City Hall has just received an application for a 24-storey building at the South East corner of Brant & James, encompassing the Elizabeth Interiors site up to Kelly’s Bake Shoppe and East to John St.
The proposal calls for incorporating the Bake Shoppe building, as well as the Albert L. Schmid Jeweller, Watch and Clockmaker building facing John Street into the design.
The purpose of the application is to amend the Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw to permit a 24 storey building, including 23 stories of residential and a one storey roof top amenity area.
The proposed building would include:
- 597 square metres of ground floor commercial and 227 residential units
- five (5) levels of underground parking
- car access from John Street
- commercial units with front windows facing onto Brant Street, James Street and John Street.
Existing & Proposed Official Plan permissions:
The site currently permits 4 storeys, up to 8 with community benefits. The city’s proposed new draft Official Plan proposes 17 storeys.
However until the Region of Halton approves the city’s new OP, the existing OP is in force and effect.
Regional review of the city’s OP is 12-18 months away, and expected to begin in 2019 as part of the Region’s own Official Plan review.
City council recently approved a 23-storey building across the street at the North-East corner of Brant/James. The new Official Plan called for 17 storeys here. The existing Official Plan has a 12 storey permission on North East corner lot (a result of an earlier Ontario Municipal Board appeal) with 4-8 storeys on the balance of the assembled properties.
A dedicated web page has been opened for the new 24-storey application, where supporting documents, notices of meetings and staff reports will be posted: 409 Brant St
A neighbourhood meeting will be scheduled. Stay tuned for details.
Planning staff intend to complete a report on this application in the fall of 2018.
Planner on the file:
426 Brant St, P.O. Box 5013, Burlington, ON L7R 3Z6 firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: 905-335-7600, ext. 7555
Reserve Properties Ltd.
110 Eglinton Ave. E, Suite 500
Toronto, ON M4P 2Y1
Wellings Planning Consultants Inc.
513 Locust St, Unit B
Burlington, ON L7S 1V3
905-681-1769, ext. 1
When council approved the 23-storey building at the North East corner of Brant & James (I did not support) residents warned it would set a precedent for future applications that wouldn’t conform either to the existing Official Plan or proposed new Official Plan.
Their concerns have been realized, and it took less than three months.
This proposal contemplates the second of two towers on a corner that will overwhelm City Hall, at one third the size, and dominate the Brant streetscape of predominantly 2 storey buildings.
The proposed downtown policies in the draft new Official Plan call for buildings up to 17 storeys in the “downtown core” precinct east of John and pockets of taller buildings elsewhere in the downtown along Brant, Lakeshore and Maple.
Many residents spoke eloquently at the Jan 23 committee meeting against these changes, concerned about overintensification, congestion, parking impact, sun shadow, loss of community character and small town feel – even affect on birds.
The impact of changes coming our way were downplayed as being well into the future – 20, 30, 50, even 100 years off.
Now it’s here; and there is more to come. We know there is active land assembly underway of significant blocks downtown. Downtown is about to change dramatically and in my view not for the better.
We’ve been told that by rushing through council approval of the OP in general and downtown precinct plan in particular, we’ll get more control of downtown development. This proposal isn’t in keeping with the proposed plan (17 storeys), much less the existing plan (4-8 storeys).
The existing Official Plan is in force and effect until the Region approves our proposed new plan some 12-18 months from now.
The proposed plan can “inform” development but is not “determinative.”
Further, changes to the Ontario Municipal Board into the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal give local council decisions more weight and restrict what can be appealed – only decisions that don’t conform to provincial policy.
A “conformity exercise” to ensure we comply won’t begin till after the Region approves our proposed new Official Plan; are we in conformity now, or are we “sitting ducks” for appeals? Too soon to tell if we are in conformity and nope, we’re not sitting ducks – I asked these questions at the Feb. 6 committee meeting and that was the answer.
So what’s the rush on the proposed Official Plan? Short answer: in my view, there isn’t any. Our proposed plan won’t take effect till after Regional approval in 2019 or later, and our decisions can’t easily be appealed under the new LPAT. We can make this right.
So, what can you do?
- Share your views on the proposed 24-storey application with the planner on the file, and attend the neighbourhood and city committee and council meetings where this will be discussed and debated. That process will unfold over the next several months.
- On the broader issue of the proposed Official Plan, council can still make changes to the draft Official Plan till April 4 & 23 when it is scheduled for council vote. Undoing some of the votes already made on the downtown policies would require a 5-2 reconsideration vote during this term of council, followed by majority vote on the item. Ask your councillor for changes.
- attend the Feb 27 meeting Statutory Public Meeting at City Hall on the proposed Official Plan (1 pm and 6:30pm sessions) and share your views with council members
- Make the proposed Official Plan an election issue. Ask all candidates, including incumbents, whether they will revise the proposed overintensification of the downtown and send a modified, more balanced plan to the Region before the Region approves the new draft plan in 2019 or later.
There is still time to make this right, promote balanced, reasonable growth that we can all embrace, and save the downtown from overintensification.
More to come.