Councillor attendance at Committee of Adjustment meetings seen as less than appropriate by some

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

April 26th, 2021



Committee of Adjustment (CoA) is the place you appeal to when you need a small adjustment  to the zoning of a piece of property

The CoA is an independent body appointed by Council under authority granted by the Province of Ontario. The Committee has seven members and two alternates who are all residents of the City of Burlington.

Kearns on the Burlington & Caroline development

Item posted on Kearns Facebook page

The Committee of Adjustment is authorized by the Planning Act to consider applications for:

Minor variances from the zoning bylaw.

Extensions, enlargements or variations of existing legal non-conforming uses under the zoning bylaw.

Land division and consents – severing a new lot from an existing lot, adding land to an existing lot, easements, mortgages or leases in excess of 21 years.

Conformity to the zoning bylaw for a particular use.

There have been some boisterous CoA meetings in the past; the hearing that related to the Jack Dennison application to sever  the property he once owned on Lakeshore Road took years to be completed and in the end went to the OMB where the CoA  decision was set aside.

Dennison, who was the ward 4 Councillor at the time eventually got the decision he wanted – it raised more than eyebrows.

Members of Council are rarely involved in CoA meetings.  However in the past former Councillors Rick Craven and John Taylor have appeared.  Craven attended but did not speak to an application nor did he identify himself as a ward Councillor.  John Taylor did speak to an application.

Kearns - trhe like

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns

The current Councillor for ward 2, Lisa Kearns has appeared before the CoA twice and in a notice on her Facebook page is advising people of the meeting this week.

Maurice Desrochers, talking to residents who live near the block long development he is proposing for the St. Luke's ward.

Maurice Desrochers, talking to residents who live near the block long development he was proposing for the St. Luke’s ward.

The application she refers to is one made by Maurice Richard Desrochers, no stranger to CoA procedures. There are three separate applications,  all related to a property on the corner of Caroline and Burlington Street, a part of the city that is seen as a choice location to live where re-sale prices are well into the million dollar level.

There appear to be people either on the CoA or involved in the administration of the hearings who take exception to members of Council appearing.

The Gazette source asked not to be identified




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6 comments to Councillor attendance at Committee of Adjustment meetings seen as less than appropriate by some

  • Blair Smith

    My understanding is that there have been major resignations from the CoA and that, currently, it can barely meet quorum. Members have been ‘beating the bushes’ for like minded but not necessarily qualified individuals to sit on this very influential committee. If your building permit application is routed to the CoA, for reasons that are often not totally clear, it can cost you months on your home renovation project and substantial money out of pocket. I firmly believe that its role and mandate should be revised so that there is some form of more open and transparent civic accountability.

  • Fred Crockett

    Pepper, while your Editor’s note is technically correct, the fees are token in the grand scheme of things……

    • David Barker

      Committee of Adjustment remuneration

      Member Per Diem Car Mileage Total

      John Vice 2,560$ 319$ 2,879$

      Jim Riddell 2,200$ – $ 2,200$

      Alexandra Rawlings 2,180$ 384$ 2,564$

      Rose Hercia 800$ – $ 800$

      Nicholas Leblovic 1,840$ – $ 1,840$

      John Calvert 400$ – $ 400$

      Virginia Tinti 1,600$ – $ 1,600$

      Louis Spittal 80$ – $ 80$

      Total 11,660$ 702$ 12,362$

      Pretty good value when considering the expertise each brings to the table.

      Content edited

  • Fred Crockett

    I totally agree with David Barker’s comments on the process.

  • David Barker

    I had experience almost two years ago of my application to sever my property coming before the CoA. The biggest impression I gained from that experience was how well the committee members had done their background homework and had a strong grasp of the application’s complexities. Being a committee made up of volunteers, I found this astonishing, in a very good way. It has a hard job to be fair to both applicant and City, whilst also being the conscience of the City’s residents.

    As to a councilor either attending or delegating at a CoA meeting I have no real issue with either happening. If a councilor wishes to attend in an observer status, I do not see a need for the councilor to declare their presence. On the other hand if the councilor wishes to delegate in relation to a specific application, the councilor should declare themself and clearly state the delegation is in the context of being an individual resident and is in no way being made in the context or capacity of a councilor.

    Editor’s note: It would help if the writer was as diligent as the committee he refers to. Members of the CoA are paid a fee for each meeting they attend. They are appointed by Council.