, ,

This just in: 27 storey proposal on Brant St; would overwhelm City Hall square

Public meeting March 28

The city has just received an application from Carriage Gate Homes to amend the Official Plan and Zoning By-law to permit a 27 storey mixed-use building at Brant and James streets across from City Hall.

The development encompasses five individual parcels at 421, 425, 427, 429 and 431 Brant Street, as well as 2007 to 2015 James Street, running the width of the block from Brant to James.

The application is for a mixed use building with retail on the ground floor, office on the second floor and residential above. Features include:

  • 183 residential units
  • 1,327 square metres of office space
  • 966 square metres of commercial retail space
  • 4 levels of underground parking
  • vehicular access from John St
  • condo lobby off James St
  • commercial / retail units fronting onto Brant St and James St.

The proposed height is 27 storeys (that includes a 1-storey rooftop amenity area), with a three floor podium. The sidewalks will be widened all around the building, with a public art opportunity at the corner.

More information about this project is available on the city’s webpage dedicated to this project: 421-431 Brant/James

You can track progress of this development on this page, including announcements of community meetings and staff reports. You will also find supporting documents provided by the applicant, included here also, after My Take.

A neighbourhood meeting has been scheduled on March 28, 7pm, at the Art Gallery of Burlington.

My Take:

First the good news: Retail at grade is good, as is office space (much needed downtown) and underground parking. Some condos above make good use of space and bring more residents downtown. Wider sidewalks to allow patios, street furniture, art and trees – all good.


The proposal is too tall and will overwhelm City Hall and the area. It represents overintensification.

Some background on this site: before my time, the city “downzoned” Brant St from 8 storeys to 4 storeys, with allowance to go back to 8 storeys with provision of negotiated “community benefits.” Carriage Gate appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board and got 12 storeys here. I think 4-8 is the right number for this section of Brant. This application is more than double that.

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

If approved it will set a precedent for future proposals in the downtown. Is it any coincidence it’s the same height as the Martha/Lakeshore development the city is fighting at the Ontario Municipal Board? I don’t want downtown to be a forest of highrises; I don’t think you do either. But each new development seems to push the envelope.

This application is also the inevitable fruit of the city’s tall building guidelines, endorsed in draft by city council last fall (I did not support). My concern then and now is that it encourages applications to come forward that conform to the tall building guidelines but not the Official Plan and Zoning, in the wrong place on the wrong lot.

We already saw that happen with the Alton development – which council opposed 6-1 and we must now fight at the OMB. Now this.

The guidelines say they are not intended to encourage tall buildings where not permitted by the OP and Zoning – but that is exactly what has happened, twice, in less than six months. The guidelines now make it harder to defend our OP and Zoning if a proposal conforms to the guidelines. (As an aside: I encourage everyone who is available to attend the Tall building workshop: Sat. Jan. 28, 11-3, Art Gallery of Burlington. This is a critical discussion for our entire community. Overintensification isn’t limited to the downtown anymore.)

If this proposal is approved it will launch a fundamental change in our downtown, not for the better, negatively impacting quality of life, congestion, heritage and small town feel.  It would also overwhelm a public space, city hall.

Suburban Nation, a book about how to build great communities and downtowns (hint: traditional town planning is the way to go), states that planners used to reserve prominent places for civic buildings – “those structures that represent the collective identity and aspirations of the community.” Think of schools, libraries and historical municipal and legislative buildings on hills, at street ends, often surrounded by parkland to set them apart. Buildings around them descend in size so our community buildings stand out as special – because our communities themselves are special. One way to say our communities are special is how we plan our neighbourhoods, public spaces and civic buildings, including what goes where and how big it is.

Our public square and City Hall, at 8 storeys, will be dwarfed by this condo.

By contrast, consider the Saxony development on the other side of City Hall, on Locust street. At four storeys it conforms to the existing Official Plan and Zoning, blends well with the adjacent two storey townhomes and 3 storey seniors apartment – and the developer’s even preserved and relocated an onsite historical building!

Respectful, appropriate development can be done downtown.

View of Paradigm from Fairview.

There is a place for taller buildings in Burlington, and that’s along our GO stations. The city is investing millions to develop “mobility hub” plans for each of our three GO stations, that will include jobs, housing and retail. Consider, for example the Paradigm 5-tower development at the Burlington GO station, with heights ranging from 18-24 storeys. It’s on a wider street than Brant (4 lanes, plus turn lanes), next to a multitude of transportation options.

