More than 70 residents attended a neighbourhood meeting Thurs. Nov. 13 to hear about the proposal by Landform Development Group for a 5-storey condominium at the corner of Elgin & Blathwayte. The owner has purchased the Wigsville building at 1437 Elgin St., along with two properties to the north at 452 & 454 Locust St. The development proposal does not include Melodia Restaurant.
No planning applications have been submitted to the City of Burlington as yet. The current zoning allows 4-storeys on this site so a rezoning application would be required for the proposed 5-storeys.Following resident input at the meeting, the developer has said they will bring a revised proposal to the city that conforms to current Official Plan and zoning regulations.Below is a writeup from the Burlington Downtown Core Residents Group, a newly formed association that provides a voice for residents in community decision-making, particularly around development proposals.
Resources: Missed the meeting? The minutes, along with the powerpoint, are available here: Nov 13 2014 Elgin Blathwayte Locust Combined Presentation and Notes Elgin/Blathwayte Nov. 13 2014. You can also email my assistant <firstname.lastname@example.org> to add you to the distribution list for any future meetings on this property.
My Take: I want to thank Landform Development Group for meeting with residents before submitting their formal application, and modifying their proposal based on feedback. This collaborative style of development is the way of the future; it’s how positive, progressive development can be done. I appreciate the architectural features of the building, which attempt to blend into the character of the neighbourhood. I believe the concerns raised about the initial proposal, regarding height, massing, setbacks, surface parking, and lack of retail, can be addressed by following the existing Official Plan and Zoning. I’m pleased that Landform has heard this community feedback and will bring back a proposal that meets the existing planning criteria.
Your Take: What’s your view of the existing proposal and the collaborative process to reach greater consensus on development? Leave a comment below.
Burlington Downtown Core Residents speak on Elgin/Blathwayte development
This past Thursday, Marianne Meed Ward and the City hosted a public meeting on behalf of Landform Group, a development company from Ottawa that has purchased the lots that span from Blathwayte Lane to Locust Street and to Elgin Street. The lots are situated within the Core Precinct boundaries.
The meeting was a gracious gesture by the developer as it isn’t typical to engage the public in a dialogue so early in the design phase. Landform Group was interested in soliciting input from the community so that the feedback could be considered into the intent and final design ahead of application to the city.
The developer presented their vision for the property to a room of 70 or more residents. The tasteful building shown was called the Saxony and was an approximately 42 unit 5 storey condominium situating most of its building mass adjacent to Blathwayte Lane and Elgin Street. The plan as presented did not conform to current zoning for a number of reasons including 5 storeys instead of 4 maximum, it lacked retail on Elgin and Locust Streets, and it included an on grade parking lot.
Though the attending residents had a wide range of comments, one resounding theme was that the community is very resistant to developments that are continually pressuring to change zoning and disrupt the roll-out of the Official Plan. People voiced concern that any change to the zoning by way of forceful developer applications, disturbs the evolution of an area and changes the way people live.
During the presentation, the developer’s architect made it clear that their intention was to respect the community and existing built form and that they were flexible in the product that they wished to bring to the downtown. They suggested that a build which would fit the zoning was previously considered but had been shelved since they presumed the 5 storey would be better received.
The conclusion of the meeting was that Landform Group would consider the feedback and possibly reconsider their plan.
It is important to note that during the meeting and in followup conversations, that residents genuinely appreciated the effort that Landform Group went to to present a thoughtful plan and for their transparency and additional consideration toward a plan that would fit zoning. It left many pinching themselves and saying — “wow, this is how it can and should be”. Most people sincerely thanked Landform for their professionalism and respect.
In recent years, the development process has unfortunately become a contentious issue and is now nothing short of a constant growing stress for residents that have to gear up to fight for what they believe — what they know should be easier if the city and development simply respected the community and zoning guidelines.
So Thursday was an example of a healthy process between the city, the developer and the community in which they work.
Letter to the Core Residents Group from Landform
As we prepared this summary, we received a letter from Landform Group:
_Core Residents Group_
_Re: Our presentation on Thursday November 13th_
_On behalf of Landform Development Group, (LDG), I would like to express sincere thanks to all of the ward residents who attended our pre-development proposal on Thursday evening. The attendance was larger than we expected and the comments we received are appreciated._
_I would also like to thank Councillor Marianne Meed Ward for moderating the presentation and Rosalind Minaji from the City of Burlington planning department for her attendance and comments._
_Our commitment is to build great buildings in great communities, and after listening to all of the comments and feedback, we are very pleased to be building in (Ward 2 – St. Luke’s Precinct) in the City of Burlington._
_We listened to all of you, and I am pleased to announce we will formally submit our new design and application in accordance with current zoning allowances (4 storeys of condos) in the spring of 2015._
_The ‘Saxony’ project will be a 4-storey classic condominium building, designed to reflect the rich and vibrant heritage of the community in the City of Burlington._
_Thanks again for your attendance and the great feedback!_
_Mr. Daniel Mclean_
_Landform Development Group Inc._
_Copy: Councillor Marianne Meed Ward, City of Burlington_
Once again, kudos to Landform Group for showing respect to the community and responsible leadership amongst your peers and thanks to all those who attended to be counted and voice your opinions. It was everyone in the room – city, developer and residents – that showed that the development and intensification process can be productive and positive.
Visit the group’s website here: Burlington Downtown Core Residents Group