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

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

April 14th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

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

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

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

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I heard a very distraught man who was deeply hurt

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

April 14th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

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

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

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

John Calvert with model

John Calvert: Deeply hurt and disappointed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The traffic problems will be horrendous.”

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

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

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

“Someone has to stop this” he said

Related news item:

The Calvert letter

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

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

opinionred 100x100By Pepper Parr

April 14th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

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

John Calvert with model

John Calvert

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

Madam Mayor

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

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

Nationa; homes - Brant Master landscape

A planned 233 homes for the property on Brant Street

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

Aerial-of-2100 brant site

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

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

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

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

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

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

National Homes image

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

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

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

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

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

Related news stories.

Meed Ward’s view on September 2018

New council gets the development – what do they do?

Council gets another chance to debate the development

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

News 100 redBy Staff

March 27th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

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

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

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

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

Staff and consultants Rosa +

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Planning Applications

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

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

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

Amica development rendering

Amica – proposed development

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

There were no Burlington hearings scheduled for June.

Building Permits and Inspections

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

Signage in Commercial Districts

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

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

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

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

Meed Ward - tight head shot

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

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

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

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

Dev fee guy STAFF

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

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

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Who sold the Millcroft land to who and what did they pay?

News 100 blueBy Staff

March 8th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The public record indicates that:

Gord Buck, developer “ARGO Land Development (Argo (Millcroft) Limited)” paid $5M to Edward Liptay President “Millcroft Golf Club (2079610 Ontario Ltd.)” for 131.80 acres on January 29, 2020 for a 50% interest in the land.

$3M cash with a $2M vtb mortgage for two years at 0%.

Millcroft golf course

Millcroft: A large well established community built around a golf course.

Our source asked: “Does Gord Buck lives in the Millcroft neighbourhood?”

“This is going to be an interesting exercise in watching the threat of potential land development unfold and the impacts on the neighbouring housing backing onto the golf course; it is unlikely that there will be any new housing built on the golf course lands if evidenced alone by the purchase price; at the very least, this will be one of the most heated fights to watch and how the local Councillor gets killed. Those people who are directly affected are going to lose their minds.

“There may potentially be something else going on here.

“Also, not sure if the City missed this situation during the Official Plan review process; must check and see what the proposed OP designation is, not the zoning.”

The source is a professional with deep knowledge on land assembly. For personal and professional reasons we are withholding the name of the source of the information.

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Mayor opens the kimono a little bit more - says 'some of the appeals could be resolved quickly'

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

March 6th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It is still coming out in dribs and drabs but at least the people who are going to have to pick up the tab for the legal challenges to the January 30th council decision unanimously approving the revised recommendations from the findings of the Interim Control Bylaw (ICBL) Land-Use Study, including the approval of the proposed Official Plan (OPA) and Zoning Bylaw (ZBA) amendments resulting from that study, now know a little bit more.

The Council decision was made before the one-year ICBL deadline of March 5, 2020.

In remarks in the Mayor’s March Newsletter we learn that:

“The recommended OPA and ZBA are the result of an extensive technical review by third-party consultants and City planning staff, public input (including written and oral submissions from the development industry), and Council deliberation.

Mayor Mar newsletter graphic

Mayor uses March Newsletter to dribble out a little bit more information on the legal challenges to the recent flood of appeals to LPAT.

“Our current Official Plan (OP) is in full legal compliance with all applicable provincial documents, as are its approved updates, after the province’s Places to Grow Act and the density targets that were established and embedded into our OP. This latest update dealt with better defining the Major Transit Station Area (MTSA) that to this point had never been defined.

“Since Council’s decision on Jan. 30, the City’s OPA and ZBA have been appealed to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT). These appeals will extend the ICBL’s development freeze on the downtown and Burlington GO area until they are resolved. It’s important to note, the appeals to the City’s ZBA are what caused the freeze to continue — the OPA appeals would not have.

“The bulk of the number of appeals dealt only with the OPA. If the remaining appeals are resolved quickly, the development freeze would be lifted. It is typical and expected that the most likely course of action may be a grouping of these appeals to LPAT, where they address similar issues. That remains to be seen.

“Official plans are constantly changing. Burlington’s OP has changed 119 times (since 1997). Some of those changes the City initiated, others were developer initiated (those who had applied for OPAs and ZBAs). Plans never stay the same and we have a legal obligation to update our OP every 5 years. Those updates can be through minor tweaks or complete overhauls — Burlington has done both in its history.

“Changing an OP is normal practice, as is the number of appeals and reaction when a significant change to an OP is made.

“In the past, the City of Burlington has found itself in a difficult situation when staff’s and Council’s positions related to our OP differed — that is not the case now. Our City also found itself in a difficult situation when it gave away height and depth to development applications that far exceeded what was in our plans out of fear of being taken to the LPAT. Not only was that precedent-setting, but it sent the message that our City would make significant exceptions at the mere threat of an appeal.

Meed ward election night 1

Mayor Meed Ward: Stay the course — your Council and City staff will be doing just that.

“We’re not doing that anymore. We are now making decisions that are founded on sound planning principles based on evidence and a one-year independent consultant study. That is what residents expect us to do. The City of Burlington did not elect me to surrender. We will defend the policies we created — and were unanimously-approved by Council — vigorously.

“These policies also reflect the vision of staff, council and our residents for the future of our city and we will remain steadfast in our commitment to ensuring the right development in the right place at the right scale.

“I recently received a note from a resident that said they knew this wasn’t going to be easy, but to stay the course — your Council and City staff will be doing just that.”

It is now clear that the Mayor, the senior planning people, the city’s solicitor and, perhaps, whatever outside counsel the city has hired, have spent a lot of time going over the documents – which the public has yet to see.

Whenever politicians withhold information, or slip it out on a Friday afternoon, you know that the full story is not being told.

A tighter look at the Newsletter content tells us that “the appeals to the City’s ZBA (Zoning Bylaw Amendment) are what caused the freeze to continue — the OPA appeals would not have.  Not sure what the relevance of that is – we will talk that over with our planning consultants.

The “bulk of the number of appeals dealt only with the OPA”, which the Mayor tells us can be dealt with very quickly.

political news

Politicians tell you what they want you to know – seldom do they tell you everything you are entitled to know.

We have a Mayor who touts the importance of media but has yet to call a media conference and make herself available for questions.  There was a time when you couldn’t keep the woman away from television camera lights.

Meed Ward was once very fond of using the phrase “truth to power”; haven’t heard that one from her lately have we?

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A developers view on the housing industry in Burlington

opinionred 100x100By Staff

March 6th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The developers who are either building residential towers that are 20 stories plus or have applications to build have a point of view.

Few of them do interviews but they do have trade journals that will publish what are really “canned” paid-for articles setting out their view of developments in Burlington.

Nick Carnicelli, president of the Halton Hamilton Home Builders Association, gave his view on the Outlook for 2020.

Carnicelli is a major Burlington developer with one project completed, another with shovels in the ground and a third that is a concept at this point.