Downtown is also a “mobility hub” and it is already the most dense area in the city, in terms of people and jobs per hectare. We don’t need to overintensify any single lot to make it function well, or meet our intensification goals under provincial legislation. We can achieve appropriate redevelopment by sticking to our existing OP and Zoning.

Supporting Documents (provided by applicant):

  • Cover Letter (PDF)
  • Architectural Plans (PDF)
  • Landscape Plan (PDF)
  • Brant Street Rendering (PDF)
  • James Street Rendering (PDF)
  • Planning Justification Report (PDF)
    • Schedule 1 – Location Map (PDF)
    • Schedule 2 – Concept Plan, Survey Plan (PDF)
    • Schedule 3 – Excerpts from Provincial Policy Statement (PDF)
    • Schedule 4 – Excerpts from Provincial Growth Plan (PDF)
    • Schedule 5 – Excerpts from Halton Region Official Plan (PDF)
    • Schedule 6 – Excerpts from City of Burlington Official Plan (PDF)
    • Schedule 7 – City of Burlington Tall Building Guidelines (PDF)
    • Schedule 8 – Excerpts from City of Burlington Zoning By-law No.2020 (PDF)
    • Schedule 10 – Draft Zoning By-law (PDF)
  • Urban Design Brief (PDF)
  • Noise Study (PDF)
  • Shadow Impact Study (PDF)
  • Pedestrian Wind Assessment (PDF)
  • Transportation Impact Study, Parking Study and TDM Options (PDF)
  • Functional Servicing Report (PDF)
  • Environmental Site Screening Questionnaire (PDF)
  • Geotechnical Engineering Report (PDF)
  • Hydrogeological Investigation Report (PDF)
  • Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment (PDF)
  • Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessment (PDF)

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.


Leave a Reply
  1. Developers come in and dictate to us, the residents! Scary!
    Brant street is already congested.
    That’s the beginning of more towers (and look at Mississauga!). Is that what we’re aiming for here too?
    Please STOP all this insanity.

  2. regarding 27 story building across from city hall. this probably the best step forward in the re-development of brant street in years. brant street and james street are sad. if one was to look down the brant street corridor, one would see a mishmash of uninviting store front with poor signage and shabby store fronts.city hall is redundant-no parking for anyone including employees. city hall should be moved to the top of brant street or into an industrial plaza with good access and parking.the city hall space could be better utilized for retail entertainment etc.your vision of the downtown core is looking thru rose coloured glasses. it is a revolving door for the stores-come and go.brant street needs a complete overhaul with a new vision.one would only have to look at Oakville to see the difference in the two cores.there is one thing to vote against a certain project . doing something about it weather its organize a committee or start a petion.simply voting not to support a development is not doing your job, other than trying to look like a champion of the people –we deserve better

  3. This proposal is over-intensification, and is out of character with the downtown core.

    Brant Street requires revitalization, but this development not only lacks visual appeal but adds little to the surrounding area. It destroys the character of the surrounding neighbourhood, and likely the costs of retail space will be excessively prohibitive for small business people.

    It has been suggested several times (and also a couple of times on this blog) that we need a mandatory height restriction in this City. Six storeys and that’s it. If developers like Adi don’t like it tell them to take a hike.

    As for the Mayor’s grandiose intensification plans it is glaringly obvious that he is sadly out of step and out of touch with the needs and realities of citizens in this City. This is not Toronto, and if Goldring and his City Manager James Ridge can’t get their heads around this then both of them should pack it in!

  4. Bullied by developers with lots of cash
    Us curled up and sad looking
    A repeated story
    For every new development underway use a good slice of the new fees/taxes to tame greed of those ripping apart good planning
    Use that money to to support the restructuring of the OMB with other communities
    Vote in those who are solidly behind changing -developers go to friends- the OMB
    As for the development plan before us hovering over the CIty Hall -too boring, and yes 15-20 stories too tall

  5. I am I guess an exception to most comments so far. I endorse the proposal. Basically for the pros that our Councillor has made but also for the following reasons – some have tried to compare Brant St to Oakville’s business thoroughfare, its not the same, basically because of the direction it runs & length. Some have complained about the demise of the business located there, most shops on Brant St cater to a select cliental and open & close on virtually a year to year basis at times because they can’t survive. This complex would certainly enhance the appearance on John St which is ugly because all one sees is cars parked behind one story businesses & sometimes trash & other unsightly objects left there. Now I guess everybody is going to jump down my throat for having the opposite viewpoint of the majority but it would be a very boring place to live if all the sheep lined up in a straight line & said yes master to everything. Time & again our so-called “Official Plan” has been revamped, challenged, overturned & changed over the past 64 years I have lived in this City and this is just another wrinkle being thrown at the present one and it won’t be the last & some will like it, like me and others, maybe the majority, will not. One last thing, as mentioned the City will be looking to renegotiate & perhaps consolidate office space; well, here’s a place that would be right across the street with underground parking too!

