Mayor explains his vote for the 17+ storey structure a developer wants to build opposite city hall.

News 100 blueBy Staff

July 19th, 2018



Tuck this away – you might want to pull it out when the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal  (LPAT) hears an appeal of the city council decision to accept the staff proposal for the 409 Brant development where Reserve Properties asked for 23 stories and the city said 17 + amenities on an 18th floor was preferred.

In his report to the public the Mayor had this to say about his vote to accept the Staff recommendation.

Last night, Burlington City Council held our last meeting before heading into a summer break from formal meetings.

409 Brant site from the air

A superb view of what the part of Brant Street south of James looks like today. Five years from now it might be a very different view.

There has been a great deal of interest about a proposed development at the south-east corner of Brant and James, 409 Brant Street, that contains a number of buildings, including the current location of Kelly’s Bake Shoppe.

I believe many vital facts need to be shared as part of the overall discussion on this issue.

• The owner of the property has applied to the city for Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw amendments to allow a 23 storey building plus an extra storey for rooftop amenities.

• The City of Burlington planning staff are not supportive of this application and have brought forward a modified approval of a 17 storey building that would feature significant public benefits including much wider sidewalks and public space at the intersection of Brant and James.

• Included in the recommendation is preserving the heritage look of Kelly’s Bake Shoppe as well as the Watchmaker shop on John Street, and a significant increase in retail space compared to what the developer brought forward. This retail space would be appropriate for any businesses interested in locating in downtown Burlington.

Mayor with Reveniue Project developer

Mayor Rick Goldring in conversation with the president of Reserve Properties.

• While the new Official Plan policies are only informative, they are important in that they provide Council’s vision for development with new growth framework which affects the downtown. In the staff report on pages 25-33 there is considerable analysis using the adopted Official Plan that supports the modified approval for 17 storeys (plus a storey for rooftop amenity space).

• This recommendation is in sync with the newly adopted Official Plan and would be easily defensible if the developer appealed the council decision to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) and continued to push for the 23 storeys they applied for originally.

• If council approved the motion that Councillor Meed Ward brought forward for 11 storeys there is no guarantee that Kelly’s would be part of the redevelopment, and if the developer appealed this decision, there would be a good chance that the council decision could be overturned as there would be no clear rationale for the decision. Meaning, LPAT could side with the developer and approve their proposal of 23 storeys.

• Many have expressed concern about the impact of this development on Kelly’s Bake Shoppe. Kelly’s is in a leased building, and the rights for this property clearly rest with the owner, and if the owner wants to redevelop the site, it is their right to bring forward a development application, which they have. Kelly and the owner should honour the terms of Kelly’s lease. If the owner wants to end the contract early, Kelly’s needs to be treated fairly as stated in the lease, and that is the business between Kelly’s and the property owner.

• Council has asked city staff to work with Kelly’s to assist with finding a temporary location while the development is under construction if Kelly’s decides to move into the new development. Staff will assist in finding Kelly’s a new location in Burlington if that is the direction Kelly’s would like to take.

• At the November 1st Planning and Development Committee meeting, when we considered the proposal for 23 storeys at 421 Brant Street, I was unequivocal in my opposition based on some key points, and I’ll be consistent on this issue.

The conflict with the policy directions for this Special Policy Area which contained a 17 storey height limit.

I heard from many residents who told me the height was much too high for this area of Brant Street.

My concern for the possible precedent that it may create for this property at 409 Brant Street; and,

My opinion that a building height of up to 17 storeys would be more appropriate.

• The Saxony building, which is a 6 storey development features an average price per unit of over $1,000,000. Newer, taller developments like the Berkeley (17 storeys) or the Strata (22 storeys on Maple Ave.) feature units in the $600,000 range, making downtown more inclusive for residents desiring to live there. Therefore, a 17 storey building is more likely to include more moderately priced units than a building that have less height and units.

From Civic Square

Reserve Properties wanted 23 storeys – same as the approved structure on the north side of James Street. Council accepted a Staff recommendation to cut it down to 17 storeys.

In summary, the developer has applied for a 23 storey building, and city staff recommended 17 storeys with all the benefits that are stated in the recommendation report, and the council supported the staff recommendation. Councillor Meed Ward wanted building height of 3-11 storeys, and Councillor Dennison stated that 14 storeys would be more preferable. The council is unanimous in the support for redevelopment of the site.

I supported staff’s recommendation at last night’s council meeting. This is responsive to the policy decisions that this Council recently made through the adopted Official Plan. The modified approval for 17 storeys is in line with the Council approved vision in the Plan, and it responds to the objections to the proposed 23 storeys that were heard from many residents in response to the initial proposal.

We are building a city for current generations along with our children and grandchildren, so that Burlington is an inclusive, environmentally and fiscally sustainable city for decades to come. I am confident that we are making the right decision today for the greater good of the city that I love.


Key phrases and paragraphs in this report are:

“…preserving the heritage look of Kelly’s Bake Shoppe” – All the public is going to get is the facade of what the building looked like – there is very little chance that Kelly’s will return when the construction of the condominium is completed.  The developer expects to have to move the building a bit during construction.  No one will be able to occupy the space.

This recommendation is in sync with the newly adopted Official Plan and would be easily defensible if the developer appealed the council decision to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) and continued to push for the 23 storeys they applied for originally.  Those two words “easily defensible” may come back to bite the Mayor – assuming of course that he is re-elected.

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2 comments to Mayor explains his vote for the 17+ storey structure a developer wants to build opposite city hall.

  • Kelly Childs

    This would be incredible but we cannot hold our breath. We really do not think the city would ever keep these heritage buildings. 🙁

  • Maggie

    The article states the rights of Kelly’s bake shop reside with the owner and this is correct. However the building is a heritage building currently on the municipal register. Burlington has a policy of not forcing designation. This is a policy not a law. They can vote in favor of designation if they choose. They could designate both Kelly’s Bake Shop and Albert Schmitt’s if they wanted.