MAYOR MEED WARD’S & COUNC. KEARNS’ TAKE:
This is a devastating and shocking decision imposed on our community, which completely disregards the vision of residents, council and staff for this area. And so, Council will be examining all of our options for a review of this OLT decision.
This decision completely dismisses the considerable feedback from residents in opposition to this file – and their valuable suggestions for what would be appropriate. This decision ignored over 100 people who took the time to attend a community meeting, delegate to council, and write pages of letters. There was no acknowledgement of our community’s voice in this decision.
The decision highlights the inappropriate application of Provincial Planning Policies to justify overdevelopment and underscores the importance of a speedy decision from the Minister to remove the Major Transit Station Area designation from downtown and adjust the boundaries of the Urban Growth Centre to the Burlington GO Station, where this scale of development should be. We will continue to work to defend our plan and put growth where it belongs.
*Please see below a news release issued by the City of Burlington.
Burlington, Ont. — Oct. 28, 2021 — Yesterday, the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) released its decision on Lakeshore Inc.’s proposal at 2069-2079 Lakeshore Rd. The City strongly disagrees with and is shocked by the ruling, which allows for a 29-storey building at that location.
This decision is not at all reflective of the planned context for the Downtown as expressed in the new Official Plan. It not only ignores the citizens of Burlington and Halton Region, and their Councils, it has ignored the stated intent of the Minister of Municipal Affairs to change the planning context by adjusting the Urban Growth Centre (UGC) boundary.
City Planning and Legal staff will review the decision in more detail to determine if a review of the decision by the Tribunal or a Court should be pursued, including their findings on the City’s motion regarding the impact of the Urban Growth Centre (UGC). At a special meeting of City Council on Nov. 3, staff will present these potential options and next steps in-camera.
Burlington’s revised new Official Plan (OP) was approved by Halton Region on Nov. 30, 2020. The new OP includes stronger protections for green space, heritage, jobs, the rural community, established low-density neighbourhoods and a special focus on preserving the character of the downtown. The modifications presented in the final Notice of Decision address the issues of non-conformity, changes to Provincial Plans and policies, and Official Plan Amendments and the need to balance Regional and Provincial conformity requirements. In addition, the modifications capture endorsed policy modifications related to two areas identified by Council for re-examination and refinement. The policies of the Official Plan with the recommended modifications establish a comprehensive policy framework to a planning horizon of 2031.
At the hearing, the City argued that Lakeshore Inc.’s proposal for 29-storeys was not appropriate for that location for a number of reasons, including the fact that the proposal far exceeded the height limits of 17-storeys allowed in that area, the City’s vision and planned context for the downtown as expressed in the new Official Plan, and the proposed building’s height and mass were not compatible with or provided appropriate transition to the surrounding area. In its decision, however, the OLT states that the development should be allowed as because provincial policy in the Growth Plan directs new residential growth to the Urban Growth Centre in a significant or ‘optimized’ manner.
The decision underscores the importance of the future boundary adjustment of the UGC to the Burlington GO station and the need for the new downtown policies in the new OP to be determined and brought into force.
The OLT stated “The Tribunal finds that there is no evidence of negative impact or any other justification for the modifications as advanced by the City to support a 22-storey tower instead of the 29-storey tower under the Lakeshore Proposal. Moreover, there is also no basis for the resultant substantial reduction in the number of residential units stemming from the City’s proposed modifications. The height reduction alone would eliminate between 63 and 77 residential units. Reducing the tower floorplate to 690 m2 as proposed … would eliminate a further 64 to 80 residential units.”
The City further argued that it is on track to meet or exceed provincial growth targets and regardless, the number of residential units should not result in a development that is incompatible with the existing area.
This decision is not indicative of the best planning outcome for Burlington residents or City of Burlington planning goals.
Links and Resources:
- Media Release – Halton Region Notice of Decision approving the new Burlington Official Plan
- City of Burlington Official Plan
- Downtown Urban Design Guidelines
*Posted by John Bkila, Mayor’s Media and Digital Communications Specialist