  6. I agree entirely with Ms. Meed’s comments, I have reviewed the renderings and the building is not sympathetic to its site and would change dramatically the beloved character that is so coveted by other cities. I can’t even imagine the shadow this building would cast over the surrounding area. The City of Burlington is blessed with by its geographical location, fantastic waterfront and beautiful and kind residents. Thoughtful design and growth is vital to any city lets not squander our assets to the highest bidder!

  7. On another point I don’t understand the argument that it would “overwhelm” city hall square. Maybe residents from the new tower would help to make some use of it…

  8. I agree with you… this proposal would be far too high and would totally overwhelm the city hall and Brant St corridor!!

  9. The sad state of affairs is the small business owner that has bravely ‘risked it all’ and are held hostage to the developers that get the okay to demolish their business and we are forced to relocate. There is nowhere safe in the downtown core to open a business as there are NO 10+ leases available. Hence, we attract short-term tenants with no strong, quality, viable business plans.

    Small business is the heart beat…..not the residents. We are looking elsewhere to grow and gain some stability.

  10. I love you Marianne ‘cuz as usual I agree 100% with all your comments about the tall building proposal across from City Hall. Saves me a lot of writing, eh!
    Same goes to Central School (s)….

  11. While I appreciate the need for redevelopment the size and scope of these high rise developments is overwhelming. They not only dwarf buildings in the immediate vicinity but they are architecturally banal.

    I can’t understand why Burlington doesn’t support the same kind of developments that we see in Oakville: reasonably sized buildings that are unique in design and conform to the immediate neighbourhoods. When you walk down the streets there is a grace and character to the environment that is sadly lacking in Burlington.

    More disturbing perhaps is why all of these developments are suddenly spring up at the same time. The Mayor’s child-like fixation on intensification coupled with what appear to be a lack of restrictions on monster developments leaves residents bewildered and at the mercy of developers.

    • Please excuse the repeat of this comment. I sent it to the tall buildings page of this newsletter, but later I saw that almost all the comments there were 2 or more weeks old. Since that page is “old news” I will impose myself on readers here and now, and the graces of the Councilor, with this repetition. There are a number of points raised by other comments here that my comment complements or adds to.

      I don’t want to see a race for the sky by developers anywhere in Burlington. But, what bothers me the very most is – “who gets to decide height and density?”

      Right now we have an existing OP that is being basically ignored, the Planning Director seems feckless to discourage such applications at the pre-proposal stage, and so we have a string of OMB hearings in waiting because the developers proposals are testing the waters.

      I want to see the new OP brought forth with urgency so that the people of this city can weigh in, and be heard, to indicate what they want and what they will buy into.

      They want and are legally entitled to have a say in my, “who gets to decide” question.

      The tall building guidelines don’t mandate height, but are about spatial design criteria for heights above 15 stories, as I recall. They mean that you can’t stick any arbitrarily tall building just anywhere. It has to fit, and that means height too.

      Given what has already been approved, and as a compromise, I can see 15 stories as something negotiable, with the Berkeley 17 stories as something already approved, acceptable to me in suitable blocks behind, but not right on Brant St.

      Brant St. defines the Main street of downtown and needs exceptional protection so we can recognize it. That doesn’t mean nothing changes, but we have to be able to recognize our heritage in the low-rise street form.

      I bumped into Oakville Mayor Burton a couple of months ago and asked him about the zoning on his downtown Lakeshore Rd. area. He told me that on that “Main” street, the height limit is 4 stories, but on either side of it, north and south, there is no limit.

      He also told me that the North Oakville greenfield lands are pretty much all in the pipeline for development, but build-out is some time off. Remember, nothing of this happens quickly.

      So it appears that he and Oakville Council want to protect the character of their “Main” street, and are directing height elsewhere, as I noted.

      We all know that there is a tremendous financial incentive for developers to officially propose a push for more and more height because there are literally a billion dollars in the pot of 2000, $500,000 condos all around town, if you can get it. And that’s just for starters, and you can do other math.

      So what we are seeing is what these dollars naturally lead to. The on staff or hired planners and lawyers already have more or less canned planning justifications and opinion, that can be tweaked and just moved around from place to place. Other hires fill in other needed reports that are always supportive.

