D&I Feb17: Changes to site plan process; character studies for Indian Point, Roseland, Shoreacres; Rezoning 1120 Burloak Dr.

The list of items below were discussed at the Development & Infrastructure Committee Feb. 17, 1pm & 6:30 pm, at City Hall. D&I includes all members of council. Recommendations from this meeting go to City Council for a final vote Mon. Feb. 29, 6:30pm at City Hall. Residents can Register as a Delegation to speak at both of these meetings.

Complete agendas and minutes for previous and upcoming committee and council meetings, including webcasts, are available on the city’s Agendas and Minutes page.

Read the Feb. 17 D&I agenda, which includes the staff reports on the items below, here: D&I agenda Feb 17

IMG_0719Replace site plan control with restrictive zoning

Staff are recommending elimination of the site plan process in low-density residential areas in favour of more restrictive zoning and Official Plan policies.

The site plan process was implemented in 2008 to deal with the issue of “monster homes” and protect the character of older neighbourhoods. However, city staff have found site plan control rarely leads to a difference in outcome for either the city or the applicant. The process also takes a lot of staff time (3-5 full time equivalents), and is costly and slow for applicants (the Planning Act requires site plan applications to be approved within 30 calendar days; the average processing time in Burlington for detached dwellings in 2015 was 77 days).

In addition,  site plan review is not a public process under the Planning Ac, so there is limited opportunity to engage neighbours on infill projects. Public  notice is not required and appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) is only possible by the applicant.

Nevertheless, it is clear from input received on other projects such as the character area studies that concern remains about protecting low-density residential neighbourhoods. There are also opposing expectations in land development between broad neighbourhood interests versus singular private property rights.

Staff recommend eliminating the site plan process for low density residential areas in exchange for more restrictive zoning, and amendments to the Official Plan. The Character Area Studies for Roseland, Indian Point and Shoreacres recommend some amendments to the Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw that would apply on a city wide basis in all low density residential areas including character areas. They are generally as follows:

  • Strengthen infill policies in the Official Plan, to include Stable Residential Neighbourhoods as a foundation of the City’s future urban structure (currently underway).
  • Update the definition for compatibility in the Official Plan.
  • Strengthen tree protection policies in the Official Plan.
  • Develop Floor Area Ratio in zoning bylaw (to better manage concerns about lot coverage and massing).
  • Modify definition for Lot Coverage in zoning bylaw to include carport, covered decks and porches.
  • Develop additional zoning provisions related to second storey balconies, two storey architectural features, dwelling depth, garage configuration, and driveway length.

More restrictive zoning has the potential to generate an increase in requests for minor variances through the Committee of Adjustment. Unlike a site plan process, a minor variance is a public process that engages a community in the decision making along with notification to neighbours and opportunities for appeal to the OMB. The minor variance process is the right tool for a conversation amongst neighbours.

The majority of development issues for low density residential areas are related to grading, drainage, and zoning. Such things can be reviewed outside of a site plan process via site engineering and zoning clearance certificates. A site engineering clearance certificate process does not currently exist and would have to be created.

If council approves, staff will introduce amendments to the Official Plan and Zoning By-law, reflecting recommendations in the character studies; develop a business process for a site engineering certificate; and develop a transition period and process until the site plan process for low density residential areas has been eliminated in exchange for more restrictive zoning.

shoreacres character studyRecommendations regarding Shoreacres Character Study.

Mature neighbourhoods across the city are now experiencing pressure from within for redevelopment opportunities and replacement of older housing stock. The Shoreacres Character Study was a result of concerns raised by residents in the community about redevelopment in the area.

This study aimed to identify the character of the community; outline planning tools and controls that can assist with managing change; and provide recommendations for policy, by-law, and development review process amendments to ensure that new developments maintain the character of the community.

Staff are recommending the following changes to protect the Shoreacres neighbourhood (the properties along Lakeshore Road will not be included in the Shoreacres character area and will not be subject to its policies and regulations):

  • Define neighbourhood character in the Official Plan to help manage change in character areas, including lot configurations, areas, and frontages.
  • Revise front yard setbacks from 11m to 9m to more accurately reflect the existing built form in the community. The current 6m setback for the R2.4 zone will remain.
  • Calculate side yard setbacks using 10% of lot width regardless of building height.
  • Limit driveways on corner lots to one street only.
  • Limit lot coverage within the study area to the 25% – 35% range.
  • Require 50% front yard landscape open space area, regardless of lot width.

If council endorses these recommended Planning Directions for Shoreacres, staff will then consult with the public on the draft amendments to the Zoning By-law.

indian pointRecommendations regarding Indian Point and Roseland Character Studies.

In 2011, there were a series of developments that occurred within the Indian Point and Roseland neighbourhoods which generated community concerns about increasing development pressures and about development compatibility. Some of these redevelopments resulted in Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearings. The purpose of the Indian Point and Roseland Character studies is to identify and define the character area components of these neighbourhoods, and develop policy and implementation tools to manage neighbourhood change.

