Finding the right balance in the Roseland Character Area Study

An aerial view of Roseland.

An aerial view of Roseland.

The Roseland Character Area Study is nearing its completion, with the fourth public consultation meeting held last night.

The city’s planning staff has outlined a list of proposed changes to the city’s Official Plan and zoning bylaw for the neighbourhood of Roseland, which consists of approximately 115 acres and 300 dwellings.

The five proposed changes listed in a brief prepared by city staff on the Character Area Study for Roseland and Indian Point include:

  • Develop Official Plan policies to protect and manage development in Character Areas.
  • Prepare amendments to the Zoning By-law for Roseland and Indian Point to reflect the existing housing stock.
  • Maintain the Site Plan Control By-law for Character Areas.
  • Develop an Urban Design Brief to evaluate Site Plan, Minor Variance and Consent applications in Character Areas.
  • Co-ordinate opportunities to plant trees on public rights-of-way as part of the Urban Forestry Management Plan.

Further details of proposed amendments within each of these five changes encompassing such aspects as setbacks, building height and lot coverage are outlined in the brief.

I know Roseland well. I grew up in the neighbourhood, so I have firsthand knowledge of its unique status and character as one of our oldest communities within Burlington. I know the people living in this neighbourhood want to preserve its uniqueness and charm.

My desired outcome of the Character Area Study is to provide the city’s planning staff with additional considerations when assessing the merits of applications for development from homeowners and developers in Roseland.

Last night, I heard from residents that the proposed directions do not go far enough compared to what was suggested in the consultant’s report. I heard the request for staff to reconsider legacy zoning. I heard the concerns about clearing vegetation and houses from lots before making applications to sever. I heard the request for a private tree bylaw – even if it starts out as a pilot project in the Roseland neighbourhood.

I have long believed a private tree bylaw would help control tree removal.

Unfortunately, there was not enough support from city council in 2013 for moving forward with a bylaw. Only I and a another member of council supported a staff direction in 2013 asking for options for a private tree bylaw. I look forward to a renewed discussion on this topic in the coming weeks.

Our planning staff also heard you last night and will be considering your suggestions.

As I stated last night, I believe our building and planning staff have been diligent throughout the process to find the best solution. It is not easy to create a balance between the need for growth and the community’s desire to stay the same. It may not be possible to arrive at a balance that satisfies everyone in the community – difficult choices will have to be made.

Staff will consider community feedback as they prepare the final report, which is expected to go to the Development and Infrastructure Committee in late March or early April.

At that time, it is ultimately up to city council to approve, modify or refuse the study recommendations.

In regards to the Indian Point study, our staff is continuing to communicate with the community about its preferred options. I have heard there is a strong will from the majority of residents in that neighbourhood to maintain the current Official Plan and zoning bylaw.

Written comments on the Character Area Study can be emailed to planner Rosa Bustamante at rosa.bustamante@burlington.ca by Monday, February 9. I welcome to you also share your thoughts and feedback with me at mayor@burlington.ca.

More details can be found on the city’s Character Area Study webpage.

 

LUMCO invitation to Party Leaders

The Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario (LUMCO), of which I am a member, invited Premier Kathleen Wynne, Leader of the Official Opposition Tim Hudak, and Leader of the New Democratic Party of Ontario Andrea Horwath to meet individually with the LUMCO membership, requesting that they, or their representatives, present their party’s Provincial Platform on the issues facing Ontario’s Big Cities.Large Urban Mayors' Caucus of Ontario

LUMCO’s key priorities for 2014 include gridlock and transit issues, the rising cost of emergency services, and job creation in Ontario. LUMCO Chair Mayor Jeff Lehman spoke for all Mayors’ when he indicated that the organization is working to advance the issues facing the majority of Ontarians in our large Cities. This Provincial election campaign provides us the perfect opportunity to find out where the leaders stand on our key priorities. We remain cautiously optimistic and hopeful that the important issues of infrastructure, transit and job creation will remain on the Provincial agenda, regardless of the election outcome.

A press release resulting from last Friday’s meeting is posted on my blog indicating where the parties have or have not addressed the issue put forward at the LUMCO meeting.

The Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario (LUMCO) represents 67% of Ontario’s population with Mayors of 26 communities over 100,000 residents. LUMCO advocates for issues and policies important to Ontario’s largest cities.

Burlington Airpark: December Update – City gets legal advice on Airpark’s appeal

 

Airpark Updates:

Burlington Airpark environmental report report

Burlington Airpark Environmental Report

As you know, over the last 5-6 years, tens of thousands of truck loads of fill have been transported onto the Burlington Airpark site for the apparent purpose of expansion and enhancements to the existing services offered at the airpark.

These activities have raised a number of questions by both neighbours, residents and the city, including questions about the quality of the fill being dumped.

Test Results

On July 15 City Council received a report from Terrapex Environmental on test results of the fill at the Burlington Airpark. The results have been shared with the public and are available online. A summary of the test results is available in the press release issued: “Burlington City Council receives environmental report on fill material at Burlington Executive Airport
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Burlington Beachway Park: Update from Regional Council

 

November 4, 2013

Burlington BeachwayBurlington Beachway


Burlington Beach Regional Waterfront Park
is one of three of Halton Region’s waterfront parks. Burlington Beachway Park is classified as a regional park, and is jointly governed by Halton Region, Conservation Halton and the City of Burlington.

The City of Burlington is committed to protecting the Beachway, an environmentally significant area of the city, while respecting the rights of the existing residents.

(Read more about the City Council meeting here: “Burlington Beachway Park: Update from City Council”)

As a result of the Halton Regional Council decision on October 23, the city will continue working in partnership with the Region of Halton and Conservation Halton to deliver a detailed park design, master plan and an environmental management plan for the area.

Halton Regional Council Decision

On October 23rd, after much discussion and deliberation, Halton Regional Council supported the motion (Regional Council NO. 09-13):

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Our Shortage of Affordable Housing

Affordable Housing in Burlington

November 1, 2013

According to the most recent news release from the Realtor’s Association of Hamilton and Burlington, the Hamilton-Burlington real estate market is strong and prices and sales continue to increase. This is a great indicator of the strength of our local economy.

However, with the average price of a home in Burlington climbing over $486,000, for those living with low and modest incomes, single parent families, and single person households, it can be very challenging to find affordable housing.

This issue is further exacerbated by a very low rental vacancy rate – 1.3% in Burlington compared to 4.2% in Hamilton and 2.5% across the province. A vacancy rate of 3% is considered necessary for adequate competition and supply.

We have a growing number of single-parent families and single-person households. We also have a rapidly growing seniors’ population. These demographic trends and the reality that we are approaching build-out, indicate the need for more diverse housing options in Burlington. Continue reading