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Brock 22 storey and Saxony 7 storey approved by council

Update: Council recently approved two development applications in downtown Ward 2: The Saxony at Locust/Elgin/Blathwayte and the Brock II at Brock and Ontario. I supported the Saxony, but did not vote for the Brock II. Details and My Take below.

Background: Staff are recommending approval of two developments in Ward 2 – the Brock II 22 storey building at Brock/Ontario, and the Saxony 7 storey building (6 floors with a roof top amenity) at Elgin/Blathwayte/Locust.

Both applications will come to the Planning & Development (P&D)  Committee on Monday May 14 at 6:30pm. The Saxony item will be heard first, followed by the Brock item.

Read the agenda and related staff reports here: P&D May 14

You do not have to register in advance to speak to the Saxony item, as this portion of the meeting will be a Statutory Public Meeting and delegates will be heard from the floor. However, any pre-registered delegates will be heard first.

You do need to register to speak to the Brock item: Register as a Delegation  email clerks@burlington.ca or phone 905-335-7600, ext. 7481.

Recommendations from the P&D Committee will go to City Council for a final decision on May 22. You can also register to speak at that meeting.

Summary:

Saxony:

Staff are recommending a modified approval of this project, which calls for one floor of commercial (facing Locust), five floors of residential and a roof top amenity area (which is counted as another floor). There would be 60 residential units with 132 parking spaces (above the required 75 spaces) in three levels of underground parking, accessed from Locust St.

A previous application was submitted in 2015 for 37 units in five storeys (including the roof top amenity area) and received site plan approval along with several variances from the Committee of Adjustment (no Official Plan or Zoning Bylaw amendments were required). A second application came in November 2017 to add two floors and additional units and parking.

Both the indoor areas and the outdoor patio on top of the sixth floor will be located near the corner of Locust Street and Elgin Street in order to mitigate privacy impacts on adjacent residential developments.

Staff are recommending increased setbacks above the 5th and 6th floors abutting Blathwayte Lane and are recommending that balconies within the terraced portions of the fifth and sixth storeys incorporate landscape screening. This is to provide some visual space between the three storey St. Luke’s Close, the two storey townhouses to the north, and the proposed mixed-use building.

There will be terracing along Blathwayte ranging from 2 metres on the fifth and sixth storeys along the north part of the property abutting Blathwayte Lane, and 2.7 metre on the sixth storey along the southern portion. In addition, there will be 3.6 metres of terracing on the fifth and sixth storeys at the northwest corner of the building and 3.6 metres on the sixth storey at the northeast corner.

My Take: 

I prefer a four storey building in this location, as originally proposed. Nevertheless, I am leaning toward supporting the revised project, as it has incorporated several changes suggested by residents and staff to address the concerns raised by the community. The setbacks and screening will help mitigate the impact of the additional two floors, in shadowing and privacy, and reduce the overall bulk of the building.

The project is similar to the 2085 Pine project where residents, staff and the developer worked together to make changes, and several of these (terracing, screening, recessed areas) are also included in the Elgin project. Further, both projects saved heritage buildings – at Pine the building was incorporated into the development; at Elgin the heritage building was moved down the street to Maple Ave. We now have policies in our Official Plan to provide incentives to retain heritage by providing additional square footage on developments.

I also believe it’s important to support mid-rise development to prevent the overintensification we are seeing elsewhere in the downtown, including the 23-storey building recently approved for Brant & James.

I voted in favour of this development.

Brock II

Staff are recommending approval of a 22 storey building at Brock/Ontario that includes 1 storey of rooftop amenity space and ground floor commercial/retail. The revised proposal contains 162 units, 203 parking spaces (meeting the bylaw requirement), as well as an additional entrance/exit onto Elgin.

The proposal will increase the density on this site from a maximum 185 units per hectare to 737 units per hectare. It will be the highest density in the area (see chart).

The project will trigger Section 37 Community Benefits discussions. These benefits are based on a percentage of the increased value of the land due to the additional height/density permissions.Community benefits are negotiated after council has made a decision on an application.

