current Official Plan and the proposed new Official Plan.

This latest application 409m Brant – asks for even more height, “a contradiction of both Official Plans”.

ECoB said the mantra from City Hall has been that: “if we did not allow for height the developers would build ugly squat buildings”.

“Is this proposed development an attractive tall building?” asks ECoB

“Is the brick at the bottom supposed to maintain the character of Brant Street? Even if a few existing retailers survive, the character of Brant Street will be forever changed with the construction of this tower and however many more council and staff accede to. Engaged Citizens of Burlington has never believed that these heights satisfy good planning”.

ECoB is asking residents throughout the city to call and email all the Councillors and the Mayor to not ratify the application for 421 Brant Street. ECoB is pressing city council to truly listens to the residents and act on their behalf.

ECoB points out that numerous delegations were told that the 421 project would not be precedent. “The developers obviously think it is.”

Site - south of 421

The approved 23 storey condominium is shown is red – the application for a 24 storey tower on the south side of John Street is shown in black. Both are across the street from city hall.

The question that Council should be asking is this said ECoB – Does the City want to go to the OMB to defend their current official plan on behalf of the residents, or do they want to go to the OMB to fight against the residents?

ECoB is hosting a Municipal Election Workshop on February 22nd from 7-9pm at Tansley Woods Community Centre. Mark Carr will be moderating. The workshop is open to all residents who are thinking about running for city council.

The event is for volunteers who would like to help the candidate of their choice be successful or for those who want to know more about municipal politics as well.

Registration information along with members of the panel will be announced shortly.

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Developer wants to put 24 storey's across the street from city hall - matches the 23 storeys already approved on the north side of John Street.

News 100 redBy Staff

February 9th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

This story has been upgraded since it was originally published.

If you were uncomfortable with the development planned for the NE corner of Brant and James – opposite city hall – get used to the application that has been submitted to the city for 409 Brant. That is the former site of Elizabeth Interiors on the SE corner of Brant and James .

Revenue properties rendering

Proposed development for 409 Brant – former site of Elizabeth Interiors – it ain’t pretty.

Their application is for a 24 storey tower.

The provincial Planning Act requires the city to process every application.

A department that has been run close to ragged with the applications that are being submitted, nine in December and at least one more since then, has to process whatever comes in the door .

The application is for a 24-storey building at the South East corner of Brant & James, encompassing the Elizabeth Interiors site up to Kelly’s Bake Shoppe and East to John St.
The proposal calls for incorporating the Bake Shoppe building, as well as the Albert L. Schmid Jeweller, Watch and Clockmaker building facing John Street into the design.

Rendering with Bake Shop

The developer has kept the cupcake shop in the design. Not certain that it will be Kellys.

The purpose of the application is to amend the Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw to permit a 24 storey building, including 23 stories of residential and a one storey roof top amenity area.

The proposed building would include:

597 square metres of ground floor commercial and 227 residential units, five levels of underground parking with car access from John Street

Commercial units with front windows facing onto Brant Street, James Street and John Street.

There will be a public meeting – date not known yet.  Get there early – the room will be packed.

The applicant is Reserve properties, a Toronto based developer.

The developer’s planner is Glen Wellings who delegated for the Carriage Gate project.

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City has begun to gather data that will be used to shape the Cycling Plan.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

February 4th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

City Hall is inviting the public to share their thoughts and ideas about what would improve cycling in Burlington.

The feedback will be used to help shape the city’s new Cycling Plan which will guide the future of cycling infrastructure in the city.

Burlington is at a unique time in its history. In the past, growth has meant the development of new neighbourhoods but growth in the future looks very different for Burlington because our city has very little room left for traditional suburban-type development.

Cycling survey photo

Cycling as the city seems to want to portray it. Is it a realistic picture?

Instead of growing out, Burlington City Council has made the decision to grow up and intensify in key urban areas. This direction, approved through the city’s Strategic Plan in April 2016, will enable Burlington to curb sprawl, protect the rural area and make efficient use of land and infrastructure.

The 2016 Census data shows Burlington grew by 7,535 people between 2011 and 2016 – a 4.3% overall growth rate. The provincial Places to Grow policy mandates that Burlington plan for a population of 193,000 by 2031, however, the city will reach this population number within the next few years.

As the city plans for future population growth with documents like the proposed new Official Plan and Mobility Hubs, it must also plan for how people will move through the city.

Over the last 30 years, Burlington’s transportation network has accommodated growth by building more roadways. This strategy is no longer sustainable. The city does not have the space to build new roadways and the financial cost to maintain a larger network of roads is significant.

