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28-storey building proposed for Martha/Lakeshore

Rendering of proposed 28-storey building at Martha/Lakeshore
Rendering of proposed 28-storey building at Martha/Lakeshore

Public meeting Oct. 9, 7pm, Art Gallery of Burlington

ADI Development Group has submitted an application for a 28-storey apartment at Martha & Lakeshore, with 226 units, 5 levels of underground parking, 3 levels of above ground parking, and ground floor retail facing Lakeshore.

The site – currently a parking lot – is zoned for 4 storeys, with provision to go to 8 storeys if “community benefits” under Section 37 are provided to help mitigate the impacts of the extra height.

The proposal would require an Official Plan Amendment, as well as a Zoning By-Law change.

A public meeting hosted by city planning staff to provide information on the proposal is planned for Oct. 9, 7pm, Art Gallery of Burlington. The developer will attend to explain their proposal.

No planning decisions have been made by city staff on this project. Staff are required to process any application made; hosting the public meeting should not be interpreted as an endorsement of the project but simply an effort to inform the community of the application and provide residents an opportunity to ask questions and share comments.

Further information and background studies about this proposal can be found on the City’s web site at www.burlington.ca/374Martha

You are invited to submit written comments about this proposal to:

Rosa Bustamante, Development Planner
e-mail: rosa.bustamante@burlington.ca
phone: 905-335-7600 ext. 7811

Written comments should be submitted by: Nov. 19, 2014

Planning process

The application will be reviewed by staff and a number of city departments and external agencies; staff will prepare an information report for the city’s Development & Infrastructure Committee and City Council. The public can attend and share your views. Based on feedback at these meetings and any additional analysis, staff will prepare a report recommending either: 1-approval; 2-approval with modifications; or 3-refusal. The report will go first to the D&I Committee, then City Council, who makes the final decision. Residents can attend and speak at all of these meetings.

This process typically takes at least six months. However, the developer can appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board if a decision is not rendered within 180 days.

On another project in Burlington, this developer waited out the clock and took their project directly to the OMB, and that may well be what happens in this case.

If it goes to the OMB, staff will still prepare a report and council will still have an opportunity to review and vote on the project. The staff report, and council’s vote, would be sent to the OMB to inform the board’s ultimate decision.

My Take:

This is complete overdevelopment of the site, and little more than an intensity grab. A building of this scale would overwhelm the neighbourhood, which primarily consists of 3-storey towns. Our existing Official Plan and Zoning already account and provide for downtown urban intensification requirements under the province’s Places to Grow plan. We can intensify the site by following the existing OP and Zoning – which have been approved by three levels of government, including the city, Region and province. Until we as a council take our own Official Plan and Zoning seriously, developers won’t, and we will continue to see proposals for out-of-scale developments.

Your Take:

What are your thoughts on this development? Leave a comment online below or email me at mariannemeedward@bell.net

I was inspired to seek public office because I believe, like so many of you, “I can do something about that” on the issues we face. As councilor, my role is to take a stand on what’s best for residents and go to bat for it. Pushback is inevitable from those who don’t have the community’s interests at heart. I will stand with you and for you, to achieve the best interests of our city, without caving to unacceptable compromise in the name of consensus.

25 Comments

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  1. Previous intensification public meetings all show Burlington citizens firmly support the City’s Official Plan. Unfortunately too many City councillors listen to our Planning Department which sees the Official Plan as an unofficial suggestion. The real root issue here is that our city (unlike many others) allows Section 37 “Community Benefits” which are not “Community Benefits” at all. They are essentially bribes, usually paltry infrastructure improvements that developers are coerced to pay for.

    The Planning Department and many City Councillors love the bribes because they see them as free money to move power lines, replace water pipes and repave roads-all things the City would be doing anyway. In our hast to grab these trinkets, we forget that there is no such thing as free money. The developer in this case gets seven times the height limit set out in the O.P. We get stuck with bad development in the heart of our Downtown forever, And once more our Official Plan becomes a laughing stock because our more frugal councillors will again refuse to spend the money necessary to defend our O.P. at the OMB.

    The Official Plan is the blueprint which tries to protect the quality of life of us, the citizens of Burlington. This quality of life should not be put on the auction block every time a developer’s lust for profit starts to throb.

    • Very eloquently put. You are right, there is NO FREE lunch. We need to realize it. However I think that this project is a done deal.