      Of course, it’s always justified by them, and called “good planning”. But it’s a nothing more than a narrative, leading to a foregone conclusion, and seeking a favorable decision. Lately, the opinions involve what “intensification” and “Places to Grow” mean.

      Listen when I say that “good planning” is what the “planners” say it is. And no more than that. The developers buy these opinions in several forms. The stakes of the planning game make the relatively small cost of the proposal preparation worth the risk.

      No matter what the city says, the OMB still acts as a placeholder for yet another narrative argument, seeking another “opinion”, by a likely single person Board Chair, but this one happens to be irrevocable.

      Any extra cost for the OMB hearing is a cheap price for another final opinion compared to giving up if the city says no.

      This happened recently in east Burlington, on a significant lakefront abutting property. The staff said no, city Council agreed, but the developer went off to the OMB on some drowning man straw argument about a past city decision about Lakefront lands.

      Again, the stakes have been upped so high, by all these proposals for tall buildings, and higher density, that have an OMB backup for a second chance, that it has become seemingly irresistible.

      This backdrop of the development reality that is unfolding is not going to change soon or until the province revises the OMB so this can’t happen. As we know, some changes are underway, but I don’t know if these proposals on the table now will be grandfathered under the old rules.

      But aside from the OMB wild card, a development process that respects the wishes and consultation of the residents, as reflected in the present OP and zoning, is, as I said, not my primary concern. There are practical realities that are part of the normal planning operation.

      My primary concern, again, is who gets to decide; who’s in charge?

      Right now, to repeat, the present OP and zoning, reflecting residents opinions and buy-in, is being basically ignored by these proposals.

      Instead, we see the OP being assaulted so that the developers, and unfortunately too many planners, can make it what they want it to be.

      Certainly, in this environment I described, the residents are not in charge.

      And worse, residents have not even been given the say and consultation process that they are legally entitled to in the formation of a new OP.

      If we are going to have tall buildings, and much more density, then let the people have a say. That’s what I see as missing, and want.

      To me, the planners seem to be sliding into that urban form with no public consultation on the locations, and the specifics of proposed heights and densities, that they have in mind.

      This must stop. Something has got to be done about this before what decides is anarchy.

  12. Marianne, this gets so predictable and tiresome. It’s a game that has been played for all the
    62 years we’ve lived in Burlington. Developers use to the full the silent threat: “You disallow this and we’ll take it to the OMB.” Councils think about the time, money, and distraction involved in OMB hearings and cave in.

    That brings up the citizen’s question: Why bother with an OP? -especially if that citizen has in the past volunteered for committees to develop organized public opinions.

    Stick with it.



  13. Wow this looks like a great addition to our downtown. A project to add people and help revitalize the downtown area. Adding people increases the tax base for one thing, it as well brings services and attractions. I’m for it…

  14. I agree with all the above. Such a pity to ruin a lovely town like Burlington with ugly sky scrapers , not only that, there will not be space for extra traffic.

  15. Marianne, I guess you don’t like it when it takes place in your backyard. As far as I am concerned City Hall is a waste of space and no benefit to our downtown, it takes up valuable land. It should be relocated north on Brant. Lots of land there.

  16. Gov’ts don’t realize it, but they need to downsize, not upsize, not be tax and spend greedy entities,…with technology, we can create a self serve world where all are free of the burdens of work, money can become obsolete, taxes are not needed once we create our needs locally! I can show them how it can be done, such places already exist! Folk are stuck in a tax and spend matrix and its not just wasteful, its kiling our planet, taxes are not natural and can be phased out in 20 or so years.

  17. Sad, but this is part of the growth that all governments seem to be pushing. Without huge growth planned in they can’t balance their insane books.

  18. The tall building guidelines have no effect or control over what a developer proposes, their purpose is to have input on building design and how they relate to the street.

    These guidelines apply to buildings over 11 storeys and as mentioned in the post, this site was approved for 12 storeys several years ago. Having these guidelines apply to this proposal may have help shape several of the good features, retail at grade, office space and wider sidewalks to allow patios, street furniture, art and trees.

    We will have to wait and see what the city staff recommends on this proposal however, guidelines having input on design and street scape will result in an improved more livable space, how could that be bad, regardless of height.

    Developer’s have in the past and will in the future continue to push the envelope in terms of height, keep in mind when city hall was built in the 60’s it was the tallest building downtown, a lot has changed since then.

