City knocked a 24 story proposal down to 17 - developer takes that decision to LPAT

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

August 11, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

This one doesn’t come as a surprise.

Reserve Properties is appealing City Council’s approval of an 18 storey building opposite City Hall. The site encompasses the entire block from Brant and James to John St., including Kelly’s Bake Shoppe, two restaurants, a jeweller, and a former furniture store.

Kellys

The two historical properties, what is now Kelly’s Bake Shoppe on the left and the jewelers on the right were to be part of the final development.

Last November, council approved a 24 storey tower on the opposite corner of Brant and James.

The appeal seeks similar consideration.

Mayoralty candidate Marianne Meed Ward said in her newsletter that the 24 storey building is double the allowed heights on one of the assembled lots (12 storeys, due to an earlier Ontario Municipal Board decision), three to four times the allowed amount on the balance of the assembled lots (four to eight storeys) and even higher than the 17 storeys proposed in the new Official Plan (which isn’t yet approved by Halton Region, therefore not in force and effect).

The 17 storey building is two to four times the existing Official Plan (four to eight storeys), and matches the new (unapproved) Official Plan permissions here added Meed Ward.

The applicant had a pre-consultation with staff about the project in December as the new Official Plan for the downtown was being discussed over a series of public committee and council meetings. The application was filed in January. The new Official Plan was adopted 6-1 in April

Meed Ward maintains that “City council opened the door for this appeal when it approved the 24 storey building across the street. It is not surprising that the developer is seeking the same treatment for the other side of the street.”

Looking north from Queens Head

Revenue Properties took the council decision to the Land Planning Appeal Tribunal

Meed Ward, who did not vote for either tower, she said she would have supported projects in keeping with the existing Official Plan for low to mid-rise here, which is appropriate and accommodates growth while being respectful of the character and infrastructure downtown.

Reserve Properties begins a process that starts with a meeting to determine if the appeal Reserve Properties wants to make has merit.

Meed Ward argues that the height and density of both towers are excessive for Brant Street and that there is a reduction of overall commercial space by almost 70%

The towers will fundamentally alter the small-town feel and historic, low to mid rise character of this stretch of Brant Street.

The Delta Hotel will give the city some first class convention space that could radically change the way the city is seen by the small corporate convention community. Add the Performing Arts Centre to the portfolio and the city has a good offering. Now to put a team in place that could work with the Delta Hotel organization.. We don't have that in place today.

The Delta Hotel will give the city some first class convention space that could radically change the way the city is seen by the small corporate convention community. Add the Performing Arts Centre to the portfolio and the city has a good offering. Now to put a team in place that could work with the Delta Hotel organization.. We don’t have that in place today.

The argument as to how the city is to grow and how much of the small town feel that exists in some parts of the core has been going on since 1985 when the land the Bridgewater development is being built on now was first assembled. That development was at one point to be 30 storeys high and was on the edge of the lake.

nautique-elevation-from-city-july-2016

The city took the OMB decision to an Administrative review Panel

With the north east corner of Brant already approved for 23 storeys the accepting of height in the downtown core is just a continuing exercise.

The ADI Group development on the corner of Martha and Lakeshore was approved by the OMB. That decision has been taken to an Administrative Review Panel – it has yet to be heard.

Just how much height is going to be permitted in the downtown core has become an election issue – come October residents get to choose what direction they want to see their city take.

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7 comments to City knocked a 24 story proposal down to 17 – developer takes that decision to LPAT

  • Gary Scobie

    I too am not surprised that the developer is appealing Council’s decision on this application. Now it goes to LPAT which will first decide if the appeal has merit. If it does, then LPAT will have to decide whether to judge this appeal only in the context of the current Official Plan or to judge it in the context of the yet to be approved new Official Plan. Either way, it really can’t go over 17 storeys as that is the maximum in the “new” plan.

    However, if LPAT feels it has a wider jurisdiction than Council thinks it has, then it may go to British Common Law and the importance of precedent. That precedent is the 23 storey building Council approved right across the street at James and Brant, without any Official Plan backup. Don’t be surprised if the developer makes this the centrepiece of its case.

    This appeal will be the test case for all further LPAT decisions. How much does an existing OP, a tentative new OP or precedent in law matter in future development for Burlington? I’ve learned over time never to trust anyone who says precedent doesn’t matter. We’ll see how LPAT feels.

    • Mike E.

      Mr. Scobie:

      There have been a number of rumours circulating recently concerning a soon to be retired Burlington Councilor. They can’t be verified – that’s why they’re “rumours”. However, they suggest that his next career move might be the LPAT. Now wouldn’t it be the height of irony for him to sit in judgment of his own decisions. Hopefully, the rumours are just idle speculation because the ongoing conflict of interest involved would be beyond even his ability to measure.

    • Andrew Miller

      Hi Gary. My understanding is that the test is not really whether or not the modified approval satisfies the existing or new OP as an amendment has been requested by Reserve Properties. It really is a test to see if the original application satisfies provincial policy and the Region’s OP. This will be a very interesting proceeding. An understanding of the actual appeal letter would be helpful to all those interested.

      • Mike E.

        Andrew:

        “It really is a test to see if the original application satisfies provincial policy and the Region’s OP.” No “Burlington” in that statement – says it all I’m afraid.

  • No one should be surprised that the developer is appealing. This all started with the 421 Brant development approval that was way beyond both the old and new and not approved Official Plans. The region should do our city a great big favour and withhold approval of the Official Plan to allow the new and improved council a chance to review something they and the citizens of Burlington have to live with in perpetuity.

  • Penny Hersh

    When a City has no vision, this is the result. Look at the picture in this article that shows the Bridgwater Development on Lakeshore Road which is now under construction. Wide boulevards with no cars or trucks in sight. The only greenery showing on Lakeshore are a few small trees. I doubt if there will even be room to plant those trees, the building comes right to what will be the sidewalk. As for the Delta Hotel it is gone – now supposedly it will be the Marriott. Hotels simply contract out the property, they do not own it. If for some reason Marriott backs out, the developer now has an empty building. I can hardly wait to see what lighting will be on the top of the hotel to see how it will impact the people living across from it. Wonder if the planners thought that through?

    I have heard that there is to be a reflecting pool between the condominium building and the hotel, in the “window to the lake” opening. My question why would anyone put a reflecting pool when the lake is right in front?

    I sat through many council meetings where it was explained how this new adopted official plan would eliminate developers going to LPAT, and reduce the cost of the city having to defend itself. Well I guess that’s just not happening is it?

    Don’t blame Reserve Properties. It is their job to “optimize” their investment. The City lost all control when it defended itself poorly at the OMB for the ADI Development on Lakeshore and Martha Street and exacerbated the problem when it gave Carriage Gate the approval it needed for 24 storeys on Brant and James Street.

    If residents want to make a difference and take control back from the City then they need to attend the Ward Candidate Meetings that will be held in September/October and make an educated decision when voting. Name recognition is not the way to do it.

    We as residents have to accept the responsibility that we voted in the last council.

    “DON’T SHOOT THE MESSENGER”

  • Just Saying

    If “excessive height” and “over intensification” have already been approved by staff and Council and/or the planning review boards (OMB and LPAT), what exactly is the election issue? Even if the faces on Council change, what is stopping a developer from making an appeal to the planning review boards on the basis that these building have already been approved for Brant Street and Lakeshore Road?

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