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What happened to my motions? A rundown on what passed, failed and what’s next

When council voted down my motion to defer adoption of the proposed new Official Plan until after the municipal election, I tabled 11 additional motions to make the plan better, of which 6 passed, along with 5 motions by others. The motions were presented during deliberations at the Planning & Development Committee of council Jan. 23 and 24, followed by City Council approval Jan. 29.

Additional motions were tabled Feb. 6 on the Upper Brant Precinct from Blairholm to Ghent, to reduce the heights of buildings on both sides of Brant. Those motions, moved by Councillor Dennison, which I supported, all failed 5-2. Those come to City Council Tues. Feb. 20 for final approval.

Though the motions that passed make the proposed downtown plan better – on heritage protection, reduced height in some areas, securing affordable and family units, among other changes – the plan still represents overintensification of the downtown in my view.

Under the proposed plan, up to 17 storeys would be allowed in the downtown core precinct (light blue on the map) including:

  • 17 storeys at the south side of the Lion’s Club park (north side park area is proposed for low density up to 2.5 storeys)
  • 17 storeys across from the park at The Oyster clothing store
  • 17 storeys on both sides of James Street at Pearl, behind the already approved 23 storey building and applied-for 24 storey building on the North and South corners of Brant and James
  • 17 storeys at the The Poacher pub
  • 17 storeys in the church lot at Pine and Pearl
  • 17 storeys in the centre of Village Square, preserving the buildings facing the streets
  • 17 storeys at Lakeshore and John
  • 17 storeys at Maria and Pearl, across from the under-construction 17 storey Berkeley building
  • 17 storeys at the gas station site at Lakeshore and Locust
  • 17 storeys at Pearl and Lakeshore, beside the recent OMB-approved 26 storeys at Martha and Lakeshore
  • 17 storeys at the No Frills Plaza, along with a public park
  • 17 storeys at the Acura site at Victoria/Brant

Tall buildings are like dandelions; when one goes up, another is sure to follow. That’s what we are seeing downtown, where new applications reference existing tall buildings as justification for their own. We must be bold and courageous to prevent an influx of towers which will overintensify the downtown and ruin its small town feel and heritage character, among many other negative impacts.

Below is a run down on what passed and failed, and the recorded votes on each item.

Additional motions (or reconsiderations of previous motions) can come forward for any aspect of the plan February  27, or April 4 or 23 when the plan is scheduled for adoption by committee and council. However a reconsideration motion can only be moved by someone who initially voted in the majority, and requires a 5-2 vote to pass.

I believe we need to reconsider my motion which was voted down 6-1 to remove the Urban Growth Centre and Mobility Hub designations downtown, in light of the recent Ontario Municipal Board decision that allowed 26 storeys at Martha/Lakeshore. These designations were a key part of the ruling. I can’t bring that motion, as I didn’t vote in the majority. Another member would have to move it. Alternatively, a new council could make this change without a reconsideration motion during the next term of office, which begins after the municipal election in October.

I’ve received advice from staff that the UGC and Hub designations are part of the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (Places to Grow), updated in 2017, with no further update for 10 years. However the legislation states that implementation of the plan allows the Minister of Municipal Affairs to “identify, establish or update…the size and location of the urban growth centres,” (Sec 5.2.2, 1(b). The plan further allows the Minister to review the schedules of the plan “at least every five years in consultation with municipalities, and may revise these schedules.” (Sec. 5.2.7 (1)). The UGC is mapped on the schedules.

I will continue to look into opportunities to change the UGC and Hub designations. This will likely require advocacy to the province. With a provincial election coming up, ask all candidates whether they will help change the designations.

The Official Plan is not a done deal after council adoption. Burlington’s proposed new Official Plan won’t be in force till approved by Halton Region, expected in 2019 when the Region reviews its own plan. Until that time, our existing Official Plan is in force. New motions can come forward till council adoption in April. Make this an election issue: ask all candidates, new or incumbent, whether they will make changes to the plan before regional approval for balanced growth not overintensification.

MY MOTIONS:

  1. Defer approval of Official Plan until after the 2018 Municipal Election.
  • IN FAVOUR: (1): Councillor Meed Ward
  • OPPOSED: (6): Mayor Goldring, Councillor Craven, Councillor Taylor, Councillor Dennison, Councillor Sharman, and Councillor Lancaster

LOST (1 to 6)

  1. Discuss with the Region and province the possibility of removing the mobility hub classification for the downtown, and shifting the Urban Growth Centre from downtown to the Burlington GO station.
  • IN FAVOUR: (1): Councillor Meed Ward
  • OPPOSED: (6): Mayor Goldring, Councillor Craven, Councillor Taylor, Councillor Dennison, Councillor Sharman, and Councillor Lancaster

LOST (1 to 6)

NOTE: I will bring a reconsideration to the Feb. 27-28 planning meeting

 

  1. Remove the special policy area at the South East corner of Brant and James Street (Note: this is now the site of a 24-storey application.)
  • IN FAVOUR: (2): Councillor Meed Ward, and Councillor Dennison
  • OPPOSED: (5): Mayor Goldring, Councillor Craven, Councillor Taylor, Councillor
    Sharman, and Councillor Lancaster

LOST (2 to 5)

  1. Work with the Region of Halton to review the Downtown Urban Growth Centre boundaries, and
    consider restoring original boundaries with the exception of Spencer Smith Park.
  • IN FAVOUR: (5): Mayor Goldring, Councillor Meed Ward, Councillor Taylor, Councillor
    Sharman, and Councillor Lancaster
  • OPPOSED: (2): Councillor Craven, and Councillor Dennison

CARRIED (5 to 2)

  1. Include policies to allow additional density in developments that preserve heritage buildings,
    as a factor of square footage preserved.

