Mayor loses a major fan: Planner 'profoundly disappointed and personally offended' over expected LPAT settlement on the 2100 Brant development.

opinionred 100x100By Pepper Parr

April 14th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

She broke his heart – he truly believed that after working his buns off to get her elected that she would not sell him out – the Mayor has lost a fan.

John Calvert with model

John Calvert

John Calvert, former Chief Planner for the City of Mississauga when Hazel McCallion was Mayor wrote Marianne Meed Ward saying:

Madam Mayor

Trust, Honesty and Commitment are the qualities I value most in family, friends and colleagues.

It appears that Council is considering a settlement agreement with National Homes on their application for a townhouse development at 2100 Brant Street.

Nationa; homes - Brant Master landscape

A planned 233 homes for the property on Brant Street

It pains me to write this letter after all you did on the file, as a Councillor and Mayor, and the extensive work by Vision 2100 Brant, in addition to the commitment I made to your campaign. I am so profoundly disappointed and personally offended in this process and possible outcome.

Aerial-of-2100 brant site

It has been a farm field for decades – owned by the Catholic Church. Then a developer saw an opportunity.

This file is a critical example of where you could demonstrate keeping your campaign promises which all residents expected.

I regret having believed that you would actually fulfill your two main campaign promises – to oppose over-development and improve public engagement. The proposal for 2100 Brant is probably the worst case of over-development the City will experience (except the mess being made of our downtown) and yet you appear to support it.

 The current planning process in Burlington, which is not practiced by other municipalities, consists of ….file an application…no decision….appeal to LPAT…settlement hearing. This not only denies Due Process but takes away residents’ rights.No public input into the settlement.  It is not what we were told after this Council rescinded the 2018 settlement.  We were told no more settlement hearings. Tell that to the residents along Townsend Ave after settlement hearings at 92 and 484 Plains Road. You supported these two settlement hearings.Why are the majority of development applications decided by LPAT and not Council?

You agreed that staff were compromised on the 2100 Brant file and the City would retain an outside planner to review the file, and if required, would be the expert witness at the LPAT hearing. The planner would be retained by the City and for the City. The planner was not for Vision 2100 Brant. It was your decision and now, at the last minute, there is a change of mind.

 At the second LPAT Pre-hearing (April 3. 2019), Legal staff told the LPAT Chair that the City would have two Expert Witnesses, a land use planner and a traffic engineer. The Chair gave us permission to “umbrella” or use the City’s witnesses, and made no mention that each Party needs to provide their own independent witnesses.  Check the minutes of the Pre-hearing. Once again, the residents are disappointed.

National Homes image

The intensification is obscene. The blue area denotes the Havendale community with 236 homes. The orange area is the proposed National Homes development where 233 homes would be built.

Have you challenged staff on why 2100 Brant is not compliant with the Official Plan policies on Compatibility based on the Intensification Strategy? Why have an Official Plan if the residents cannot count on Council to address the policies in their decisions? In addition, how can you support the need for 26 variances to the zoning development standards to allow National Homes to overdevelop the site?

Do you really think this is Good Planning? What impact will it have on the rest of the City? If you support it here, what does that say to all residents? This will be a precedent established by this Council. This is exactly what residents expected you, and the new Council, to oppose on our behalf.

I feel you did not keep your promise for the Downtown. How could you not remove the MTSA designation for the John Street bus stop and why hasn’t the City filed a motion with the Province to review the location for the Urban Growth Centre following MPP McKenna’s letter? The numerous delegations were counting on you to protect the Downtown by avoiding developers using these elements to ask for increased height and density as in the Adi application. Again I feel let down and unfortunately I am not alone.

I commend your leadership and time commitment in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, but feel compelled at this time to make my feelings known prior to the next Council meeting where the apparent settlement agreement might be dealt with. All of us are counting on you, and our elected councillors, to support us and the City at large will expect the same when this is all brought to light.

