A sensible development that meets a pressing need gets approval at a Standing Committee meeting.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

November 13th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Easterbrook on New Street

Easterbrooks will be missed – it represents an age that was. Was it a barn that fronted on a country road?

It used to be a site where people would walk to New Street at Guelph line to buy an ice cream cone or a hot dog. It was one of the two Easterbrooks establishments that had been there for years. The building looked like a barn and probably was a long time ago.

This evening the site got approval in principle for a development that will consist of two towers that will reach 11 storeys; one will be a retirement home with 197 retirement home units to include 33 memory care units, and 145 apartment units.

TRG clean renderiing

The design is unique – the need the development fills is real.

The two towers will be joined by a passageway at the sixth and seventh floors.

The existing commercial on the site will disappear.
The approval of the development was significant in that it is the first development that acknowledges the need for both residential and retirement care space for a seniors’ population that is growing at the rate of 2% a year and will not top out for thirty years.

Councillor Paul Sharman has been both a persistent and insistent advocate for more in the way of accommodation and care for the aging population.

The original application went through numerous changes.

There was going to be commercial at grade – that was changed into space that would be a recreation/community amenity for the residents and the wider community.

The location is close to perfect for seniors who want to remain active. The library is a short walk away, the Seniors’ Centre is just as close and there is the Centennial Walkway five minutes to the south and a very very short block away a plaza that has all kinds of retail. The Dutch Confectionary shop is going to love the new business from this development.

The Tim Hortons in the Roseland Plaza is reported to be looking for a new location.

The Standing Committee approved a modified application for official plan and zoning by-law amendments made by TRG (New-Guelph) Inc. to permit the development of two joined 11-storey buildings on the site consisting of a retirement home building and a residential apartment building.

All the boxes that have to be checked off were covered. Staff did ask for some changes which for the most part were approved.

The Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility, Heather MacDonald will hold discussions with the applicant to secure community benefits in accordance with Section 37 of the Planning Act.

The modified approval consisted of additional front and side of building step-backs as well as increased setback of the underground parking structure from the front lot line.

The application went to the Planning department on February 2, 2018. On February 22, 2018 Planning Staff acknowledged that the application submitted was complete.  That’s a very decent turn-around time.

On June 19, 2019 the applicant submitted a complete re submission for review; this had to do with the change of plans for a Road Diet that had been proposed for New Street.

Kearns

Lisa Kearns: The ward Councillor didn’t move the report – didn’t sound all the excited about a development that makes sense.

This development is exactly what Burlington needs.  It meets an immediate need for rental residential and it meets a need coming straight at us – places for seniors who need some care.

What was disconcerting was that the ward Councillor wasn’t up on her feet to move the report.  The Mayor took on that task.

The buildings are proposed to be joined on the 6th and 7th floor, with the 7th floor being exclusively used for the care of residents with dementia and are referred to as memory care units.

Both buildings are proposed to be terraced down to 6 storeys at the back. The development proposes a combination of underground and surface parking, with the majority of spaces being provided in an underground parking structure. Vehicles are proposed to enter the site from a single driveway off New Street between the two proposed buildings. There are no dwelling units proposed on the ground floor of either building.

The revised submission will have 197 retirement home units to include 33 memory care units, an increase in the number of apartment units to 145, and an increase in the on-site parking to 360 spaces.

The property is known to be affected by groundwater contamination from an off-site source. Prior to any development occurring on the site, the applicant will need to demonstrate that the contamination can be mitigated, to the satisfaction of the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MOECP); a Holding Zone will be applied to the property.

CITY OF BURLINGTON POLICY CONTEXT

Current City of Burlington Official Plan has for the most part been met.
i) Compatibility is achieved with the existing neighbourhood character in terms of scale, massing, height, siting, setbacks, coverage, parking and amenity area so that a transition between existing and proposed buildings is provided.

Massing
The massing of the proposed buildings is appropriate at the rear of the property in the 6-storey building form. The lowest and narrowest profiles of the proposed buildings are located closest to the lot line abutting the low- density residential uses to the north; the proposed buildings fit within the 45-degree angular plane to the property line abutting the low- density residential uses, subject to the minor modifications recommended by Planning Staff.