A 21st century city is built around a different transportation model, one designed to provide people of all ages and abilities with more travel choices for things like walking, transit and cycling.

Burlington’s Cycling Plan was last updated in 2009. Since that time, the following cycling investments have been made:

Implementation of over 200 kilometers of on-road and off-road cycling infrastructure

Trail - CentennialFour metre-wide multi-use paths paved along hydro corridors

The New Street Pilot Project was an experiment to reduce road capacity and add on-road buffered bike lanes.

That idea didn’t work out; after considerable public reaction the city decided to abandon that initiative. What city hall learned was that is was going to have to be much more transparent when new initiatives are being brought forward.

Among current initiatives are:

Consideration given to include cycling facilities as part of all new road reconstruction projects with a preference for implementing on-road bike lanes

The use of bright green pavement markings at major intersections to clearly mark cycling lanes.

The new Cycling Plan will build on these successes and recommend new programs and policies that seek to provide safe, comfortable, and convenient routes for cyclists of all ages and abilities.

How do people feel about the use of bicycles.  The graphic represents where public opinion was in 2009.  Has it moved very much?

Cyclists by type

The Cycling Plan is now on the public engagement phase – gathering feedback that will be used to help shape the Cycling Plan.

What is confusing is the disparity between what city hall tells the public and what people see on the street.   The city uses a photograph of a relatively young person on a bike in the winter. Cyclist - winterAt the same time city hall and all the members of council tell the public that Burlington is becoming a city of seniors and that the seniors population is where the population growth is taking palace.

This citizen isn't smiling. Was she one of the hundreds that were basically locked in theoir homes during the five days of heavy winter weather because streets were not cleared?

This citizen isn’t smiling. Was she one of the hundreds that were basically locked in their homes during the five days of heavy winter weather because streets were not cleared?

Those seniors are for the most part not going to be riding bicycles.  Pushing walkers is what we will see on the streets,

Opportunities to participate are available through an online survey open until Feb. 23, 2018.
https://luraconsulting.mysocialpinpoint.com/citythatcycles#/

There will be a series of Drop-In events throughout the community.

Staff will be showing up all over the city seeking input and reaction.

Monday, Feb. 5, 6:30 – 9 a.m. – Nelson Recreation Centre,
Friday, Feb. 9 6 – 8 a.m. Appleby GO Station,
Friday, Feb. 9 – 4 – 7 p.m. Mountainside Community Centre,
Tuesday, Feb. 13 – 7 – 9:30 a.m. – Tansley Woods Community Centre,
Wednesday, Feb. 14 – 6 – 8 a.m. – Aldershot GO Station,
Wednesday, Feb. 14 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. – Brant Hills Community Centre,
Saturday, Feb. 17 – 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Mainway Recreation Centre

The number of Drop In events is impressive. These began at the end of January – six have taken place so far.

What the city has to learn is just how the public views the use of bicycles – are they a form of family exercise and part of the recreational plan or are they a form of transportation that will replace the car and at times be used instead of public transit.

The city has budgeted funds for where a cycling bridge over the QEW could best be located.

The Gazette is aware of one business person who keeps her bicycle in her office and uses it for short trips in the downtown core.  You are not going to see this lady biking to Hamilton.

Cycling Bus Bike Rack use

How heavily are the bike tacks on buses being used?

The extent of bicycle use the public is prepared to live with is the issue – hopefully city hall will not come up with any surprises.  The information gathering has to follow the education part – a major shift is going to take place in the way people get around their communities – the car has been the mode of choice for the past three or four decades – that is going to change and the public will have to understand why.

Failure to do that will see another uproar that will equal the reaction to the 23 storey high rise opposite city hall and the plan to turn New Street into a road that would have few lanes for cars and lanes on either side of the road for bicycles.

City Cycling Plan – 2009

The New street Road Diet kerfuffle.

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A mobility hub for the downtown core has been in the plans for some time - the problem was the downtown residents didn't know about it.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

February 4th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Mike Quackenbush, understood to be running for a seat on city council, brought to our attention a map in a Metrolinx Baseline Monitoring Report dated September 2013 that has a Mobility Hub in downtown Burlington.

The report however doesn’t show a hub for Appleby or Aldershot Go stations – it does include Burlington GO as a hub.

Mobility hubs - province wide

Mobility hubs – province wide The 2013 map shows just two hubs for Burlington – one of which is downtown.

