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.

 

January 2016 Progress Report

Committee and Council Meetings

Agendas, minutes and videos on standing committee and council meetings in January, as well as agendas and reports for upcoming meetings, are available online.

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State of the City Address 2016

Burlington must grow differently as the city approaches build-out of its urban areas and as the city continues to protect valued green spaces. We are one of the first municipalities in Southern Ontario to stop sprawl and instead grow in place, something that many other municipalities will be faced with in the next decade or two.

I was pleased to deliver this message as part of my annual State of the City Address on Jan. 28 to a Burlington Chamber of Commerce audience of more than 400 people.

Burlington is built out with very little room left for traditional greenfield suburban-type development. Fifty per cent of Burlington is rural, agricultural, natural greenbelt and the vast majority of people I talk to want to keep it that way.

The centrepiece of my message was the nearly-complete Strategic Plan for the City of Burlington. After more than a year of collaboration between the community, City Council and city staff, the strategic plan is nearly done, with city staff making revisions based on the feedback provided in December and January. The completed document goes to City Council for approval this spring.

There are four key strategic directions outlined in Burlington’s new strategic plan including: i) A City That Grows ii) A City that Moves iii) A Green and Healthy City iv) An Engaging City. These themes were highlighted in an accompanying video entitled ‘Where We Grow from Here: Burlington’s Strategic Plan 2015-2040’.

The strategic plan is the 25-year blueprint for city-building and will be supported in more detail with the Official Plan, Transportation Master Plan and the Corporate Work Plan.

To read the complete speech, visit http://www.burlingtonmayor.com/state-of-the-city-2016/. The video recording is available below of the entire speech.

For the Where We Grow from Here: Burlington’s Strategic Plan 2015-2040, watch below, or to review the draft strategic plan, visit www.burlington.ca/strategicplan.

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Prosperity, Affordable Housing, Railway Safety, Culture, Airpark and more: Burlington Progress Report: November 2013

 

November 27, 2013

Burlington Progress Report, November 2013

Upcoming Committee Meetings

Burlington Airpark

On November 13th, Milton Superior Court ruled in City of Burlington’s favour against the Burlington Executive Airpark. They ruled that the City’s site alteration by-law applies to the Burlington Airpark.

This is a significant decision for Burlington and for municipalities throughout Ontario.

I would like to thank the residents for their perseverance with this initiative, and our staff for working hard with all parties for this outcome.

Read the specific rulings and information on the decision posted online.

IKEA

I am very pleased to let you know that IKEA’s move to the North Service Road is moving ahead with the approval of two staff reports by Burlington City Council, at its meeting on November 13, 2013.

This is an important step that not only accommodates the transportation needs of the IKEA project, but also provides a long term transportation solution for the city’s Prosperity Corridor. With the transportation issues addressed we can attract other employment land growth to this area.

Further details are available in the press release from November 14.

QEW Prosperity Corridor: Transportation and Improvements

Employment lands are critical to the economic and social viability of the city and its neighbourhoods. Last year, Council endorsed aggressive industrial/commerical growth targets that require us to focus on creating short and long-term development opportunities.
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The Pier is Here

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Click the photo above to view an album from this weekend’s opening ceremonies and Sound of Music Festival. Thank you to all who sent their photos and memories.

June 20, 2013

The Brant Street Pier Officially Opened on June 14, 2013, as part of the Burlington’s Sound of Music Festival weekend.

Thank you to all of the Burlington residents, visitors and guests who have shared their photos and memories of the Pier and the festival weekend with me.

If you would like to share your photos or memories from this weekend, please email to mayor@burlington.ca and we will be happy to share your photos.

Watch the video below for some highlights from the Pier opening and the Sound of Music Festival, courtesy of Bob Fleck Creative.

Read more about the pier…