      • Perhaps this a time to ask for a recorded vote by council, however we need a councillor to request the vote ! If this is a done deal how each councillor votes will speak volumes.

  2. I have lived in the downtown core for close to 30 years. The traffic in this area now is being likened to downtown Toronto. I do not think anyone likes what has happened in the last few years. More and more people all on a few lots, takes away from the uniqueness of the core. 28 stories would take away so very much sunshine from the homes just north. Something of this size certainly does not enhance the beauty of our lake. We chose to live in Burlington because of the small town feel. This is rapidly disappearing. I say no to 28 stories.

  3. Thanks for your information and especially “My Take”. It couldn’t have been said better. Supposedly the Official Plan and By-Laws were developed to realistic expectations and not just a pretty report to be continually changed. This area was one of the “clusters” that suffered flooding because the infrastructure has not been updated since it’s inception in the 1960’s. That’s over 50 years, when the capacity sanitary and storm sewers had minimal load and the area north of the Q.E. was just farmland. Now it is high rises, pavement, and housing. The water has only one place to go as it seeks the easiest route downhill to overwhelm the infrastructure in the south as it moves toward the lake. Now the developer wants to add additional sewage to an aging, inadequate system.
    To me it’s a simple question of greed and profits at the expense of logic & health of Burlington communities.
    I hope you are not a lone voice for logic on City Council and all members will take on the OMB if the developer pulls his same tactics.
    Thank you for standing up for common sense and logic. Keep the existing Official Plan and the By-Laws. Stop the greed.

  4. I was unable to attend the meeting to listen to what would be said about this proposed development. I certainly hope city council will NOT approve the application. Such a high building would look so out of place, although I expect council will cowtow to the developers as is their usual way. Council will probably give in and allow a few floors less but it will still overpower the area.

  5. I would love to attend tonight’s meeting, however I have attended so many of these meetings (Spencers Walk, The Strata, The Baxter, New Seniors building, etc. etc.) and it seems like no matter what is said by the citizens of Burlington (and I have been one all my life) the plans go ahead. I firmly believe that these citizen engagement meetings and comments are done far too late in the process. The decision with the builders have already been make, otherwise why would they be breaking ground already. The citizen’s may be able to lower the building a couple of floors but that is all. I have never seen a meeting where the suggestions were actually taken seriously by council and a condo or development drastically changed.

    We already have a Toronto, we don’t need another one.

  6. These projects are not only out of place they also represent an increase tax for existing homes. Never count out a change to the official plan when the potential new tax revenue would be this much. Adding every dollar possible to a project means higher prices and assessment values per unit, and this is huge.

    Burlington is notorious for under zoning property and then using section 37 for extracting additional development charges thru additional community benefits.
    Development charges and the costs of these benefits are passed onto the purchaser and the city is the main beneficiary thru higher assessments and then collecting taxes on the inflated value.

    Inclusive development charges for a new single or semi are now at $40,812.30 and when this is added to a price of a home the taxes are $393.67 higher netting the city 41.5% or $163.34 taxes on the development charges. Essentially a way of increasing taxes and making the assessment process responsible. Interestingly, if development charges were paid to the builder separately from the purchase price, the sale price used to determine the assessed value would be lower and generate less property and land transfer tax.

    One way to see what is happening at council would be to record the vote (if not all issues) on development projects Then we could make an informed decision on council members and how they represent our input.

  7. Thank you so much for your stand on this proposed issue. My question is………why have an “official plan” if it can be changed to something that is so extreme. I just moved to downtown Burlington and love it. I am concerned about the number of condos going up, there is a place for them but let’s not overdo it.

  8. As always, the developers go for the absolutely unrealistic and whittle their way down to a more tolerable height structure in hopes City council and concerned citizens will ‘settle’ for the lesser number of stories. Perhaps this helps irate citizens feel like they ‘won’ part of the battle with the developers and City Council’s Official Plan. With this proposal they will go from 28 to perhaps 24??? Hurray!This is fast becoming the norm it seems. Just look around you! Where are our city’s true visionaries-the men and women who can foresee a viable vision for Burlington and its’ growth? Can’t seem to find them on Council these days.

  9. This proposal is preposterous in scale and, even reduced in size, would be an eyesore to the streetscape. Given the scale of surrounding buildings in the neighbourhood and accounting for the need and inevitability of intensification in the area, the Official Plan and current zoning is more than adequate to satisfy any reasonable builder.

