Burlington’s New Official Plan Update

There has been significant interest from many people about the proposed new Official Plan and as a result city staff have created a revised schedule of meetings.

Discussion with Burlington City Council about the city’s proposed new Official Plan, including the proposed new Downtown Precinct Plan will take place over the next two months.

If you have any questions or comments, I encourage you to contact my office.

Tel: 905-335-7607 or mayor@burlington.ca

The meeting dates are as follows:

Jan. 8, 2018
1 p.m.
City Hall, Room 247, Level 2
Topics of discussion:
Sections of the proposed new Official Plan that relate to the rural area, agriculture, natural heritage, greenspace and mineral aggregates.
This meeting serves as a continuation of the Nov. 30, 2017, Planning and Development Committee meeting.
The public is welcome to attend the meeting or watch a live webcast. The meeting will not include further delegations.
Jan. 16, 2018
1 and 6:30 p.m.
City Hall, Room 247, Level 2
Topics of discussion: Employment policies, employment conversions and the mixed-use intensification area policies. This meeting serves as a continuation of the Nov. 30, 2017, Planning and Development Committee meeting.
The public is welcome to attend the meeting or watch a live webcast. The meeting will not include further delegations.
Jan. 23, 2018
1 and 6:30 p.m.
City Hall, Room 247, Level 2 
Topics of discussion: A recommendation report related to the downtown will be presented. The report will contain the supplementary information requested by the council (e.g. background information regarding the Urban Growth Centre boundary; proposed heights compared to the existing in-effect Official Plan; and potential redevelopment sites).

 

This meeting will consider a new staff report.
The public is welcome to attend the meeting or watch a live webcast.Delegations are invited to register.Note: All delegations are expected to be accommodated in the afternoon or evening session. Additional time may be scheduled if required.
Feb. 6, 2018
1 and 6:30 p.m.
City Hall, Room 247, Level 2
Topics of discussion: Growth management, implementation and any remaining topic areas identified by City Council. This meeting serves as a continuation of the Nov. 30, 2017, Planning and Development Committee meeting.

The public is welcome to attend the meeting or watch a live webcast. The meeting will not include further delegations.

Feb. 27, 2018
1 and 6:30 p.m.
City Hall, Room 247, Level 2
A second statutory public meeting to present any revisions to the proposed new Official Plan. The public is welcome to attend the meeting or watch a live webcast.

Delegations are welcomed but not required to register in advance to speak.

Links and Resources

 

Council Supports Ending The New St. Road Diet

At the Committee of the Whole Meeting last night (November 27, 2017), council supported the Transportation Staff recommendation to convert the existing New Street Road Diet pilot project to the original four-lane section that was in existence before August 2016.  The conversion will take place in the early spring of 2018.

I was initially very lukewarm to this project as it was my expectation there would be significant opposition because of concerns about extended driving times and criticisms of low cycling activity.

As it turned out, I heard the opposition to this pilot project loud and clear in the very early stages. I remember working out at the Burlington YMCA the morning after the decision and boy, did I get an earful!

The full recommendation that was approved last night includes a direction for the staff to include cycle tracks on New Street between Guelph Line and Burloak for consideration in the 2019-2028 capital budget and forecast, along with pursuing a senior level of government funding.

This design option will maintain a four-lane road platform and implement an integrated and connected network of physically separated bike lanes which is my preference. This concept will not slow down traffic and will encourage many people to cycle due to the higher level of safety that cycle tracks provide.

We are in the process of developing a detailed cycling plan for the city that will be complete by spring of 2018 that will focus on the development of a city-wide integrated and connected network of cycling infrastructure. New Street Cycle Tracks will be part of that.I believe that a decision to locate bicycle lanes anywhere in the city needs to implement an overall planned network.

On another point that is related to cycling, I’ve also heard from many residents about the lack of connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists over the QEW.  As a result, I am asking for council support at the Capital Budget Meeting on Friday (December 1) to provide funding for a preparatory work to occur to assure that we are ready to build an Active Transportation Bridge over the QEW when the senior level of government funding becomes available.

I am a supporter of cycling infrastructure that will ensure cyclist safety, form an efficient and well-designed network while recognizing the associated impact on residents’ use of their vehicles.

I want to thank everyone who connected with me about the New Street Road diet. We heard all of you!

Why I Voted Against the 23-Storey Development Proposal

421-431 Brant Street Development Rendering

On November 1st, the Planning and Development Committee approved a Planning staff recommendation to allow the development of a 23-storey building right across from City Hall at the North East corner of James and Brant Street.

The building would include 169 residential units, office space on the second floor and ground floor retail.

The Committee voted 5-2 in favour of this recommendation. I voted against this proposal.

Downtown Burlington is a very desirable area to live and work for obvious reasons.  There are great restaurants, unique shops and amenities including the Performing Arts Centre and proximity to the waterfront.

There are also great places to live, in existing modern high-rise buildings that were built over the last 20 years including 360 on Pearl, the Pearl and Pine Retirement Residence and the Baxter. None of these buildings exceeds 18 storeys.

In my view, our downtown has an appropriate scale of current development that provides an urban intimacy. The proposed 23-storey building across from the City Hall is not consistent with the present scale, and we should not approve it.

The development proposal is not consistent with the new Downtown Mobility Hub Draft Precinct Plan that was presented to council by Planning staff in October.

The Draft Precinct Plan called for a Special Policy Area at the corner of James and Brant that would allow building height of 17 storeys, assuming that certain public benefits could be achieved. I supported that plan and believe that this site is appropriate for a well-designed building that is either mid-rise or up to 17 storeys, not 23.

I understand the rationale for taller and more slender buildings, but a well-developed mid-rise or lower high-rise will fit the scale and form the character of our downtown that many residents have asked us to maintain. Planning staff have stated that a larger, wider and shorter 12-storey building can house the same amount of residential, office and retail space that the proposed 23-storey building would contain.

Our downtown, South of Caroline, can be shaped with well-thought-out buildings that are 17-storeys or lower that provide an inviting, pedestrian-friendly and attractive street.

Brant Street can improve without dramatically changing it.  The focus in our downtown should be distinctive and attractive design, not excessive height.

I am concerned about the negative consequences of this decision. We cannot look at this decision in isolation as there is reasonable planning rationale to mirror the same height and density on the opposite side of James Street.

I am concerned that this proposed development will have a considerable impact on the Draft Downtown Plan and undermine the confidence that residents are being asked to have for the City’s vision for future growth in the downtown.

Burlington City Council will make the final decision at our next meeting in the council chambers at City Hall on Monday, November 13th at 6:30 p.m.

If you’d like to have your voices heard, I encourage you to email the members of the council and me.  You can also register to delegate at the council meeting, which allows you to state your perspective publicly.