AUGUST Ask the Councillor: Should townhouses be considered medium density? What are the parking zones downtown? Any progress on Ghent retirement home? What’s with the empty lot on Ghent?

dawn-vic-render (1)Resident L.H. asks: Should townhouses be classified as low density or medium density? I believe that townhouses should be classified as medium density as listed in the zoning by-law. However, the Official Plan allows townhouses to be classified as low density. The Zoning by-law allows cluster homes up to a density of 25 units per net hectare, but it does not permit townhouses until zone RM2.

Response: There is a discussion to be had about how the Zoning by-law and Official Plan (OP) work together; typically the OP provides broad permissions, and the specific site zoning provides further definitions and restrictions. As such, not every permission granted under an OP policy will be suitable/desirable or permitted on every single property. The Zoning By-law is to comply to the Official Plan as this is required by Ontario’s Planning Act. Zoning typically gets implemented through general permissions; however, because of what is going on around individual properties, not every zoning permission is appropriate on every site.  So we look at general zone provisions plus the context around a site in determining appropriateness of the general zone provisions.  This is a very brief and broad explanation, though, of a process that takes a great deal of time and analysis. We are seeing new and different forms of townhouse applications including, but not limited to, stacked townhouses and back to back townhouses.  How we manage housing form, height and density will be part of the Official Plan Review currently underway and subsequent implementation through updates to our Zoning By-law.  The sequencing is important because the Official Plan is the parent document. Official Plans get implemented through Zoning By-laws and other tools.  For example, we are preparing urban design guidelines beginning with tower design guidelines and moving to other forms of development (mid-rise, low-rise).


Resident J.S. asks: We are wondering if you have any updates on the progress of the proposed retirement home at 2170 Ghent Avenue?

Response: The proposed 4-storey retirement home at 2170 Ghent Ave received final site plan approval on July 15, 2016.  The site plan process was a technical review process that assessed items such as zoning compliance, site layout, lighting, landscaping, etc.  As part of the site plan process, the developers were required to install the fencing around the perimeter of the property and around City trees. Now that site plan approval has been issued, the applicants are working towards obtaining a building permit.  Our understanding is that once a building permit is issued, construction will begin shortly thereafter.  The applicants have indicated to us that construction is anticipated to take approximately 18 months.

Resident M.C. asks: Just enquiring about the empty lot on the north side of Ghent Avenue, almost opposite the Branthaven development. The lot is now overgrown and totally unkempt, weeds and grass are at least two feet high and people are using it as a dump.

Response: A demolition permit was issued in September 2013and draft site plan approval was issued in August 2014 for a 6 unit townhouse development at 2071 Ghent Ave. Planning staff have had some recent dealings in last few months, as the owners have two items to clear in order to receive final site plan approval and be in a position to apply for a building permit.

Zone Location 2Resident R.D. asks: I parked on Brant Street and wanted to pay using my Telepark account.  I was unable to do so because I did not know what ‘zone’ I was in. Would you please let me know how I can find the zone number for each of the areas of street parking in downtown Burlington?

Response: You can find the zone location noted on the side of the Pay Station machine as seen in the photo (right). The downtown is classified into five zones as shown below:Zone Numbers


Written by 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.

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  1. I’ve used the new parking meters a few times, and was wondering WHY City needs my license plate numjber? Meters in Oakville dont require them. This process should be as ‘simple’ and as ‘customer friendly as possible’. The other thing I’ve noticed is that there is a significant time lag after you’ve chosen the option how to pay. I’ve been paying cash, but it always takes about 15 seconds for that to ‘register’ on the meter before I can put the coins in. Small thing, but will be a nuisance in winter months when fingers are freezing … Just saying. 🙂

  2. We live on Hager Ave between Olga and Richmond.
    We are lucky enough to have many people, including the elderly and families with children, walking in our neighborhood, which makes for a friendly and a safe area.
    We are unlucky enough to have most drivers speeding up to much high speeds than 40km, after the traffic calming bump as they race to reach Richmond or race to get to the traffic calming bump from Richmond.
    This is a danger to the people who walk here.
    In the news lately we have read that Ontario is considering the use of photo radar as a method to control driver related problems. We wholly support the idea that photo radar would be an effective way to stop drivers from disobeying the posted speed or stop signs, without using valuable police services.
    It could be the 24 hour on duty police. Drivers may respond more to a ticket and a hit on their wallets than to the occasional reminder from police that they are disobeying the rules.

What's your take?

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