Related news stories.

Meed Ward’s view on September 2018

New council gets the development – what do they do?

Council gets another chance to debate the development

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24 comments to Mayor loses a major fan: Planner ‘profoundly disappointed and personally offended’ over expected LPAT settlement on the 2100 Brant development.

  • Alfred

    Dick.

    Sir. The rules for development in Ontario are well hidden in books. Some of note: Burlington Official Plan, Places to Grow Ontario Provincial Policy Statement and so on. Please feel free to educate yourself and some of our councilors and nimbies as well. In fairness. I meant to say that you gave the impression that only you and the folks already living in Burlington should be the only ones living here, as adding 1 additional home would increase the density. Something you appear to oppose. I don’t think I suggested that Burlington take in all the new immigrants, just it’s fair share. Your send them elsewhere to other Cities and Provinces attitude is a little selfish and sad. Now you suggested we use Hamilton as a comparable Municipality to Burlington.. Wow grasping at straws here. Facts. Hamilton is almost 6 times bigger than Burlington in land mass. Population 600,000 more than 3 times the size of Burlington. I suggest 99 out of 100 people would consider Oakville more comparable to Burlington. Oakville borders us on the east. Has a similar layout, both have the lake to the south. Ironically Oakville has a population that is 10,000 more than Burlington yet is 138.89 sq Kilometers in size. Burlington is 185.66 sq. kilometers in size. Almost 50 sq. kilometers more. The population density of Oakville 1,314 people.per sq. kilometer. Burlington has a density of only 946 per sq. kilometer. I now understand why you tried to use Hamilton as a comp. for Burlington. Even though Burlington and Oakville are mirror images of each other. You suggest Canada has a large land mass. You fail to disclose that only 6% of Canada is habitable due to the harsh conditions. Certainly not immigrant friendly. I find your, “why you choose to live in Burlington’ reasons interesting. I look forward to hear the same stories from those who are yet to come. What is good for Oakville is good for us. Keep the applications coming.

    Editor’s note: One has to put what Alfred (who is really Anthony, in context. If he had his way he would permit the building of nice large propertied homes in the Escarpment – the land north of Dundas/Hwy 407. That unique part of Burlington is what has Anthony salivating – he can’t wait for the day to be able to develop on that land.

  • Alfred

    Dick.

    I sense that you feel only you should live in Burlington? No newcomers? Not one additional home should be built? aesthetics over functionality? Let me give you a glimpse of what the leaders of the Province want. “To encourage intensification in Urban growth Areas which Millcroft and 2100 Brant St. are in.To build compact forms and designs. Efficient use of existing infrastructure” this is all to protect precious farmland and greenspace. This is the direction the councilors and City planners are to follow.What they are not follow. Is your policy “Preserving Burlington’s residential structure and population densities without destroying the aesthetic values of our community needs to be top priority”. Please provide some statute that supports your position. Prime Minister Trudeau permits approx. 300,000 immigrants to come to Canada a year. Many Canadian Women will give birth to children. They all combined, will one day need homes to live in. But you want to preserve the population densities. So short of you telling the Prime Minister no more immigrants and telling Canadian women not to have any children. Where would you suggest this housing gets bullt if all municipalities shared the same selfish attitude? May I suggest you ask John Calvert where did Mississauga provide housing for the additional 200,000 people that moved there while preserving the population densiites. I am not a big intensification guy. But rules have to be followed until they have been changed. Let us know what he says.