Nick-Carnacelli-400x419 2

Nick Carnicelli, President, Carriage Gate Homes

He was interviewed by Condo Life, a magazine that promotes developments and provides background information for people in the housing market.  We are reprinting that article.

Condo Life: How do you see the outlook for the new home industry in 2020?

Carnicelli: We are going to see a very positive market. Spring will be very strong, with a number of very exciting projects coming forward. A diverse selection of housing will be available that will meet the many needs of new-home buyers. With interest rates remaining relatively low, and a strong influx of immigration, the economy will remain strong.

CL: And for your company?

Carnicelli: We think 2020 will be Carriage Gate‘s biggest year, following a very exciting 2019, with the launch of our Roxborough Park development. This is the largest development we have ever been involved in. The project will feature a dynamic and affordable mix of housing types in Hamilton’s east end – three-storey towns, back-to-back towns, affordable and market rental apartments.

CL: What is your company doing to address the issues facing the home-building industry – namely, affordability and new home supply?

Carnicelli: Carriage Gate continues to innovate and bring new products to market to address housing supply and affordability. We work with a talented team of individuals and many of the industry leaders to meet homeowners’ needs. Our newly expanded construction team will lead, our renowned architects and creative consultants will innovate, and our customer-centric team at Carriage Gate will push the envelope to find new creative approaches to homeownership. The Roxborough Park master-planned community coming in spring 2020 will introduce a wide variety of home styles and address more affordable housing options.

CL: What more could the industry do to address these issues?

Carnicelli 3

Nick Carnicelli – the man with four towers either built, under construction or at some stage of application

Carnicelli: The building industry must not be complacent. We must continue to work with all levels of government to spearhead many of the changes needed to support our ability to provide affordable, high-quality housing to meet the needs of a diverse range of home-buyers. Our industry does more than just build housing. We must work together with our municipal partners to create “whole” communities with a full complement of services and amenities to improve the quality of life, not only for the existing residents but for future generations.

Now more than ever, municipalities must work together to bring forward the changes needed. In many instances, the municipalities may not have a staff complement that is familiar with the types of development and redevelopment proposals that we’ll be bringing forward. These municipalities need our continued support. At Carriage Gate, we work closely with our municipal colleagues to promote the efficient review and consideration of new applications and many of the new and emerging municipal initiatives that fundamentally impact our business. We encourage the building industry to do the same.

CL: What should prospective new-home buyers know about your company for 2020?

Pearl and Lakeshore

Carnicelli’s proposed development for Lakeshore Road and Pearl

Carnicelli: We are committed to continuing to bring innovative and high-quality projects to market. Construction will move into high gear

421 Brant

The Gallery – under construction opposite city hall

at Gallery Lofts + Condos in downtown Burlington, with occupancy planned for 2022. Roxborough’s new master-planned community will come to market, in which Carriage Gate will play an integral role in the revitalization of downtown Hamilton, with the launch of one of the city’s biggest inner-city developments. We will forge ahead with the planning of a number of new condo projects through public engagement and consultation with our key stakeholders, and are looking forward being a part of downtown Burlington’s exciting evolution.

CL: Why should prospective new-home buyers consider buying from Carriage Gate in 2020?

Carnicelli: Burlington may just be the best place to live in Canada. It offers residents a safe and friendly environment as well as fabulous restaurants, shopping, festivals, events, a culturally rich arts community, and access to the Niagara escarpment.

Berkeley

Sold out – occupied. The development was part of a three phased project – the other two are going nowhere at this point.

Carriage Gate’s first downtown condominium, The Berkeley, geared to transitional buyers who appreciate a luxurious hotel-style environment, occupied earlier in 2019.

Our next project, Gallery Condos + Lofts at 421 Brant Street, is now under construction, with occupancy to begin in 2022. Located directly across from City Hall in the heart of downtown, Gallery Condos + Lofts is within walking distance of everything you could imagine.

From Lakeshore and Martha

On Lakeshore as you enter the downtown core. If built it will be stunning. and change the way Burlington is seen as a city.

Available suites range from 500 to more than 1,600 sq. ft., with layouts that will appeal to everyone from young buyers looking for their first home, to mature adults seeking to downsize, but who still want space for entertaining family and friends. Carriage Gate continues to be an integral part of downtown Burlington’s exciting evolution, with a number of projects in the planning stages.

Specializing in the construction of high-quality homes, modern condominiums, commercial developments and urban high rise communities, we embrace the future, appreciate the past and celebrate the dedication that has brought us to this point, where we can ensure our commitment of being “Home to New Living.”

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Could you please remove my last name and just call me xxxx. I am very frightened ...

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

March 6th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The frantic emails came in at 5:47 pm; then 5:55 pm and again at 6:04 pm

The writer was frightened – the person had written a comment in the Gazette on the Millcroft story and thought she had to provide her full name for authentication.

Her comment, which is published as Name Witheld said:

Where is this developers conscience? How much money is enough? For residents who have their life savings in their home, with respect Mr. developer, how do you sleep?

These are seniors, couples, families who invested in a dream. We live both on and off the golf course. We are not rich, we work hard because we love our community, our schools, and our greenspace.

Safety? Please do not hide behind this pathetic excuse. Sweet dreams, Mr. developer.

You have one hell of a fight coming your way!

The emails to us went:

I am a resident of Burlington who today wrote a Letter in response to the MAD story. I did not know that you would use my full name. Could you please remove my last name and just call me xxxx. I am very frightened as I’m alone with two kids right now. I did not intend for my full name to go out there. Please can you help me. It says it is being reviewed.

Minutes Later

Please do not use my name in the opinions column currently being moderated. I thought I had to put my full name just for you to authenticate. I am a scared mother of 2. Please either remove or change my name to xx.
Thank you! Please let me know ASAP

Later

Hello I mistakenly used my full name in your editorial option section about Millcroft March 4.

Could you please remove the opinion or at least write me as xxx not my full name. I thought I had to leave my name for authentication. I did not want my last name used. Please help me.

Please understand I’m terrified.

Later

Hello, I wrote an opinion on the mad article. My name is xxx xxx can you please not use my last name. I am a scared mother as it is. Please just call me Please. I’m going to lose sleep over this. I thought I had to put in my full name.
Thankyou… please either erase it or just use my name xxx.

Block b 42 view 2

The full colour is part of the housing stock Argo Development wants to add to the Millcroft community. The grey part is development that already exists.

We published the comment and find ourselves asking: what kind of a city is this – that a person would fear that they would be harmed for saying what they think.

The number one city in the country eh!

Related news story:

Scope and scale of the development

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Mayor has little to say about the 31 appeals to the "historic" decision made by council to the Official Plan.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

March 5th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Those troubling 31 appeals to the city changes in the Official Plan?

Here is what we know.

On January 30th, the city passed an amendment to the Official Plan and made changes in the zoning for some of the property.

The city had the power to do that. Most of the current council was elected to bring about a change in the Official Plan and the zoning bylaw.