My Take:

I believe this is excessive density and height for this area, and would support a modified proposal with less of an impact on the immediately surrounding apartments and the single family neighbourhood across the hydro corridor. Though there are similar heights of buildings in the area, they are significantly setback on much larger properties, with greenspace all around that reduces the impact of the building at street level, allows for on-site water absorption, trees and greenspace, and allows breathing room and sunlight around the building.

I did not vote in favour of this project.

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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11 Comments

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  1. So sad that our #1 mid sized city will become just another ugly city…downtown is not the place for high rise buildings….put them along the GO line and retain the quaintness of our downtown.

  2. Developers put in their requests! Delegates give all their energy with common sense requests (heard only with deaf ears)! After much exhaustion from the citizens, the City Fathers’ come back with: Staff are recommending approval, or, staff are recommending modified approval of the project, which only means e.g. – what was planned for the first floor is now going on the second floor, or similarities of such nonsense. Bottom line, the developers are getting their requested height and density whichever way you look at it!!!!!

  3. I wrote much of this in the Gazette 10 days ago.

    Look at the statements from the City, Dennison and Lancaster compared to what we see here.

    The City says;

    “Following adoption by City Council, the new Official Plan is now subject to review and approval by Halton Region. Until the plan is approved at the regional level of government, the City of Burlington’s current Official Plan remains in effect and will be enforced. The new Official Plan will be used to inform land-use decisions.”

    Dennison says;

    “Our current Official Plan and Zoning By-laws are out of line with those Provincial plans. We the city should be able to successfully defend our new official plan heights and densities, where we were unsuccessful with 374 Martha/ADI/Nautique.”

    Lancaster says;

    “The existing Official Plan was out-of-date and does not comply with new provincial legislation and therefore was not defensible.”

    “The Official Plan document is a high level document that uses blobs on a map to indicate what might be possible. I emphasize what MIGHT be possible because we have just established a vision and now the work will begin to define more closely what is possible and what will be compatible on each site.”

    City says we will enforce the current OP. That does not permit 421 Brant St, and equally, does not permit 409. So tell me please how we are enforcing that plan?

    Dennison says we should be able to defend our new OP permissions, but 421 and applied for 409 are not permitted even by the new OP, but City tells us that is not in force, and we are going to enforce the existing OP, which permits even less.

    And Lancaster goes right to the heart of the truth of what is happening. She talks about what MIGHT be possible. She speaks of defining more closely what is possible and compatible.

    So based on the 409 story, the 421 approval, and many other applications, her truth is that the city will definitely not be enforcing the existing and current OP, as City says.

    That’s dead for sure, and is just a zombie plan the city can use to animate, walk and amend to where it wants to go.

    Where the city will be going is obvious and observable. City and developers will be going where they want to go, and doing buildings that they want to do, based on the gold-mining of condos, throw-away retail, no parking, and pretty much everything else for the developer from the looks of things in the story and likely all the hidden details.

    They will not be enforcing any OP. This is not real mixed use, or visionary downtown built form.

    Rather, they will assessing things case by case. Using all the OPs as crutches.

    Adding further here on these two proposals, can Marianne tell us how these show enforcement of the existing OP?

    And looking at other Councilors statements I see pretty much the same ideas expressed as here – the existing OP is still in force and will be enforced, but the new adopted OP, that is not approved or in force, will be given form in how the existing OP is enforced.

    And because the new OP does not yet have a set of Zoning By-Laws, the existing set will be changed by amendments to achieve what they want as they go.

    That’s exactly what I see happening right now, here, and what looks to be pending elsewhere. There is no enforcement of the existing OP anywhere in my sight.

    The city must think that people’s opposition to these heights and densities and lowered standards matters not; developments and planning are going where the city wants, and they are making changes as they go.

    There is more of this coming down the pipe it seems.

  4. No matter what height & density the developers want they will get it because our present council & planning department wont enforce the by-laws. In my opinion the Statuary Public meetings are lip service that doesn’t count for anything. Council and the Planning Department have long ago made up their minds.

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