  10. Why do you think the Council will abide by the official plan this time? They never have in the past. The “Official Plan” is a “Joke”

  11. Thank god there is finally some development downtown. Growth at Burlington’s downtown only means good things for the city. For a little bit of traffic increase, we will have numerous new residents. This is good for local businesses, as well as the active nightlife in the downtown corridor. Anyone who opposes this should move to Georgetown. Burlington needs to move upward to keep growing, and any city with tall towers is always more active and cultural and open to all walks of life. Luckily in Burlington we can focus this in one area, rather than Oakville’s approach to throwing up towers all over the place, sometimes in areas of the city that it doesn’t really work in.

    This is the perfect place for growth, and this means more activities for families, more money going into downtown events, and more food, more stores, and more options for residents of Burlington. It also means that our bus system will have more money and therefore can improve to better accommodate our people. No city ever got worse because of growth, and I am excited to see Burlington moving forward.

    On top of this, the building is beautiful! Very modern, simplistic design with numerous windows which means a ton of natural light for the occupants. The thing I am most excited for though is definitely the height! There has been way too much push-back on height of Buildings in downtown Burlington. Hopefully this opens the gate to a slightly taller class of buildings. It looks awkward when a tall tower goes in beside medium buildings, but some building has to be the first tall one, and others will follow making a community that is close and has modern ideologies. Burlington is no longer in the dark ages!

    • So let me paraphrase two of your points – anyone who doesn’t like changing Burlington into Toronto should move to Acton or Georgetown. Funny how Burlington is currently ranked #1 of best mid-sized cities in Canada whereas Toronto with all of the things you love is ranked 32nd overall and 7th out of the 15 large cities in Canada. I didn’t see Acton or Georgetown on the list but Kingston at #11 and Stratford at #23 don’t really strike me as high-rise communities either. http://www.moneysense.ca/property/canadas-best-places-to-live-2014-time-to-think-small

  12. I’m generally understanding of the benefits of intensification and think we should worry more about quality than height., But this is too much, in the wrong place. Landmark is 21 stories, nearby heights are 12-18. To the west is a 16 story building and to the east a 5 story, so something in between those levels (i.e. 8-12 stories) would fit in nicely. On such a small site, it’s probably not economic to do 8 with the city’s ridiculous requirement for parking, but something comparable in scale with the Baxter down the street makes more sense.

    What I worry about as much as the height is the fact that the building is also ugly as heck for something they want to sell to us as a “landmark building”. With the entire podium being parking garage it will not add “eyes on the street” at all, it will be covered with a fake facade that is not in keeping with the quality pedestrian environment of the Waterfront. I would like to see a quality development here, but no way, no how on what’s being proposed. ADI is doing some good work elsewhere in the city, and I commend them for including bicycle parking, so I hope they come back to the table with something more in keeping with the city’s and residents plans for the area.

  13. I have to agree with most of the other people who have left a comment. A 28 story building is absolutely ridiculous. a building of this size opens the flood gates for more boring glass towers with poor quality finishings. I’m all for development in downtown Burlington but there has to be limits

  14. The official plan is done about every four years. It is a forward-looking document that uses the latest provincial “rules” and best planning foresight at the time to craft the City’s rules for development for the next four years. As such, it defines what the City will allow and promote. With an intensification mandate already built in, it conforms to the Province’s dictates.

    Thus the zoning in this case for a four storey building meets the intensification mandate. That a developer, knowing the rules in place, would not just try and stretch them slightly (say to five storeys) in an application, but jump into the stratosphere with a 28 storey request would be beyond belief in a sane world. But we do not live in a sane world. The official plan is there to be mocked and disregarded in the developer’s world. Demand 28 storeys and “settle” for 20 at the OMB. It’s the way it’s done today.

    Why do we have an official plan? Why do we have an OMB? Are they just a make-work project for the former and a make-job project for the latter?
    It seems so when rules aren’t just meant to be bent, but meant to be battered, broken and tossed in a trash heap at citizens’ feet.

  15. I couldn’t agree more with your ‘Take” this is a completely overblown use of that site. It is ironic that people want to live downtown because they see it as walkable, human sized and pedestrian friendly, but the developments to accomodate them destroy the very atmosphere they want. Council has to say “No” at some point, let’s start here.