LPAT hearing graphicThe Mayor declared at the time that it was an historic day for the city. It may well be historic – but for a different reason.

Anyone who doesn’t like the change in the bylaws, in this case the Official Plan and the existing bylaw regimen, has the right to appeal.

No one expected or was prepared for the 31 appeals that were filed within the 20 day appeal window.

Heather_MacDonald COB planner

Heather_MacDonald, Executive Director – Planning.

Executive Director Heather MacDonald did say that appeals are not unusual and there were hints from some of the planners and legal counsel that were delegating to city council that appeals might be forthcoming.

But 31 of the things? That is astounding and troubling on several levels.

We do not yet know just what the appeal documents say. We do know, or suspect, that they are appeals against the change in the Official Plan and the change to the zoning bylaw. Even that is speculation – the public has not seen the documents. The Mayor has, the Executive Director of Planning Heather MacDonald has, as has Nancy Shea Nicol, the Executive Director – legal.

We know that the members of Council have been briefed – to what degree is not certain. They have all lost their tongues.

The 31 appeals that were filed were delivered to the City Clerk. The Clerk has 15 days to send the appeal documents along to Local Planning Appeal Tribunal ( LPAT), the body that hears the appeals. That 15 days is reported to end on March 12th.

The members of LPAT are appointed by the province who, recently, appointed additional hearing officers and, troubling, decided not to re-appoint some hearing officers who had the reputation of being concerned about the environment but appointing several that come from within the development industry.

Meed Ward style

Marianne |Meed Ward: A Mayor with a vision and an agenda that has run into some heavy waves.

The Mayor has said she would make the appeals public but has yet to do so.

At some point the specifics of each appeal will become public.

In the meantime people in Burlington who pay attention to these things are concerned about:

1) What is it going to cost the city to fight 31 different appeals?

2) What if the city loses at the LPAT level – going to Cabinet with a request to overrule LPAT isn’t viable with the current government.

3) Will losing the appeal mean that all the work done on a new official plan for the city is now all for naught?

4) And what if, adding insult to injury, the city is stuck with the costs of the appellant?

It is the uncertainty that bothers the people the Gazette is hearing from: “Can’t the Mayor say something” is the phrase we are hearing most often – and not from just a handful of people. Scores is a better unit of measure.

Was the Mayor in over her head with the approach she took?

Did she ask the hard but appropriate questions to staff – like what could go wrong?

Risk is now a hot topic for the bureaucrats at city hall: was the risk on the approach taken by the city fully considered?

These are not polite questions but the answers are critical.

TVO debate 2

Meed Ward was superb in the TVO debate – well prepared and new when to pounce. The city isn’t seeing that same person during the troubles with the Official Plan amendment appeals.

Marianne Meed Ward talks frequently about the need for media that serves the wider community and makes mention of her experience as a journalist.   She was never a journalist – she has been an editor and did write a column for the Toronto Sun.  She is very effective on television panel discussion programs.  She was stunning on the TVO election debate.

Developers looked at the rules that were put in place when the Urban Growth Centre was accepted back in 2006. The city didn’t have to accept what the province handed out – Oakville didn’t. They negotiated different boundaries for the UGC.

The Mayor has hinted strongly that she intends to approach the province for a shift in the UGC boundary to something that begins at about Caroline Street rather than the current Lakeshore as the southern boundary.

Rosa and MArk Bales

Nick Carnacelli, centre, listening in on a conversation between Mark Bales on the left and Rosa Bustamente a city Planner. Bales is a senior vice president with the Carnacelli real estate interests.

The appeal situation is troubling – we don’t believe anyone expected the volume. The development community is making this their stand on what the current Mayor, and most of her council, want for the city.

The odds at this point are not on the side of the city.

Is the Mayor fiddling while the city burns?

She does use social media to get her story out  but has yet to hold a media event where direct questions can be asked.  Social media is, unfortunately, a one way tool – the writer says what they want to say and while you can comment there is really no give and take.  The politicians love it that way – but it isn’t healthy for a democratic society.

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

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Millcroft resident are MAD - preparing to take on the developer who wants to add 98 homes to the golf course lands

News 100 redBy Staff

March 4th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

If you live in Millcroft – you know all about this issue – Millcroft Greens is proposing a residential development on the Millcroft golf course. This development has the potential to significantly decrease existing property values, increase traffic, disrupt ecosystems and wildlife, reduce green space, lead to the rezoning of existing school districts, overburden infrastructure, and alter the character of one of Burlington’s most iconic neighbourhoods.

Millcroft MADThe residents set out to create a non-profit organization called “Millcroft Against Development” (MAD) with a mission to preserve the integrity of the existing Millcroft golf course and retain its original and current zoning of “Zone O1 – Open Space.

The developer has chosen to portray the development of additional housing on gold course land as a public safety issue – the residents aren’t buying it. They argue that the “recreational green space defines the Millcroft we all chose to make our home. It is the heart of the community and our purpose is to keep it whole. “

The development proposal eliminates the existing 6th and 7th holes entirely, shortens the 1st and 16th holes, and adds 98 new homes and several new roadways to the land. We believe that this proposal is merely the beginning of residential development of the entire golf course, with this phase alone eliminating a staggering 411 mature trees from our neighbourhood.

Miillcroft-aerial

It started out as a golf course that housing was built around – the residents loved it and paid a premium to live in Millcroft.

The developer held a meeting in February at the Burlington Convention Centre where a development proposal was presented to a select group of residents whose properties would be most adversely affected. The developer cited “safety concerns” of errant golf balls as the impetus for the proposed development – calling it a public safety issue.

The presentation included a compensation package for the invited residents, which many view as a covert attempt to buy approval of its developmental plan.

A public meeting is to take place on March 23rd, at the Burlington Convention Centre.

It will be a doozy.  There are 728 people registered on the web site opposing the development.

The City of Burlington has not yet received a formal development application from Millcroft Greens for this property.

Related new articles:

The scope and scale of the proposed development

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Differing opinions on the current flood of appeals to the Official Plan amendments and the zoning bylaw

opiniongreen 100x100By Pepper Parr

March 4th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Gazette prides itself on maintaining a comment section. It gives space to people who have no other way of voicing their concerns. Are they always right? Hell no – there are a couple that are close to certified crackpots who entertain if nothing else; see it as our comics section.

The current flood of appeals to the LPAT has arguments on both sides of the issue. The following are comments that deserve a wider audience – thus our decision to publish them as opinion pieces.

Albert Facenda

Albert Facenda, a small Burlington based developer

Albert Facenda responding to Gary and Graham:
Gary and Grahame. You are correct that in 2005/2006 council conceded the downtown to the wishes of the Province. I believe it was the Liberals at the time. Our Mayor ran as a Liberal in 2007. Do we have any evidence that she was opposed to these decisions at the time?

Is she protecting the citizens of Burlington from over development in the downtown core as you have pointed out? I think not.

