New design guidelines coming for tall buildings

Proposed building at Martha/Lakeshore being revised; goes to OMB Feb 2017
Proposed building at Martha/Lakeshore; goes to OMB Feb 2017

The city’s Director of Planning Mary Lou Tanner has advised council that the department will be retaining a reputable planning and urban design firm to immediately prepare draft Tall Building Design Guidelines.

The city is getting more applications for tall buildings, including at Thomas Alton Boulevard (two 19-storey towers) and the foot of Martha/Lakeshore (26-storeys), as well as several recent inquiries from developers for tower redevelopment in downtown Burlington.

“The City is beginning to feel the development pressures of intensification,” said Tanner. “For that reason, I have become convinced of the need for made-in Burlington Design Guidelines. In particular, Tall Building Design Guidelines.”

The guidelines are intended to help achieve urban design excellence, build communities with quality of life and quality of place, and fulfill the part of the city’s strategy to Grow Bold by “building up, building smart and building beautiful.”

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.


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  1. A necessary move. With the available development land reaching its maximum point, if we want to grow, up is the only option. Having guidelines for developers in place will help keep it reasonable. If! It can actually be enforced and not have the OMB overrule at every last turn, and if infrastructure stays ahead of and not behind development.

  2. With more and more tall building being proposed, I think that having a review of tall buildings is very worth well so that planning for the future can be done.

  3. I hope the new guidelines do not permit buildings like “Marilyn in Mississauga Town Centre where the building seems to be designed to win an award for the architect rather than function or good looks. of course there can be controversy over anything.

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