  16. Just another High Rise building to an already unsightly downtown……just walk along the Pier and look back at the city landscape…just a lot of High Rise buildings of all heights and colours ….why is this council allowing these to ruin the Burlington Skyline ????

    • Huh? I love the skyline of Burlington, Toronto’s skyline is a perfect example of a beautiful and landmarked skyline! Burlington is well on its way to having the same beautiful modern skyline. I love walking on the pier with my friends and looking out at the lake, and then looking back at the magnificent city of Burlington which I call home.

      I’m not sure what type of skyline you’d prefer for Burlington? Trees? You can get that anywhere else my friend, try Acton or something similar. If you’d prefer a skyline of rooftops of the suburban neighbourhood, look no further than the escarpment! Shingles roofs galore!

      I really don’t understand the angry sentiment behind Burlington growing up. I’d much rather live in a city with development between Burlington and Toronto or Hamilton. Growth and an intense downtown means more nightlife and more events! It’s like you’ve never been to Toronto or Hamilton and enjoyed the life that is constantly there! And to anyone afraid that they don’t want their green grass, sprinkler, 10 meter driveway community ruined, just head North of Burlington. The great things about Burly is that we have both a built up downtown, and a quieter Northern part!

  17. Will this get approved? Unfortunately and eventually yes. I just don’t see how traffic calming initiatives with urban intensification makes sense. Maybe the plan is to drive people to insanity. This will only result in even more grid lock which makes downtown Burlington unappealing to begin with.

    Now if this were an application for a 28 story office/commercial building that actually is leased out to capacity I would be for it. At least during the day employees could get their hair done, have lunch or walk along the lake during their lunch. The big benefit is that they are spending their dollars in local businesses during the day.

    It’s easy to have developers knock for residential proposals and it’s easy to approve for the quick short term benefit. It’s MUCH harder for Burlington to brand itself as a place for medium and large businesses to call home.

  18. I cannot even fathom why this is even been allowed for debate. 28 stories on that site is absolutely ridiculous. The current zoning is completely within reason and allows a new building to be intergrated within an area that could support a 4 story structure. I am quite sure that the developer does not live within the core or even near the site. My family and I have lived in the core for 10 years now…although I dd grow up in the area. One of the many reasons we chose the core was the distinct and unique feel to the area. To allow a 28 story building to be built in this area is utter madness and greed run amok. I understand that with more units come more money in taxes for the city,however,the area is already brimming with condos and townhouses. I know that the traffic and increase in population has exploded n the 10 years since we moved to our house in the core. The congestion has increased and I can only imagine what 28 stories would bring…..the infrastucture was NOT meant to accomodate such density. All of this seems like common sense-especially to those of us that actually live in the core. Although it seems that dollars trump common sense these days. This development cannot be allowed to be built. Keep to the original zoning…PLEASE!

  19. In addition to the issue of height is the issue of architectural quality. Based on the artist’s rendering being shown, this building is going to be the standard hideous hunk of glass that is now littering much of downtown Toronto. That’s the last thing our downtown needs. The new retirement building at Pearl and Pine has a brick motif that blends in with the existing structures. But erecting a 28-storey block of glass would destroy the classic feel of the downtown core.

  20. It’s getting ridiculous down there. Traffic along lakeshore is already congested, and downtown is in danger of becoming a wall of high rise buildings. Stick to the original plan. I’m completely opposed to this. With all this intensification our downtown is losing the very thing that makes it appealing. Enough already !

  21. Is there really any chance this will get approved? I’m sure most people are thinking there is no way it will get approved.. Hey, don’t get too comfortable with the city of Burlington’s municipal government or our so-called “Official Plan”.

    This same government recently approved a 6 story senior’s condo on New Street, at Pine Cove. The city actually changed the Official Plan to allow this condo to get approval. That’s right, the Official Plan called for a 3 story building. But overnight, they amended and approved a zoning change to a 6 story maximum.

    Even though the area residents were strongly opposed to allowing this amendment. Th city said too bad, so sad. By the way, local residents are fighting this by going to the Ontario Municipal Board…..stay tuned.

    But to even entertain a 28 story building when the zoning only allows for a 3 or 4 story, is just ridiculous.

    Come Goldring and the rest OUR municipal govt. Stop this madness and intensification. We don’t want it.!

    Speak up fellow Burlingtonians….

What's your take?