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Burlington City Council Passes Recommendations from Jan. 13 EICS Committee Meeting

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If you missed our Burlington City Council meeting on Monday, Jan. 27, here are some of the highlights of what we did — for a full recap of all the recommendations carried by Council from the Jan. 13 Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services (EICS) Committee meeting, please click the links:

• CITY-WIDE PRIVATE TREE BYLAW IMPLEMENTATION UPDATE — Community Planning Department report, moved by Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan at committee

Approve the application submitted by Bloomfield Developments to draft approve a residential plan of subdivision consisting of 4 lots, 3 blocks and a public road at 5219 Upper Middle Road, 2004 & 2005 Georgina Court and Blocks 262 & 263 of Plan 20M-824, as shown in Appendix A of community planning department report PL-05-20, subject to the conditions contained in Appendix B of that report.

Carried by unanimously Council.

Staff report: PL-05-20 – 5219 Upper Middle Road Subdivision Recommendation / Appendices: PL-05-20 – Appendix A – Sketches and PL-05-20 – Appendix B – Conditions of Draft Approval

Also, please click this link on a related post that goes into more detail about the private tree bylaw.

MY TAKE:

This is a historic moment and congratulations to staff, Council and our City for moving this forward. We have been debating this for 9 years and it almost always lost at Council in a 4-3 vote. This Council has moved thoughtfully, with logic and facts, informed by 9 years of debate and by researching other communities. We are learning from those communities and from the lived experience of our own community. We have also had several months of recent discussion, since September 2019, to get to where we are now with this bylaw. It is well-conceived.

The simple truth is, if you are trying to take down a healthy tree on your property, you’ll have to talk to our staff about that and get a permit to do so. The right of appeal for our residents is right here, in Council Chambers, by us, your elected officials. This is a historic moment for our City and we should all be proud.

I think we heard very compelling evidence about why the rural area should be thought of in a very different context than our urban areas. There are already regulations in the rural area, there is forestry activity there, people use trees for heating and fuels; they are also large lots. The issue of the canopy and needing to replace it is definitely in the urban area. Land in the rural needs to be used for agricultural purposes. Trees really are a different thing in a rural than urban setting. I look forward to hearing from our rural folks on what gaps we need to fill. We know the issue is that people are taking down trees at a time we’re trying to achieve a 35% tree canopy. We need to get on with it and I was and am comfortable with the Jan. 27 implementation date for this bylaw. But I don’t want it to be a financial burden. We want a reasonable, fair approach to preserving what’s there and contributing to the fund to plant more trees. Trees are a shared resource, so I’m fine with the city contributing to that fund. It’s never been either we plant trees or we protect them – it has to be both.

I’m proud of our Council, city staff and citizens for putting in the hard work to make this bylaw a truly made-in Burlington model and I’m proud of how well members of Council represented the diverse views of their constituents at the Council table.

 

• STATUTORY PUBLIC MEETING AND RECOMMENDATION REPORT FOR 5219 UPPER MIDDLE RD. and 2004-2005 GEORGINA COURT — Community Planning Department report, moved by Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan at committee

Approve the application submitted by Bloomfield Developments to draft approve a residential plan of subdivision consisting of 4 lots, 3 blocks and a public road at 5219 Upper Middle Road, 2004 & 2005 Georgina Court and Blocks 262 & 263 of Plan 20M-824, as shown in Appendix A of community planning department report PL-05-20, subject to the conditions contained in Appendix B of that report.

Carried by Council.

Staff report: PL-05-20 – 5219 Upper Middle Road Subdivision Recommendation / Appendices: PL-05-20 – Appendix A – Sketches and PL-05-20 – Appendix B – Conditions of Draft Approval

MY TAKE:

I think this process is particularly challenging for residents. A lot of this application was already decided on and approved by the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) and every time an application comes back to council, it reopens the hope that we can change something. I’m challenged at this process because we can’t make changes to what the LPAT has decided on. I share residents’ concerns on this application. I didn’t support this application when it first came around and I did not support it at committee.

