New Street and Maranatha Gardens

 

March 21,

New Street and Maranatha Gardens

Maranatha, New Street development

6 storey proposal approved. Click the image to read the staff report

This week City Council approved a staff recommendation to permit a 6 storey retirement residents on New Street known as Maranatha Gardens.

This included an amendment to the Official Plan and Zoning By-law to permit the development.

A number of residents have expressed concerns about the potential traffic impact, changing the Official Plan, and about the public engagement process.

Let me address some of these concerns.

Traffic

The traffic impacts and resulting noise have been reviewed by our staff and a study by the applicant’s consultant, concluding that the increase in traffic and noise is very minimal compared to the current traffic flow on New Street. New Street has more than enough capacity to handle any increase in traffic that results from additional residents.
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“Perverse Cities: Hidden Subsidies, Wonky Policies and Urban Sprawl”

Feb. 21, 2013

Many of us feel, and indeed know, that Burlington is a great place to live, work and play. In a recent Environics poll, 95% of those polled ranked their quality of life as either good or excellent. That is something that I believe we should all be proud of and is certainly something we should all strive to maintain in the future.

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New Horizon Development Re-Zoning

May 22, 2012 

I would like to thank everyone that called and sent me emails with regards to the Falcon Boulevard re-zoning. During this process I visited the site and met with a group of local residents that were strongly opposed to the change.

At Council, a number of residents and the developer also presented their thoughts on this issue. This was a challenging issue and after due consideration I decided to support the proposed re-zoning at both Committee and Council.

On one side of the issue is the clear intent that we have to increase residential density in certain areas of the city. The Plains Road corridor is an important part of this plan. We have chosen to make Plains Road far more active and the Plains Road Village Vision supports this. We would like to see more residents in this area and see an increase in services available in Aldershot.

The concern that I heard from residents against this change was that this development was a threat to the balance of the neighbourhood. That the traditional nature of Aldershot might change as a result of the decision and that new forms of residential development would work their way across and down Falcon to other areas.

Given these two competing positions I supported the proposal on the basis that:

1.    The project meets the intent of the Official Plan to increase density on the Plains Road corridor.

2.    The development will continue to be accessed from Plains Road. Resident access will be through  the underground parking which will be shared with the Phase 1 element of the development. This is  probably the biggest single issue to me. If the access point was falcon I would not approve this proposal.

3.     The parking proposed for Falcon, visitor parking, will result in a minimal traffic impact.

4.     The developer has made changes to the development which is consistent with many of the suggestions from the public. The proposed façade will have an appearance and mass very similar to a row of townhouses however the proposed layout will not have the parking and traffic issues that townhouses may have presented.

5.    The landscaping also showed change and improvement and significant effort was being made to have an attractive property.

6.     I do not believe that this development is a threat to the existing neighbourhood. We are always going to have a transition from one type of housing to another as we see development on arterial and collector roads. A four storey building with a three storey façade is a very reasonable transition.

In my years on Council I have had the opportunity to see the development process in action many times. There are often many concerns about the impact that a development will have. There is a tendency to be concerned for the very worst but not to put any weight on the benefits. Some of the benefits of this project: affordable new residences for our community, new neighbours, homes with access to public transit and increased commerce for local business; are all positives which in this case make this project an overall positive addition to our community.

 

In Our Backyard

This column appeared in the Burlington Post, March 20, 2012 and is available online.

March 20, 2012

Part of building a city is the challenge of different ideas about what shape the city is taking.

Development ideas often seem great until they are happening right next door and in our backyards. Over the past 30 years Burlington has grown significantly. Most of this growth has been in “greenfield” areas; new communities and developments built in open areas.

Growth in neighbouring communities  Oakville and Milton will continue to be this type of greenfield development for the near future, with lots of open green space still to be developed. Burlington’s future is different. Our growth will be within existing urban boundaries.

We are committed to protecting our rural area north of Dundas Street.  This is defined by greenbelt legislation and also in our city planning. Our growth will create  opportunities to create vibrant neighbourhoods across the city while we protect traditional neighbourhoods. Part of creating vibrant neighbourhoods is creating more local employment opportunities so that more residents can work in the community they live in. We will have increased density in both residential areas and employment areas.

As we work through these changes over the coming years, we will face several challenges together. How do we plan for residents that will be here in the future? What will their needs be?

How can we, as elected representatives and city officials, keep the plan in front of residents so that everyone knows which direction our community is headed in? How do we keep residents interested in planning the future of our city?

The process of planning for land use is called the Official Plan. Official Plans are formal documents done at both the city and regional level which define the layout and land use for the future. They take into account residential needs, employment needs and infrastructure needs. In this way, we define what we want our city to be in the future. The process is ongoing.

Right now Burlington is starting an update to its Official Plan to identify plans for the city through 2031. This process will take three to five years to complete.

There will be many public sessions that I invite you to attend.

In support of this process, I have invited Ken Greenberg to Burlington to speak on Wednesday, April 11 about city planning as part of the Inspire Burlington series. He is a highly-respected visionary on city planning and will share some of his ideas with us to consider as part of our Official Plan update.

I know our planning staff is excited about his visit. For anyone interested in the future of our city’s development, this is a great opportunity.