CARRIED (7 to 0)

  1. Include policy encouraging consideration of public-private parking partnerships during redevelopments (Note: This would encourage public parking being built in new private developments, paid by the parking reserve fund.)

CARRIED (7 to 0)

  1. Refer policies in the Official Plan regarding semi-detached homes to the zoning by-law review process.
  • IN FAVOUR: (4): Councillor Craven, Councillor Meed Ward, Councillor Dennison, and
    Councillor Lancaster
  • OPPOSED: (3): Mayor Goldring, Councillor Taylor, and Councillor Sharman

CARRIED (4 to 3)

  1. Add a target percent of new mid-rise and high-rise units to achieve affordable, assisted, and special needs housing, as defined in Halton Region’s Annual State of Housing report.

CARRIED (7 to 0)

  1. Add the North-West corner of Burlington Avenue and Lakeshore Road to the special planning
    area to match the north east corner.
  • IN FAVOUR: (6): Mayor Goldring, Councillor Craven, Councillor Meed Ward, Councillor
    Taylor, Councillor Sharman, and Councillor Lancaster
  • OPPOSED: (1): Councillor Dennison

CARRIED (6 to 1)

  1. Direct the Director of City Building to retain the height at Burlington Avenue and Lakeshore Road to 3 storeys.
  • IN FAVOUR: (2): Councillor Meed Ward, and Councillor Dennison
  • OPPOSED: (5): Mayor Goldring, Councillor Craven, Councillor Taylor, Councillor
    Sharman, and Councillor Lancaster

LOST (2 to 5)

11. Modify the heights in the downtown core from “12 – 17” to “4-8” (Note: would have retained existing heights)

  • IN FAVOUR: (1): Councillor Meed Ward
  • OPPOSED: (6): Mayor Goldring, Councillor Craven, Councillor Taylor, Councillor Dennison, Councillor Sharman, and Councillor Lancaster

LOST (1 to 6)

  1. Modify the block shown at the northeast corner of Brant Street and Lakeshore located in the
    Cannery Precinct to the Downtown Core Precinct with a maximum building height of 15 storeys (Note: A reduction from the proposed 22).
  • IN FAVOUR: (1): Councillor Meed Ward
  • OPPOSED: (6): Mayor Goldring, Councillor Craven, Councillor Taylor, Councillor Dennison, Councillor Sharman, and Councillor Lancaster

LOST (1 to 6)

(NOTE: a reduction to 17 storeys was approved; see below)

MOTIONS FROM OTHERS

  1. Modify the block shown at the northeast corner of Brant Street and Lakeshore located in the
    Cannery Precinct to the Downtown Core Precinct with a maximum building height of 17 storeys including community benefits
  • IN FAVOUR: (5): Mayor Goldring, Councillor Taylor, Councillor Dennison, Councillor
    Sharman, and Councillor Lancaster
  • OPPOSED: (2): Councillor Craven, and Councillor Meed Ward

CARRIED (5 to 2)

  1. Modify the heights in the downtown core from 17, to “12-17” with:

one extra floor granted for every 150 sq m of dedicated office and/or employment floor space

OR

one additional storey for every 8 publicly accessible parking spaces provided in an underground parking structure.

  • IN FAVOUR: (6): Mayor Goldring, Councillor Craven, Councillor Taylor, Councillor
    Dennison, Councillor Sharman, and Councillor Lancaster
  • OPPOSED: (1): Councillor Meed Ward

CARRIED (6 to 1)

  1. Incorporate within an increased minimum tower separation requirement for tall buildings within the Downtown Mobility Hub of 30 metres.

CARRIED (7 to 0)

  1. Prepare mid-rise buildings guidelines by end of the third quarter of 2018.
    CARRIED (7 to 0)

  2. Assign a minimum target % (TBD) within mid-rise and tall buildings with 2 & 3 bedrooms with at least 10% of the building containing 3 bedrooms to accommodate families with children.

CARRIED (7 to 0)

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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5 Comments

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  1. Thank you Marianne for your efforts to preserve the character of our unique downtown and for your work to inform residents of the development plans for this area. “To let us know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so we can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington.”

    Sadly, I am losing faith in our councillors as I and many others have devoted countless hours of our time attending meetings, registering as delegations, completing surveys, participating in workshops and generally doing everything in our power to influence outcomes for a better Burlington….and for what? Is anyone on council apart from you actually listening?

    We don’t want developers to turn our downtown into another uninspiring high-rise mess!
    How much clearer do we have to be?

    This most certainly is an election issue!

    Linda Anderson

  2. Thank you for your relentless efforts to try to instill sanity and logic in the council chambers. It’s sad that councillors who don’t live in this area are allowed to freely destroy it with limited recourse for the ward’s constituents. Your hard work is appreciated!

  3. Thank you Marianne for your hard work. Wow! We know success is in numbers (all Councillors on board), and it was obvious that the mindset was shooting for 50 years from now when all will have to be redone, or selectively, to be redeveloped again at that time. Perhaps the “GROW BOLD” were the wrong words, as they have taken it literally.

  4. Clr. Meed-Ward, thank you for all your work on behalf of your constituents. Can you clarify why OMB Martha St. decision was based on a “No Decision” appeal by the developer. Why did city not arrive at a decision on the original application?Was this oversight or tactics?

What's your take?

This just in: OMB decision released on ADI proposal at Martha/Lakeshore – allows 26 storeys

Six new development applications in Ward 2; public meetings March 7, 27; April 12, 17; May 1, 16