Rutherford: audit planning staff, evaluate previous recommendations and educate planners.

100 daysWe asked Burlington residents that we know and have communicated with in our seven years of operation what they think the city needs to go in its first 100 days.

The new city council gets sworn in on December 3rd – what has to be done in that first 100 days to set a new path and get out of the rut many feel the city is in?

There are a lot of people unhappy with transit; unhappy with the thinking that is coming out of the Planning department.

Here is what Kevin Rutherford thought could be done and should be done.

By Kevin Rutherford
November 12th, 2018

1. Perform audits of planning staff and City manager to evaluate the performance of previous planning recommendations. Staff recommendations are wildly different depending on the planner on file, they need to reign this in and provide a consistent message and approach. Performance should also be evaluated based on the time spent reviewing applications and whether they completed the recommendation within the 120 day window, failure to do so allowed the National Homes Developer on Brant Ave to file an appeal and with the Georgina Court Development it forced council to make a decision in haste because of fear of litigation from the developer because they were at roughly 390 days.

2. Come up with a plan on engaging residents more in development plans, and earlier in the game, and treat residents with respect when they are engaged. Current meetings are essentially about checking a box in the process rather than actually engaging with residents.

Parking sign3. Scrap or re-visit the City-wide parking review. They are reducing the parking spaces required for developments creating massive parking issues. The reality is that adult children are living at home longer so more spaces are needed, not less. The justification for their plan is that they want to eliminate cars from the roads and force people to take transit etc… I am sorry I manage rail/transit engineering projects and Burlington needs massive investment before any of their objectives will ever work and in the meantime residents will continue to struggle. In areas of the city where they are exploring street parking permits is just a cash grab and not proper planning.

4. Educate planning staff on the current OP, PPS, Places to grow act etc… They are submitting recommendations that do not comply either due to incompetence or insufficient education. I agree they need to try to ensure they meet the conditions of these plans/policy, they do not seem to understand the basic principles. Even when mistakes are found, they still defend their decisions and fight, forcing developers or residents to file LPAT appeals.

Keith Rutherford is a Senior Project Manager, managing Rail & Transit engineering projects. He is also the individual leading the LPAT appeal for the Georgina Court (Upper Middle Enclave) residents. He reports that “We just received responses from the City staff on our appeal synopsis and record that we submitted and they are still digging in and standing their ground essentially “sucking and blowing” in their response on the issue items.

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1 comment to Rutherford: audit planning staff, evaluate previous recommendations and educate planners.

  • Eva Amos

    Perhaps issuing parking permits for on street parking is a better solution than issuing monthly parking permits in municipal lots for downtown resident’s second car. This at least would free up some spaces for the rest of the residents of Burlington wishing to come downtown to support the restaurants and businesses. Ideally there should have been a transit plan in place before approval of the massive development downtown.