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Burlington City Council Passes Recommendations from June 10 Committee of the Whole Meeting

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If you missed our Burlington City Council meeting on Monday, June 18, here are some of the highlights of what we did — for a full recap of all the recommendations carried by Council from the June 10 Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting, please click the link: Post-Meeting Minutes – Committee of the Whole_Jun10_2019 / Post-Meeting Minutes – Regular Meeting of Council_Jun17_2019

• Terry Fox Run Committee request to waive city fees — Moved by Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna

Craig Gardner, the chair of the Burlington Terry Fox Run, delegated to COW requesting a permanent waiver of City of Burlington fees related to the local run. Read his full delegation here: C. Gardner_Terry Fox Run Committee_request to delegate(1).

As a result, Councillor Bentivegna brought forward the following motion (which was carried at Committee and ratified at Council):

Direct the Director of Parks and Recreation to waive all city fees related to the execution of the Burlington Terry Fox Run in 2019 and future years due to the unique governance structure of the Terry Fox Run Foundation that operates under the following rules:

  • no corporate sponsorship, no entry fee, no minimum donation, not a timed run, family event, all funds raised must be forwarded to the foundation, any goods or services required to hold a Terry Fox Run must be donated or be covered by specific donations from third parties (e.g.  food, service, or security requirements), locally everyone involved with the run is a volunteer, no paid staff.

MY TAKE:

The Burlington Terry Fox Run has established itself as a unique organization given its structure and relationship with the Terry Fox Foundation — races are free and not being permitted to advertise. It was Terry’s dream to make sure every dollar raised from the runs in his name goes towards cancer research. I’m completely supportive of this.

 

• Process for expedited community events — Moved by myself

I brought forward a motion to revise the proposed process for community events in an effort to streamline it and make it easier for the City to organize and hold successful events in a short timeline.

The motion (which was carried at Committee and ratified at Council) reads:

Approve the process, as amended, outlined in parks and recreation department report PR-01-19 Expedited Community Events to approve community events that require an expedited process due to unanticipated circumstances; and

Amend the process outlined at the bottom of page 3 of report PB-01-19 as follows:

To manage unanticipated events that require and expedited process in order to proceed, staff are recommending the following process:

  • Where possible, a special council meeting is held if the regular committee and council meeting cycle will not accommodate the event timing.
  • Where possible a community organization will be sought to lead the event delivery. In the alternative, parks and recreation department staff will deliver the event.
  • Where timing does not accommodate a regular or special council meeting, decision-making is delegated to the Mayor and City Manager up to a maximum expenditure of $50,000 and an indication of support will be obtained via electronic poll of council.
  • Event is open to the public at no cost.
  • All permit and due diligence will be fast tracked and fully completed as required.
  • Community organization pays for all permits, as per regular process.
  • Council can choose to waive some fees or provide additional financial support as they deem appropriate.
  • After the event at the earliest possible opportunity, a report will be provided to committee and council and the public detailing; how decision was made; cost; public participation; business, sponsor, community group, agency or other participation;  impact of event; other details as needed.

MY TAKE:

Our Walk off the Earth Tribute Concert event for Mike Taylor likely wouldn’t have been possible under the proposed policy as it is, as the decision to host the extremely successful event was made over the Christmas holidays and we would have lost precious time waiting to schedule a special council meeting (if we’d event met quorum, given holiday schedules). Our Raptors championship viewing parties also wouldn’t have been possible under the proposed policy as there was no community lead to step up. We need a process that reflects the reality of the incredibly successful events we’ve had, allows for some flexibility and includes a defined reporting back process to the public. A formal report on the costs of the Raptors viewing parties will be coming to Committee and Council in the fall.

 

• Burlington city wide parking study: recommended parking rates — Moved by myself

Staff presented to Committee the PB-43-19 Appendix 4 Parking Standards Review Consolidated Report prepared by IBI Group, which contains recommended parking rates, design guidelines for parking areas and parking management strategies. Here is the complete staff report on PB-43-19 City-Wide Parking Study Implementation and the PB-43-19 Appendix 3- Public Comments the City received.

As a result, I put forward the following motion (which was carried at Committee and ratified at Council):

Direct the Director of City Building to report back to council Q3 of 2019 with Zoning By-law amendments to implement the recommended parking rates set out in Appendix 1 and Appendix 2 of planning and building department report PB-43-19.

MY TAKE:

This is a long journey — parking will never be an easy issue and it’s a constant work in progress. We will see changes in five years and I have every confidence that we will make those changes. I agreed with delegate Susan Mammel, of the Hamilton-Halton Homebuilders Association that the parking lot at Caroline and John was a missed opportunity — we should have been looking at alternative materials, such as permeable pavement and some greenery around, not just a concrete block, as we encourage anyone who comes to us with applications and plans. We need to lead by example. If we could do it over again, I would because that’s a lot of asphalt. In addition, I don’t support unbundling in the downtown. There is also no evident that having no parking minimums will bring down the prices of homes. Price is based on location. I get nervous when we start comparing ourselves to European cities; our geographies are very different. Comparing ourselves to that won’t be of any help to us.