Height
The proposed building height represents a substantial increase to what is permitted as-of-right by the current Official Plan designation of Neighbourhood Commercial (which permits 3-storeys). However, the siting of the proposed building and general building massing has resulted in an 11- storey building that will fit within a 45-degree angular plane to the lot line abutting the low-density residential uses to the north, subject to the modifications to the 6th floor building setback and 7th floor rooftop terrace setback recommended by Planning Staff. At the front of the building, facing New Street, the lower building section closely aligns with the height of the adjacent 6-storey building to the west.

Siting
The proposed buildings have been sited so that a 45-degree angular plane can be achieved from the property line abutting the low-density residential properties to the north. The proposed buildings have been sited closer to the front of the property to generally align with the established building setbacks along the north side of New Street on this block. The longer building faces are located along the side property lines, resulting in narrower building components at the rear yard interface. The siting has resulted in a generous rear yard amenity area for the future residents of the buildings. With regard to building siting, Planning Staff consider the proposed buildings to be compatible with the existing neighbourhood character.

TRG retirement site plan

The development is well situated on thee site – lots of pathways and good open space at the rear of the property.

Setbacks
The proposed building setbacks of the lower building form (floors 1-5) are acceptable to Planning Staff. Likewise, the reduction of the building massing to 6-storeys and proposed rear yard setback assists in providing compatibility with the adjacent low-density residential properties to the north. The proposed setbacks of the upper portion of the building require adjustment to ensure compatibility with the streetscape of New Street and adjacent properties on either side of the development. As noted previously in this report, Planning Staff are recommending modified approval to require a 3m building stepback at the front of the building starting at the 6th floor, as opposed to the 1.5m stepback proposed by the applicant. The additional building stepback recommended by Planning Staff assists in reducing the upper building scale and massing along the New Street frontage. This building face stepback aligns with the recommendations of the City’s Mid-Rise Design Guidelines.

The building design proposed by the applicant provided one 7.5m building wall setback (6.0m to the balcony) for the 11-storey building. Planning Staff have recommended that a 2.5m building stepback be provided along the building sides starting at the 6th floor. The additional side of building stepback will assist in providing adequate separation of taller building elements, should adjacent properties develop with a taller mid-rise building form. Subject to the modifications recommended by Planning Staff, the building setbacks can be considered to be compatible with the surrounding neighbourhood character.

TRG North elevation

Elevation from the north – the floors above the sixth are set back considerably.

Coverage
The applicant has proposed buildings which take up approximately 35% of the site area at grade. The remainder of the site is developed with landscaped and hardscaped area and a limited area for parking (10 spaces), driving and drop-off. The proposed building setbacks and site design allow for a large landscaped open space area at the back of the property and amenity area at the sides of the buildings. The proposed rear yard amenity area abuts the rear yard amenity space of the two low-density dwellings to the north. The applicant has amended their below grade building area to ensure the long- term protection of the cedar trees along the rear property line. Planning Staff feel that the proposed building coverage is appropriate in terms of compatibility with the surrounding neighbourhood character.

Amenity Area
The proposal includes outdoor common amenity area at-grade at the rear of the property, as well as along walking paths at the sides of the building.

TRG west elevation

Elevation from the west showing the setback for the top five floors.

Outdoor amenity area is also proposed as a rooftop terrace at the back of the building on the 7th floor. This rear terrace space is proposed only for use by the residents and staff of the memory care suites. A rooftop terrace on the 8th floor is provided as additional amenity space for the residents of the apartment building. All units in both buildings (with the exception of the memory care suites) are provided with private outdoor amenity space in the form of a balcony. Indoor amenity area is provided on the ground floors of each building and is also provided on the 7th floor exclusively for the residents of the memory care suites. A total of approximately 10,000 square metres of amenity area is provided throughout the site to support the 342 units proposed. Units in the residential building are proposed to be provided with approximately 27 square metres of amenity area per unit. Units in the retirement home building are provided with approximately 29 square metres of amenity area per unit. Memory care residents are proposed to have approximately 37 square metres of amenity area per unit.

