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Findings recommendations from Interim Control Bylaw Land (ICBL) Use Study Approved by Burlington Council

STOCK_ICBL Report cover

*Mayor Meed Ward breaks down the steps Council has taken so far (and the ones still to come) in the City’s goal to control overdevelopment pressures in the downtown and direct growth where it should be.

**Please see below a media release issued by the City of Burlington.

Burlington, Ont. – Jan. 30, 2020 — At a Special Council Meeting on Jan. 30, Council approved the revised recommendations from the findings of the Interim Control Bylaw (ICBL) Land Use Study, including the approval of the proposed Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw Amendments resulting from the ICBL Land Use Study.

The revised recommendations were based on the land-use study undertaken as a result of the ICBL, passed by City Council on March 5, 2019. The purpose of the ICBL was to restrict the development of lands within the study area for a period of one year, including the Downtown Urban Growth Centre (UGC) and lands near the Burlington GO Station to undertake a land-use study. If no appeals are received, the ICBL will end on March 5, 2020.

“The ICBL has helped us to continue to work towards establishing a clear vision for the Burlington Downtown and around the Burlington GO Station. Staff heard delegations at the Jan. 14 statutory meeting and received submissions from the public, stakeholders and Metrolinx regarding the proposed Official Plan policies and zoning regulations related to the establishment of maximum building heights in proximity to the Burlington GO Station. Staff have modified the proposed Official Plan policies and zoning regulations to focus on the establishment of an appropriate transition to adjacent areas through a mid-rise, pedestrian-scale built form along Brant Street, Fairview Street and Drury Lane.” — Heather MacDonald, Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility

As part of the land-use study, staff considered all submissions provided at and following the Jan. 14 statutory public meeting as well as the Committee motion. Staff recommended several modifications to the proposed Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw amendments.

The recommendations from the findings of the ICBL study include proposed amendments to Burlington’s current in-force-and-effect Official Plan (OP) and Zoning Bylaw. The staff recommendation report and proposed amendments can be viewed online at

Here are links to the documents that were presented at the Special Council meeting on Jan. 30:

The purpose of the proposed Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw amendments is to:

  • strengthen the integration between land use and transit by introducing policies related to transit-supportive development
  • introduce the concept of Major Transit Station Areas and a policy framework
  • introduce development criteria for development applications within the study area
  • update or add definitions to the Official Plan to align with Provincial policy documents and/or assist in the interpretation of Official Plan policies
  • introduce additional permitted uses, height requirements and other policies on lands near the Burlington GO Station.

Quick Facts

  • An interim control bylaw (ICBL) is a tool available to Ontario municipalities as part of the Planning Act. An ICBL places a temporary “freeze” on the development of certain lands while a municipality is studying or reviewing its land use policies. The restrictions can only be imposed for one year, with a maximum extension of a second year. An ICBL may not be appealed when it is first passed, however the extension of the ICBL to a second year may be appealed.
  • Developments in the study area that submitted applications for site plan approval, in accordance with the approved zoning bylaw, prior to March 5, 2019, were exempt from the ICBL study area.
  • During the one-year “freeze” on development in the study area, the ICBL Land Use Study:
    • Assessed the role and function of the downtown bus terminal and the Burlington GO station on Fairview Street as Major Transit Station Areas
    • Examined the planning structure, land use mix and intensity for the lands identified in the study area
    • Proposed updates to the Official Plan and Zoning bylaw regulations as needed for the lands identified in the study area.



We have reached another significant milestone for the City of Burlington in getting a community vision for our downtown and controlling overdevelopment in the area. These policies will help us better manage growth in the downtown. There is also an outstanding staff direction to review the appropriateness of the downtown’s Major Transit Station Area and Urban Growth Centre designations at the end of the Interim Control Bylaw/Official Plan review studies. That’s our next step, and the consultant’s report positions us with solid planning rationale for these conversations with the Region and Province.

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

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