Given the rate at which things are moving – it is difficult to keep track of it all. What is clear however is that at one point there was going to be a mobility hub in downtown Burlington.

The Gazette doesn’t recall this being discussed at city council meetings.

Station West A signWhat is interesting is that there is no one council member on top of the mobility hub issue. During the early Strategic Plan meetings in 2015, it sounded as if Aldershot was going to be where the first hub would be developed. The ADI Group plans for Station West had a significant development taking place.

Paradigm from the west Nov 2017

Three of the five tower project are well underway – the one on the left will see residents moving in during 2018.

The Paradigm on Fairview was beginning to get underway. Appleby was a long way off.

The former Director of Planning had just come on board and getting a feel for the department she was responsible for.

Shortly after being appointed Director a decision was made to start the Official Plan from scratch and give up on the idea of doing a re-write. That meant a significant shift in the thinking going on within the Planning department.

The going back to square one brought all kinds of ideas to the surface, the biggest of which was the new tag line for the message being sent out to the public – the planners got good public input on using the tag line Grow Bold – and bold they were.

Once the Planners got into thinking through how they wanted to craft the new Official Plan there was all kinds of hiring going on, significant increases to the base budget – $500,000 – for additional staff and community workshops that left little time for a real life for those who took an active interest in civic affairs.

It became evident that the planners were some distance ahead of the public which brought out more than 30 delegations asking the city to slow down and let the public get caught up.

council with term datesCity council decided not to defer the approving of the plans for the Downtown Core setting out the battle lines for the municipal election that will take place at the end of October.

Related content.

Resident asks: How does the Downtown Mobility hub fit into the provincial plan?

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Bob Wilson: Grow Bold appears to be a self-fulfilling prophecy regarding downtown development, without justification.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

February 4th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

On January 25, 2018 8:15 PM, Bob Wilson, a Burlington resident had questions and concerns about the planned Mobility hub for the Downtown core and the hub planned for the Burlington GO station. He sent in a question to Mailbox, Grow Bold, the city site where people could ask questions.

To: Mailbox, Grow Bold; Subject: Downtown Mobility Hub
“What changes are happening to the downtown core that will make the Mobility Hub there a viable traffic network hub for all the intensification that planners are encouraging there as opposed to north Brant which already has a network hub of size and scale in the form of the GO/VIA station?”

Phil Caldwell, Senior Planner, Mobility Hubs replied on Jan 30, 2018 3:17 PM
“Hi Bob,
“Thank you for your question.
“Metrolinx’s identification of areas as Mobility Hubs is intended to not only recognize areas with significant existing transit infrastructure and service, such as the Burlington GO station, but also to recognize areas which should be a focus for future planned transit improvements. As a key growth area for the City and Region and a location with major government and public services, Downtown Burlington is recognized as an area which should be a focus for future transit planning.

Mobility hubs

Some residents question the creation of a mobility hub on the downtown core.

“At the Provincial level, Metrolinx recently released a draft of their new Regional Transportation Plan which identifies future Provincial transit projects and improvements which are being planned up to 2041. This document identifies various projects which are intended to improve transit service in Downtown and throughout Burlington and the Region. This document can be viewed here: https://www.metrolinxengage.com/en/collections/draft-plan (a word search of ‘Burlington’ may help you find the most relevant sections of the plan with respect to your question).

“At the City, there are a few initiatives underway with respect to future transit planning in the Downtown:
“Firstly, the City’s proposed New Official Plan has introduced a new ‘Frequent Transit Corridor’ concept which identifies key corridors in the City which will be prioritized for frequent transit service in the future. Corridors leading into and out of Downtown, including Brant St, Maple Ave and New St are identified as Frequent Transit Corridors.

“A link to the proposed New Official Plan is provided here: https://www.burlington.ca/en/services-for-you/Official-Plan-Review.asp (note Schedule B-2 of the Plan contains the Long-Term Frequent Transit Corridor Mapping).

There was a time when a much larger bus termial existed 25 yards to the left of this small terminal onm John Street - it was where people met. There were fewer cars, Burlington didn't have the wealth then that it has now. We were a smaller city, as much rural as suburban. The times have changed and transit now needs to change as well.

There was a time when a much larger bus termial existed 25 yards to the left of this small terminal onm John Street – it was where people met. There were fewer cars, Burlington didn’t have the wealth then that it has now. We were a smaller city, as much rural as suburban. The times have changed and transit now needs to change as well.

