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Extension proposed after zoning approvals lapse for Caroline St project

Planning staff are recommending what amounts to a deadline extension in the wake of zoning approvals lapsing on the medical centre/parking structure/condo complex
View from Elizabeth St of medical centre/parking structure/condo at Caroline/John/Maria/Elizabeth streets. Zoning approvals have lapsed.
View from Elizabeth St of medical centre/parking structure/condo at Caroline/John/Maria/Elizabeth streets. Zoning approvals have lapsed.

To committee: June 18, 6:30pm, City Hall; to Council: July 3

Planning staff are recommending what amounts to a deadline extension in the wake of zoning approvals lapsing on the medical centre/parking structure/condo complex on Caroline/John/Elizabeth/Maria streets.

The project was approved by previous council in 2010. The Official Plan has already been changed to allow the project, but the zoning approvals have not been passed.

Certain conditions were attached to the zoning approvals, including a development agreement, payment of rezoning fees, and execution of a Section 37 community benefits agreement (negotiated for extra height and density on the project). The conditional zoning approval imposed an 18 month deadline to sign the required agreements, and was intended to ensure these agreements were in place when construction began. Staff understood that the project would proceed as soon as council gave approval.

That didn’t happen. The conditional zoning deadline came and went in January. I discovered it when I asked about the status of the project after receiving numerous inquiries from residents. I subsequently wrote about the lapse in a recent newsletter, and in City Talk.

The developer, Carriage Gate Group, Inc., has requested a new lapsing date so the project can proceed. The alternative would be to require a new rezoning application. Staff have recommended against that option, suggesting that it wouldn’t change anything – the project hasn’t changed, therefore the staff recommendation for approval would remain the same.

Council has also received confidential legal advice on this matter and I have asked staff why it is confidential and whether it can be shared with residents. Council has the prerogative to disclose legal advice, and we have done so from time to time in the past.

Read the staff report here.

Your take:
Should the city bypass a rezoning application and extend the lapsing deadline? Would anything change if we went through a rezoning process? Your feedback welcome; please comment below.

My take: I’m concerned about the appearance of bending our rules here, and wonder what’s to prevent a second deadline from coming and going. Presumably, there were sound reasons to impose conditional zoning in the first place, namely to get timely commencement of the project and to ensure fulfilment of agreements and community benefits negotiated as part of original approvals. Would anything change if we went through a rezoning? That’s debatable: StaffI have already indicated their support for the project won’t change, but there are three new members of council, myself included. I would welcome a rezoning discussion to let the public speak and perhaps persuade council to a new decision. Though I and most residents who commented or attended public meetings on this development generally supported the medical/parking component, we believe the 17-storey condo encroaches and is incompatible with the adjacent neighbourhood, and unnecessary to facilitate the medical/parking centre.

7 thoughts on “Extension proposed after zoning approvals lapse for Caroline St project”

  1. I was at the meetings where this medical building and condo tower were discussed. There was a huge public outcry against the size of this project, the inadequate parking provisions and the loss of yet another downtown surface parking lot. The developers portrayed citizens who disapproved of the project as somehow being against doctors and health care. The proposed condo tower is completely out of keeping with surrounding buildings.

    Strangely the developer wins again even when they don’t follow the rules. The “penalty” is payment of a $680 late fee but for that the City throws in another storey for the building! Wow! Developers must just laugh when Burlington’s Official Plan gets mentioned. I sure wish I was able to buy a city parking lot for $680.

  2. I object to the developer ignoring generous due dates when they have already received an inappropriate 17-story permit. It shows a disregard for process, but moreover, they must understand they open themselves up to the scrutiny and reconsideration–positive or negative–of the community.

  3. I have to question a mayor, according to an article that appeared,who feels that it is ok to flaunt the rules put in place to protect the residents of the City. It makes me wonder just what else is done at City Hall that the residents are not aware of. Development at all cost seems to be the Mantra

  4. I agree with Mr. Smith. What is the point of having laws if they are so easily waived? I also feel that a new hearing that is open to the public would be in the best interest of both the builder and the neighbourhood.

  5. I do not recommend that this developer be given privileges that violate the laws of this city. Please do not extend the deadline.
    I live near this site and think that the building is far too large, and that it should not go ahead as designed. A smaller building would be more suitable.

  6. I feel that there is too much development being approved that is in violation of exisiting zoning. I don’t like the constant exceptions being granted developers everytime they ask for it. Who’s Council is this anyway?

    Roman Talkowski

  7. If the developer hasn’t been able to meet the original deadlines as per the agreement, when presumably it’s in their best interest to begin development, that creates an element of doubt that they’ll be able to meet future deadlines when it’s not in their best interest, and when it’s the community and surrounding neighborhood that stands to lose for their non-compliance.

    17 Stories at that location is an unwelcome encroachment of high-rise construction into an established residential community, and I still remain dismayed that the Official Plan was *changed* to allow its construction in the first place. Why do we have an ‘Official Plan’ if anyone with the money or political clout can overturn it by request?

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Marianne Meed Ward

Marianne Meed Ward

I was inspired to seek public office because I believe, like so many of you, “I can do something about that” on the issues we face. As councilor, my role is to take a stand on what’s best for residents and go to bat for it. Pushback is inevitable from those who don’t have the community’s interests at heart. I will stand with you and for you, to achieve the best interests of our city, without caving to unacceptable compromise in the name of consensus.

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