On August 24, 2020, Council approved the following staff direction:
Direct the Director of Community Planning to provide an engagement plan with residents, businesses and community stakeholders to Council with respect to the proposed adjustment of the downtown Urban Growth Corridor (UGC) and Major Transit Station Area (MTSA) to satisfy the regulatory and Region requirements at the September 15, 2020 Community Planning, Regulation & Mobility (CPRM) Committee meeting.
As a result of time constraints, City staff were unable to have a report prepared for the Sept. 15 CPRM Committee meeting. However, they did send a memo (COB Staff Memo Update on UGC-MTSA Engagement_Sept. 14, 2020) to members of Council as an update to the staff direction.
The public has been engaged in a discussion about the UGC/MTSA that started in 2017 during the consultation on the Adopted Official Plan 2018. Your current Burlington Council froze development in the downtown for one year specifically to study the MTSA designation downtown — that led to the conclusion the designation is not suitable and can be removed. We have subsequently received provincial support for removing the MTSA downtown from the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and the Minister of Transportation.
Additionally, Council has been involved in a detailed review of the downtown policies in the Adopted Official Plan for a year, under the Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown process. Throughout that process issues of density arising from the MTSA and UGC have been considered.
Further, staff have provided multiple analyses on how the city is achieving the UGC density targets of 200 people or jobs. These analyses date back to the consideration of the Martha/Lakeshore development, and have been updated on multiple occupations including in 2017 during the Adopted Official Plan discussion, and more recently in August.
A further update will be provided this fall, with the bottom line being that we have always been on track to meet the UGC targets, and current projects show us achieving 213 people or jobs per hectare with current projects, whether already built, under construction, or approved.
KEY SECTIONS FROM THE REPORT/MEMO:
“On September 16, 2020, Regional Council approved report No. LPS84-20 which recommends that Region of Halton staff be directed to work with the City of Burlington to develop a joint supplemental discussion paper, as part of the Regional Official Plan Review (ROPR), on matters related to the adjustment of boundaries for the Urban Growth Center and the removal of the Major Transit Station Area designation in the downtown.
The recommended supplemental discussion paper is to be prepared and tabled for Regional Council endorsement at its October meeting and it is anticipated that a public commenting window will be open for a period of 2 months afterward leading to a draft scoped Regional Official Plan Amendment (ROPA). Like the other Region of Halton discussion papers related to the ROPR, City staff will prepare a report to Burlington Council with comments and recommendations.”
There has been extensive consultation on the UGC/MTSA designations in the downtown, in several different ways. These matters have also been significantly studied. I support the efforts of staff at the City and Region to providing even more background and consultation as detailed in the memo.
The October meeting of Regional Council, and meeting of Burlington Council provide opportunity for the public to submit written input, or delegate to provide verbal remarks to council.
Additional opportunities for put input via a variety of other means are being developed together with the Halton Area Planning Directors and the Steering Committee (Halton Area CAOs) to ensure the approach is inclusive, open, transparent and robust.
Further Region of Halton staff anticipate scheduling a special meeting of Regional Council by year end 2020 to fulfill the statutory requirements of the Planning Act and provide an additional forum for the community to bring forward comments related to the Regional Official Plan Review (ROPR).