    • Dick Guest

      Not sure, Alfred, where you are getting your rules from or the impression that only “I should live in Burlington? Canadian immigration, as I understand it, is a National Canadian endeavour and not just Burlington. If you check the demographics of Burlington, and refresh your notes from “Boom, bust & Echo” you would see a similar projection in Burlington where, post baby-boomer, there is a reduced population (from overall birth rates) vs. this 1946-1964 age group. As for density, please refer to stats Canada 2016 census for some interesting comparisons- population per square km- Burlington 987, Hamilton 525, comparable sized cities to Burlington- Barrie 208, Kingston 82, Oakville 1,396 Mississauga 2,468 (700K pop’n), Toronto 898. So are you suggesting we should aim to be closer to Toronto and Oakville, not Hamilton or other suburban centres similar to us? It’s why we chose to live in Burlington- green spaces, amenities, population densities to raise a family. And by the way, Canada’s population of 37.7 million is 39th in the world, in a land mass that is second only to Russia on the globe so we welcome immigrants with open arms- and we have LOTS of space for them- en Ontario ou les autres provinces!

  • Dick Guest

    Couldn’t agree more with John Calvert and Marty Staz. The path of least resistance can’t be what council pursues in allowing developers to destroy our well planned communities, our green spaces, our parks, waterfront and travel routes. Fighting this fight in the “Millcroft Community”- where developers simply want to grab a buck or two at the expense of a signature residential & golfing space, robust wildlife, deliberate recreational & schooling environment – will be another defining piece of Burlington City’s capabilities. Council needs to fight the good fight, not just take the easy way. Preserving Burlingtons’ residential structure and population densities without destroying the aesthetic values of our community needs to be top priority!

  • Alfred

    Tom.

    What does affordable housing and the Downtown have to do with the 2100 Brant St. Development? Nothing! My only suggestion is if this Development creates more lots the housing would be more affordable as the price per home would be reduced. If the lots were smaller. Clearly subject to the laws of supply and demand. Please don’t confuse the term affordable housing, with housing that is more affordable.We will never see affordable housing in this City. The environmentalits and nimbies have made sure of that. The land costs are prohibitive. Without Government assistance no chance.

  • Tom Muir

    Alfred,

    You know very well that there is no such thing to speak of in Burlington as “affordable housing”. I myself have never seen anything recognizable in my 50 years in Burlington.

    Pretty much everything built is based on market values and the real estate market, and this is not targeted to “affordable” unless ordered to, likely by the province, and then somebody has to pay.

    Maybe Alfred, you can tell us where the affordables are being built and how many in comparison?

    Just ordering Burlington, or anywhere really, to build denser and higher has so far only resulted in condo builds that I would say are more expensive to build, and so have even higher and very expensive prices than before the orders. Affordable is not a market dictate or priority.

    And on top of that the taxes and condo fees, parking spots, and so on, could never be considered in the realm of affordable housing.

    So as Gary asked, what’s your opinion based on the facts?

  • Alfred

    Gary and Joe.

    Any changes made to the Downtown for the better or worse. Changing Urban Growth Center, Anchor Mobility Hub, Major Transit Station Area. Must be approved by the Provincial Government. Now that we understand this. It is possible that they could be persuaded to do whatever is sold to them. Oakville succeeded as you pointed out, so anything is possble. Changing the rules this late in the game on people who invested large somes of money without compensation would not be fair. We are all quarantined because many businesses left Canada and USA to invest in places they felt were more rewarding (COVID 19) and welcoming of their business. A quick example of investors being treated fairly. A builder bought property in Caledonia. The land was part of a Native Land claim. The Province paid the builders fair compensation. everyone was a winner. Let us assume the Province makes all these changes to your satisfaction. That would only involve 1% of the City. How do these changes affect or have anything to do with 2100 Brant st? It doesn’t, or how does it affect the new proposed subdivision in Millcroft. Nothing there either. This Government understands that Burlington has a nimby problem, that is in opposition of everything. Citizens cried wolf too many times and antagonized those they want favours from now. This development has nothing to do with Downtown yet that’s where we always end up. Gary. This council and the residents of Burlington want nothing to do with affordable housing except talk about it, and give people in need directions on how to get to Hamilton.

