Burlington residents have consistently raised concerns about over-intensification and development in our City. During the 2018 election, they made their voices heard and clearly indicated the need to review the scale and intensity of planned development, especially in the new Official Plan.
As a result, I am bringing forward a motion to re-examine the policies of the Official Plan that was adopted, though not officially approved, in April of 2018, and review matters of height and density. Halton Region has also recently identified areas of non-conformity, so this motion seeks to gain the time to address those issues.
Once the Region identified areas of non-conformity, that stopped the clock on approving the new Official Plan and opened the plan up for any other matters of discussion. This allows our new City Council the time to define what areas we want to study, undertake that work, consult with the community, and send back a comprehensive plan. We expect that plan to truly reflect the needs, best interests and vision of the community and its elected Council.
The motion will also provide absolute clarity to staff and to the community that the City of Burlington staff are not to use the adopted 2018 plan in evaluating current/new development applications and the existing Official Plan is still in full legal force and effect. Multiple analyses by staff in assessing development applications, downtown in particular, have made it clear we do not need to over-intensify in order to meet our obligations under the Province’s Places To Grow legislation.
Further, we will immediately discontinue use of the “Grow Bold” term and related branding to ensure we are absolutely clear on our direction.
A timeline will be discussed at the next committee meeting.
We heard from the community that there was confusion about how development was being assessed, particularly around the status of the new Official Plan that is not yet approved. This motion makes it clear that staff are not to use the new proposed Official Plan and the existing Official Plan is still in full legal force and effect. We will take the time necessary to review and make appropriate changes to the plan to reflect the concerns we heard from the community during the election and adopt a community-based vision for our city.