Mayor opens the kimono a little bit more - says 'some of the appeals could be resolved quickly'

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

March 6th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It is still coming out in dribs and drabs but at least the people who are going to have to pick up the tab for the legal challenges to the January 30th council decision unanimously approving the revised recommendations from the findings of the Interim Control Bylaw (ICBL) Land-Use Study, including the approval of the proposed Official Plan (OPA) and Zoning Bylaw (ZBA) amendments resulting from that study, now know a little bit more.

The Council decision was made before the one-year ICBL deadline of March 5, 2020.

In remarks in the Mayor’s March Newsletter we learn that:

“The recommended OPA and ZBA are the result of an extensive technical review by third-party consultants and City planning staff, public input (including written and oral submissions from the development industry), and Council deliberation.

Mayor Mar newsletter graphic

Mayor uses March Newsletter to dribble out a little bit more information on the legal challenges to the recent flood of appeals to LPAT.

“Our current Official Plan (OP) is in full legal compliance with all applicable provincial documents, as are its approved updates, after the province’s Places to Grow Act and the density targets that were established and embedded into our OP. This latest update dealt with better defining the Major Transit Station Area (MTSA) that to this point had never been defined.

“Since Council’s decision on Jan. 30, the City’s OPA and ZBA have been appealed to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT). These appeals will extend the ICBL’s development freeze on the downtown and Burlington GO area until they are resolved. It’s important to note, the appeals to the City’s ZBA are what caused the freeze to continue — the OPA appeals would not have.

“The bulk of the number of appeals dealt only with the OPA. If the remaining appeals are resolved quickly, the development freeze would be lifted. It is typical and expected that the most likely course of action may be a grouping of these appeals to LPAT, where they address similar issues. That remains to be seen.

“Official plans are constantly changing. Burlington’s OP has changed 119 times (since 1997). Some of those changes the City initiated, others were developer initiated (those who had applied for OPAs and ZBAs). Plans never stay the same and we have a legal obligation to update our OP every 5 years. Those updates can be through minor tweaks or complete overhauls — Burlington has done both in its history.

“Changing an OP is normal practice, as is the number of appeals and reaction when a significant change to an OP is made.

“In the past, the City of Burlington has found itself in a difficult situation when staff’s and Council’s positions related to our OP differed — that is not the case now. Our City also found itself in a difficult situation when it gave away height and depth to development applications that far exceeded what was in our plans out of fear of being taken to the LPAT. Not only was that precedent-setting, but it sent the message that our City would make significant exceptions at the mere threat of an appeal.

Meed ward election night 1

Mayor Meed Ward: Stay the course — your Council and City staff will be doing just that.

“We’re not doing that anymore. We are now making decisions that are founded on sound planning principles based on evidence and a one-year independent consultant study. That is what residents expect us to do. The City of Burlington did not elect me to surrender. We will defend the policies we created — and were unanimously-approved by Council — vigorously.

“These policies also reflect the vision of staff, council and our residents for the future of our city and we will remain steadfast in our commitment to ensuring the right development in the right place at the right scale.

“I recently received a note from a resident that said they knew this wasn’t going to be easy, but to stay the course — your Council and City staff will be doing just that.”

It is now clear that the Mayor, the senior planning people, the city’s solicitor and, perhaps, whatever outside counsel the city has hired, have spent a lot of time going over the documents – which the public has yet to see.

Whenever politicians withhold information, or slip it out on a Friday afternoon, you know that the full story is not being told.

A tighter look at the Newsletter content tells us that “the appeals to the City’s ZBA (Zoning Bylaw Amendment) are what caused the freeze to continue — the OPA appeals would not have.  Not sure what the relevance of that is – we will talk that over with our planning consultants.

The “bulk of the number of appeals dealt only with the OPA”, which the Mayor tells us can be dealt with very quickly.

political news

Politicians tell you what they want you to know – seldom do they tell you everything you are entitled to know.

We have a Mayor who touts the importance of media but has yet to call a media conference and make herself available for questions.  There was a time when you couldn’t keep the woman away from television camera lights.

Meed Ward was once very fond of using the phrase “truth to power”; haven’t heard that one from her lately have we?

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3 comments to Mayor opens the kimono a little bit more – says ‘some of the appeals could be resolved quickly’

  • Jeremy Skinner

    LPAT Case PL200040 re 29 storey tower at 2069 Lakeshore Rd
    Case Mgmt Conference is scheduled for April 30th April 2020 at 10AM
    at Halton Provincial Offence Office, 4085 Palladium Way Burlington ON L7M 2A6.

    Anyone who has a residential address on one of Bates Common, Almas Common or Detlor Common should consider seeking “Participant Status” by following the instructions which will provided by the developer’s legal representative Invitation to be received by mail in late March or early April.

    The CMC meeting on APril 30 will be open for the public to witness.

    Anyone interested in a coffee to discuss options?

    No update currently available for PL00092
    re 2093,2097,2101 Old Lakeshore Rd & 2096,2100 Lakeshore Rd.
    or the remaining 29 LPAT appeals re OPA changes during ICBL.

  • Steve

    I’m sure the “right development in the right place at the right scale” includes tearing down perfectly good existing surveys, and replacing the far less dense housing with super high dense shoebox homes. As in the “Georgian Court” fiasco.
    Lets see if I’m right. Nothing is safe, nothing is sacred, in the all out quest to create a very overcrowded Burlington. Oops…..I meant, intensified.

  • Penny Hersh

    “These policies also reflect the vision of staff, council and our residents for the future of our city and we will remain steadfast in our commitment to ensuring the right development in the right place at the right scale”

    As a resident of Burlington what was passed certainly isn’t my vision. I have to wonder just how many other residents feel the same way?

    ” tighter look at the Newsletter content tells us that “the appeals to the City’s ZBA (Zoning Bylaw Amendment) are what caused the freeze to continue — the OPA appeals would not have. ”

    The “bulk of the number of appeals dealt only with the OPA”, which the Mayor tells us can be dealt with quickly”.

    If this is indeed the case, residents should know just how many appeals are directed to the City’s ZBA(Zoning Bylaw Amendment). Certainly giving us the number of appeals that deal with this issue would not be considered breaking “confidence”.

    The question I would like to ask the Mayor is why in this bulletin did she chose not to be more transparent.

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