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Another Milestone Reached as Burlington Council Approves Modifications to Downtown Official Plan Policies

official plan and downtown project

Today, the City of Burlington has reached another milestone for our downtown and new Official Plan (OP).

At a Special Meeting of Council this morning, recommended modifications and amendments brought forward by Ward 2 Counc. Lisa Kearns and me, on the downtown policies in the OP were approved by a 6-1 majority vote.

I’m very pleased with where we have landed with this plan and I want to thank my Council colleagues for bringing us here and our City planning staff who have worked tirelessly on modifying this plan. This has been a very long journey with a lot of dialogue and opportunities for the public to weigh in.

The previous council approved an OP that would have allowed 30 high rises to be erected in the downtown. Burlington residents spoke loudly and clearly in the last election in saying that was not their vision — and it certainly wasn’t mine.

We needed a plan that was more reflective of residents’ vision and one that protected our fine and uniquely Burlington heritage assets, not protected by The Heritage Act. As a new council, we set about to undertake a study to revise our 2018 adopted OP that was done this past year.

We now have a much better plan than our existing OP and the adopted 2018 plan. These last set of changes from me and Counc. Kearns simply provided the bow on the whole package.

Approving these policies at Burlington City Council is but another step in the process, remembering that this plan will still go through another level of analysis at the Region of Halton.

The amendments and modifications have been fully available to the public for review and this has truly been a collaborative and transparent process.

While City staff has a duty to bring forward recommendations to Council based on their planning expertise, Council is not a rubber stamp. We have an ethical and moral responsibility to represent those who elected us and bring forward their voices and changes.

The rationale for our proposed amendments were drawn from:

  • the planning studies that have been done in conjunction with the OP review;
  • public input throughout the new OP process that began in 2016;
  • acknowledgement of the changing context downtown; and
  • additional considerations as detailed under each amendment.

In addition to the modifications and amendments to the Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown Plan, Council unanimously approved the following:

  • Recommended modifications to adopted official plan policies for neighbourhood centres and for mixed use nodes and intensification corridors:
    • Endorse the recommended policy modifications to the adopted Official Plan attached as Appendix 1 to community planning report PL-18-20; and
    • Receive the rural and agricultural information contained in Appendix 4 to community planning report PL-18-20; and
    • Direct the Director of Community Planning to provide the Council-endorsed policy modifications and all supporting documentation to the Region of Halton for consideration for inclusion in the draft decision on the adopted Official Plan (April 2018).
  • Direction to review character defining elements of St. Luke’s and Emerald precincts:
    • Direct the Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility, through the Cultural Heritage Landscape Study and upcoming Zoning Bylaw Review, to review the character defining elements of St. Luke’s and Emerald Precincts and consider creating a downtown zone.

Our downtown is an attractive place to residents, visitors and appropriate development, and it will continue to be one in the future.

 

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Marianne Meed Ward

Marianne Meed Ward

A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made. As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington. The best decisions are made when elected representatives tap the wisdom of our community members, and welcome many different perspectives.This site allows residents to comment and debate with each other; our Commenting Guidelines established in 2016 aim to keep debate respectful. Got an idea or comment you want to share privately? Please, get in touch:

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