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Citizen's Group states their case for how the Waterfront Hotel site could be developed.

By Staff

February 23rd, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

From time to time a citizens group is formed that has a significant impact on decisions made at city hall.  Plan B is one of those groups – it is small – less than five people; all retired or thought they were.

Their concerns started to take shape when they became aware of some of the plans that were being bandied about related to the re-development of the Waterfront Hotel site.

The Plan B people have been at this for a long time – more than five years. They have not always been heard..

The group was solely focused on ensuring that any redevelopment of the Waterfront Hotel :

Enhances the Brant Street gateway to Lake Ontario &

Extends the green/ open space of Spencer Smith Park

They acknowledge & respect the property owner’s right to profit from his investment, and that this will necessitate a “reasonable” amount of massing & building height.  What tyey are looking for is a “Win Win Win” for all parties.

 

Emerging Plan B concept from Planning partnership gets close to what they wouldlike to see; it seeks to balance the Developer’s Current Concept with Plan B’s (the community’s) Concepts. The concept is premised on the following:

Achieves the Urban Design objectives for the Downtown

Achieves a Floor Area Ratio (FAR) that balances the base permissions of 5.0 with the Developer’s Current Concept which represents approx. 7.5 FAR

Buildings are located east of the ‘Thin Red Line’ , representing the view corridor south of Lakeshore Road, proposed by the Downtown Mobility Hub Study.

 

  • A new significant open space defined by the ‘Thin Red Line’ located on the west portion of the property, contiguous with the waterfront park
  • Buildings that provide a clear landmark visible from the park, Brant Street, John Street, Lakeshore Road and Lake Ontario
  • A potential development yield that is viable and provides some incentive for redevelopment

Note: PLAN B neither supports nor objects to tower height

There are very significant difference between what the existing rules permit and what the developer is asking for.

The Burlington Urban Design panel, made up of professionals who have no interest in the development put forward a number of recommendation. Few got anything more than the time of day.

The Applicant’s Response to Community Input in Plan B’s Opinion

  • Silent on/ Ignored most Public input & recommendations

–        Waterfront Planning Study re: Key Policy Directives – June 2018

–        Burlington Urban Design Advisory Committee – August 2021

–        PLAN B – Thin Red Line

  • The Application relies heavily on UGC/ MTSA designations downtown to justify intensification

–        While the Complete Application was not submitted until December 17th  grandfathering by the November 10th ROPA order is assumed

The Plan B people assume that the developer is prepared to let their case be determined by the Ontario Land Tribunal.

The thin red line phrase came out of a meeting with city planners – The Plan B people took it and ran with it.

Citizens’ PLAN B recommends:

  1. The Applicant’s proposed Official Plan Amendment (OPA) to eliminate the Waterfront Hotel Planning Study as a prerequisite for this application be REJECTED.

The Waterfront Hotel Planning Study will be completed within the statutory time frame of processing this application

The June 2018 Key Policy Directives already reflect key Community Feedback

Collaboration, good faith negotiations needed for a “Win Win Win”

Citizens’ PLAN B also recommends:

The Applicant’s proposed Zoning Bylaw Amendment (ZBA) to fit it’s proposed application should be APPROVED with Modifications.

Key community feedback from the Waterfront Hotel Planning Study, Burlington Urban Design Advisory Committee, PLAN B must be reflected in the application’s modifications

Limit building heights to yield of FAR 6.0:1 (per EPC#3).

A “good faith” compromise between Base Permission of 5.0:1 and Applicant’s aggressive ask of 7.76:1

Plan B thinks this may avert acrimonious & lengthy legal debates before the OLT & an unpredictable outcome for both parties.

The city is seeking response to a survey that closes March 1.  Link to that survey is set out below.

Link to the survey is HERE

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22 comments to Citizen’s Group states their case for how the Waterfront Hotel site could be developed.

  • Susie

    If the City have their right to take a portion of the development property for park, then this is where the open parameters of the property West/Southwest of the Thin Red Line should now come into effect and be regulated as our entitlement of green space, and if a portion needs to be purchased, then purchase it!!!!

  • Don Fletcher

    James. Given your predilection for arithmetic, consider that Plan B has roughly 500 more supporters & 5000 more followers than you. That would make them infinitely more justified than you to represent the citizens of Burlington, don’t you think?

    • Bob

      James never made any claims to represent the citizens of Burlington. He asked simple direct questions which not one commentator has answered. Why not? Why so much hostility to anyone who doesn’t share the same visions or ideals for how the downtown should be redeveloped?