  • Alfred

    Gary.
    If you voted for the Conservatives or the the Liberals in the past 3 Provincial elections. This is exactly what you voted for. The Province is in charge of housing policies. You or I may not like it. But until some of you begin to understand and acknowledge that Burlington is not exempt, as some of you want and would have us believe. You can never move on to step #2. I envision dogs chasing their tails. It only makes sense to the dogs. Also how does housing that is more affordable play into all this.

    • Joe Gaetan

      Alfred:Could we use the same logic path for Oakville?

    • Gary Scobie

      Well Alfred/Albert apparently Oakville had an exemption in 2005 when they refused the Urban Growth Centre in their downtown and never had their downtown bus station/kiosk designated as a Mobility Hub. Both now exist only at the Trafalgar GO Station as does their Major Transit Station Area. So, in a nutshell, we’ll have what they’re having, thank you!

      And I understand you’re the house builder, so I’ll throw your affordable housing question back to you, our expert on that file. Thanks for bringing these issues up.

  • Joe Gaetan

    The first domino tumbled with the 374 Martha St decision. After which, I felt the city was fighting a losing battle. What we have here is a Gordian Knot that awaits someone to remove the lynchpin.

  • Lynn Crosby

    I am hopeful that at some point in the not-too-distant future, the full story will come out on the fiasco that is the National Homes development of 2100 Brant. People need to see what is proposed, how completely over-dense it is for the site, how it utterly goes against what is zoned, what is in the OP. They also need to learn what the previous staff and council did on this file (because it is egregious in my opinion, including the old council’s last gasp AFTER the election, where they held a council meeting and made a decision that the majority of them would not have to deal with since they had been shown the door, one way or another).

    They then need to ask the questions Mr. Calvert asks in his letter: why is staff STILL allowing time limits to lapse, forcing developments to LPAT and accepting settlement agreements against the wishes of the residents? This isn’t what we pay or expect our planning staff to do. Next they need to ask why the current council would allow this to continue, after promising to draw a line in the sand and fight back at LPAT, and say no to overdevelopment and insist our zoning and OP be respected.

    Impossible you say? No. It isn’t. Recently a group of residents just won at LPAT actually, even though both the developer and their city were in favour of the development. But this isn’t even the point. The point is that each development and situation is different. Some are more winnable than others, and some more clearly worth fighting than others. Some are good planning and are easily accepted. 2100 Brant would seem to be one that needs to be fought and could be won, and at the very least it should be tried. Because it will set a precedent for the entire city, downtown, Millcroft and elsewhere.

    We expected and expect our council to insist that our legal and planning staff stop using “blame LPAT, blame the province” as an excuse and to stop allowing “no decisions”. There is NO excuse for staff to not complete their work by the statutory deadlines, and the frequency with which this is now happening causes people to question their competence and/or motives.

    I urge council to choose this development as the first one on which they will take a stand, as they promised they would do when elected. (With the exception of Councillor Sharman, who contributed $0 to his own re-election campaign and took in countless donations from developers, and is so pro-development that it’s no surprise to me he’d agree to overdevelopment, particularly far outside his ward).

    People will be watching closely and if there is a settlement, we will be looking at what the residents get in return … I’m guessing mere crumbs that won’t satisfy.

  • Tom Muir

    I want to thank John for this from the heart statement of truth to power. I share your sense of betrayal and failed trust, honesty and commitment to promises made, and impressions given.

    As noted below by Penny, in the heat of elections, talk and glib promises are cheap and easy indeed. Your delivery to the Mayor hits this right on the mark, and we still hear the hollow promises from her and City.

    It may be of interest to readers to hear my experienced opinion on how the City is doing planning these days and for a while. It starts by apparently setting up the planning process so the developers know they should appeal any refusals, and go to LPAT.

    Further, it is a no-brainer to go to LPAT when the city fails to decide in the mandated timeline. We have had a lot of those, with 4 recent ones in Aldershot including 2100 Brant, and some Downtown.

