How much of the traditional Burlington can the city save and at the same time meet the demands of provincial policy? The Brant Street Main Precinct.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 27th, 2019



The city’s Planning department is ready to take its first cut on what the downtown should look like. Council will review, discuss, debate and listen to delegations.

This article covers the available information on the Brant Main Street precinct.

While the overall vision for the Downtown remains the same, the Planning staff came up with two proposed concepts that are distinct and provide different ways in which to achieve the overall vision.

The two concepts are based on the revised Precincts. The development of the concepts is not starting from scratch. It was also necessary to take the following factors into account when developing the land use concepts: existing context; other related City policy; Provincial and Regional policy; and the directions given by Council for the re- examination including specifying 2031 as the planning horizon.

There are 11 precincts – two are administrative in nature – the others cover all of the downtown core.

Within each Precinct, there is an existing context of built and approved residential towers, office buildings and heritage buildings that is not anticipated to change before 2031 but which influences the character of the precinct.

The map below shows the location of all the precincts.  More derail on the Brant Street Main precinct is below the ward boundary map.

Figure 5 precinct boundaries

map of the precinctBrant Main Street Precinct applies to the portion of Brant Street that residents associate with the traditional downtown main street. Residents noted that the portion north of Caroline Street has a different character and it is now part of the Mid Brant Mixed-Use Precinct.

Vision  The Brant Main Street Precinct will serve as a unique destination within the Downtown and City-wide. It will be enhanced as a priority retail main street where the character of small retail shops lining the street is maintained.

Brant Street is identified as a Pedestrian Priority Street where the streetscape provides a safe and comfortable environment with Clear Path Zones and bump outs to narrow the distance to cross at key intersections.

A new large festival square, which is partially completed, will be located on the City parking lot between Brant and John Streets.

Permitted uses are primarily retail and service commercial uses on the ground floor with residential uses above.

Concept 1:

Brant Street will have a low-rise built form character.

Only low buildings will be permitted within the first 20 m. of Brant Street.

The remainder of these blocks adjacent to John Street and Locust Street will permit mid-rise buildings.

In addition to the overall Downtown vision, Concept 1 respects the low-rise built form character by permitting only up to 3 storey buildings along Lower Brant and parts of Lakeshore and extends it through Mid Brant.

Tall building behind

Concept 1 – would allow for taller buildings tucked in behind building that reflect the traditional Burlington.

Investors bldg

Concept 2: Image above represent a 6 storey Midrise building, an example of what could be built

The low-rise permission provides an opportunity for greater number of existing buildings to be maintained along Brant Street, while any new low-rise buildings will allow for greater flexibility in store sizes and unique store fronts, which provides the ability to maintain the eclectic look and feel that creates the unique sense of place of Brant Street. Mid-rise buildings are directed to John Street and taller buildings are directed to precincts north of Caroline Street and within parts of the Downtown East Precinct north of the Elgin Promenade.

rendering 3 d for Wendell bldg

3D rendering of concept 1

Redering 3d for Investors bldg

3D rendering of concept 2

When reference is made to categories of buildings (i.e., low-rise) the following summarizes the range of possible building heights for each building type:

• Low-rise: up to 3 storeys
• Low-mid Rise: 4 – 6 storeys
• Mid-rise: 7 – 11 storeys
• Tall: 12 + storeys

Pros and cons of concept 1.
The Concept is most similar to the Adopted OP requiring low rise-built form character at street level but with a greater setback of 20 metres to mid-rise buildings.

Maintains a maximum 3 storey low-rise character along Brant Street.

Twenty-metre-deep building podiums provide flexibility to maintain existing retail stores or accommodate new retail space.

Allows mid-rise along John Street and Locust Street.

Concept 2: Mid Rise – an opportunity for an increased pedestrian realm and open spaces.

In addition to the overall Downtown vision, Concept 2 provides for a renewal of the Downtown through a low-mid rise built form along Lower Brant and Mid Brant and mid- rise built form along parts of Lakeshore. This ‘in between’ scale of buildings provides a human scale, walkable public realm that will provide opportunities for future gathering places and open space, through potential additional setbacks and privately owned publicly accessible open spaces (POPS1) along the vibrant streetscapes.

The taller mid- rise buildings allow for wider sidewalks and more open space at the street through greater building setbacks. Taller buildings are directed to precincts north of Caroline Street and within the Downtown East Precinct.

Currently no maximum height is identified for Tall Buildings. Input received through the engagement process will be used to inform the evaluation and confirm a maximum Tall Building height for each Precinct to be included in the preliminary preferred Concept.

Pros and cons concept 2
Compared to the Adopted OP, this concept permits shorter mid-rise buildings without stepbacks.

No stepback is required resulting in the potential for a 6-storey building to be introduced on Brant street.

Apartment towers limit flexibility of retail space due to columns.

Permits low to mid-rise buildings.

Related news stories:

The Outline

The bigger picture.




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