Environmentalists created the Green Belt with their doom and gloom scenarios. The Greenbelt created the shortage of land, creating Intensification the “Build up not out philosophy.” I don’t like intensification. But I will tell you the town of Grimsby was voted 2nd to Burlington as the best City to live in category. Take a drive through there and you will see construction everywhere. I predict Grimsby will be #1 this year. One of the reasons would be that it is the place to raise your family for those who can’t afford to live in Burlington. Remember what the Mayor said: ”The Downtown is only1% of Burlington” a significant number according to her.

Muir glancing

Tom Muir, once described as “acerbic”

Tom Muir in reply to Anne and David Marsden.
The appeals will be made public in due course. That is how it works.
In any case, what would you folks do with all the details of all the appeals?

This is a huge number of appeals at once and I would think that this was in fact expected by the city, or at the least, not a surprise. Didn’t surprise me.

The quality of the appeals at this stage is largely irrelevant. They seek to change the entire approved development rights for likely the entire downtown and GO station planning areas to what the appellants want. They want more at any cost it seems – it’s that simple.

It is possible to appeal an entire OP and Zoning. This is not about specific applications and proposals. It’s a grab for the whole enchilada, a saturation bombing.

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Public is getting information in dribs and drabs on those Official Plan amendments that are being appealed to LPAT

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

March 3rd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A source advised the Gazette that “We get our quarterly legal update on March 10th I think …. there will be something in there at least to get the ball rolling.”

Meed ward looking askance

Mayor might want to re-think that “historic day for Burlington” comment when the Official Plan amendments were made.

Why, one asks, is the ball not rolling much faster, especially after the Mayor said on February 27th, that the “City will share more information on the ICBL appeal process and timelines as they become available, as well as details about the nature of the appeals where we can.”

The documents are public. The city Clerk was the person the documents had to be given to. The Clerk bundles the data and sends it along to the Local Planning Act Tribunal (LPAT) who schedule a Conference to get the process started.

Nothing confusing about that. All the city has to do is issue a Statement setting out the facts and people can settle down and wait. It may well be that LPAT has never run into a situation quite like this – 31 people appealing the Official Plan Amendment 119 and Zoning By-law Amendment 2020.418 that were passed by council on January 30th, a date the Mayor said was an historic one for the city.

We learned this morning that the city has 15 days to get the Appeals it accepts (they have to accept every appeal) into the hands of the LPAT.

That means LPAT is to have the Appeal documents in hand no later than the 12th of March.

Why does the Gazette have to get this information in dribs and drabs from readers? It is when information is withheld that the public gets concerned.

LPAT flow chart

This is how the system works.

It is important to remember that the Official Plan Amendment and the changes in the zoning bylaw came out of a Land Use Study done for the city by Dillon Consulting.

That study was lengthy and full discussed and debated at Standing Committee meetings and at City Council. One of the prime objectives for the city was to come up with Official Plan Amendments that were defensible at LPAT hearings.

The consultants assured Council that in their view the changes being put forward were defensible.

There is no mention that the Gazette is aware of that had the city’s legal department giving an opinion on the defencibilty of the changes nor are we aware of any opinion from outside council on just how defensible the changes are.

Once the LPAT hearings take place we will find out if the consultant was right.

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Why is there a delay in releasing the contents of the 31 appeals filed with LPAT?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

March 3, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Many are eagerly awaiting the public release of the corporations or individuals who filed appeals against the amendments and the zoning changes approved by Council January 30th.

The Gazette assumed that it was just a matter of getting the paper work done.

That was until we got the following from a member of council.

“I think you should be digging into why we aren’t allowed to tell who appealed and why. That’s the info I want out.”

Really?

No need to identify the Council member on this one – what is critical is – just why the information isn’t public and who has their thumb on it.

Somewhere within either Planning or Legal (perhaps both) there is a thumb keeping the forms on their desk.

Ward 3 Councillor John Taylor

FormerWard 3 Councillor John Taylor

A number of years ago there was an issue that has been discussed in public at the Region that was discussed in Closed Session of Council in Burlington. Then Councillor John Taylor said he would stand in the atrium and release the information publicly if council did not talk publicly.

All it takes is for just one Council member with the courage of their convictions to stand in the atrium and read out the list of names.

Marianne Meed Ward is on the other side of the podium this time - sits as the Council member for Ward 2 where a developer got a zoning change she opposed.

Marianne Meed Ward is on the other side of the podium this time – speaking as the Council member for Ward 2 and using the word transparency.

Mayor Meed Ward used to use the word “transparency” at every opportunity – it just might be tattooed somewhere on her. Could the people that voted for her not nudge here and suggest she live up to the promise made on October 18th, 2018

Related news stories:

ICBL not to be repealed – it will  just die March 5th.

The 31 appeals are announced with a lengthy explanation.

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Kearns does her best at a mea culpa; hopefully she has a better act come re-election time. They are almost half way through their term

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

March 2, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In comments made when the Amendments to the Approved but-not-in-force Official Plan were passed by Council they argued that it took some time to get it right to have an Official Plan that could be defended at LPAT hearings.

MacDonald - JAmie - Commisso

Executive Director Heather MacDonald, centre, taking all the questions during discussion on changes to planning policy.

In a comment attached to the Media release sent out late last week Executive Director Heather MacDonald, who handles the Planning files, said it is not unusual for there to be appeals to Official Plan changes.

I don’t think she was ready for a total of 31 appeals (and counting?)

Lisa Kearns the Councillor for Ward 2, where much of the planned development is to take place, slipped some comments onto her Facebook page saying it was “important that you know what’s happening at City Hall.” And added that “This week marked the close of the appeal period for the planning policies that were approved by Council on January 30th for the lands in the Interim Control By-law (ICBL) boundaries.

Audit Kearns 5

A detailed explanation on what has and probably will take place – didn’t hear much of this during council debates. When the amendments and the zoning changes were voted on it was hailed as an historic day for the city.

“The ICBL (development freeze) will continue as a result of appeals which prevent the policies from going into effect. It is important that your Councillor provides clear and understandable information about the process. Many have keenly followed this year long process as City Hall sought to address issues of growth pressure and how transit designations affect growth

Why are we here today?
“The community asked me to deliver on pushing the city for a more sensible approach to growth and accountability surrounding development. I have been steadfast in keeping residents up to date on the approach Council has undertaken to achieve this.

“We have made it clear there is no simple approach or ‘silver bullet’ to untangle the complex systems that support planning applications that are not compatible with the community vision. A technical process has delivered solid planning policy that tightens zoning controls which address height maximums and podiums, street line setbacks, active transportation elements (ie: bicycle parking, mid-block corridors, streetscaping elements), and community institutional use.

“Through this process, areas within the ICBL boundaries were identified with no zoning designation, particularly near the Burlington GO. This means that the planning process everyone is familiar with through pre-consultation to statutory public meeting, and council decision do not apply to developments in these areas.

“The result is no public engagement, no community benefits, and no limits beyond the Building Code; applications go straight to technical Site Plan Approval. We have brought tighter zoning controls that the community supports in the land generally being downtown and at the Burlington GO.