    In this appeal situation, legal is running the show, due public planning process ends, and citizens are left out. The City legal is apparently weak, and like in the 2100 Brant St appeal, won’t or can’t get an opposing planner for their case to keep the thing honest.

    The appeal then becomes a settlement agreement proposal drafted in camera, in secret with no explanation why, and the developer agrees to settle because the City gives them what they want.

    Citizens as Participants don’t count. The appellant planner witness(es), if there are any, and they don’t have to call any because they “agree”, can say anything they want, exaggerate and fib.

    The City doesn’t let staff say anything at all except to agree with what they have been told to say, the appeal Hearing becomes a farce and waste of time, with possibly no Party witnesses and no documents because they “agree” to settle, and this is “good planning”..

    Participant testimony and evidence is trumped by hired developer lawyer planners, if there are any, anointed as “expert witnesses”, who are the only acceptable source of what is acceptably true in planning. The LPAT Chair can repeat the official truth in the Decision.

    The Participants arguments and evidence, especially about the untruths, fibs and exaggerations are ignored without recourse to appeal the LPAT decision on the Hearing they were presented at because that appeal option is restricted to Parties.

    But the City and developers all agree with the acceptable and speak-able official planning truth and opinion, so it’s a done deal like this one at 2100 Brant possibly, but actually at 92 Plains Rd. and 484-490 Plains Rd.

    I know this description I provide here to be accurate because I have been given Participant status in all 3 of these appeals, and have done so for what turned out to be settlement agreements where my evidence and testimony was basically ignored except as maybe irritation, but salved by the expert opinion that cannot be controverted except by another expert. The two Plains Rd settlement agreements were approved by LPAT.

    I expect the same thing will happen at the City-National Homes settlement agreement on 2100 Brant St, despite the Vision 2100 Brant citizens who are registered as Parties, and the same present Council who rescinded a previous settlement agreement. My submission to that one shows the settlement agreement is proceeding like the model I describe above.

    The city sets up the appeal, it goes to legal, public planning process ends before even a fully legal statutory meeting, there is no staff recommendation report for transparency and accountability, it then all takes place in camera where a settlement agreement is made.

    It agrees to give the developer basically what they want by fiddling with the by-laws It’s crafted in camera, there may be no Hearing witnesses for the appellant and it looks like none for the City (like at 92 Plains; and 484 Plains), and the rest of the story goes on to the same arrangement and conclusion as far as I can see from these Plains Rd decisions.

    The 2100 Brant St appeal is on the same track. It’s at legal, but there is a citizen Party in this one, so that’s a curve. However, if City says it can’t find an opposing planner to represent an honest opinion reflecting the issues of the citizen Party group, then that can lead to the same end with a legal led in camera settlement agreement proposal. This looks to be happening from what John says.

    And the 1085 Clearview proposal was refused by staff and then appealed. It’s now off-line the public planning process. I believe staff, in their refusal, and I said this in a written delegation, gave the developer a great basis for the appeal. This looks to be another candidate for a settlement agreement proposal crafted in camera.

    I won’t go into details, but there are several more candidates on Plains Rd. in early stages of process for this model for taking development applications off-line the due public planning process and into the LPAT decision model that is in camera at legal.

    And there are others Downtown in appeal; at 419 Brant St and there is the Amica appeal.

    Not so far along are several sprinkled around that are in various stages of application and all look to be candidates for LPAT. They are paused in process by the ICBL, but not paused in developer intent.

    The Downtown planning process yielded two concept options that don’t change anything, but in fact provide more cement to bake the problem in.

    And demonstrating that problem City got 31 or so appeals as soon as Council approved the preferred option.

    It seems to me that this is what Planning in Burlington has come to – planning for developer appeals so that the public planning process and decision-making is moved to LPAT, out of reach of citizens and immediate actions and public control by Council, automatically downloaded to legal, no longer led by Planning, and so on and so on.