  • Thomas Patterson

    James, do you understand what a Statutory Public Meeting Is ? Clearly not. You & any member of the Public has the opportunity to express your view & rational on developments. That’s what Plan B did & a few other delegates. You too have that opportunity but given you only use your first name you appear to be either 1) a Keyboard Warrior who just throws shots but afraid to stand up in a public forum and express your views. They are welcome or 2) an Employee of the Developer or one of the company’s working for them. I thought Plan B’s presentation was balanced. They were clear they were not against the development & their goal was more Public Realm & Greenspace & podium heights that aren’t walls. I believe they’ll be another opportunity for delegation when Plann8ng Department makes their recommendation. I look forward to watching you present your views. Thomas Patterson

    • Bob

      If your problem with the project is the height of the building, please enlighten us unwashed as to how your or anyones view of the lake is going to be enhanced by building higher? My vision goes in straight lines as do 100% of the human species, so a 20 story building will give me a view of the sky and no water. A 24 story building….same thing….36 stories same thing. So again, what is the issue with height?
      You started off by name calling that people who didn’t delegate for whatever reason have to be one of two things, either a developer or a keyboard warrior. Which are you? because you certainly don’t sound like a developer, and I didn’t see you delegating.

  • James

    Here’s the problem with Plan B.

    The property in question is privately owned, and not by Plan B. The property owner has rights.

    Plan B does not have any financial skin in the game. They have nothing to lose.

    Plan B is not an approval authority. They have no status.

    Plan B is not a formal commenting agency. They have no status.

    Plan B does not represent Burlington.

    Plan B does not represent the greater community.

    Plan B has “almost 500” followers, representing 0.2% of the city.

    What makes them think they speak for anything more than the less than one quarter of one percent of people that actually follow them?

    Why should the likes and dislikes of the vocal minority be given any more weight than the 99.8% of the population that either likes the looks of this development or is indifferent to the point of not taking any position or interest whatsoever? Silence represents acceptance. 99.8% of the population seems to be just fine with what’s being proposed.

    • Citizens' PLAN B

      According to you James, Community Advocacy Groups serve no legitimate purpose & should not exist in a democratic society. The same society that has allowed you, who knows little to nothing about Plan B (which is absolutely NOT anti-development, btw) to freely voice your opinion. Whoa!

      • Bob

        James and anyone else is free in this democratic society to voice his opinion. Even if it counter to the NIMBY’s against the downtown redevelopment. Just as you were allowed to conjecture that James knows nothing about your group. You based that on what?
        He asked two direct questions, perhaps you should enlighten him on his questions instead of belittling his queries.

    • Tom Muir

      James, you represent only yourself, not even numbering those who support Plan B – the delegate at the Statutory meeting, and I know others, including myself. You represent nobody.

      Plan B showed up with constructive ideas and support for a build they draft outlined, and as citizens and by planning law, they have formal status, to formally comment by right.

      They have lots to lose, but it seems you haven’t been paying attention to their articulated views and basis for delegation. They tried to work with the owner, as City efforts did, but as shown with evidence, it was fruitless. Many people were involved in these efforts, but the owners agenda and tactics are using the OLT threat at every turn.

      And you never show up at city meetings with any constructive and relevant planning argument, like Plan B, or others, to express anything supporting your assertions with any flesh. The only place I see you is here saying much the same thing as here.

      This was a statutory planning meeting , to inform Council and City staff, and you could have delegated to give your views. However, what you choose to say here is nothing but an attack fallacy in your usual ranting style, with nothing credible to compare with Plan B, or anyone else.

      You only attack, criticize, and really insult people like they are dumb and you have perfect knowledge, and are of course, always right.

      I don’t even know who you are, or what your skin in the game might be.

      • Bob

        “However, what you choose to say here is nothing but an attack fallacy in your usual ranting style, with nothing credible to compare with Plan B, or anyone else.

        You only attack, criticize, and really insult people like they are dumb and you have perfect knowledge, and are of course, always right.”

        No mirrors in your house? What do you call what you just said?

    • Maggie Riley

      Well, James

      The property in question is privately owned, and not by Plan B. The property owner has rights. • Yes, so do residents and the City (OP and zoning)

      Plan B does not have any financial skin in the game. They have nothing to lose. • So no axe to grind. Likely to be unbiased then

      Plan B is not an approval authority. They have no status. • they havevstais within the City’s deliberation process as a delegation, like other groups or individual residents, and yes even you.

      Plan B is not a formal commenting agency. They have no status. • nitvsure what you mean by a “commenting agency”. Same response as to the previous remark.

      Plan B does not represent Burlington. • it does not profess to.

      Plan B does not represent the greater community.• it does not profess to.

      Plan B has “almost 500” followers, representing 0.2% of the city.• you ignored the 5,000 casual followers.

      Are you suggesting Plan B should not be given the opportunity to delegate to Council or have its views published here. The same opportunity afforded to you.

      • Bob

        James asked to direct questions to which all anti James commentators have ignored.

        “What makes them think they speak for anything more than the less than one quarter of one percent of people that actually follow them?

        Why should the likes and dislikes of the vocal minority be given any more weight than the 99.8% of the population that either likes the looks of this development or is indifferent to the point of not taking any position or interest whatsoever? Silence represents acceptance. 99.8% of the population seems to be just fine with what’s being proposed.”

        • Tom Muir

          This is just more of Jame’s now and again fact-less and fallacious crap – it’s the stuff of propaganda that is being peddled, and Bob is defending it.