TRG view from north

View of the development skyline from the north.

There are two properties which share the rear lot line with the subject lands. The proposed rear yard common amenity area at grade abuts the rear yard amenity areas of the low-density residential dwellings on Karen Drive. The interface is appropriate as the uses at-grade in the amenity area on the site are passive and informal, and the amenity area is primarily landscaped with soft landscaping elements up to 8 metres from the rear property line.

Conclusion: As modified by Staff, compatibility is achieved with the existing neighbourhood character and represents an appropriate transition between lower density and higher density residential uses.

City of Burlington Adopted Official Plan, 2018
The intersection of Guelph Line and New Street is identified as a Neighbourhood Centre in the adopted Official Plan. Halton Region has identified areas of non-conformity, and as such, the adopted Official Plan will be subject to additional review prior to its approval. Further, City Council has directed a new staff review and public engagement process to consider potential modifications to the adopted Official Plan in the area of the Downtown.

Burlington Hydro has commented that capacity is not available on the existing overhead power lines along New Street to accommodate the hydro services required for the proposed development. The developer will need to upgrade the hydro service from the northwest corner of Mayzel Road and New Street to make adequate servicing available. The system upgrades will be at the expense of the developer. The building will need to provide an electrical room along the south wall of the underground parking structure, accessible to Burlington Hydro staff. Burlington Hydro will be consulted on the specifications of the electrical room requirements at the Site Plan stage.

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8 comments to A sensible development that meets a pressing need gets approval at a Standing Committee meeting.

  • Ben Tuinman

    Very sensible indeed….how do we apply? Who do we contact for further info?

  • David

    Love modern architectural concepts. This is not the usual cafeteria style cut and paste….Probably will never get past the concept stage.

  • Penny Hersh

    I watched the Committee Meeting about this proposed development. Personally, I have no problem with the height of this development, and the new redesign of the building in my opinion is a major plus. My concern is with the number of parking spaces provided. The representative for the company indicated that less parking spaces were required because of the “memory care units”. True these residents will not be driving, but they might require more private personal aid workers, where will they park?

    Councillor Kearns question whether the resident condominium would be owned or rented was an excellent one, as affordable rentals in Burlington are much needed. The answer was that it would be rentals. However, it is early days for this development and presently they indicated that they have no health care partner for the retirement home.

    The thing that Councillors need to keep on the front burner is whether the developer registers these units as condominiums. If they do, at some point the rental units could be converted to condominium units.

    There is no commercial space in this development. The comment from Council was that perhaps there was too much commercial space in the area and that accounted for the demise of the plaza. I have to agree – presently with Roseland Plaza there is a wide variety of commercial space and services available.

    As the units in Roseland Plaza are individually owned it will be much more difficult for developers to purchase the plaza for redevelopment. Yahoo.

    There is a proposed development across the street where the closed bowling alley is located. This should be taken into account when traffic studies, etc. are done.

    • Good points and especially “As the units in Roseland Plaza are individually owned it will be much more difficult for developers to purchase the plaza for redevelopment. Yahoo.” We live just past downtown and are users of many of the Roseland Plaza retailers, as well as downtown retailers all of which we have found to provide good service for reasonable dollars.

  • Bob

    Well at first glance, the Jetsons’ came to mind, but on a second thought, it looks are appealing in a modernistic way and echoing Claudette, Amica needs a rethink. Shades of Burnanthorpe, Mississauga come to mind and it is not pretty on any level. Soul numbing concrete bunkers in the sky, with a low entry level, price tag as the bait, not much space, parking for one car maybe, the designer kitchen and all else is extra, a developers dream, towers of domino’s jockeying for a view of the lake is all I see.

  • Claudette Mancini

    Regarding a “sensible development”- Are you listening, Amica?

  • Robert Missen

    The other Bob is quite right. This was a Red Barn burger joint back in the late sixties/early seventies. It was a chain that stretched across southern Ontario. I recall frequenting one in Guelph when I was a university student there.

  • Bob

    To guess, the structure is the former Red Barn, an early hamburger joint – kind of like McDonald’s. The big Barney Burger comes to mind.

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