    Not a surprise by any means to me, and I know of others. There is a pattern that is quite evident here.

    Is Council and the Mayor ready to take this on to restore some trust and visible honesty?

  • Gary Scobie

    I too share in John’s disappointment with the Mayor and Council. I will first address the downtown issues which I have focused exclusively on in the past four years. Even before the 2018 election, there were clearly two roads that could be taken.

    The first was the complex, costly, time-consuming precinct by precinct creation of land-use concepts to satisfy not citizens but LPAT. This road would seek to satisfy the intensification targets that were in place because of the provincial designations downtown – Urban Growth Centre, Anchor Mobility Hub and Major Transit Station Area. The end result would not meet the desires of citizens who voted this Council in to keep the highest densities away from the downtown.

    The second was to begin immediately after the election to speak with the province to remove the unsubstantiated transit designations of the AMB and the MTSA. There was also the need to move the UGC to the Burlington GO Station. Get results on these and the pressure for a rebuilt downtown based on high rises would vanish and the arguments by developers that this was justified would have no merit, at Council or at LPAT because we had a conforming Official Plan for the area that would allow for gentle, respectful intensification.

    For reasons never made clear to the public, the Mayor and Council went down the first road and dragged citizens through planning consultation meetings that turned out to be meaningless. We were going with the flow and the rebuild was going to happen without our consent.

    If only road two had been chosen. Council and city planners could then have turned more attention to other areas of Burlington that were in danger of over-intensification such as along Plains Road and along Brant Street like this one at 2100 Brant. Settlement meetings behind closed doors are now the modus operandi on contentious developments it seems. So the public is now being shut out, not just downtown but everywhere, despite thoughtful and well-researched presentations by organized citizens.

    This was not what we voted for in October 2018.

    • Joe Gaetan

      Very good Gary.I remain perplexed about the logic surrounding the Downtown UGC/MTSA/MobHub designations?

  • Blair Smith

    During times of extreme crisis, such as those posed by the Covid19 pandemic, all other issues take a necessary back seat. However, Mr. Calvert’s letter poses some very important questions and they should be properly examined when the time is right with appropriate actions taken.

    Reviewing the comments received it would appear that we’re back to the wonderful thrash of it’s an LPAT problem, let’s go after LPAT. So, once again this Council and this Mayor dodge their bullet and it gets left at the feet of LPAT – a vehicle that everyone can continue to thrash about but realistically can do very little about. This Council and this Mayor were elected to effect change and have been absolutely miserable, in my opinion. It appears that promises made are not promises kept – and that the rhetoric of campaigns is far simpler than the dynamics of governing.

    And yes Alfred/Albert – I believe that Mr. Sharman has always been eloquent in expressing pro-development views.

  • I saw…. truly disappointing

    This project is part of a big pattern involving City not making a timely decision so the Develop gets the right to appeal based on “failure to decide”
    Then City works towards a “Settlement agreement” which compromises the City’s control of its own planning.

    Unless of course the plan all along is to not control it

  • Alfred

    Mr. Calvert.

    As Chief Planner for the City of Mississauga you were were no doubt aware that if you wanted to keep your job. You would have to put the Provincial mandate on hold sometimes. Even though you were obligated to follow those directions. Choosing to make the Mayor happy instead. Our City Manager and Chief Planner are no longer with for not playing that game. That’s why we have an LPAT. As Councilor Sharman explained so eliquently, Council is an unqualified ( 5 new Councilors ) citizen panel who must rely on the experts to facilitate difficult decisions. The developers have their own Planners and lawyers. When they disagree The battleground is LPAT. Those closest to the rules of development usually win. If you don’t like the rules take it up with the Province. I also took an opportunity to view Mississauga by satellite. Unless I’m viewing the wrong City, It would appear that this type of development originated in Mississauga. Perhaps you can show us some similar developments that took place in Mississauga over the past few years, and how they were different to this development. Population of Mississauga has gone up by 200,000 people since 2000. Where they all 1 acre estate lot’s? Sir. I think we both agree the Province can come up with some clearer guidelines so everyone can see what is coming down the road. As far as the intensification concept. I think Covid 19 will cause us to take a sober 2nd look at densities in the future. The build (Up, not Out) gang are all in hiding. Intensification will soon be an orphan. My friend your timing is terrible. Rally behind your Mayor at this time. I’m sure the City will not give these developers anything more than they would get at a costly, time wasting LPAT. hearing that the taxpayers would then have to pay for.