We won’t land the parking conversation until we start bringing jobs to our city, so that people work where they live, full stop. To suggest underground parking requires a taller building is nonsense, in fact, it’s the opposite — taller buildings require underground parking. Reduce the height of a building and you reduce the need for underground parking and the high costs associated with it.

 

Other recommendations from Committee that were approved by Council:

Provincial audit and accountability fund — report: CM-14-19 Provincial Audit and Accountability Fund and CM-14-19 – Appendix A Program Guidelines

  • Motion moved by myself — Direct staff to submit an Expression of Interest to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing Central Region by June 14, 2019 deadline under the “review of service delivery and modernization opportunities”; and Direct the Director of Finance to single source a third-party consultant to complete this review should the City of Burlington’s request for funding be approved by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

Climate action update report for Burlington — report: CW-21-19 Climate Action Update Report for Burlington; and appendices: CW-21-19 – Appendix A – Burlington Climate Emergency Declaration, CW-21-19 – Appendix B – Burlington Climate Actions FINAL, and CW-21-19 – Appendix C – Critical Path and Engagement FINAL.

  • Motion moved by Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan — Approve funding request in capital works department report CW-21-19 of $80,000 from the Strategic Plan Reserve Fund to retain consultants for the purpose of completing Burlington’s Climate Action Plan; and
    • Approve the single source procurement for LURA Consulting (Land Use Research Associates Inc.) to undertake community engagement and SSG (Sustainability Solutions Workers Group Cooperative) to complete the Climate Action Plan, given their experience with the Bay Area Climate Change Office engagement process and the Low Carbon Pathway report for Hamilton and Burlington; and
    • Direct the Executive Director of Capital Works to implement option 1 to engage the community and stakeholders; including adding two community engagement workshops to the critical path, to be held September 2019, to develop the Climate Action Plan and report back by December 2019; and
    • Approve funding request in capital works department report CW-21-19 of $20,000 from Strategic Plan Reserve Fund to support Burlington’s commitment in 2019 to participate in the Bay Area Climate Change Office and Council, subject to and pending a financial contribution from the City of Hamilton in 2019.

MY TAKE:

I am supportive of this motion. Clearly defined goals regarding climate action need to be set for our city, along with specific details of how we get there. 

Amendment to Procedure Bylaw to adjust standing committee times — report: MO-03-19 Amendment to Procedure By-law to Adjust Standing Committee Meeting Times

  • Motion moved by myself — Direct the City Clerk to bring forward an amendment to the procedure by-law to change the start time for the daytime portion of the Committee of the Whole and the Planning and Development Committee meetings to 9:30 a.m. beginning with the September 2019 cycle of meetings; andDirect the City Clerk, in the event that the Committee of the Whole meeting goes beyond the hour of 10:00 p.m., to indicate a start time of 10:00 a.m. on the meeting agenda for the Planning and Development Committee meeting.

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1 thought on “Burlington City Council Passes Recommendations from June 10 Committee of the Whole Meeting”

  1. Correct on the tall buildings needing underground parking point, but I see additional complicating aspects to this situation.

    You can only dig so deep for parking, so this constrains the build. Reduced parking standards enable taller and denser builds by subsidizing the economics of providing needed parking spot numbers.

    That’s why we see always see tall/denser builds applications coming with reduced parking standards as zoning amendment requests. City planning has been entertaining applications for reduced parking standards for years, and you can see this in every application (most?). Parking is one of the most significant items in the building economics and finances.

    If all the applications open on Plains Rd are granted the reduced parking standard amendments they are asking for, you will see possibly hundreds of cars added to the neighborhood that have no parking place. And coincidentally, you will also see ever higher and denser builds, and resultant applications, beyond OP and ZBL permissions, that are enabled by the reduced parking standards (and other standards too).

    And the contradictions get worse. An application at 92 Plains Rd E was initially for 4 floors, but with all surface parking (also with reduced standards) – it was asserted by the developer that underground parking was too expensive for 4 floors.

    So he says underground parking needs taller/denser buildings.

    So the application came back for 6 storeys with the claim that developing this site (1 single family dwelling existing on Plains RD) with underground parking (still below parking standard) had to have 6 floors, and twice as many units with another variance to allow higher than permitted floor/lot size area. As well, it also has surface parking and additional asphalt for the underground parking. It still looks like a frilly parking lot plopped on the edge of the neighborhood.

    The planners apparently agreed with all of this argument (and more) – surface parking not good for 4 storeys, but okay for 6, as it is needed, with twice the units of the 4 storey application; and it can still look pretty much like a very large cube in a parking lot, what with all the other zoning amendments that were granted.

    So you can see that the argument and planning opinion can go all over the place with the parking standard cause-effect direction because the height and density permissions, and therefore the money yield, obviously depend a great deal on the zoning standards.

    And since all the zoning standards in the book have been put on the table by the planning department, with the use of site specific exception clauses,as we have seen, the asking start point is now allowed to be beyond the permitted maximum with the sky the limit.

    It follows, that if you look at the money; reduced parking standards, including underground, enable taller/denser buildings, and bring on more aggressive applications, as everyone gathers at the feast that all the speculative economic leverage creates as possible outcome.

    So yes, the Mayor is right in saying that tall buildings need underground parking, not the other way around, and I just hope that her correctness about reducing the building height, and thus the need, prevails.

    I just not counting on it.

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