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Burlington City Council Passes Recommendations from Dec. 3 and 5 Planning and Development Committee Meetings

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If you missed our Burlington City Council meetings on Monday, Dec. 16 and Thursday, Dec. 19, here are some of the highlights of what we did — for a full recap of all the recommendations carried by Council from the Dec. 3 and Dec. 5 Planning and Development Committee (P&D) meetings, please click the respective links: Post-Meeting Minutes – Planning and Development Committee_Dec03_2019 / Post-Meeting Minutes – Planning and Development Committee_Dec05_2019 / Post-Meeting Minutes – Regular Meeting of Council_Dec16_19_2019.

• TAKING A CLOSER LOOK AT THE DOWNTOWN CONCEPT DISCUSSIONS — Community Planning Department report, moved by me at committee and I brought forward two staff directions

Receive and file community planning department report PB-89-19 regarding Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown concept discussion; and

Direct the Director of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility that, in planning the recommended concept for the downtown based on good planning principles and practices, consideration be given to reducing the heights in the Brant Street Corridor, downtown east side, Locust Street and the foot of Lakeshore Road/Burlington Avenue; and that the overall densities more closely align with the minimum target of 200 people or jobs per hectare; and that the calculations of people/jobs per hectare (total and density) for the preferred concept be included in the final report, including estimations of Old Lakeshore Road and Waterfront Hotel (based on current Official Plan permissions).

Direct the Director of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility that, in planning the recommended concept for the downtown based on good planning principles and practices, consideration be given to reducing the heights in the Brant Street Corridor, downtown east side, Locust Street and the foot of Lakeshore Road/Burlington Avenue; and that the overall densities more closely align with the minimum target of 200 people or jobs per hectare; and that the calculations of people/jobs per hectare (total and density) for the preferred concept be included in the final report, including estimations of Old Lakeshore Road and Waterfront Hotel (based on current Official Plan permissions).

Carried by Council.

Staff report: PB-89-19 Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown Concept Discussion / Appendix: PB-89-19 Appendix A – Consultant Report / Staff presentation: PB-89-19 staff presentation

Related link: City Staff Presents Official Plan Downtown Concepts at Burlington Committee

MY TAKE:

This report is a receive and file and there will be a lot more opportunities for feedback from all stakeholders as we continue this process and the conversation continues — we’re not there yet. This is another step in the road that started years ago and something that can be completed properly by our March 2020 goal.

The biggest concern I have heard from the community, since 2017, is having significant height in the downtown east side precinct. I also noticed there were some unusual things happening in the apartment district in the concepts — the challenge is that there is some significant variations of height in that now consolidated precinct in the concepts, for example Brant/Lakeshore is different from the area around the hospital near North Shore Boulevard. There are significant tall buildings in the corridor of James St. — we have heritage buildings, a park there. I think when we talk about context and function, putting height there is an anomaly in my mind. The south side of Olga is right up against a single-family stable neighbourhood — it has townhouse, mixed-use retail suggested in the concepts.

I think transitional policies are so critical. I think strong, good planning shows what is good at one side of the street doesn’t necessarily belong on the other. We need strong transitional policies and I commend staff and the consultant on that ongoing work. I am also 100 per cent opposed to a road being forced through near Victoria Street in the Mid-Brant precinct.

We’re getting closer to the recommended changes to our Official Plan for the downtown. I don’t think we’re there yet, but I think we can be with some modifications and that’s why your input (feedback from the public) is so important.

 

• FRAMEWORK FOR COMMUNITY RECREATION — Parks and Recreation Department report, moved by me at committee (Item was referred from the Dec. 2 COW meeting)

Defer recreation services report PR-11-19 regarding a framework for community recreation in the City of Burlington, to the Environment, Infrastructure & Community Services Committee in February 2020.

Carried by Council.

Staff report: PR-11-19 Framework for Community Recreation / Appendix: PR-11-19 Appendix A

MY TAKE:

I moved to have this item deferred to February 2020 to allow for more conversations with the community, a little bit of breathing room. I think the community will feel more comfortable with the framework and see the intent behind it. I think we can land something the community and city will like if given more time.

 

• CITY-WIDE PRIVATE TREE BYLAW IMPLEMENTATION — Roads, Parks and Forestry Department, moved by Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte at committee (Item was referred from the Dec. 2 COW meeting and motions/staff directions were also brought forward at the Dec. 16 Council meeting)

Motion from Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan at Council:

  • Defer discussion over rural/agricultural piece of the bylaw until January 2020 — unanimously carried by Council.

MY TAKE:

I supported Councillor Nisan’s deferral motion because we need to do a better job internally of reaching out to all of our advisory committees and make sure they are engaged with any of the reports we bring forward.

From main motion:

  • Defer discussion on options for cash-lieu rates to the January 2020 Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services Committee meeting — unanimously carried by Council.

Twelve motions were brought forward by Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman at the Council meeting.