Kearns Dewc meeting

Councillor goes long winded then buries her remarks on a Facebook page.

What does this mean to Residents?
“Burlington has committed to community responsive growth management that ensures growth respects council approved height and density for land use as set out in its planning instruments. For clarity, this includes the existing municipal planning policies, and any revisions from the Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw (ICBL) studies and recommendations. The resulting policies, that are now appealed, seek to deliver this for residents.

“This means residents can be confident that their elected officials are working in their best interest using the resources and tools best available. We will continue to defend these policies that represent good planning created by independent consultants.”

Councillor Kearns makes no mention whatsoever about what the city is really up against. The public has yet to actually see the appeals that were filed and thus don’t know what the appeal documents say. Nor does the public know who is representing the developers.

Has one law firm taken on the task of asking for the same thing in the appeals or will the city have to face 31 different lawyers?

A resident who managed to have discussions with the developers, said that they are very upset and believe they have a strong case. Only time will tell.

Meed Ward H&S profile

Mayor’s claim “Burlington is Open for Business.”

What we do know for certain is that nothing is going to get built inside the boundaries of the Interim Control Bylaw. And that cannot be good for business despite the Mayor’s claim that “Burlington is Open for Business.”

Councillor Kearns asks if the decision to make the Official Plan amendments and the zoning changes “was rushed”.

Her answer is no. Here’s why: “An interim control by-law is rarely enacted by a municipality because of the sheer magnitude of freezing development. Council voted to support Staff’s recommendation to enact this tool in the Planning Act as a response to:

• Growth pressures that continue to emerge for the lands in the study area where multiple pending developments propose intensities that are significantly higher than those anticipated by the 2018 Adopted Official Plan

• The role and function of the John Street Bus Terminal as a Major Transit Station Area (MTSA). Its designation as a MTSA was relied upon by the Ontario Municipal Board in its decision to allow a 26-storey development that was opposed by Council in 2016, citing that as a MTSA, the terminal could support intensities well in excess of those contained in the Official Plan.”

Urban growth centre

Everything in that dotted red line is frozen territory from a development point of view. No cranes in those parts of the city.

Kearns said: “I continue to stand by this decision and appreciate the strong position Staff bought forward for consideration. In the clearest terms, Staff would have been mandated to continue accepting and processing planning applications that vastly exceed in-force planning permissions. Essentially, it would be difficult to ever conclude a planning application for final recommendation without creating a new planning precedent. This is not an effective way to manage our city’s growth intentions.

“Were appeals expected?” Some yes but the 31 that came in the door in a few days must have been a shock.

“Did the City decide to extend the ICBL?” No, it didn’t. The moment an appeal came in the ICBL was locked and would stay in place until every last appeal is fully heard.

City council on innauguration Dec 3rd - 2018

A great day for all of them – now they get to sweat out the hard stuff.

When the amendments were passed on January 30th, “Two scenarios were possible at the close of the appeal period on February 26th, 2020. The first would see no appeals to either the official plan amendments (OPA#119) or the zoning by-law amendment (ZBA 2020.418) that was approved by Council bringing the new policies into effect, and the subsequent lapse of the ICBL on March 5th, 2020.

“At that time, all new planning applications would be reviewed against said policies, resulting in a planning recommendation report either supporting or refusing the development application.

“… the second scenario has taken place. All it took was a single appeal to the zoning by-law amendment (ZBA 2020.418) approved by Council to extend the ICBL until such time the appeal(s) were dealt with by LPAT. The result is effectively extending the freeze on development for the entire land use study area.

The problem with this explanation by Kearns is that the impact of an appeal was never really discussed, unless Council did so in a closed session. The level of risk Council was taking was never detailed.

City staff did work diligently to meet Council’s commitment to complete the work within one year and lift the freeze on the lands within the ICBL boundary.

Here’s what happens next:
The City Clerk will compile the appeal record for all of the appeals filed and send them to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal in order to schedule a Case Management Conference (CMC) at a future date under the LPAT which adjudicates conflicts during the process of land use planning.

Transparency:

“This council has committed to integrity and transparency on all issues, including the ICBL. Significant effort has been made to keep the public fully engaged and aware of each step of the process.” That doesn’t explain why Councillor Kearns published these comments on just her Facebook page.

To her credit she did say something. When asked by the Gazette for comments, Councillors Nisan, Sharman, Kearns, Bentivegna and the Mayor went mute.

Shawana Stolte 1

Councillor Stolte – listens and speaks when she knows what she is talking about – fiscally prudent as well.

Councillor Stolte did send in a comment saying Councillors were informed of the appeals on the 27th and they were told then what that means – the ICBL would stay alive until all the appeals were heard.  Councillor Galbraith said the original Gazette report and the clarification set out his position.

This story is far from over. It will plague council and might take a hunk out of their hides.

We will know more when the city releases the content of the appeals. You can bet that there is a lot of strategizing going on at city hall these days. Know too that the Legal department budget either has or will be getting a major boost.

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Marsden appeal of a critical council decision is based on technicalities that do have some merit

News 100 blueBy Staff

March 2, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Ann Marsden has filed an appeal against the January 30th council decision to approve amendments and zoning changes to the city Official Plan and the zoning bylaws.

She is one of a reported 31 appeals filed with the City Clerk.

Ann Marsden is not a developer. She has been a candidate for public office on a number of occasions. When she ran for the position of Regional Chair, against Gary Carr who has held that job for a considerable amount of time she garnered 48,136 votes against the 79,775 votes  Carr received.

2018 Halton chair electionresults

The Marsden vote was consistent across the Region.

Someone was listening to Marsden

In her appeal document Marsden said in a covering letter: “The reason for my appeal is that the January 30, 2020 Special Council Meeting was known by the Clerk (Angela Morgan) and the Chief Executive Officer of Burlington (Mayor Meed Ward) to be held outside Section 240 of the Municipal Act and City of Burlington Procedure By-laws:  64-2016 – current when the meeting was called and 04-2020- current when the meeting was held and were the legal framework for calling a Special Council Meeting.

Marsden will argue that the meeting was not properly called and that the Clerk took some short cuts that were just not kosher.  Marsden’s document, like all appeal documents, is detailed, repetitive and at times confusing – but she does have a point – a technical one but nevertheless a point.

Marsden H&S with poppy

Ann Marsden during an election debate.

It revolves around whether or not the public was properly and full aware that there was going to be a Special Meeting of Council and did the members of Council take all the steps necessary to make the calling of the meeting legal.

Marsden has argued that “The Council, therefore, was without jurisdiction to make the decisions they did that lead to 31 appeals being filed before the end of day February 26, 2020.”

“As I understand it an additional 30 appeals to mine were registered by February 26, 2020. Thirty appeals constitute a very large amount of taxpayer, citizen and property owner monies and time being spent before we the taxpayers of Burlington can move on and begin to enjoy our downtown as we should be able to.

