Categories: DevelopmentDowntown & Waterfront

ADI development not approved, despite sign

I have received many queries to my office about whether or not the ADI proposal for a 28-storey building at Martha & Lakeshore in downtown Burlington has been approved, following the appearance of a large billboard on the site announcing a residential project “Arriving Soon.”

Emphatically and unequivocally, nothing has been approved on this property.

By way of background, the city received one development application for this property, from ADI, for an Official Plan Amendment and rezoning to permit a 28-storey residential building. The current OP and Zoning contemplate a 4-storey building here, with ability to go to 8 storeys under certain circumstances.

City planning staff rejected the proposal on the grounds that it represented overbuilding of the site and poor planning.

City council supported the staff opinion and unanimously voted to endorse the staff recommendation to refuse the application. The community is overwhelming opposed to the proposal.

ADI has appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board for a decision. A hearing is expected to take place in March 2016.

For more background read:

First OMB pre-hearing conference held for ADI development, 374 Martha St.

Councillors endorse staff refusal of 28-storey on Martha; ADI appeals to OMB

I will continue to keep residents notified here and in my monthly newsletter as this proposal proceeds through the OMB.

So what about that sign? Unfortunately, the city has no legal grounds to govern the content of signs. These types of signs that appear before an application is approved have occurred before on other development sites in the city, and we cannot stop them.

We do, however, govern the size and installation of signs. At my request, by law enforcement looked into this sign and have confirmed the sign is too large. However, ADI is arguing that the sign is hoarding to secure the vacant lot. Our bylaw is apparently silent on messages appearing on hoarding. So for now the sign remains.

This seems to me to be a significant gap in our sign regulations. There is hoarding at the corner of Brant and Blairholm, currently painted black; the owner has been asking to place a billboard here for years. How long do you think it will be before we see a sign replacing the black paint on this hoarding, or elsewhere in the city? We don’t want a billboard-as-hoarding free-for-all.

I have asked for a meeting with our bylaw staff to discuss how we might revise our bylaws to address the issue of oversize signs masquerading as hoarding. Stay tuned.

My Take:

Any sign or advertisement suggesting the imminent arrival of a development project that has not been approved is misleading and confusing. These signs create concern around whether a deal has been struck behind closed doors without the public’s knowledge in the dog days of summer. Emphatically, no. Such signs also require an exasperating expenditure of time and resources to correct the facts.

I’m also not persuaded the sign is “hoarding.” The sign is only in one corner of the lot – the part facing traffic; the other sides are open, with wide gaps between boards and caution tape. Most hoarding runs the perimeter of a property. This construction effort is not securing the site. I’m concerned about public safety and the security and installation of this massive billboard. I will be doing some further investigating with staff.

I will be sending correspondence to the developer asking that they show more respect for the community, remove the existing sign, and state in any future communication that this project is proposed only and subject to an OMB decision next year.

I will also ask that they not to use hoarding as an opportunity for an oversize billboard, but erect a sign more in keeping with our sign bylaw.

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:

Recent Posts

Public meeting June 20 to seek input on Conservation Halton’s Kelso/Glen Eden parks Master Plan

Press Release - Conservation Halton is updating the parks Master Plan for Kelso Conservation Area/Glen Eden, which is located within…

21 hours ago

Vote on $4 million to LaSalle Marina for floating wavebreak to council tonight

City council will vote tonight on a proposal to fully pay the $4 million for a new floating wavebreak for…

2 days ago

City of Burlington launches online citizen engagement platform, Get Involved Burlington

Media Release — The City of Burlington has launched its new online citizen engagement platform, Get Involved Burlington. The platform will…

2 weeks ago

Smart Car Confidential reveals little known facts about Marianne – trained opera singer, takes dog to drycleaner, helped form Moms in the Hood; watch trailer

Think you know me, Ward 2 City Councillor and mayoral candidate Marianne Meed Ward? I had the privilege of riding…

2 weeks ago

Community open house June 27 to hear developer’s plans for 849 and 855 Brant St

The public is invited to an open house Wed. June 27, 7pm, at the Burlington Public Library to hear plans…

3 weeks ago

Public meeting June 11 to receive information report on 53-71 Plains Road East, 1025 Cooke Boulevard (no recommendation or decision)

Council will receive an information report at a public meeting June 11 at 6:30pm at City Hall regarding an Official…

3 weeks ago