  • Penny Hersh

    Staff and Council I feel are between a “rock and a hard place”. The previous council agreed to a settlement with National Homes on this development. When the new council was elected it was decided to overturn this settlement and open it up for further investigation.

    My question at the time was this done as a campaign promise? Was it even possible to make any real changes to this application since a settlement had been previously reached?

    I would have to think that LPAT would question the validity of this when a settlement had been previously reached.

  • Jim Young

    As usual, John provides great insight and knowledge on land use planning issues and a wonderful dedication to local issues arising from that.

    His concern about the new Modus Operandi of City land use Planning truly reflects the evidence we see at council.

    Unfortunately, with changes in the Planning Act, under the present Provincial Government, I believe municipal planners and councillors are now virtually powerless against Developers, The Province and LPAT.

    John is right to be disappointed but I fear his fight will be in vain, as will all other resident opposition to local overdevelopment.

    In conjunction with the newest Gazette piece on “Planning Timelines” during the present crisis, I intend to write further on this. If the Gazette allows. Please stay tuned.

  • Marty Staz

    I will be watching this issue that is before Council with sincere interest. During my run for Council the 2100 Brant Street project was one of the most worrisome projects given all the reasons and many more that Mr. Calvert mentions in his comments. No other community group communicated their concerns more succinctly than the 2100 Brant neighbours and at the time, after listening closely, they were right. If the concerns of Mr. Calvert and his fellow residents come true then they have every right to feel let down. This project, as it stands, is a benchmark for all that is wrong with over intensification.

  • Kevin

    I can definitely echo John’s disapointment here if this is the direction that this application is going, it feels like deja vu with many of the applications within our City these days. I have followed this application closely as there were several common concerns with the application I had been engaged with. I don’t entirely fault our council or the Mayor in such applications. Our City Council are not necessarily planning or engineering professions, nor is that a requirement of their roles, as such they must rely on City staff who are meant to be the “experts” making the reccomendations based on policy and standards. To quote Ward 5 Councilor Sharman in his response to me on concerns in another development application, “Council is in essence a citizen panel that is not necessarily qualified to make the decisions we are asked to make… so we accept advice from professional staff, as you say.”

    I don’t know if it is a capacity issue or a competence issue but clearly there are issues that need to be adressed by our Mayor or City Manager in regards to how development appications are considered and reviewed in our city, failure to do so would leave the City open to further legal liability. Considering the respected industry professionals that have been involved on the residents’ side of various development applications in Burlington, it is surprising to see decisions and recommendations coming from city staff. I have yet to see in any development applications that I have followed where the residents feedback (professional or otherwise) were truly considered, at LPAT it was even worse.

  • Claudette Mancini

    Well, LPAT hearings have been postponed indefinitely. No one really knows what will happen to all those that requested a hearing. It might help if you get the number of the last hearing and send it along with your questions to whomever they appointed to be in charge of that file. I know our file was supposed to be heard this week, and it was also postponed indefinitely. These hearings and adjudications take tons of time, and everyone wants a fair shot at being heard, but you need to make that known to secure a chance to submit a statement at the next one.

  • Craig Gardner

    Optimism meets reality is how I sum it up. Could it be better perhaps. Could it be worse most definitely. Is it the end of the world, nope. The sun still will come up, after Covid-19 people we see each other again.