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Staff recommend approval of place of worship in employment area at 1160 Blair Rd; to council Sept. 24

A rezoning to permit a place of worship at 1160 Blair Road is on the agenda for the Sept. 11 Planning & Development Committee, with any recommendation from that committee heading to council Sept. 24 for final approval.

Staff support the application, with limits on size and future expansion.

The zoning by-law amendment application was submitted by Archangel Raphael & Saint Maria Coptic Orthodox Church to rezone the 1.7 hectare property at 1160 Blair Road, at the intersection of Blair Road and Landmark Road, south of Mainway,.to allow a place of worship within an existing two-storey multi-unit industrial building, with a maximum permitted floor area for the place of worship use.

The building currently contains a mix of office, service commercial, warehousing, and recreational uses (dance studio). 

The applicant has undertaken studies that found soil contamination on the site. The contamination has since been removed and a Record of Site Condition, along with supporting studies, has been submitted to the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks.

The proposed place of worship will occupy approximately 305 m2 on the ground floor and 93 m2 on the second floor. The ground floor space will be used as a worship area, and was formerly used as a banquet hall. The second floor space is proposed to be used as office and meeting room space for the church.

Transportation staff are concerned that the site will not have sufficient parking capacity should the church grow in the future, or during special events. Thus, staff recommend that a limit be placed on the size of the place of worship, and that the applicant seek shared parking agreements with neighbouring sites in order to accommodate any overflow parking on days where there may be an exceptional level of attendance for special services.

According to the submitted site plan, 175 parking spaces will be provided; given the current uses in the building, 142 parking spaces are required.

The Burlington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) does not support the introduction of non-employment/sensitive uses in an interior general employment area. BEDC seeks to protect employment generating activities in employment areas and recognizes that the employment nature of Blair Rd and Landmark Rd is primarily characterized by manufacturers including chemical producers.

Resources:

My Take: I’m supportive of the intent of bringing a new place of worship to Burlington, and recognize the difficulty finding affordable land outside of employment areas. The applicant has also cleaned up a contaminated site. However, I’m concerned about the impact of the place of worship on other industrial businesses in the area and whether that would limit their ability to expand in future. I note the BEDC does not support the application because of the potential negative impact on employment uses in the area.

Written by Marianne Meed Ward

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  1. Great Location for a place of worship. However, Mainway is becoming a nightmare. I drive there regularly and at peak times it is gridlock. A traffic light will be the only way to go, as turning left is impossible and dangerous.

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