“Secondly, the City is currently developing an Area Specific Plan (also referred to as a Secondary Plan) specifically for the Downtown. Amongst many things, the plan is looking at a variety of transportation matters in the Downtown, including identifying ways to further promote and facilitate expanded transit use in the Downtown. Work on this is currently on-going. You can find out more about this project at www.Burlington.ca/mobilityhubs

“I hope this helps answer your question. If you have any other questions please let me know.”

Bob Wilson responded on Feb 4, 2018 5:29 AM
“Thank you for the information.
Unfortunately, this did not answer my question on the Downtown Mobility Hub.

“The Metrolinx document makes no reference to downtown Burlington.
“Secondly, identifying routes is not my question. My question was about planned actions, not taxonomy.

“I am very concerned. Grow Bold appears to be a self-fulfilling prophecy regarding downtown development, without justification. Given the Official Plan (OP) policy of downtown intensification and the Provincial per hectare target, I would have expected an answer that outlines the infrastructure investment planned for the downtown hub.

“The Province has committed to investment to provincial and regional transit hubs and express corridors. The OP does not align with that, but instead makes s dangerous distracted focus to a Downtown that already lacks the infrastructure to support the growth.

“That is not “good planning”.

In a comment to the Gazette Wilson said: “City Planners have not thought this one out. Not only is the planned downtown intensification changing the character of the Downtown, (an area that should have a vision statement just like the greenfield areas have), but it lacks a complementary plan for the hub itself. This is in direct conflict with Metrolinx plans for GO station hubs and rapid transit corridors.

Metrolinx hub 1“Attached is what Metrolinx has stated hubs should achieve. City is nowhere close to that. Why are we being pushed towards a future commitment for the downtown that not only is not budgeted for, but would spend taxpayer dollars at the municipal level in direct competition to how taxpayer dollars are being invested by regional and provincial transportation authorities?

“Who is forcing this? It serves no objective other than that of private sector condo developers. Is that who runs City Hall?”

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ECoB to hold a workshop for anyone interested in running for public office.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

February 3rd, 2018

BURLINGTON ON

It is beginning to look like the little engine that could.

ECOB logoECoB – Engaged Citizens of Burlington was formed in December to oppose the way the city approved the construction of a 23 storey tower opposite city hall.

They took on the city and the way it had approved the construction and made it known that they will appeal the city decision to the Ontario Municipal Board once the Planning department tells council that all the side issues – Section 37 benefits and site plan approvals have been completed.

Until that point there isn’t really anything ECoB can appeal.

ECoB pic 1 Jan 18

ECoB public meeting to set out what they wanted to see from the city on changes to the downtown core.

The organization has always said they were more than a one issue operation. They might be small – and they are looking for more volunteers who can help with spreading their wings into all six wards of the city.

The have announced the holding of a Municipal Election Workshop, on Thursday, February 22nd from 7-9 pm at Tansley Woods Community Centre, 1996 Itabashi Way .

Lisa Kierns ECOB Dec 13

Lisa Kierns, early member of ECoB

ECoB has reached out to seasoned politicians and campaign managers to lead the workshops. Different speakers and material will be presented to help decide if running for office is right for anyone who has an interest.

The Workshop will include the distribution of information on how to organize an election campaign, whether or not they have run before.

The overall purpose of the workshop is to help all potential candidates be successful, and to encourage volunteers to come and learn how they can effectively support the candidate of their choice. We believe strongly in the democratic process.

ECoB Dec 13 # 1

First open public meeting – good turn out – but it was clear they needed more bench strength.

ECoB is demonstrating best practice and developing the workshop based on information from the Ontario government’s site and also using a variation of Democracy Kit’s self assessment guide,

The list of facilitators will be made public as they get closer to the event date.

Today they would like you to SAVE THE DATE and keep up to date with developments on the ECoB web site.

If you have questions – here is the contact point.

Website.

Facebook page

Background links:

Ontario government’s site 

Democracy Kit’s self assessment guide

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Intensification is simplified - Mayor tells where he got his understanding of the benefits

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 2, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

During his address to the Burlington business community where he delivered his eight State of the City speech Mayor Rick Goldring said he read in a publication titled “Intensification: what it is and what it promises”. The document was on the Neptis Foundation website.

Goldring at Inspire April 2015

Mayor explains intensification at a public meeting.

“Intensification is promoted as a way to achieve several benefits.

“First, if population growth can be accommodated at higher densities, or within existing urban areas, or both, less Greenfield land will be required for new housing.

“Second, research shows that when density increases beyond a certain level, automobile use declines in favour of transit, walking and cycling.