  19. Instead of raising taxes in Burlington, lay off staff, I worked for the City in my teenage years in the Parks summer program, lets face it folks, I was paid to sit around all summer, we had little to do, the city already has a full compliment of staff for this work. I lived in Ottawa for 35 years, I saw billions wasted yearly on perks, most folk reinventing the wheel, volumous studies, huge bureaucracies that do nothing. Do we not know how to live cheaply, efficiently, naturally, or have we forgotten???, lets get back to local everything, it will take 20 to 40 years, but its the only way that works folks. 90% of what we consume comes from other nations, the toll of shipping on this earth is enormous, our oceans covered in oil residue, being acidified by bunker fuel exhaust, garbage left in our sacred waters, all oceans are dieing, as are our great lakes,… and then all this stuff needs to be trucked at least 2 times to get to its final destination, local everything solves this problem. We must move in this direction or we’re gonners, its really that simple!

  20. Please don’t let this happen. Our charming town is turning into skyscraper ugliness. We’re losing our history, quaintness, architecture etc…the traffic is already a nightmare, we don’t have the infrastructure to support this…and we’re pushing residents out bc of lack of affordable housing (buy & rent). I chose to raise my family here bc I thought it was a community-based small feel town with beautiful green streets and cute shops/downtown. Starting to feel like Toronto. Seems like all city wants is condos & money. How about saving Central HS and saying no to more intensification

  21. And the Mayor says he really cares about the community, but the reality is we have this out of control assault on any community that we would ever recognize.

    It’s just a developer conspiracy to bust the city OP and replace it with what they want. Maybe they figure they can siege city hall with numerous proposals, purchased from planners who will say anything they want is “good planning”, that will have to be processed in 180 days and beyond the planners capacity to do.

    So we’ll have more OMB hangovers, capacity deficiency, cost, and weakening of resolve.

    This happening leads right to the office of the Director of Planning, who, in her spoken words and actions, is giving off a mood of rationalizing and laying the groundwork for the developers proposals.

    The planners, led by her, have certainly given the impression that they are on to these tall buildings, and to hell with the residents.

    Publicly, she is completely out of touch, really disconnected, from what the citizens who own and finance the city have clearly expressed about the developments they can buy into.

    At this stage, it’s really hard to be sympathetic with her, and some are calling for her head.

    Who is she working for? – as it’s apparently not the residents. The planners have preliminary meetings with the developers before an official proposal is submitted, so what did they say to the developers that we get such a proposal anyways?

    And the Mayor, Council and the city manager don’t appear to being doing anything about it. Are they the real problem?

    Whose city are they designing?

    She needs to get an official plan approved by citizens into play, or she should be replaced in short order before she facilitates irreversible damage to the future of the city, and our ability to control our destiny.

    The tall building guidelines are a Trojan horse that she sold to Council.

    It does not mandate anything about height, except that a “tall building”, if a city decided to build one, might pertain to 15 stories. This is not a recommendation by any means, but an example height for when the guidelines would kick in.

    The guidelines are really about spacing metrics, like separation on the ground, and between towers, sidewalks, roads, adjacent buildings, the towers, and overall design factors.

    They don’t say the sky’s the limit, so go for it. And what’s being proposed all around is just that, and doesn’t fit where they are proposed to be. And completely out of Burlington’s community character.

    And one story of office is minimal and token and will not really fix any shortage that Burlington has.

    Ground floor retail is what we already have and is required in the OP and zoning in downtown. Again, nothing of added benefit to the city.

    So what does that leave but the 183 condos wanted, which is the real deal – $ 100 million plus and I don’t really know what these will go for, but will likely be a higher gross. Except they won’t be any affordable housing.

    This power-mad greed is very distressing. I could likely live with 15 stories suitably located, but not right on Brant St.

    Brant street character is the 4 to 8 already mandated.

    Where is our planning department transparency with what they are thinking about a new OP, and what is the delay?

    It looks like it is headed to the OMB, where they can then say they didn’t do it. The OP will be made there by default.

  22. Isn’t this also the same developer that was building the office/residential/parking 17 story building on John?
    Why aren’t they doing anything with that site and are now bringing this forward?

    Nevertheless, this is a very well-designed building plan, that adds to the streetscape with retail and office space and would not be obtrusive despite its height. Much more attractive than the Paradigm which looks like something out of a dystopian fiction novel in the picture accompanying the article.

    It is, however in the wrong place – almost directly across the street from our City Hall, dwarfing it. On the other hand, if we look at Toronto’s City Hall, a marvel of design for its time, now dwarfed by the numerous buildings on all sides that have grown around it. That has not at all diminished that square’s function as a city gathering place.