 

• CLIMATE ACTION PLAN for BURLINGTON — Capital Works report, moved by Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman at committee

Table the Climate Action Plan in Appendix A of capital works report CW-20-19 for public review; and Direct the Executive Director of Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services to report back to the Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services meeting in March 2020 with a final Climate Action Plan.

Carried at Committee (NOTE: When an item is brought to committee to be tabled, it is only brought to Council for ratification when there is a recommendation attached to the staff report).

Staff report: CW-20-19 Climate Action Plan for Burlington / Appendix: CW-20-19 Appendix A – Climate Action Plan

MY TAKE:

This continues to be great work. There is a lot of opportunity for us to do our part at the city and encourage residents to do their part at home. I did appreciate seeing all the comments from the public and responses back from staff, and I thank all the delegations who came out to committee and who submitted comments for their well-thought out and informed feedback. We continue to move forward in a really good direction on this.

 

• PUBLIC TREE REMOVALS – 310 APPLEBY LINE and 297 KENT CRES. — Roads, Parks and Forestry Department reports, both moved by Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman at committee

  • Approve the request by Coral Gable Custom Homes to remove one City-owned tree (8 cm Honey Locust) from the City’s road allowance at 310 Appleby Line to allow driveway access as part of a development application as outlined in roads, parks and forestry department report RPF-01-20; and
    • Instruct Coral Gable Custom Homes to provide compensation for the tree removal by providing cash in lieu of replacement totaling $800.  The approved appraisal method is aggregate caliper; and
    • Direct that all associated costs with respect to the removal of the tree will be the responsibility of Coral Gable Custom Homes, and the contractor hired to removed the tree will be approved by the Manager of Urban Forestry of designate.
  • Approve the request by the homeowner at 297 Kent Crescent to remove the small city tree to widen the property driveway as outlined in roads, parks, and forestry department report RPF-04-20; and
    • Instruct the homeowner, Brian Krog, to provide compensation for the tree removal by providing cash in lieu of replacement totaling $1400.  The funds will provide for a new tree to be planted in front of the house and provide care and maintenance for the first two years; and
    • Direct that all associated costs with respect to the removal of the tree (including stump removal) will be the responsibility of the homeowner, and the contractor hired to remove the tree will require approval by the Manager of Urban Forestry or designate; and
    • Restrict the width of the new driveway to an additional 2m to allow for an enlarged tree protection zone for the tree in front of 299 Kent Crescent.

Both recommendations carried by Council.

Staff report: RPF-01-20 Public Tree Removal – 310 Appleby Line / RPF-04-20 Public Tree Removal – 297 Kent Cres

• PUBLIC TREE REMOVAL – 2123 KEVIN CRES. — Roads, Parks and Forestry Department report, moved by me at committee

Deny the request to remove a public tree at 2123 Kevin Crescent as outlined in roads, parks and forestry department report RPF-03-20.

Carried by Council by a 5-2 vote with Councillors Paul Sharman and Angelo Bentivegna voting against.

Staff report: RPF-03-20 Public Tree Removal – 2123 Kevin Cres

MY TAKE:

I want to highlight what I perceived as the reasonableness of staff in all three of these recommendations and in any request that comes in for tree removal. What is considered is: the size of tree; the condition of the tree; and the rationale behind the request. I think all three of those are important in granting or denying tree removal. Where there is a demonstrated need and reasonable case to be made, we will grant an allowance. I think that is a completely reasonable way to approach this. I hope that the community is comforted by the fact that as much as we want to protect trees, Council and City staff are also reasonable people.

With respect to the request to remove the tree at 2123 Kevin Cres. and how Council voted — We heard from staff that when a tree’s root system grows underneath a driveway, an arborist can be brought in to safely cut into the pavement, shave down the roots with minimal to no negative effects to the tree and allow for the repaving of that driveway to ensure public safety to  anyone using it.

— Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

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

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