MY TAKE:

I did not support any of these motions as I believe they undermined the intent of the bylaw by excluding a multitude of trees that we were trying to protect. Staff repeatedly have told us this bylaw is a made-in Burlington model and many of the discussions, such as cash-in-lieu, were already deferred for discussion in January 2020.

Main motion:

  • Amend the City-wide private tree by-law implementation (RPF-18-19) recommendation from the Planning and Development committee meeting of December 3, 2019 by replacing the entire recommendation with the following:
    • Approve the implementation of the city-wide private tree by-law and present the by-law and amended rates and fees to Council at the January 27, 2020 meeting; and
    • Approve an amendment to the by-law to exempt any not-for-profit housing projects undertaken by Habitat for Humanity and any persons living below the low-income cut off before tax as determined by Statistics Canada; and
    • Direct the Director of Roads, Parks and Forestry to develop a program for tree planting incentives on private property within the City of Burlington; and
    • Direct the Director of Roads, Parks and Forestry to establish a Mayor/Council Task Force on improving the tree canopy.

The main motion, as amended, was carried by a 5-2 vote, with Councillors Paul Sharman and Angelo Bentivegna voting against.

Staff report: RPF-18-19 City-Wide Private Tree Bylaw Implementation / Appendix: RPF-18-19 Appendix A – Private Tree By-law

MY TAKE:

I think this is a significant day in the life of our city. We’ve been at this for as long as I can remember. This has always been a difficult discussion, but we’re here and about to take an important step forward in protecting our tree canopy. We heard from BurlingtonGreen’s Amy Schnurr and I agree: Why would anybody plant a tree if it’s not protected by a bylaw – they are joined. We also heard from Councillor Stolte during Council that our most recent survey showed overwhelming support for this. Our community is leading this, we are following. This bylaw was never meant to cripple folks financially and we will have an opportunity to discuss that in January. We also need to have further discussions with our residents in the rural area. The tree bylaw will allow us to collect data and determine how many healthy trees are coming down and why. And it will give us a chance to talk with our residents.

I think the best way to increase our tree canopy is to save the trees we have and the next best is to plant more. This is a long time coming. I absolutely support this work staff has done – it is amazing work and these are conversations that aren’t easy to have. I have listened to the concerns raised and in an effort to raise as much of a consensus I brought forward the motion to create a Mayor and Council’s Task Force on Tree Canopy. I am interested in the notion of financial duress, so a report on potentially changing fees or putting a cap of some amount and that Council would chip in the difference to soften the blow — recognizing we can annually review these fees. Regarding the concerns about the rural farmland, I listened very carefully to our delegations and there is a difference between farmland and settlement areas. I’d be interested in a report from staff before April 2020, if we can exempt farm-classified land — and we’d know where those properties are because there is a special tax designation for it.

 

• ROAD SAFETY LAWN SIGN CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Transportation Services Department report, moved by Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns at committee

Direct the Director of Transportation Services to extend the Road Safety Lawn Sign Campaign into 2020, utilizing the remaining supply of signs purchased in 2019.

Carried by Council.

Staff report: TS-09-19 – Road Safety Lawn Sign Campaign – Data Collection Update

MY TAKE:

I do think we have to think about environmental and social considerations, and we have to make sure we realize the only thing that matters isn’t just what can be measured. I’m happy to continue the program for a year and re-evaluate then. Would we want to continue it after that? We’d have to think about the environmental impact of the signs.

 

• BUILDING PERMIT BYLAW FEE REVIEW — Department of City Building – Planning, Building and Culture report, moved by me at committee

Approve the proposed fee adjustments represented by Option 2 of the consultant’s report contained in Appendix A to department of city building report PB-21-19; and

Approve the text amendments to the Building Permit By-law recommended in department of city building report PB-21-19; and

Repeal Building Permit By-law 13-2018 and all its amendments effective December 31, 2019; and

Enact the proposed By-law 66-2019 attached as Appendix B to department of city building report PB-21-19, containing the proposed revised fee schedule and text amendments on January 1, 2020.

Carried by Council.

Staff report: PB-21-19 Building Permit By-law Fee Review / Appendix: PB-21-19 Appendix A – Burlington 2019 BP Fee Review Study – Final R1

MY TAKE:

This is clear to me that we run a service and it costs a certain amount to provide. At the end of the day, it’s a fee for service and we will not charge taxpayers for that service.

 

• BURLINGTON ONE BRAND WORK PLAN — City Manager’s Office report, moved by me at committee

Approve the integration of the One Brand as a strategic initiative into the 2018-2022 Burlington’s Plan: From Vision to Focus work plan as a key project emerging from the Red Tape Red Carpet recommendations; and

Endorse the Burlington One Brand project plan and support the allocation of existing funding to complete One Brand research and development in 2020. Funding for the implementation of the One Brand will be requested in 2020 for inclusion in the 2021 budget.

Carried by Council.