“Third, where surplus infrastructure capacity exists in urbanized areas, adding more people to these areas make more efficient use of public urban infrastructure such as water and sewer pipes, as well as soft infrastructures including schools and social services.

“In short, development in already urbanized areas plays to the city’s strengths rather than spreading its resources over an ever-wider territory.”

Is it really that simple?

One of the ideas that came out of the Mayor’s Reverse Town Hall was to have a “character” study done on the downtown core.

Bought in

Indian Point was a mish mash of different built forms with the community divided on what they wanted the community to look like. They were never able to agree on what should be permitted but the study did show what existed and what was worth saving.

The studies have been done for Roseland and Indian Point. The Roseland study was seen as a success because residents had a lot of input that they felt was listened to and heard.

There is an opportunity for the downtown residents, the Core Group would be ideal, to press the city to have a character study done which would become part of the criteria that developers have to meet.

Waiting for the Planning department to pick this up is not an effective route to take.

Delegate to Council and convince a Council member to put forward a Staff Direction.

The simplistic explanation the Mayor picked up is part of what got the city on the mess it is in.

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OPINION: Not a hope of replacing this city council unless people step up and run for office.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

January 31st, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

Being heard or getting a new council

A Gazette reader commented:

“In a democracy the number of votes really count. If people want the Official Plan then the councilors who feel it is a good thing will be voted in again.

“If people don’t want the Official Plan and are dead set against changing Burlington into another Mississauga, Toronto, etc., then they will not be voted in again and we’ll see what a new group of councillors come up with.

“It will all be in the hands of the voters.”

True – but not completely true.

council 100x100The number of votes does count – providing there is a choice of candidates.

Nominations don’t open until May 1st but Mayor Goldring and Mike Wallace have made it known that they are both going after the same job.

Incumbents have such an advantage especially those who have been sitting on council for more than 15 years.

Anyone expecting to be elected has to begin to develop a profile – and that isn’t hard to do – you aren’t allowed to spend any money but meeting people is not hard to do.

Votes count – when there is a clear choice.

If good candidates don’t come forward and make a choice possible the current council will get returned – the people of Burlington let that happen in 2014. The writing was on the wall in a close reading of the Strategic Plan.

Salt with Pepper are the opinions of the Publisher of the Burlington Gazette.

Strategic Plan

How many votes did the current council get

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Gaetan gives his take on that 'as expected' city council vote.

opinionandcommentBy Joe Gaetan

January 31st, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Goldring - Christmas picture

Mayor Rick Goldring as he appeared on a Christmas card.

“The Vote is as expected”, said Mayor Goldring affirming that the Official Plan will not be delayed until after the fall election. The Mayor’s words underscored the vote of six members of council not to defer the adoption of a new plan.

The lone vote to defer the plan was cast by Councillor Marianne Meed Ward. But before that, all council members had an opportunity to say why they voted “as expected”; here is my take on what was said.

As a Standing Committee chair, Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven is as good as it gets. Handling delegations and accepting the ideas of other people - not as good. But he wins elections.

Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven

Councillor Rick Craven was adamant in his belief that 34 out of 35 delegators, or in his words the “200 angry people” who were opposed to the Official Plan were not going to sway him because he cares and does listen, and that the Burlington downtown has to take its share of intensification. During the 2014 election 4,772 voters gave Mr. Craven the right to vote as he did.

Councillor Lancaster listens carefully and tends to be cautious; still in a 'learning mode'.

Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster.

Councillor Blair Lancaster also made the point that she cares and listens and took the time to ponder her decision, but that council sets the policy which is what they were elected to do. During the 2014 election 2,087 voters gave her the right to vote as she did.

Intense to the point of making delegations uncomfortable ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman does know how to drill down into the data and look for results.

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman

Councillor Paul Sharman said the vote was not about today but about our city 50-70 years from now, he also stated we are kidding ourselves about affordable housing and that he was looking forward to running on this issue in the fall election. During the 2014 election 3,935 votes gave Mr. Sharman the right to vote as he did.

Dennison announcing

Jack Dennison Councillor Ward 4

Council Jack Dennison stated we need the “assessment growth” (aka taxation revenue), there was “no news in this Official Plan”, that they had to vote as they did and not because “of the 200-people” standing in front of us. During the 2014 election 5,401 voters gave Mr. Dennison the right to vote the way he did.

The Dean of Burlington Council members, Ward 3 Councillor John Taylor fights for what he beleives in. One of the things he wants is more openess and more transparency. He didn't get it this time out.

