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OMB hearing on height limits on Brant St and Old Lakeshore Road

Begins Nov. 28, 10am, Rm 247, City Hall

A local developer (Carnicelli) has taken the city to the Ontario Municipal Board to challenge height limits on Brant Street, and on the eastern edge of Old Lakeshore Road.

Corner of Brant and James, Burlington
La Costa and Big Tomato restaurants are at the location where height limits disputed by developer

Brant Street: Carnicelli is challenging the new Official Plan rules for a lot at the corner of Brant and James. To view an aerial photo of the area click here. The city’s old Official Plan allowed buildings up to 8 storeys on Brant Street. The most recent plan changed that height limit to 4 storeys, with allowance to go to 8 storeys with provision of community benefits under Section 37 of the Planning Act.

Community benefits are normally a cash contribution to community projects, mutually agreed to by the city and the developer.

The amount of community benefits is calculated by an independent land appraiser who determines the increase in land value from the extra height allowed; 50% of that cash value is then negotiated with the developer as contributions to such items as parks, public art, parking, or landscaping. I spearheaded a process, with the help of another councillor, to review Section 37 benefits, which is currently underway.

East Old Lakeshore Road Burlington
the eastern end of Old Lakeshore Road where 6-8 storey limits disputed by developer

Old Lakeshore Road: Carnicelli is challenging the new Official Plan rules for the east end of the Old Lakeshore Rd area. To view an aerial photo of the area click here.

The old Official Plan for the eastern-most portion of Old Lakeshore Road at the intersection of Lakeshore Road allowed roughly 6-7 storeys. The new plan allows buildings up to 6 storeys, with allowance to go to 8 storeys with provision of community benefits, preservation or relocation of heritage buildings, sun shadow and other studies, and realignment of Old Lakeshore Road to intersect with Lakeshore Road at Martha Street.

My Take: I’m supportive of the height limits on Brant and Old Lakeshore Road, and remain concerned about the use of Section 37 to trade up. We need to cast a vision for downtown Burlington and the waterfront, and stick to it.

Please let me know your thoughts by commenting below or emailing me at meedwardm@burlington.ca.

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. Right on….If I wanted to live in a concrete jungle, I would move to Mississauga, or Toronto, or Brampton.  I liked Burlington from the first time I saw it (about 40 years ago).  I finally managed to move here about 12 years ago, and just love it.  The pier project ought to serve as evidence that newer is not necessarily better.  There is plenty of room in north Burlington for the money grubbing developers to fill their coffers.  The downtown is already congested every day with traffic.  Why would anyone want to make it worse??? Save the flavour of downtown Burlington.  And by the way, what does “vibrant” really mean…loud drunks carousing until all hours of the morning???? Take a walk any warm evening…you will see hundreds of people out enjoying the downtown just the way it is. 

  2. We need density in our downtown if our core is to become vibrant. Unfortunately that means tall buildings. The question is not how tall the buildings should be but where in the downtown  should they be located. Build them in the core but don’t build them on the lake. I am saddened that so many of our downtown condos are too expensive for most Burlington residents (myself included) but I am also pragmatic enough to realize that that demographic is vital for a successful downtown.

    Marcia Martin

  3. Why does the OMB have so much power?It is very easy for people to make decisions that don’t affect their quality of life. When will this end. Once these buildings are allowed to go forward, there is no turning back. Enough is Enough

  4. Yes, stick with the plan. If it is properly discussed and drawn up as the right thing to do, it’s not a just tool for negotiation or leverage. 

  5. I believe Burlington is changing for the worse! From the destruction of the escarpment by the encroaching development to the over saturation of traffic. To have to higher concentration within such a small area that Burlington is and I might add; a beautiful area, will create bottlenecks that already occur when the major surrounding highways have a problem and re-routing is set up. The higher up you go means there will be a greater spread of traffic and population. I am seriously considering moving out of burlington because of the policies of the past 3 years. I wish you the power to do the right thing. I see that you are trying, but the meetings usually have you on opposite sides of the issues standing alone.

    Those who will willingly open there proverbial pockets to recieve, as reward for influence in the right places, will win the day: as will the developers who offer it!

What's your take?