Public meeting Oct. 4 for rezoning request for 2 townhouses at 514 Pearl St

imageThe city has received an application to amend the Zoning By-law to permit 2 street townhouse units at 514 Pearl St, a  lot which borders Caroline St. A neighbourhood meeting has been scheduled to review the application and answer questions:

Date: Tues., October 4, 2016
Time: 6 – 8 p.m.
Location: City Hall, 426 Brant St., Room 247

imageA website dedicated to the project has been opened here: Rezoning 514 Pearl

On the city site you will find a summary of the submission and supporting documents from the applicant including:

514 Pearl StThe property was the subject of a previous application to remove the home from Municipal Register of Heritage Properties (file# 501-06-6). That was supported by the city’s Heritage Committee and approved 6-1 by Council March 22, 2016. Staff had recommended a “heritage” designation for the property which would have protected it from demolition, a position I supported (see Staff Report PB-36-16). As such, I did not support removing the property from heritage register. See related article here: 514 Pearl recommended for heritage designation

Staff are currently reviewing the rezoning application for 514 Pearl. Once staff have completed their review they will issue an information report to the Development & Infrastructure Committee and City Council, followed by a recommendation report to D&I and Council that will recommend one of: approve, deny or approve with modifications.

Staff reports are available online about a week before the committee or council meeting. All meetings are open to the public and residents can register in advance to share their views with council. Additional details will follow once the dates have been set.

My Take: I am still reviewing this application so haven’t taken a position, and I’ll also want to review the staff recommendation. That said, rezonings are not to be taken lightly, and can be a slippery slope that over time significantly changes neighbourhood character. Each application must be carefully and critically reviewed on its own merits, and the impact on the neighbourhood now and in the future. I am also mindful of the new policy directions staff have outlined (and council approved in principle) regarding intensification, that it be directed to mobility hubs and designated “primary” intensification areas. See related article: Red light on intensification in established neighbourhoods

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. This proposal only serves as a cash windfall for the owners. A shame that we’ll lose a beautiful heritage home for this nothing burger.

  2. I have followed this application from the beginning and have been impressed with the Wellens family, their patients and thoughtful approach to their neighbourhood is commendable. It was very reassuring when most of council and the mayor understood their situation and upheld their property rights allowing them to move foreword and create a home for their family.
    I took the time to review their new plans and walked the neighbourhood to put it all in perspective.
    Their thoughtful approach is once again front and center, this will be an outstanding addition to their neighbourhood.
    My family is now three generations in Burlington, personally 60 plus years. Change is something that is not easy in our city however, the thoughtful consideration this family has shown is an example of why we have called it home for all these years.

  3. Hello,

    I’m Stephanie Wellens, my husband (Morgan Wellens) and I are the homeowners of 514 Pearl Street. We have received City approval to demolish our home, and we’d like our community to know that the decision to demolish our first home is not one that we have taken lightly.

    This has been our home since 2009 and we have spent the last 8 years working tirelessly to fix it up. Our original plan was to make this our long-term family home, but unfortunately we have run into some significant problems with the existing structure, and when we started to get quotes to remedy some of the more substantial problems within the home, we realized that the renovation costs were far too great. Some of those problems include: significant mould growth, rotting wood, a basement we can’t stand in with 5’7’’ ceilings and the low roofline of the 2nd floor prevents us from having a 2nd floor shower. The home is small at 1492 sq feet and the investment needed would not be financially prudent. Also, Pearl street has changed significantly in the last few decades, and 514 is out of place and now dwarfed by its surroundings (3 and 4 storey townhomes cover most of our block).

    The semi-detached home that we are proposing to build would provide our family with a clean and safe home that meets the needs of our family as well as provide financial security for our growing family (we just welcomed our first in July).

    Throughout this process we have worked closely with Heritage Burlington, we’ve engaged accredited heritage professionals and award winning local architects as well as members of our community. I myself grew up downtown Burlington in a heritage home that won a heritage award for integrating the old design with the new (457 Burlington Avenue). New builds can in some cases add more architectural integrity to the neighbourhood, and our vision for our new home is to do just that!

    Please note that the images included in this article are the rear and south facing elevations of the proposed semi. We’ve requested that the Pearl and Caroline facing elevations be added to provide a true representation of the design and curb appeal this home will offer.

    We’re happy to answer any questions you may have, please feel free to contact me at:

    Stephanie Wellens
    514 Pearl Street

  4. We are starting to lose the integrity of downtown Burlington…..the lovely older homes that make Burlington what it is. Yes there are homes that could be taken down and maybe they wouldn’t be missed so much, but this home is a beautiful example of Old Burlington…….one of the reasons that I live in Downtown Burlington. It is so wonderful to walk through our side streets and see these beautiful homes. You are right Marianne, it will change the character of Pearl St, once again. Pearl has already had enough changes. We are still lucky to have the Block where Poacher’s, 440, little house across the street , the park. This is a small beautiful town, let’s keep it that way. Don’t let them demolish it…please!

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