The Dean of Burlington Council, Ward 3 Councillor John Taylor

Councillor John Taylor opined on the fact Burlington has run out of greenspace, that we need to grow as a city and that we need to start intensifying south of the QEW. During the 2014 election 2,977 voters gave him the right to vote a she did.

Meed Ward H&S

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward, cast the lone vote to defer the adoption of a new Official Plan April 4th.

Councillor Meed Ward made several attempts to sway the vote, asking council to put the Official Plan “to a test of democracy”, that citizens had been given little time to review parts of the plan, that citizens only learned about some aspects of the plan in November, that the changes were not minor. During the 2014 election 4,654 voters gave Ms. Meed Ward the right to vote as she did.

Mayor Goldring stated he did not believe there is any benefit to deferring the OP, that there had been tremendous dialogue and good discussion on the  Official Plan  and that OP’s were never perfect, that there was no benefit to deferring, as it would not represent leadership and that council had to finish what it started.

During the 2014, 36,237 voters gave Mr. Goldring the right to vote as he did.

According to Deputy City Manager, Mary Lou Tanner, the citizens have four more opportunities to weigh in on the Official Plan, not that it will make much difference where our downtown is concerned. Why? The fate and future of the downtown was sealed on Monday January 25 by the “Expected vote”.

It appears that the majority of council believe, the voices of 35 delegators have no weight in this matter, are not representative of the majority of Burlington voters, and that they were fairly elected to vote as they did on this and other matters that come before council.

Joseph GaetanJoe Gaetan attended and delegated at the meeting of January 23,2018, and attended the Council meeting of January 29,2018. While a resident of Ward 2 in a Tall Building, he does not live downtown.

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Meed Ward puts locations to her argument for deferral - names 11 sites that will qualify for 17 storeys.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

January 31st, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The problem people are having with the changes the city is making with its Official Plan is that they don’t fully understand much of the detail and there is a lot of information that needs time to be fully processed.

What will the city look like in five, ten and fifteen or 25 years they ask.

audience

Citizens clutching their notes as they go up against the people they elected to lead them. 30+ delegations later – city council didn’t budge.

During the Reverse Town Hall Mayor Goldring held mention was made of a 3D visual that would let people see what a street would look like. The Mayor seemed to like the idea – it wasn’t possible to get a sense that the Planning department was actually going to do anything. These things are expensive and the Planning department is overwhelmed with new applications.

The housing development sector is keen keen on the opportunity to build in a city where the demand seems to know no end.

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Mewed Ward has pushed for a deferral of the plan – her colleagues are holding fast to the schedule, which in itself was a moving target.

The original goal was to have the Official Plan approved by the end of January, which would be today.
Meed Ward asked her colleagues, and the public that she was really speaking to, to imagine 17 storeys at

John - No frills - laneway

Draft Official Plan allows 17 stories on this site.

Accura on Brant
No Frills
James and John
The Poacher
The Lion’s Club
Middle of Village Square
Maria and John
Ukrainian church
John and the Lakeshore
Martha and the Lakeshore
Pearl and the Lakeshore

Those locations are currently zoned for four storeys; 17 storeys is intensification.

Brant lakeshore - Molinaro rendering a

Planning department rendering for the north eat corner of Brant and Lakeshore.

She added to that – “the disconnect between what we are told and what we get” and points to the 421 Brant project (approved for 23 storeys)

Meed Ward H&S profile

Meed Ward sticks to her push for deferral of adopting the Official Plan until after the election

Meed Ward is clearly not done with getting the approval of this plan deferred until after the election.
She told her colleagues that “this is not our plan, this is the citizen’s plan.”

There were fewer than 15 members of the public at the city council meeting on the 29th when the modifications were put forward at the two day Planning and Building meeting. The public seems warn out.

There are still a number of dates when the public can speak and there is going to be a whopper of a document available to the public on February 7th on the city web site; printed copies will be available at city hall.

This document is being call the February 28th revision and will show all the changes that have been made since November 30th.

In February 6th, there will be a Planning and Building meeting to “continue the conversation” and focus on the “growth plan”

On February 12th there will be a drop in – meeting with the planners at the Haber Centre; 6:30 pm

On February 15th there will be s similar meeting at city hall in room 247

On February 27th and 28th there will be a second Statutory meeting – one does not have to register for this event.

Meed Ward wanted to know what the last possible date there is going to be for the public to have their say. Deputy city manager Mary Lou Tanner said somewhere around March 1st, 2nd or 3rd.

This is going to be a long march – and it is far from over.

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