Amendments to the draft new Official Plan

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.

What I heard at my Reverse Town Hall

I want to thank the residents of Burlington who joined me at my Reverse Town Hall last Thursday evening at the Art Gallery of Burlington.  We had a great turnout and I heard many insightful and legitimate concerns over the future of our downtown Burlington.

If you missed the meeting, I’ve summarized the topics discussed in this video.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, January 23rd, is the committee meeting where we’ll be able to listen to a presentation from the Planning and Building Staff about the downtown precinct and an opportunity to hear from delegations.

Please take a look at the information about tomorrow’s meeting here.

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

 

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.

 

September 2017 Progress Report

Media Shines Spotlight on Burlington

CBC’s “The Current”

CBC’s “The Current” host Anna Maria Tremonti and producer Kristin Nelson, spent the day in Burlington to talk about how our city is adapting to climate change after being hammered by the flood of 2014.
The show features residents of Burlington and Blair Feltmate from Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation.  The episode came together exceptionally well. You can listen to it here.

Metro Morning

The producer of Metro Morning with Matt Galloway contacted my office because they were so intrigued by our Official Plan“Grow Bold”.
Especially the idea that the City of Burlington won’t build another single family home again. We’re building up, not out.  Listen to the full interview here.

 Reality on Transit

At the last Committee of the Whole Workshop, city council received news that our Transit department is operating at a level that will not meet future growth. Simply put, we haven’t made the investment needed to keep up.
Our service lacked reliability. Our maintenance team was unable to keep up with demands. Our transit staff and drivers continue to go above and beyond despite the lack of funding.
The message is loud and clear. We need significant investments in our Transit department to support a key pillar of our Strategic Plan. A City that Moves.
A report will be coming out ahead of budget schedule on how we can stabilize our system, and we’re taking this opportunity to review our entire Transit operations to make sure it meets the needs of current and future residents.

Mobility Hubs

We continue to collect public opinion on the four Mobility Hubs planned across Burlington. DowntownAldershot GOBurlington GO and Appleby GO.
I’ve attended many public meetings to listen to what residents have to say.
What do they think of the proposed concepts? Likes? Dislikes? There are a range of opinions dependent on a number of factors. Our younger residents are very supportive of more urban development while older residents prefer more traditional suburban development.
The next step on Downtown Mobility Hub is the Committee of the Whole workshop with the city council that will feature a presentation by our staff. That meeting is Thursday, September 28th at 1 pm.
I also encourage you to attend the Appleby Go Mobility Hub Concepts Public Open House on Wednesday October 11th at the Appleby Ice Centre.
No matter where you stand on the issue, your opinion is being heard and considered.

Waterfront Hotel Planning Study

On Thursday, September 14th, two community workshops were held at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre.
The public had the chance to study the preferred concepts for the site followed by small group discussions.
At these meetings, an emerging preferred concept was introduced along with the three original concepts used for the public survey. You can view the presentation here.
We are asking Burlington residents to continue engaging with us through this process. This is your city, your waterfront and your opinions matter. Staff will be delivering their recommendations in November. Stay tuned!

We Are An Engaging City

This is a proud moment for the City of Burlington. We have been named the Organization of the Year for being An Engaging City!
The award was handed out this month byInternational Association for Public Participation (IAP2) and it recognizes our mandate to consult and engage with residents in all matters. As one judge put it “Employees now ask how to engage — not whether”
Congratulations to the city staff, my colleagues on council and to the residents of Burlington!

Milton Logistics Hub Consultation

Canadian National Railway(CN) has chosen Milton as their preferred location to build a new logistics hub.
Currently, they are undergoing an environmental assessment to assess the project’s potential environmental and socio-economic effects.
From September 18 to October 31, CN will be consulting with Halton Region residents about the proposed mitigation measures to reduce the effects of the Milton Logistics Hub on communities and the environment. Further information about the proposed Project and the fall consultation period is available at cnmilton.ca.

Love My Hood Block Party

Have you hosted your Love My Hood event this summer?
My neighbourhood had ours this month, and it was fantastic! Our organizer Mary managed to pull out all the stops.
We collected over 3800 canned goods for the Burlington Food Bank. Our goal was 2500. They estimated that our donation was worth over $10,000!  Thank you Fortinos for giving us a head start on donations.
I also wan to thank Dairy Queen, The Coop Wicked Chicken, Turtle Jacks and Frat’s Cucina who donate their time and food for the event.

What’s Happening Burlington?

Agendas, minutes and videos on standing committee and council meetings, as well as agendas and reports for upcoming meetings, are available online.
The next found of committee meetings begin on Monday September 25th.

First day of fall arrived Sept. 22! As we welcome fall, another round of great festivals and events are in the works! Take a look at our calendar for all the events in your area.