    We have to get over the fears about the number of stories. Despite all the hue and cry about intensification, it hasn’t even happened yet in any real way. Assessment growth in Burlington was less than 1% in 2016, which means as a result we all get to pay more taxes so we can afford to keep up the infrastructure we have now. That is a situation that cannot continue. Either the pace of intensification must quicken, or we must expect further hikes in taxes over and above the rate of inflation. All the roads, and all the stuff under them, cost a lot of money and have to be regularly overhauled. This article http://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2017/1/9/the-real-reason-your-city-has-no-money (tweeted yesterday by our Mayor) presents a very eye-opening look at how cities that have developed in the post-war period have gotten themselves into fiscal trouble, a story that is not too different from ours.

    Tall buildings have been a part of Burlington’s downtown for nearly 50 years, and most of them are hideously ugly, in a way that has nothing to do with their height. This building integrates with the community instead of walling itself off from it like most of Burlington’s towers do. I would much rather live, work or shop next to a building like this than, say Burlington Towers or Wellington Place, both of which are several stories shorter. I am of the opinion that we would rather have well-designed intensification than badly designed intensification, which is why the Design Guidelines proposed by our Planning staff are so important.

    With the price of land and the cost of digging down to provide parking, I don’t think 4-8 stories can provide enough economic return for a developer unless they market to the very high-end. Prices in the Saxony building are $659,900 to $1,699,900, way out of reach for the young families we need to attract, and not the market interested in buying property on a busy Brant Street. As with everything, proposals like this come down to land economics. Good thing Council have planned to bring in that expertise in the recent budget.

    I’m on the fence on this one. Just lopping off a few stories won’t make any difference. Perhaps if we could move City Hall…

    • Chris,
      I don’t want to argue with your extended point of view, but I do see a couple of things that warrant comment.

      First, the price of land is determined, like all investments, by the rate of return that can be realized. If only X number of stories and space is allowed, then the price of land will have to adjust to that reality through the market. The city, through its consistent and directed planning, can control that value.

      Expecting or talking about some abstract “price of land” valid everywhere, despite the constraints of the site, is called speculation.

      Second, talk about moving City Hall, which is perfectly located in the downtown, is clear evidence that the proposed building is in the wrong place, not City Hall. The proposal needs to be a block or two away, and about the height, at most, of the Berkeley proposal at 17 stories – and maybe 15.

      You suggest that destroying the centrality, community, and heritage of our ideal downtown place, in exchange for towering condos everywhere, is a good idea.

      Did you think about the controversy, anger, disruption, and not to mention cost? It’s bad enough now, don’t complicate it please.

      • Tom, I’m not suggesting whether moving city hall is a good idea or not. It’s an idea. I do know that City Hall doesn’t meet the city’s present needs, however I would hope to see a sound business case for building a new City Hall before we make such a decision.

        Although on the surface it might be nice to have City Hall in a more central location for citizens who live across the wider city far to the north, east and west, we have to recognize the importance our municipal government’s presence downtown has on the business and local community. In my opinion if City Hall were moved from downtown, we don’t have a viable downtown.

        As for the question of land economics – we may have limited ability to impact land prices based on our OP, but we are also subject to wider economic forces beyond our control. The insistence on the current OP’s 4-8 stories might just ensure we actually see nothing built but parking lots and expensive residences for Toronto cash-outs.

        Agree with you that we need to quickly get down to the business of setting out specifically where growth will be acceptable and where it won’t. Developers are ignoring the current OP because it doesn’t make economic sense for them. Our OP needs to reflect that reality, while at the same time protecting residents from overdevelopment. And unless we want to see continued tax hikes of 4-5% to pay for all the roads and all the stuff underneath them, we need development. Even with all of the plans in place (e.g. Places to Grow), Burlington is slated to be the slowest growing city in the GTA. Not enough people grasp the magnitude of the challenge now that we have hit the wall on the suburban growth ponzi scheme and how the legacy of all the infrastructure that we built is only starting to be felt.

        • Chris,
          If the present City Hall doesn’t meet city needs, why not partner with a new building or buildings, downtown with office space the city could rent or buy as condo?

          Something like that makes some sense. Building a new city hall somewhere else to me is just brain dead.

          Why would it be nice? I think most people never go to city hall. I only go for meetings and I think I am far more active than most residents.

          Developers and their planners and consultants are not people I would spend $50 million to convenience.

          Developers are ignoring the present OP because the possible benefits far outweigh the costs. The planning justifications and engineering studies do not scale up with height and density in their cost, but the possible returns do scale up.

