Taking part in the decision making process that determines where new high tower buildings can be built is not a simple process.

ScobieNews 100 redBy Staff

February 15th, 2019



Gary Scobie attended a Local Planning Act Tribunal (LPAT) case conference meeting recently.

It was the follow up to a meeting at which he presented a lengthy document on why he felt the Reserve Properties appeal of a city council decision that permitted 17 stories the developer wants 24 – same as the one on the other side of the street.

The LPAT Case Management Conference was for the 409 Brant Street Appeal. Reserve Properties wants 23 storeys instead of the 17 storeys approved by Council in 2018. Reserve Properties wants to be able to go as high into the sky as Carriage Gate is going to go with their approved 24 story tower on the other side of James Street.

409 Brant imageScobie expects the location to be called “Twin Towers” should the Reserve Properties win at the appeal hearing.

Scobie had applied to be a Participant in the LPAT appeal back in January and he submitted his views to all Parties as required and filled in all the proper paperwork. Those views are the subject of an opinion piece Scobie wrote.

Yesterday the LPAT representative Chris Conti agreed with the Parties that they should all wait for the outcome of a pending trial in Toronto that will better define how LPAT functions going forward. The objective of the Case Management Conference was to set a date sometime in the summer for the next LPAT meeting on the Reserve appeal..

Scobie finds he is still a Participant in the appeal hearing, as far as he understands, but was told that his role may have ended with his submission. He apparently has no ability as a Participant to further expand or comment on the submission he made nor will anyone ask him any questions on the document.

Doesn’t sound as if the LPAT process does anything for citizens than the former Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) process did.

Related article:

Scobie’s presentation to the Local Planning Act Tribunal

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4 comments to Taking part in the decision making process that determines where new high tower buildings can be built is not a simple process.

  • Penny Hersh

    Jeremy, your comment is very detailed and explains how residents can participate before and after an LPAT hearing has been called. The problem is that most residents don’t have the expertise, and time to investigate in what is now required to contribute to an LPAT appeal.

    Most residents have no idea what a shadow study is or what is meant whether “height compatibility is an issue as the sun casts 45 degree shadows at about noon on either the spring or fall equinox”. For most the proposed development means they will be locked in a space with little or no sun.

    If in fact as you indicate that the written submission to LPAT needs to be more detailed and address issues as is determined by LPAT then what impact could a heartfelt letter be in adjudicating a file?

    The question, I think, that everyone should be asking is why do we have to have an LPAT at all? Why should the Municipality not be able to determine what is right for their city through their Official Plan?

    • Brian Paulson

      Penny, your comment alludes to two things;

      1) Many citizens felt that LPAT would lean more in their or the municipality’s favour and are now finding that perhaps it does not. Like many government entities, the change from OMB to LPAT was a slight process change tagged by a name change. LPAT is a red tape cutting measure aimed to do away with the actual hearing process from the OMB. LPAT relies primarily on delegations (verbal and written) made during the municipal process. A hearing may be called should the tribunal feel that they require further clarification from a delegate. You cannot be a participant unless you previously delegated.

      2) Many citizens are trying to argue against reports and delegations made by professional experts when they do not fully understand them. No one expects general citizens to fully understand these reports (and the OPfor that matter) as they have not received the education required to write or understand them. I commend citizens for trying, but most of the arguments they make have no bearing.

      For one example; Shadow impacts. As Jeremy points out, at the Sping and Fall equinoxes, the sun is at a 47 degree angle at noon (sorry Jeremy for the slight correction). Not everyone knows this, but there online calculators that can give you that info. Many want to use the Dec 21 solstice at 3:30 PM to bolster their argument, since it shows the longest shadows. At that time, you are close to sunset and the sun is at its lowest angle of the year, thus the longest shadows, A typical 2-storey home will be casting a shadow about 150′ long, which is long enough to completely envelop their neighbour’s home to the East in shadow. Given this, when all the buildings’ shadows at this time are doing this, the heights of buildings really have no bearing.

      Another example is citizens trying to understand traffic reports. These reports talk of trips during peak hours. A trip can be a vehicle leaving or returning to a development. So when the report says 100 trips during an hour, that could mean 78 vehicles leaving, with 22 returning, and some of those could the same vehicle. Therefore 100 trips does not necessarily mean 100 cars added to the traffic.

      It is also important to note that all traffic reports include analysis of existing traffic, along with recommendations to the City forimprovements, regardless of the proposed development.

      Most citizen interpretations are made based on bits of info from reports, leading to misinformation. The report on the whole must be taken into consideration.

      Citizen engagement is good,and should continue. However, most engagement is impassioned and emotional, thus primarily subjective and not objective. There is nothing wrong with being impassioned, but most subjective delegations are “I just don’t like it” with attempts to prop up their opinion with partial or misinterpreted facts.

  • Gary Scobie

    OK Jeremy, I’ll take the bait. : )

    As you and many others who delegate at Council know, I live in Ward 3, a number of kilometres away from the downtown. I’ve mentioned that a number of times when I delegate and proclaim proudly that my Burlington contains the downtown. I find no shame in loving our downtown and wanting to look after its well-being. If others disagree, that’s their call. If LPAT disagrees and wants to compartmentalize each development application in close quarters, then that’s their stance, maybe even their right under legislation. This doesn’t mean I have to like their stance or their right, because I don’t.

    I think I’ve made it clear that I resist flawed legislation and flawed decisions by Council and planners. I think it’s my right as a citizen to point out mistakes and try to stop their replication and repetition. It’s others’ right to disagree with my position.

    Defining a set area for consultation around each application site is done to lessen public input. It makes a tacit judgement that those outside the area have no right to care or comment. Somebody, somewhere thought that would be a good idea. I don’t.

    We all have to look out for each other and take an interest in how development everywhere in the City will affect its livability. That’s why I attended many Open Houses, Statutory Meetings and Planning & Development Meetings for applications to develop sites that are not in my neighbourhood. But they are in my City. Can’t get to all of them. I expect others, especially those close by, to attend. And they do.

    Maybe we should have chosen the motto “We’re In This Together” for the City after all.

  • Jeremy Skinner

    In my opinion, it would be interesting to know as to whether Gary Scobie resides in or owns the property associated with his business located within 81 metre distance from any of the property lines associated with the proposed 409 Brant St. development currently under appeal at LPAT?

    The developer’s Planning and Justification report describes a building of 23 storeys (excluding mechanical penthouse) and a height of 81 metres. The Official Plan contains policies dealing with compatibility to surrounding stable residential neighbourhoods of which both the OMB and LPAT have repeatedly shown sensitivity to understand prior to rendering a decision.

    The developer submitted shadow studies can provide a quick means of determining whether height compatibility is an issue as the sun casts 45 degree shadows at about noon on either the spring or fall equinox (about September 22 and March 20). An argument can be made if the stable residential neighbourhood which borders the site is unable to maintain 5 hours of sunlight as a result of the development.

    Compatibility also deals with issues of privacy associated with stable residential neighbourhoods. Building heights which are higher than what can be contained within a 45 degree angular plane as measured by the closest residential property line to the top of the proposed building height may be considered as detrimental to the bordering stable residential neighbourhood.

    I would recommend that residents of stable residential neighbourhoods make their case of compatibility issues known by delegating at the City Statutory Meeting associated with the Final Report associated with proposed development especially if the issue is not covered in the report. The report is typically issued 10 business days prior to the Statutory Meeting. In the event that the developer appeals due to lack of decision by the City, hence no Final Report or Statutory Meeting, then representatives of the bordering neighbourhood should seek participant status so that the issue of compatibility is presented to the LPAT.