Staff report: CM-27-19 Burlington One Brand

MY TAKE:

This is just great work by staff. I’m so thrilled at the integration alignment with Burlington Economic Development and the different departments and offices at the City. This is the next evolution in getting one brand for all our groups who go out and say how great our city is. Our citizens are really interested in promoting our city too. There’s a lot of pride coming up from the community and this aligns so nicely with it all.

 

• MERIDIAN BRICK/ALDERSHOT QUARRY STUDY REVIEW — Mayor’s Office report, moved by me at committee

Direct the Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility to investigate the Air Quality Bylaw for Oakville and report back to council with a recommendation for a similar bylaw for Burlington by Q2 2020; and

Direct the Executive Director of Legal Services and Corporation Counsel to retain an environmental lawyer to advise on the municipal role in the Aldershot Quarry, the potential air quality bylaw and any other matters arising; and

Direct the Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility to review and report back on the peer reviews of the studies done by Meridian/Aldershot Quarry and requirements for ongoing monitoring and potential impacts on human health. As part of the review, report back on the cost and process to conduct an independent peer review of studies conducted to date; and

Direct the Director of Roads, Parks and Forestry to review the forestry plan for phased removal and replacement of trees at the Aldershot Quarry, and report back with an assessment to council in Q2 2020; and

Direct the Mayor to:

  • write to the three local MPPs for Burlington, the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, and the Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry to request a meeting to discuss the conditions of the site plan and their oversight and due diligence in ongoing monitoring and studies conducted on the air quality impacts of the quarry activities to ensure the quarry is operating within provincial regulations.
  • establish a Community Council Liaison Committee with representation from Meridian/Aldershot Quarry, local citizens, provincial ministries, city staff and council, and other stakeholders, to provide regular communication among stakeholders, renew monitoring studies, and discuss quarry activities and any emerging/new issues.

Carried by Council.

Report: MO-17-19 Meridian Quarry

MY TAKE:

This is a difficult file and as complex as the CN Modal case in Milton. We need to determine if there is a risk to public health and safety as the quarry activities get closer. The recommendations are an attempt to get some answers to those questions and find out if the City has any role to play. There are some engagement opportunities with the Province in here. This doesn’t prejudge any outcome or answer. I thank Councillor Galbraith and the Tyandaga Environmental Coalition who have helped me understand this very complex issue.

 

• DEVELOPMENT PRE-APPLICATION POLICY — Mayor’s Office report, moved by me at committee

Receive and file mayor’s office report MO-21-19 regarding a proposed pre-application development public meeting policy; and

Direct the Director of Community Planning to review the proposed policy attached as Appendix A to mayor’s office report MO-21-19, incorporate any feedback from Committee and bring a revised policy that aligns the recommendation to the protocol contained in Appendix A for approval in February 2020.

Carried by Council.

Report: MO-21-19 development pre-application policy / Appendix: MO-21-19 Appendix A – Proposed protocol

MY TAKE:

This is a receive and file with a direction to report back in February 2020. I had great success in the 8 years as a councillor in getting developers to agree to these voluntary meetings. The structure of the meetings are very important, who is hosting it is clear, the responsibilities and timelines are clear. We heard from a delegation that there are concerns of hosting a pre-application meeting in general — developers have the right not to agree to host one. This protocol protects everyone: the city, the residents and the developers — they’re basic guidelines in roles and responsibilities.

 

• URBAN DESIGN AND STREETSCAPE GUIDELINES FOR PLAINS ROAD — Memo from Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith, moved by Councillor Galbraith at committee

Direct the Director of Community Planning to explore updating the urban design and streetscape guidelines for Plains Road, including the Aldershot BIA boundary area, and report back to Council in Q2 2020.

Carried by Council.

Staff direction: Memo – urban design and streetscape guidelines for Plains Rd

MY TAKE:

I am 100 per cent in support of this. I look forward to future similar directions to this for other areas in the city.

 

• METROLINX ALDERSHOT GO STATION PARKING — Memo from Councillor Galbraith, moved by the councillor at committee

Direct the Mayor and Members of Council to endorse and sign the attached communication regarding issues with the parking at the Aldershot GO Station being sent to Metrolinx on behalf of Burlington City Council.

Carried by Council.

Staff direction: Memo – Metrolinx Aldershot GO station parking

MY TAKE:

I completely endorse this. We have a station in our community servicing a regional audience without any help.

 

• KILBRIDE STREET COMMUNITY SAFETY ZONE — Memo from Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan, moved by the councillor at committee

Direct the Director of Transportation Services to conduct an expedited review of Kilbride Street to determine whether a community safety zone is warranted and provide a report including the review’s methodology, findings and a recommendation to committee by January 2020.

Carried by Council.

Staff direction: Memo Kilbride Community Safety Zone

MY TAKE:

I certainly support this staff direction from Councillor Nisan.

 

— Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

*Posted by John Bkila, Mayor’s Media and Digital Communications Specialist

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