Marsdens

Ann and David Marsden – delegating at city council. She does the talking, Dave takes copious note. They have been banned for a period of time from both the Regional Council and Burlington city hall. But they are back.

“Given my appeal deals with there being no jurisdiction for Council to make the decisions on January 30, 2020 that are being appealed I believe in terms of efficiency it would be prudent to hold my appeal first and before the end of March. If I am successful in my appeal the balance of the appeals dealing with the decisions made on January 30, 2020 will be moot as there will be no decisions to appeal and an appropriate order can be made by LPAT in terms of a properly constituted meeting being held to approve the policies that support the Burlington OP. With the benefit of consideration of the points made in the appeals this may well see a better understanding of what can be mutually acceptable policies for developers and citizens that will work in Burlington.

“Further, perhaps progress will have been made in dealing with the John Street MTSA improper designation and moving the boundaries of the Urban Growth Centre to one that better reflects the needs many have addressed at several public meetings and MPP Jane McKenna assured her constituents long ago, can be done.

“I urge you to give immediate attention to my application and the setting of a date so I can submit a factum for the respondent and the tribunal and subpoena witnesses for an oral hearing.”

Transit terminal - John Street

This bus terminal made it possible for the Adi Development Group to get a 24 story tower approved on a site zoned for eight storeys.

The John Street bus terminal got defined as a MTSA – Major Transport Service Area, which made it possible to convince an OMB hearing (Ontario Municipal Board) hearing that the existence of a terminal with an MTSA designation justified the building of a 24 story tower on a site that was zoned for 8 stories.

It is those fine, technical points that result in surprising decisions.

The likelihood of Marsden winning her appeal (it may not even be heard) – slim to none – so don’t bet the mortgage money on it.  But if you’re the type of person who put $3 on a Lottario 649 ticket – why not?

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City finds itself between a rock and a hard place with its Interim Control Bylaw.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

February 27th,, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

Comment on just why the city has to keep the ICBL in place is set out below the city media release.

In a media release from city hall it was announced that

The City of Burlington continues its work to ensure land-use development is well managed as outlined in Council’s Vision to Focus 2018-2020 strategic workplan. The Interim Control Bylaw (ICBL) Land Use Study, which froze development for one year in Downtown Burlington and at the Burlington GO station, is an important action to meet these goals.

On Jan. 30, 2020, Council approved the revised recommendations from the findings of the Interim Control Bylaw (ICBL) Land Use Study, including the approval of the proposed Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw Amendments resulting from the ICBL Land Use Study.

Urban growth centre

The boundaries of the Urban Growth Centre with the different precincts highlighted in different colours.

City staff presented the refined ICBL study report to Council for approval in advance of the initial one-year deadline. The official plan and zoning by-law recommendations are a result of extensive technical review by the City’s external consultants and planning staff, public input including written and oral submissions from the development industry, and Council deliberation.

Urban growth centre

The boundaries of the Urban Growth Centre with the different precincts highlighted in different colours.

The revised recommendations were based on the land-use study undertaken as a result of the ICBL, passed by City Council on March 5, 2019. The purpose of the ICBL was to restrict the development of lands within the study area for a period of one year, including the Downtown Urban Growth Centre (UGC) and lands near the Burlington GO Station to undertake a land-use study.

As per the Planning Act, appeals to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) must be filed 20-days after notice is given. Notice of Decision for Official Plan Amendment 119 and Notice of Passing of Zoning By-law Amendment 2020.418 was provided on Feb. 6, 2020. The last day of appeal was Feb. 26, 2020.

The City has received 31 appeals to the LPAT for both Official Plan Amendment 119 and Zoning By-law Amendment 2020.418 which have been filed with the City Clerk. As a result, the Interim Control Bylaw (ICBL) remains in effect and will not end on March 5, 2020. The ICBL will remain in effect until the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal has issued a final decision on each appeal of Zoning By-law Amendment 2020.418.

The recommendations from the findings of the ICBL study include proposed amendments to Burlington’s current in-force-and-effect Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw. The staff recommendation report and proposed amendments can be viewed online at burlington.ca/icbl.

The City is also working closely with Halton Region to confirm with the Province the requirements and next steps for approval of changes to the downtown UGC and Major Transit Station Area (MTSA) designations. City Council has directed the Chief City Planner to report back in May 2020 with recommendations.

The City will share more information on the ICBL appeal process and timelines as they become available, as well as details about the nature of the appeals where we can.

City Executive Director Heather MacDonald said at a council meeting that the Interim Control Bylaw, put in place March 5th would be allowed to expire in March 5th, 2020.  That was the intention.

Developers impacted by the ICBL had 20 days after the end of the one year ICBL to appeal the decision that was made in 2019.

More than 30 developers chose to do just that – which meant the city could not repeal the bylaw until all the appeals were heard by the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT).  How long that will take is something over which the city has no control.  All the city can do is appear at the LPAT hearings and defend their original decision to put the ICBL in place back in March of 2019.

With all due respect to the person who wrote the media release – it does not explain why the ICBL has to remain in force.  It is not something the city actually did – the process made it necessary.  Once an appeal is filed – the ICBL remains alive and whatever decisions made come from the LPAT people.

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Some of the why behind the decision to extend the Interim Control Bylaw

News 100 redBy Staff

February 26th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

CLARIFICATION: City Executive Director Heather MacDonald said at a council meeting that the Interim Control Bylaw, put in place March 5th would be allowed to expire in March 5th, 2020.  That was the intention.

Developers impacted by the ICBL had 20 days after the end of the one year ICBL to appeal the decision that was made in 2019.

More than 30 developers chose to do just that – which meant the city could not repeal the bylaw until all the appeals were heard by the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT).  How long that will take is something over which the city has no control.  All the city can do is appear at the LPAT hearings and defend their original decision to put the ICBL in place back in March of 2019.

 

The announcement that the city was not going to let the Interim Control Bylaw (ICBL) die a natural death on March 5th, surprised many.

Meed Ward hands out frnt city hall

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward in front of city hall where she is making Burlington a much different city.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said; “Burlington remains open for business and the city honoured our commitment to complete our work within one year and lift the Interim Control Bylaw (ICBL) that affects 1% of our total land.

The appeals will now extend the ICBL. We will fight vigorously to defend the policies we have created. They are founded on sound planning principles based on evidence and a one-year independent consultant study.

They also reflect the vision of staff, council and our residents for the future of our city. We remain steadfast in our commitment to ensuring the right development in the right place at the right scale.”

MacDonald - JAmie - Commisso

Executive Director Heather MacDonald at a Standing Committee with city manager Tim Commisso on the left and Jamie Tellier, a planner on the right

Heather MacDonald, Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility said: “Given the significant level of development interest in Burlington, and in particular the Burlington downtown and lands in the vicinity of the future mobility hubs, I am not surprised by the number of appeals that have been filed. It’s not uncommon for a significant change to an Official Plan to attract a number of appeals.

