Amendments to the draft new Official Plan

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Planning & Development Committee Meeting. Tue., Jan. 23/18

It has been a busy week for both residents and Burlington City Council.

It was just over a week ago that I held the Reverse Town Hall, which was a great opportunity for me to hear from the community on the future of downtown Burlington. There were many perspectives shared, and it helped me prepare for the Planning & Development Committee meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday, where we considered the Proposed Downtown Mobility Hub Precinct Plan. Thank you to everyone who attended, you made a difference.

The concerns from residents that I heard at the Reverse Town Hall and from delegations at the Committee meeting included: building height, parking, public engagement, defer the Official Plan until after the 2018 municipal election, growth targets, downtown mobility hub and urban growth centre, and the need for balanced growth.

Many of your concerns resonated with me. I reviewed them closely, and I consulted staff to gain insight into the implications and potential opportunities.

I am pleased to provide you with a Committee update.

We listened and acted and made important amendments to the Proposed Downtown Mobility Hub Precinct Plan.  I believe these changes significantly improve the plan and are reflective of much of the public feedback that was provided.

Downtown Precinct Map

Here is a summary of the amendments to the Proposed Downtown Mobility Hub Precinct Plan:

  • Amend the proposed Downtown Core Precinct as follows:
    • Development shall be a maximum of 12 storeys; or
    • Development may be permitted additional storeys, subject to a site-specific zoning by-law amendment, to a maximum of 17 storeys subject to the following:
      • One additional storey for every 150 sq metre of office/employment floor space provided; or
      • One additional storey for every 8 public parking spaces provided in an underground parking structure

NOTE: I brought this motion forward because I heard loud and clear the importance of moderating the height in the area South of Victoria St. as well as the need for more parking in the east end of downtown

  • Change the north-east corner of Brant Street and Lakeshore, located in the Cannery Precinct to the Downtown Core Precinct with conditions as listed above.
  • Increase minimum tower separation requirement for tall buildings within the Downtown Mobility Hub from 25 metres to 30 metres which will create a greater feeling of openness around the buildings.
  • Include policies to allow additional density in developments that preserve heritage buildings based on square footage preserved. (I am very supportive of this. I look forward to staff providing details on how this can be implemented)
  • Direct the Director of City Building to include policy encouraging consideration of public-private parking partnerships in the Official Plan
  • Direct the Director of City Building to prepare mid-rise (6-11 storeys) building guidelines by the end of Q3 2018
  • Place targets for 2-3 bedroom units in residential buildings to accommodate families with children
  • Add the north-west corner of Burlington Avenue and Lakeshore Rd. to the special planning area to match the north-east corner.
  • Direct staff to work with the Region to review the Downtown Urban Growth Centre boundaries, and consider restoring original boundaries with the exception of Spencer Smith Park.
  • Change the rezoning application requirement for a housing impact statement for more than 200 dwelling units and add a percentage target affecting mid and high-rise residential to achieve affordable, assisted, and special needs housing, as defined in Halton Region’s Annual State of Housing report.

I also want to respond to the residents who said that approval of the Official Plan should be deferred until after the municipal election.  Council decided against this idea and here is why.

There are significant benefits to having a Council approval decision sooner rather than later. This will actually better address the significant public concern and interest for establishing greater certainty in the planning process.

A new Official Plan means we can move away from a site by site negotiation and instead bring more certainty to the application process.  This is what residents have been very clear about.

Staff confirmed that the City will be in a better position to plan within a clearly defined framework with an updated Official Plan that can be defendable by today’s standards.

Staff will be able to use the new Official Plan when working with developers even though the Official Plan won’t officially be approved by the Halton Region until some time likely in 2019.

Staff will continue to develop a detailed Downtown Area Specific Plan which includes matters such as transportation, parking and servicing.

I believe that it is not only important for the reasons I have outlined, but a responsibility of this Council to bring as much certainty as possible to our downtown planning.  Our current council has the necessary understanding of the development of the Official Plan.  It’s important that this Council complete the process.

The draft new Official Plan, with the above amendments, will be presented to the Planning and Development Committee on April 4, 2018.

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11 thoughts on “Amendments to the draft new Official Plan

  1. I appreciate that you were listening but it does not appear that you really heard the depth of feeling about what was being said.
    Many citizens and especially those in the core area do not want MIssisauga style centre.They do not want 23 stories no matter what contributions to parking and office are included.They do not want 17 stories either.
    They can live with 12 stories.
    The idea of the bus stop being a transportation hub is ludicrous.It. Is a bus stop.
    Over intensification based on the transport hub designation is weak at best.
    I think you are a fine mayor and that you have done well .However I fear you are being bamboozled by your own planning department and councilors who are influenced by development lobbies.
    I fear also that you and the current council will pay a heavy prince at he polls because you have not delayed this decision until after the election.This would be unfortunate .

  2. Thank you for this Mayor Goldring,

    These amendments do represent some improvement on the OP as presented on Jan. 23. However a number of questions remain and further clarification is required before I could honestly say I either support or reject the proposal. I won’t go into detail here and instead will direct my questions and concerns to the full council. It would seem to me though that under both the old OP and the proposed new one with these amendments included, the Carriage Gate proposal for 23 stories at 421 Brant Street should never have been approved.
    ( and yes I am aware that you voted against that approval) Revoking that approval would be a sensible start point if this council wishes to regain the trust of the people of Burlington.

  3. So, what you have done is provide “greater certainty in the planning process.” Certainty is the minimum outcome and no one should be satisfied with that. The few last minute changes you approved are minor revisions that do not change much.
    Once again you got it wrong.
    Burlington needs a Plan with a different vision, different ambitions and goals, and different outcomes. You might have been able to achieve that in next few months but you chose to turn you backs on that opportunity.

  4. Thank you for the changes, that does help. I am still concerned about the traffic patterns and would like to see a city funded traffic study.

  5. I appreciate these changes as long as the 17 stories maximum is carved in stone and not overridden by some future “special considerations”,

  6. What you are so proud of in no way addresses the concerns of your citizens. It appears changes have been made just to show you have listened. Based on your proposal Developers can still have their ridiculous numbers of stories as long as six or whatever number are for office space.

    You claim the official plan needs to be voted on now to remove uncertainty. What difference will another few months make to decide on a major change that will have long term impact on the future design of downtown. If you and your colleagues are so proud of your official plan you would let the electorate decide and make your stance part of your election platform. Is council afraid to let the citizens vote on it?

  7. I’m good with the 12 storey limit designation with an ability to apply to a MAX of 17 storeys provided the site can afford this height & community benefits are secured.
    i.e. public/visitor parking (an absolute must)
    Reasonably priced commercial/retail space
    Family size units
    In addition to the above options securing an alotment of affordable rental units could be a great benefit for families & young adults.

  8. Congratulations Mr. Mayor! These changes are so positive and reflect
    A need for growth that respects both our history and our need for maintaining a
    Density level that is reasonable. I only hope that the same considerations can be applied to the development proposal at Georgian Courts.

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