The recommendations aim to strike a balance between managing the development changes that may occur while still allowing property owners some flexibility in exercising their rights to build, demolish and / or rebuild on their properties.

Recommendations  include:

  1. roseland characterDevelop Official Plan policies to protect and manage development in Character Area (all character areas)
  2. Amendment the Zoning By-law for the Character Areas to
    • Add a Floor Area Ratio requirement of 0.4:1 to help regulate the size and mass of dwellings greater than one storey. The ratio measures the total building floor area across all floors as a ratio of the lot area.
    • Increase side yard setbacks to 12% of the lot width for one and a half storey residential dwellings; and to 15% for two storey dwellings, to a maximum of 3 m
    • Prohibit two-storey architectural features such as columns, porticos and windows, and limit the width and the projection of garages in order to emphasize the presence of the residential dwelling and minimize the presence of the garage.
    • Prohibit rear yard second-storey balconies
    • Reduce the maximum lot coverage, building height (Indian Point only)
    • Reduce front yard setbacks to 4m (west side of Indian Point only);
  3. Require a Design Brief submission with development applications (all character areas)
  4. Co-ordinate opportunities to plant trees on public rights-of-way (all character areas)

If council approves these recommendations, staff would seek public feedback on the proposed polices and zoning regulations and develop draft changes to Official Plan policies, Zoning By-law regulations and urban design tools on a City-wide basis, or for the Indian Point and / or Roseland Character Areas, as appropriate, for council approval in Q2 (April – June) 2016.

burloakProposed Zoning By-Law amendment for 1120 Burloak Drive. 

The Burlington Convention Centre (Southwest corner of Burloak Drive and North Service Road)  is seeking a Zoning Bylaw Amendment to permit 6-storey hotel in addition to existing 1-storey convention centre and surface parking lot.  The hotel will have 135 suites, 2 meeting rooms, and a boardroom.

The owner intends to sever the property in future, creating a new property line between the convention centre and hotel, although the site would continue to function with one shared parking area. The applicant requests that the minimum required yards between the two buildings be reduced to 0 m, and that the required parking standard be reduced from 222 spaces to 110 spaces for the convention centre parcel. The hotel parcel will meet the requirement of 135 parking spaces (one space per hotel suite).

The parking study prepared by the applicant  estimates a total combined parking demand for the hotel and convention centre of 302 spaces, less than the 357 spaces required by existing zoning but more than the 246 spaces proposed. The report argues that the shortfall can be accommodated on the parking lot of the adjacent property to the west at 5500 North Service Road based on a verbal agreement between the property owners, though the report identifies that the enforceability and continuity of such an agreement are concerns.

The owner of the surface parking lot at 5500 North Service Road, connected to the Convention Centre by a pedestrian bridge, has provided draft conditions for an agreement for the Convention Centre to rent 70 parking spaces for a five-year term, with the option to renew for one additional five-year term.



  1. Report recommending approval for the assumption of Mattamy (Richardson) Limited Phase 2 Subdivision, Registered Plan 20M-977. (CW-05-16)
    Pages 1 to 10
  2. Report recommending approval for the assumption of Burl9 Developments Limited Phase 2 Subdivision, Registered Plan 20M-1081. (CW-06-16)
    Pages 11 to 18
  3. Report recommending approval for tender award by delegated authority for New Street and Drury Lane Area – Various Streets Rehabilitation Contract CW-16-04. (CW-08-16)
    Pages 19 to 24
  4. Report recommending endorsement of Niagara Escarpment Plan Amendment PH211 15 required to facilitate the development of a natural gas pipeline. (PB-33-16)
    Pages 25 to 32


  1. Report recommending approval to proceed to phase two of the Community Energy Feasibility Study. (CW-01-16)
    Pages 33 to 40
  2. Report recommending approval of changes to the site plan control process. (PB-03-16)
    Pages 41 to 50
  3. Report recommending endorsement of staff recommendations regarding Shoreacres Character Study. (PB-15-16)
    Note: This item will be discussed at 6:30 p.m.
    Pages 51 to 62
  4. Report recommending endorsement of staff recommendations regarding Indian Point and Roseland Character Studies. (PB-14-16)
    Note: This item will be discussed at 6:30 p.m.

Pages 63 to 132


  1. Statutory public meeting and report providing information regarding a proposed Zoning By-Law amendment for 1120 Burloak Drive. (PB-17-16)
    Note: This item will be discussed at 1:00 p.m.
    Pages 133 to 148


Written by Marianne Meed Ward

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.

What's your take?

C&CS Feb16: Council remuneration; grass sport fields rates & fees; public art projects; 374 Martha St; OPA/Rezoning for 4853 Thomas Alton Blvd

Nominations for Burlington’s Best awards extended to Feb. 29