“After listening to the submissions made as part of the public meeting held on Jan. 14, 2020, staff did work hard to resolve issues raised and make changes to the planning instruments where possible.”

Obviously the work done by staff wasn’t sufficient and they decided to fall back on the ability to extend the ICBL. Hackles will be raised within the development community – and billable hours will rise within the legal community that serves the interests of the developers.

Quick Facts

• An interim control bylaw (ICBL) is a tool available to Ontario municipalities as part of the Planning Act. An ICBL places a temporary “freeze” on the development of certain lands while a municipality is studying or reviewing its land use policies. The restrictions can only be imposed for one year, with a maximum extension of a second year. An ICBL may not be appealed when it is first passed, however the extension of the ICBL to a second year may be appealed.

• Developments in the study area that submitted applications for site plan approval, in accordance with the approved zoning bylaw, prior to March 5, 2019, were exempt from the ICBL study area.

• During the one-year “freeze” on development in the study area, the ICBL Land Use Study:

o Assessed the role and function of the downtown bus terminal and the Burlington GO station on Fairview Street as Major Transit Station Areas

o Examined the planning structure, land use mix and intensity for the lands identified in the study area

o Proposed updates to the Official Plan and Zoning bylaw regulations as needed for the lands identified in the study area.

• On Jan. 30, 2020, Council approved the revised recommendations from the findings of the Interim Control Bylaw (ICBL) Land Use Study, including the approval of the proposed Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw Amendments resulting from the ICBL Land Use Study.

• On Feb. 6, 2020, the public was notified of plans to lift the ICBL and the 20-day window for appeals. Appeals were due to be filed with the city clerk on or before Feb. 26, 2020.

The avalanche of appeals appears to have been the justification for extending the ICBL deadline.

No mention is made of possible exemptions for some of the developments that have been hard hit by the ICBL decision.

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An additional 100 new homes reported to be planned for the Millcroft community. Couple of golf holes to disappear

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

February 21st, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Sometime during Mayor Goldring’s second term he said that the intensification that was going to take place would not change the character of the city.

Guess what – intensification is smacking Burlington where it hurts – in the middle of those upper middle income communities that have made Burlington the city it is.

Residents of the Millcroft community learned this week that the owners of the property are going to apply for permission to add as many as  100 homes to the community by re-arranging the golf course that was the reason for the creation of the community in the first place – back in the mid 1980’s.

A meeting took place recently – it was “private” only for invited Millcroft home owners affected by the changes. The developer is Argo.

Residential blocks

The alphabet letters indicate where the developments would be located.

A Millcroft resident reports that “The letter sent to us was cryptic and the meeting scripted.”

Every household in Millcroft got a hand delivered letter inviting them to the meeting.

“When we got there we were met by security guards” which resident Louise Taylor, a retired nurse said she and her neighbours found “kind of scary”.  “Our names were checked off on a list.”

“After a presentation, that really didn’t say very much, we were broken up into five groups – each group was one of the areas that were going to be developed.

“During the presentation we were told that safety was an issue and then shown a graphic showing how many window complaints there had been.   One woman stood up and asked the people in the room if anyone had had a window damaged by a golf ball.  No one stood up.

Broken window complaints

The red dots indicate where the operators of the golf course maintain there were complaints of golf ball damage.

“When the group presentations were done there wasn’t an opportunity to gather as a large group again and ask questions.”

The audience was told that the ward Councillor was “on side”.  Councillor Angelo Bentivegna has said he had not formed an opinion on the development.  The Gazette has reached out to him for comment.

Bentivegna won the ward seat by a slim 41 votes in 2018.  The challenge for him will be to shore up his support for the people in Millcroft.

We could find nothing on either the Bentivegna Facebook page or his Twitter account.

Tweet to AB

Councillor Bentivegna was asked if he had any comment. We could find nothing on either his Facebook page or his Twitter account on the development.

The Gazette is hearing that “There are a lot of very angry residents”, angry over the “butchering of our beautiful neighbourhood. We paid a premium for our home to back onto a golf course – and we won’t even be on the course if this plan goes through.”

Block a 33 homes

An aerial rendition of where 33 homes are planned. This is block A

“Hole number 6 and 7 are getting wiped off the map (behind Country Club, Hadfield and Parklane) .

The feeling in the community is that the “value of our houses lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in one night.”

Residents believe this “this has all been couched as a safety issue by the course owners when it is truly a plan to jam many more homes into green space area with huge profits for the company – all on the backs of all of the present homeowners.”

There is talk about forming a homeowners association to work together to stop this plan.

Block b aerial view 42 homes

An aerial rendition of Block B – where 42 homes are planned.

Block b 42 view 2

A rendition of Block B where the 42 homes would be located.

The community meeting takes place March 23rd at the Burlington Convention Centre on Burloak.  We assume the Mayor has been invited to this one.

The development was done by Monarch Group in the mid 80’s; they who were bought by the Mattamy Group in 2015.

The Mattamy interests were apparently sold to Argo who are 50% partners with the people who own the golf club – which we assume means the golf course itself.  It is golf course land that is being used for the development of the the 100 additional homes.

That creates some serious hurdles for the developer.  Land that is zoned for recreation doesn’t just get changed to land that is zoned for housing without approval from city council.

Burlington is currently working with an Official Plan that is more than a decade old while they complete the revision of an Official Plan that was approved but not adopted by the previous city council.

This development proposal looks as if it will have to get cleared by the Conservation Halton authority as well.

Related news story:

Integrity of the Millcroft community threatened.

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Plans to re-design the Millcroft golf course and add some housing: Mayor not in the loop at the beginning

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

February 20th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

This morning, at around 10:00 am, the Mayor and a councillor issued a joint statement related to some development on the Millcroft Golf course property.  Within minutes of the statement from city hall there was a media release from the public relations people working for the golf course owners.

There is an interesting situation developing.  Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and Councillor Angelo Bentivegna jointly said:

Angelo watching Roru

Councillor Bentivegna joined the Mayor in issuing a statement on the development plans at the Millcroft Golf Course.

“Some residents in the immediate vicinity of Burlington’s Millcroft Golf Club have received a notice from property owner Millcroft Greens Corporation outlining an intent to redesign parts of the golf course and develop small parcels of land for residential uses.

“Millcroft Greens is a joint partnership between the Millcroft Golf Club and Argo Development Corporation. The partnership was created with a mandate to continue to operate an 18-hole golf course while introducing select parcels of land for new development.

“The property owner has noted for reasons related to safety and the length of the course, it would like to reduce the size of the playing area.

MMW confused look

The Mayor was not invited.

“It is our understanding that Millcroft Greens met with selected residents earlier this week and that this meeting was an introductory conversation about their preliminary plans with the community. This was an invite-only meeting that I and Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna did not attend.

“Separately, Millcroft Greens met with me and Councillor Bentivegna, along with city staff, to provide an overview of its preliminary concept.

“The City of Burlington has not received a development application from Millcroft Greens for this property and has not even held a per-consultation meeting to discuss a proposal.