          I don’t peddle propaganda; just try to defend against it. And this defence has to use the language I use to describe what can be seen as false claims that are not logically supported by what is said. That’s what my mirrors reflect.

          The fact is he wants to be nameless, hiding his motives and agenda from the light, so even his pen name is fact-less, and who he is can’t be truthed.

          Allowed the printing of his stuff anonymously, gives him shelter to say anything with no identity and accountability. This doesn’t deserve any required respect.

          Calling James out doesn’t happen all the time, so I, and others, are not anti-James (or anti-Bob for that matter).

          It’s just that sometimes James goes over the top (and so does Bob), and I and others cannot remain silent.

          In evidence based reasoning of facts, he can’t possibly know of what he speaks in his claims of what 99.8% of the population thinks, that they like the proposal, or are indifferent, or silently accept, and then the double down that 99.8% are just fine with what’s proposed.

          He has absolutely no evidence to truth this, and neither does Bob.

          Again, this is total crap, and you Bob – nameless Bob – are defending him, and telling us we have to believe it and accept it as truth.

          You can’t just use Plan B numbers and evidence, which are observed and measured facts, to base claims and opinions about the rest of the population, and that they support your claims.

          This is logically false. It’s a signal that James is too lazy, or is unable, to do the work needed to measure evidence supporting his claims. But when thought about, I don’t believe that is Jame’s purpose, to clarify the issues, but is more like smoke and gas-lighting.This is what brings reaction, at least mine.

          How about some facts, logically explained with what they are based on with methods that give them truth.

  • Peter Rusin

    Why are all the anti-development people always so angry? Folks, we have a HOUSING CRISIS. The shovels need to be in the ground already. The province is in charge.

    • Tom Muir

      I could ask why you always seem so angry yourself, that you have to name-call and produce more crap -speak. The province is in charge alright, which is really a laugh if you think about it for a minute on the facts.

      They have subverted the public planning process, and have caused the housing crisis for years by acting like a dictator and tying it up completely with greased easy access to OLT, which cuts everyone but developers out of the decision-making.

      Instead of planning with reason with the City and their planners, and getting reasonable and appropriate things rolling and approved in say 6 months or so, it takes 6 months to just get a first case management date with OLT, and then more and more months to agree on Issues to get an actual Hearing scheduled, and decision and this will be about another year out.

      And then more years to build something, that will unaffordable if the developer was really committed to getting what he wanted at the OLT.

      All that gets built by this action is plus million $ condos in the increasingly crowded sky. No crisis solving here. Just the making of more.

      That makes no sense at all as a way to get shovels in the ground. It just makes many people upset, questioning, and when things get bad enough, angry.

      Your feigned indignation is no help at all. Go investigate the facts with OLT.

    • Maggie Riley

      Maybe the answer to your question lies in the fact that the government is supposed to be “government of the people, by the people, for the people”. Presently, this Ford Government exhibits none of those qualities. The OLT is placed there by the Ford Government to ignore and frustrate the will of the people.

  • Citizens' PLAN B

    Thank you for your kind words. To your readers (particularly the cynical ones), the above is absolutely NOT a paid advertisement. We at PLAN B are governed in how we think, act & function by our values; Principled, Pragmatic & Persistent. While we take encouragement from an increasing reputation of “punching above our weight”, we are certainly more than 5. For the record, we have almost 500 (and growing) committed followers, and over 5000 casual followers from within Burlington. The Ontario government will hear from them if the incomplete application submitted on October 26th (and subsequently filed December 17th) is considered grandfathered by November 10th’s ROPA 48 order.

    • Bruce Leigh

      That is good to hear. But we all know this is going to be adjudicated by the OLT. That being so, rather than waiting for OLT to take an adverse position.

      It has always been my experience that it better to be pro-active and get get the decision maker to make a decision in your favour rather that trying to get that decision maker to overturn a decision by a body to which the decision maker has delegated authority.

      The City of Burlington and MPP McKenna must lobby the Minister to confirm the property and the application are not subject to the grandfather clause.

      Might I suggest Plan B organize and intiate a proactive letter/email writing campaign to the Minister to obtain in advance of any OLT decisions the Minister’s confirmation that the property/application is not grandfathered. Thus preempting any OLT decision. It is always harder to get a decision overturned.

      How can I join Plan B, not just as a background supporter but to actively assist?

  • Maggie Riley

    Is Plan B accepting the developer’s position that the application is grandfathered under to old UGC boundaries in effect before the Minister granted the change in boundaries?

    If so why is it conceding that major point to the developer?

    Another delegate did ask for the City’s position on that question. The delegate was advised by the Chair that the point of delegating was to state thoughts, views and opinions and not to ask questions of either the City or the applicant.

    However, at the subsequent Council meeting the Mayor took up the delegates question and asked staff for its opinion. Staff’s opinion was that the application is not grandfathered because a complete application was not received until after the grandfathering date set by the Minister.