It’s going to be interesting to see how the developer and the city work out a way to recover the zoning that has now been lost..

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  April 16, 2012

Well the good folks over at Carriage Gate – the people who are behind the Medica One project planned for the intersection of Caroline and James, do have a problem on their hands.  After being given the zoning changes they wanted in 2009 on the properties they had assembled, they then had eighteen months to get a handful of documents signed and they were on their way to construction.

The developer had approval in principle for the zoning he wanted - then he lost it. How did that happen?

But that didn’t happen.  For reasons which are not yet clear, Nick Carnacelli seemed to have lost his ballpoint pen or his banker’s telephone number, and the documents the city had to have in hand – weren’t in hand and so what Carnacelli had in the way of a zoning change – he no longer has.

Carnacelli pushed very hard to get the project approved back in 2009.  A number of people in the Planning Department put in long hours to get all the reports in place so that Council could approve the development in principle back then.

After that, all it took was for the developer to sign the development agreement, pay funds into the Section 37 agreement account, pay the rezoning fees required and after that it was a case of “Bob’s your uncle”.  The developer had 18 months to get all this done – and once it was done the Planning Department would report to Council that everything was A – OK and the rezoning the developer had asked for, which had been approved in principle, would be made legal.

Pearl Street Cafe was a recent Carnacelli property acquisition - part of a small land assembly that reaches down to Lakeshore Road.

But the developer either forgot – or couldn’t deliver on his part of the deal.  With deadlines passed, the developer, according to everyone who can speak with any authority on this, has to go back to square one.  The developer doesn’t see it quite that way. Carnacelli thinks it is just a matter of clearing up some paper work. Was Tony Millington on vacation or did Carnacelli lose his phone number?

City Hall wants downtown development and has expressed some anxiety at the rate at which developers actually put shovels into the ground.  Carnacelli holds four prime downtown property assemblies and other than some Ontario Municipal Board hearings on what density is permissible – nothing has happened.

The Carnacelli interests own the property that currently houses a Bank of Montreal Wealth Management office - prime development spot.

He holds the piece of land at what is sometimes referred to as the “football” that area where Old Lakeshore Road and Lakeshore Road converge at the east end.  He owns the buildings that were once the Pearl Street Café plus the single story medical building at the foot of Pearl Street.

Add to that the property at the intersection of John Street and Brant and the property he assembled for the Medica One project.

The Mayor’s office would send a case of single malt scotch to Nick Carnacelli if he were to put a shovel in the ground on any of the properties and probably personally nominate the man for the Citizen of the Year Award. Burlington needs office space that is at least Class B.  There was a strong case for a medical centre in that part of town along with affordable apartments.

The developer has to return to a Council that is quite a bit different than the one he was before last time.  During the debate at Council committee in 2009,  the development was opposed by then citizen Marianne Meed Ward, who of course went on to get herself elected as the council member for ward two which is where the development is taking place.

Marianne Meed Ward was just a citizen when this picture was taken - now she is on the other side of the podium, sitting as a Council member. Should make for great political theatre when the Medica One zoning matter comes before committee.

There are people arguing that Meed Ward didn’t have quite the community support she claims to have had back in 2009 – but that is rather moot at this point in time.  She has developed a strong following within her ward and has perhaps the best relationship with her constituents of any other council member.  She is certainly active.  Now she has an issue that she fought against as a citizen – expect her to be just as dogged this time out.

The question however is this – will Meed Ward manage to get the support of her fellow Council members in forcing the Medica One people to make changes or accept changes in what was given several years ago?  Or does Burlington want development in the downtown core so badly that Carnacelli will promise whatever he has to promise to get back the zoning he once had?

Will Council follow the Meed Ward approach and be very hard-nosed or will the city fold with the hope that they will see a shovel in the ground?

You can bet the telephone calls are being made to all the Council members.  The Planning department people had many conversations with Carnacelli during the months leading up to the point at which the zoning was lost.  The Mayor has had a conversation with the developer.

We have not had a conversation with the developer however, we did learn just over a month ago that the developer was fully committed to the housing development he has going in Stoney Creek and that they were “working” on some promotional material for Medica One.  We were not able to actually talk to Nick Carnacelli.

Something’s not quite right here.


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1 comment to It’s going to be interesting to see how the developer and the city work out a way to recover the zoning that has now been lost..

  • Harry Mc Mahon

    Developers demand much but give little in return.I feel he goes back to square one and reapplies and this time the city should impose a financial penalty should he ones again fail to comply.