“A second neighbourhood meeting with the community will be required by the City before any applications are submitted. At this second meeting, City staff will be able to provide details about application requirements and conditions, and Millcroft Greens will collect feedback that can be used to inform any future development applications. This meeting will be taking place on Monday, March 23.

“Once a development application is submitted to the City, it will trigger a formal process that includes additional public engagement prior to any Council decision.

Miillcroft mill

A well designed community that was started in the mod 80’s

“Any property owner has the legal right to submit an application and the City has a legal obligation to process any applications submitted. City staff review and make recommendations to Council to either approve, modify or deny the development proposal.

“Input from the public is always welcomed and considered throughout the application process.

“We will continue to update the community throughout this process, including once details for a general public meeting are finalized. Formal notice of that meeting will be mailed out to all homeowners in the vicinity of the golf course.”

Minutes later the public relations agency for the land got its side of the story out. KG&A, a corporation the Mayor will certainly know something about, sent the following.

“Representatives from Millcroft Greens, a new 50:50 joint venture between Millcroft Golf Club and Argo Development Corporation, are pleased to announce their intention to redesign and develop select portions of the Millcroft Golf Club. The golf course will continue to operate and offer a new challenging, executive 18-hole experience for golfers.

Miillcroft aerial

The development has a golf course mixed in with the housing.

“Millcroft Golf Club has enthusiastically served golfers in the Burlington community and beyond for approximately 30 years,” says Ed Liptay, owner, Millcroft Golf Club. “However, throughout our history, the property owners surrounding the course have faced numerous challenges including damages directly related to stray golf balls.”

“This new partnership gives us an opportunity to address longstanding issues with the golf course, while introducing a few parcels of residential development that respect the existing fabric and residents of this community,” says Gord Buck, Principal, Millcroft Greens.

“To mitigate property damages experienced by community members for decades, the redesign of the golf course by Millcroft Greens will include complete hole redesigns, changes to course length, repositioning of tee boxes, strategic removal and replacement of bunkers, and additional tree planting, while maintaining an 18-hole course. Based on these golf course improvements, five select areas have been earmarked for residential development, focusing on new, high-quality, single family homes to extend and elevate the existing community.

Millcroft 2

The aerial view of the proposed redesign and development of Millcroft Golf Club, which will improve the course and introduce new, single family detached homes keeping in character with the community

.

“Located between Upper Middle Road and Dundas Street, Millcroft Community is a premium neighbourhood in the city of Burlington. With nearby schools, retail businesses, parks and recreation, and calming natural landscapes, the Millcroft community is connected, convenient, and an attractive option for couples, families with children, and empty nesters.

“The redesign of Millcroft Golf Club is still in the conceptual stage; Millcroft Greens will be formally consulting and then making an application to the City of Burlington in the coming weeks.”

“Millcroft Greens is eager to collaborate and cooperate with the City of Burlington, Halton Region and residents. A public open house will be held on March 23rd at the Burlington Convention Centre.”

Noses are out of joint at city hall for not being invited to those early meetings; the owners of the golf course see an opportunity to do something about the safety issues, and you can never go wrong talking about safety in Burlington, and at the same time put up some very tony and high priced homes in a very desirable community.  These will be million dollar plus homes that will sell very, very quickly.

The corporate web site for the golf course is: www.millcroftgreens.com

Some background:

Launched together with the Millcroft Golf Club course in 1986, the Millcroft project in Burlington was a Monarch Development flagship community for more than a decade.

The 650-acre community already includes more than 2,400 single-family houses and townhouses, which wind their way around the rolling greens of the golf course. And as the community moves toward the 20-year milestone, Monarch launched the final phase of executive, single-family homes in the community, called Classic Greens.

They comprised of 166 houses on large lots. Some will back on to the 18-hole, semi-private golf course, and others will have basement walkouts. Homes will range from 2,051 to 3,778 square feet, and lots will be 50 and 60 feet wide.

Millcroft golf course

A large, safe community with a golf course built into it and now has a superb community centre, high school and library on the northern border.

Bungalows on 50-foot lots start at $422,900 while two-storey homes on 50-foot lots are priced from $427,900. The prices of houses on 60-foot lots range from $475,900 to about $585,900.

Millcroft residents will be able enjoy attractive natural surroundings, and be conveniently close to schools and shops. In addition to golfing, residents will have access to a 32-acre community park, which includes tennis courts, baseball diamonds and soccer fields. A short distance away is the Tansley Woods Recreation Centre.

Square footage: from 2,051 to 3,778

Price: houses on 50-foot lots from $422,900; on 60-foot lots from $475,900

Prices like those haven’t been seen in Burlington for some time.

The Monarch Homes Corporation was purchased by Mattamy in 2015

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Mayor has a plan on how she will attempt to have some boundaries and designations changed.

background 100By Staff

February 20th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Beside the issue of buildings that too many people thought were just too high – the issue of the boundaries for the Urban Growth Centre and the bus terminal on John Street were what irked people.

John Street bus terminal

There was once a proposal to close the terminal and tear it down. Had that happened would the Nautique have ever gotten OMB approval?

Who drew those boundaries and who in their right mind would describe the bus terminal as an MTSA (Major Transportation Service Area)?

A number of well-informed people delegated to city council urging that swift action be taken on both issues.

In a report to her constituents the Mayor recently said:

Meed Ward - tight head shot

Mayor Meed Ward: “Our decision, and one I stand by, was to let evidence and independent study inform our discussions.”

“Council recognized from the beginning of our review of the downtown the need, and the desire in the community, to review the MTSA and UGC designations which have been used to justify overdevelopment. The question was when to initiate that review.

“Our decision, and one I stand by, was to let evidence and independent study inform our discussions.

“To let the community know our process, council passed a staff direction last May to review the appropriateness of downtown’s Major Transit Station Area and Urban Growth Centre designations at the end of the Interim Control Bylaw/Official Plan review studies. The OP review study will be complete after new policies are considered in April, and after that we will be in a position to initiate the review of the MTSA/UGC designations sometime this spring.

Urban growth centre boundary“Those designations are set by provincial and regional governments, and only those levels of government can make any changes. The two consultant reports position us with solid independent planning rationale for these conversations with Halton Region and the Province.

“ We have kept Halton Region planning staff and our local Member of Provincial Parliament Jane McKenna apprised of our studies, timelines and process and all have been involved in and supportive of our work.”

The questions that derive from a very solid position is: So the John Street terminal loses its MTSA status – which would suggest that a developer could no longer rely on that status to justify a high rise development – and there are a few very close to that station which are in the pipe line – they appear to be parked at LPAT hearings.

The Urban Growth Centre boundary was set by the province. They didn’t “impose” it on the city. They set the boundary and the council at the time went along with it. Oakville didn’t go along with the boundary they were given and managed to have theirs changed.
At this point a lot of commercial and development investing has been done based on the boundary – does the city have a hope in ‘hades’ of getting it changed – at this point in time with the current provincial government?

It will be interesting to see how that initiative works out.

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