Roseland residents take a hard-nosed look at their community. Looking for ‘character” they find characters.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. May 1, 2013.  Burlington is holding the second “neighbourhood character” study, which is part of the Official Plan Review.  The first study was done with the people of Indian Point where there are some differences as to what can and what shouldn’t be permitted in terms of lot severances and the kind of housing that can be built on a piece of property.

 The ‘what kind of housing’ gets built is one of the reasons these  “neighbourhood character” studies are done.  People who live in a neighbourhood chose to live there and take offence to anyone who wants to come in and build a house that they feel is “inappropriate.

 Who gets to decide what’s appropriate?  The person who owns the property, the neighbours, the planning department?

Roseland is made up of large two and a half storey homes on great lots that were built before the depression.

The community also has large and small bungalows that were built after the depression and on into the 40’s.

Who decides what a neighbourhood’ s character actually is?  The people who live there or course – but you know that within the residents there will be differences in view point.

A few days before Roseland goes through its own ‘character” study the Roseland Community Organization held an event and did a SWOT exercise and looked at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to their community,

Each of the 40 some odd people at the meeting wrote down their thoughts under each term on Post-It notes and put them up on a board where everyone could read them.  They are set out below for you to review and think about how your community would rank and be reflected under a SWOT analysis.

 These are the results, unfiltered.






Trees – age

Neighbours who care

Continued development on Rossmore north

Trees and landscaping

Homes being built are too homogenous

Tall trees

New houses look like a subdivision

Safe streets where kids can play

New houses

Quiet street

Neigbours do not know each other as before

Proximity to Lake

Roseland Club different


House flipping

Family culture

Overly large house on lots

Traditional architecture

Power outages

Grand property sizes

Old hydro poles

Lots of green spaces

Loss of old trees

Roseland Community Organization

Old trees that are weak or sick causing damage

Mature trees

Not enough support from community

Open spaces

Water table, flooding

Beauty due to variation in styles, character, trees, lot sizes and boulevards

Aging trees


Some apathy to selected lots and absentee landlords

Not gated – open visitors, walkers, bike riders

Too attractive to developers

Friendly neighbours

Starting a feeding frenzy for developers to move through an area – their activities pushing neighbours out, allowing more homes too big


Unclear development guidelines

A good investment for a home owner

No or little pre consultation


Decaying trees

Large lots with setbacks allow large tree

No guidelines to Committee of Adjustment – have too much leeway to interpret the by-laws

A forest in the City with a neigbourhood in the woods

Weakness in the City in terms of protection of ambience

A real neighbourhood – a sense of community, a history as a community

No protection trees on private property


New homes totally out of scale, devoid of design to fit neigbourhood


Street lighting

Overall Ambience, especially trees

RCA membership too low

Spaciousness of lots  and space between the houses

Construction madness – it goes on and on in some areas – weak or no enforcement, the developers skirt the law on the street blockage

Varied architecture

Inappropriate severing

Role of Roseland in history of Burlington as a prestige neighbourood

Traffic as motorists avoid Lakeshore traffic

A place for visitors from far and wide to walk, walk their dog, to drive and ride through

Existing by-laws too weak or not enforced

Keystone properties that set the character of the area

Garages in front lawns – suburban style

Diversity and scale of architecture – houses fit their lots

Developers put enormous homes on small lots , so that smaller neighbourhood homes are dwarfed


Too many developers interested, killing the goose that lays the golden egg

Good Neighbours

The culture in this seems to be to roll over, giving them variances they want

Roseland Club

Intensification mandates


Existing by-laws

Great place to raise a family

Pass through traffic

Wide boulevard streets


Roseland park


Sense of community


Excellent lot to dwelling proportions


Attractive homes of character


Lot width and space between houses


Places for kids to play safely


Wonderful people and neighbours


Unique home designs – not a subdivision




Roseland Park


Wide streets






Community events

The stakes are so high, it is worth it for a developer and his consultants to always try, and to go to the OMB – relentless

Acknowledge the history of Roseland development from 1925

Due to large lots, the threat of severance always hangs there

More control of development

Roseland being stereo-typed and not listened too

Stronger protection in the Official Plan

Uncontrolled development, severances

Better and stronger direction to the Committee of Adjustment


Careful selection of Committee of Adjustment members to be sensitive to communities

Lot severances

Replace aging infrastructure


A tree maintenance and plating project – a public private venture

Old hydro poles

Clarity on appropriate development

Uncontrolled development

Need by-laws to protect lot sizes, to make by-laws hold, and not be undercut

Desire or market demand to over build- greed


City planning – intensification

RCO provides an opportunity to maintain the unique quality of the neighbourhood

Developers profiting from the ambience of the neigbourhood they are destroying

Think of ways to bring everyone together again – use the Club

Only planting dwarf trees as replacements

Ability to be vocal on problems – the community has much capacity to react

Having water table changed with super size basement

We need to use political clout, stay organized

Monster homes, gorilla additions

Increase commitment to maintain qualities of Roseland

Insensitive infill

Tree maintenance

Loss of neighbourhood loyalty

Official plan study

Over-sized Homes on rebuild lots

Tree by-law

Loss of character homes

Push City to pass tree by-law

New builds that lack elegance, imagination and variation

Keep “variances” minor







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