          In any case, they will get something equal to or more than what’s allowed in the zoning. So as long as they aren’t stupid, and pay too much for the land, it’s hard for them to lose.

          I think they are just greedy.

          Finally, I’m glad we are converging on the need to get the OP done and identify where growth goes and does not go, and how much. Then residents can have their say and the planners will be held to account.

          Regarding the infrastructure situation, this burden has been highlighted as an issue for 20 to 30 years. I was one of those people coming to city and regional Council warning of this future, but the development won the day, like always.

          The idea that tax increases in real terms will end, is in the same category of wishful thinking, and how residents are continually misled.

          The 20 year financial plan and budget indicates real value tax increases continue for the duration.

          These plans include all the strategies and grow bold assertions we keep hearing about, but they continue to produce only deficits.

          I see nothing indicating an end to the Ponzi game.

          • Tom…isn’t it reasonable to expect that it will take time for us to turn around 60+ years of unsustainable sprawl growth. Growing “Bold” is not going to get us there overnight – especially given how little we’re actually going to grow. It only makes it that much harder to turn around if residents resist and push for status quo at every turn.

            The Region is still building on the ponzi model, and it will have its time of huge outsized tax increases around the time Milton is built out. They know this…screaming to the province for more funding and ability to raise dev charges, Which we all know is never coming given the challenges Ontario has fiscally.

            One aspect that would help to make growth more palatable is to allow more incremental growth – which means doing away with all of the required studies and engineering / planning rigamarole, parking standards and other zoning BS. Do this while also providing incentives for existing downtown landowners who wish to improve their properties and stay within modest height requirements (e.g. 4 stories facing Brant Street). This would help to address the economies of scale that prevent smaller-scale developments from being successful here. A very different model from the one the industry is using but one that worked well in times before the financialization and suburbanization of our economy.

  23. Please, no! Away with the Ontario Municipal Board. Why can’t we, the residents of Burlington, decide about planing and issuing of building permits?

  24. I dont believe this… please dont let our charming little downtown turn into a clutter of condos..

  25. Sure they ask for 26 then they will reduce it down to 20-24 storeys. Our elected reps willt then vote 6 to 1 to accept and the developers win but we the residents lose. Plains road, New St, Lakeshore and Fairveiw st are congested now why not start on Brant st.

  26. No—no more Burlington—make this our little part of Burlington—think of all those baby boomers—no more traffic—no more bloody expensive condos had it with them….

  27. Look—some of us are retiring on fixed incomes—will that mean that Burlington refuses our rights to stay in our city—where we have grown up and still love it—|I hope not give us a break too

  28. I’m comfortable with 12-14 floors max in the core.
    Bunton’s Wharf and The Baxter are attractive looking and goid exampkes of what would reasonable maintain the feel of the core while also providing intensification to a degree.

    I’d also support a Foreign Buyers Tax and possibly a non-occupancy tax.
    I fear that Toronto’s and Vancouver’s extraordinary condo prices will send buyers looking to Burlington.
    It seems there are existing units in the core that spend their evenings unlit.

  29. That is a perfect spot for tiny homes—in all aspects—come on Burlington—step it up—get on board—we are behind

  30. Doesn’t Ancaster have a bylaw, no more than 2 storey buildings allowed in their community, I like that one, look at how gourgeous that city is, a little Hamlet, full of trees, life, they even have a free artesian spring there, I love Ancaster.

  31. The Foundation for a Natural Loving World Order:

    1) Do not kill mother nature’s regenerative processes and fellow species here, if mother created others, she did this for a reason. Love for all that mother/father has created is the first step.

    2) Humans must find where they belong in nature. As we seek we realize that we are a pack animal meant to live in small communities where all feel loved and valued by others in their community. The building block of the community is the family: mother, father, child, extended through generations. Those adults without children must also be valued and acknowledged.

    3) Just as diversity is seen throughout nature, humans need to live and create a variety of communities, based on what inspires them, based on their common interests. Some will share all, some will simply share the growing of organic food sources. You do not need to live on one piece of land to develop or engender a community of loving, caring souls.

    4) If one community has a right to exist, all do, and thus all communities must respect the right of others to exist. Love of difference is also a founding principle of a new natural loving world order.

    5) Group decisions can be made through various means. Consensus, voting on ideas with varying majorities to rule, seniority, a committee structure or ancient systems such as the clan mother systems. Each way can work, find the one that works for you. This is true politics, the struggle to find a decision making system that works for your group.

