Controversial development project gets mixed views from the public.

News 100 redBy Staff

January 5th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The National Homes proposed development on Brant street just south of Havendale has been contentious since the day it got to the city Planning department.

It was probably the worst managed planning file in 2018.

Landscape master plan

The developer wanted 236 units – they scaled it back to 212. The residents think 150 units would be more appropriate.

At one point it looked as if the development was going to get approved without a staff report and without much in the way of public input.

The biggest thing the public had going for them was the exceptionally good delegation made by the people in the Havendale community and some exceptional analysis by Steve Armstrong.

The legal talent hired by National Homes found a way to skate around the rules and confuse, obfuscate and basically jerk everyone around until a critical time frame was met.

The Planning department has to give a developer a response within 180 days of a complete development application being submitted.

Ed Doer, a member of the group of residents who delegated on the issue verbally set out the gruesome details that backed up the written delegation.

When that 180 day period ended the developer filed an appeal to what is known as the LPAT – Local Planning Act Tribunal. Due to the transition taking place from OMB – Ontario Municipal Board – hearings and LPAT hearings the appeal was to be heard under the OMB rules. Confusing? – agreed and that confusion was worked to the developers benefit.

To add to the mess was the fact that the outgoing council voted to approve the development even though five of the seven members of council knew they were not going to be serving on the new 2018-2022 council.

Some felt the old council had no right to vote on the matter – others thought they were required to vote on it.

An LPAT hearing had been scheduled for December 17th, it was originally a Pre-hearing Conference (PHC). The National Homes legal counsel asked that it be heard as a Settlement Conference – they felt they had a deal in place.

The city’s legal department kept taking council into closed session (in-camera) to explain why this development was fraught with legal issues that they didn’t want to talk about publicly.

The Gazette learned that the city’s legal department thought they could see another Walmart like case coming their way. That case is reported to have cost the city fifty big one ($500,000).

The LPAT hearing took place and the hearing officer decided that it would be a PHC and adjourned everything to a date in early April.

Mayor Meed Ward made a comment on Facebook that brought out some very mixed responses.

Here is what the “public” had to say:

Being sworn in

Mayor Meed Ward

The Mayor:
Withdrawing the settlement allows the current council, the community and the developer to continue to work on this project to get a better development. Settlement should never have been voted on by previous council, post election when 5 of 7 councillors were known not to be returning.

Public responses:

Rita Giammattolo Hardy Awesome work by our new Council . . . . thank you all for listening to the residents. 🙏🙏🙏

Andrew Alexander
I don’t know why people are against this? Looks like a great new development on vacant land. It also adds affordable houses to people wanting to move into Burlington. The plan looked great.

Lisa Cooper I am not totally for this project, but to say the previous council should not have voted on it is presumptuous. As far as I can tell they were still a paid council to do their job no matter how many seats were going to change on council.

Sean Kenney Sad day for fair process in Burlington. The council of the day had the right to make decision to settle and they did so. Hopefully when LPAT awards costs to the developer the new Council will be transparent and let us know what the costs are.

In the world of politics you can please some of the people some of the time – you can never please all the people all the time.

This dog and pony show is far from over.

Park distances

The original application didn’t include any park space – that was revised and a small park was included.

The question one might ask is: why is the Mayor taking to social media as frequently as she does?
Because it works.

It is beginning to look like government by photo op, Facebook comment and tweets. Major issues should be given the background and detail they need and deserve.

We are watching just how much damage can be done when social media is the platform used to debate and discuss important issues.

Related new story:

The Ed Doer delegation

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1 comment to Controversial development project gets mixed views from the public.

  • Tom Muir

    From about the only thing I heard was mentioned at the in camera meetings, is that the Walmart debacle cost $500,000 not $50,000. In this business 50K doesn’t go far.

    This was a big deal development that included all the lands at the Burlington Go, including where the Paradigm condos are going up, and it was decided by the OMB.

    I have no details on what costs this includes, from staff time paid anyways, to outsourcing legal and planning analysis and witnesses, which are extra.

    But the key point here is that it was raised as a scare story extreme because it dwarfs the scale and significance of the 2100 Brant St (Havendale Community) proposal.

    There is little incremental cost to sue the City for – a planning consultant witness and briefing books – and the OMB chair will rule on that matter.

    This Facebook conversation site is a venue for a lot of garbage and trolling.

    It also tells me that many of the people who were quoted don’t know what they are talking about. They can have their own opinion, but not their own facts.

    That’s what the planning process that is missing is about – consideration of facts and evidence, and arguments on that basis, with everyone heard who wants to be heard, to arrive at a reasoned decision.

    To support the outgoing Council’s right to do what they did, in the circumstances of the election where they weren’t even really working, just putting in time or campaigning, is to open the door to corruption of the planning process.

    This matter was not about having no development, and not about affordability, but about a development that follows the due public planning process, which in this case, and 3 others in Ward 1, were featured by a common corruption by subversion of the planning process.

    That is what this is about, and the other 3 proposals in Ward 1, and 4 proposals elsewhere in Burlington, are also in this same subversion state, but only one step removed from total rot.

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