    6) Go forward and create off the grid, loving communities everywhere, for this is a powerful solution to all the problems here, for within these communities all needs will be met locally without toxin release. These communities will heal our planet. These communities must thrive again here.

    7) Humans are meant to be creative, responsible guardians of their mother, their creator. When we return to our natural ways, the healing will occur for all, not just a few. It will take time, we must be patient and persistent. We must encourage others to follow our lead back to the garden, but never be oppressive or dictatorial in our ways.

    8) There is no shortage of land, resources or solutions here. The true barrier is our own bad habits that we have developed living in an unnatural, self-destructive system. We have become domesticated and totally dependent on governments that are destroying our planet. Let us use the successes of others to guide us. Let us celebrate small victories along the way, a community garden, an organic food coop or an urban garden.

    9) Let us create a mechanism to make this change happen. I propose a website that will allow us to find others on a similar journey back to the garden, a place to create a vision, a place to find land and building materials, a place to raise funds and a place to reconnect with mother earth, father light and each other.

    10) This place will be happening on http://www.makingadifference.tv/thefoundation (contact me directly through FB while we put this site together), go there to create a better future, submit videos of your vision of a better world, be brave, be creative, tell others how to contact you, tell others what you have to offer a new or established community! Many already exist! I will help you find where you belong in the garden of love and abundance!

    Agape and Namaste,

    Brian Porter
    Creator of http://www.makingadifference.tv

  32. Carriage homes are the same builder as the condo/medical centre currently under construction on Maria and Caroline – Elizabeth and John Street block. This is going to be a 17 storey condo plus an 8 storey Medical Centre taking up an entire city block. The new said application for a condo is just south and parrallel to the one currently under construction. For downtowners and south Burlington residents, traffic and shopping will be exasperating. Hope this does not go through. Enough!

    • Big tax revenue for cities, why not tiny homes instead? There’s a movement we need in Burlington, off the grid tiny homes, teaching folk to live with less and enjoy the loss of attachment to our consumer/superficial lifestyles.

    • I have petitioned the city —months ago for a trial basis on small granny type with a little patch of land —Burlington needs to get on board —many of our cities are on board and have set up—last I saw working well—I need a low rent place to live

    • I don’t think city council cares if retirees/seniors have to move out. There’s already a concern about the higher than average numbers of seniors because they have less disposable incomes. By not building/offering affordable places to live, it guarantees they won’t stay here. Sorry to sound cynical but it’s true. That’s why people need to contact their councillors, the mayor and delegate to city council and have their voices heard.

    • The next election isn’t for a while and many decisions will be made before then so the best route is to call/write/email your councillor while they’re still here and delegate to city council.

    • Leslie Strom, I sent u a message via messenger, good idea, we could teach the gov’t how to create low cost senior communities that would save them billions as our populations age. Gov’ts specialize in wasting tax dollars, they are accountable to no one, they lose their jobs on occasion, but this does not compensate for the billions lost through mismanagement, Hydro Ontario is a good example. I figure their foray into Nuke Power has cost us 100 Billion thus far, when they should have bought hydro from Quebec for like 5 cents or less a kilowatt hour!!! Instead, they pay folk 80 cents a kilowatt hour to use green power systems that do not work well in northern climate zones.

  33. Given that developers consider all planning decisions precedent-setting (when it’s favorable to them), the upcoming OMB hearing & decision on the ADI Martha/ Lakeshore development proposal will be pivotal for the future of downtown Burlington. The City and its’ Official Plan must prevail on this file.
    If not, and I’m being serious, we as taxpayers don’t need the cost and deceptive illusion of future order generated by a Planning Department!

  34. I have an off the grid ecovillage, ready to go, who should I speak to at City Hall, this is the direction of our future. We can’t trust utilty companies to create safe/affordable energy, lets do it ourselves!

  35. Regardless of size,..ask them to put greenery all over the outside, so it looks like a Garden, then it will represent the way we should be living, connected to mother earth, we all come from the water, the earth, the sun and wind, if we don’t return soon, all humans will extinct themselves and that wil be that folks, plain and simple. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/419045940298021809/

  36. Great point Marianne Meed Ward – this is over-intensification, and we do not need a forest of high rises. I also agree – we need some inspiring structures that represent the collective identity and aspirations of the community.

  37. How did you not know Carriage Gate was planning to build there
    .I heard years ago.Agree that is way too big for that site though.

  38. I really hope our city council stands up to greedy developers to preserve the quality of life this city has become known for.

  39. The traffic downtown will become unbearable and just imagine it during one of the city’s many festivals.

What's your take?