Burlington councillor Paul Sharman was the only sitting Councillor returned in a 2018 election that was focused on concerns over the pace of development and intensification in the city. He has posted on Facebook an account of the tortuous path taken by a developer to secure approval of a townhouse development. His post follows:
On August 31, 2017, the Planning and Building Department acknowledged that a complete application had been received for an Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendment for 2100 Brant Street to facilitate the development of 233 townhouse units.
The original applications proposed the development of 233 townhouse dwelling units comprised of street townhouse located along Brant Street and a proposed public street and standard condominium townhouse units. The original net density of the development was 43.55 units per hectare and gross density was 21.07 units per hectare. The applications were requesting site specific exceptions to allow for the development.
Further to technical comments received from staff, other agencies and public feedback received through the processing of the applications, the applicant made changes to the proposed development and submitted revised studies, reports and a reconfigured draft plan of subdivision.
The applicants appealed the subject applications to the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal after the required time period established by the Planning Act expired. Notwithstanding the appeals, the City continued to work with the applicant in an effort to resolve what the City and its residents were concerned about. The result of these negotiations with the applicants, was Minutes of Settlement. This agreement was reached in November 2018 and supported a 212-unit townhouse development. This settlement agreement was based on the assessment from staff that the application satisfied all regulatory and planning requirements and was therefore defensible at LPAT.
Despite the advice of staff, on December 17, 2018, the newly elected City Council, in a vote that was not unanimous, repudiated (i.e. cancelled) the settlement agreement. . That decision not only pushed the City and the applicants towards an LPAT hearing but is also expected to lead to and awarding of costs to National homes in an amount of approximately of $28,000 when the final settlements and awards are confirmed.
Notwithstanding the grim reality facing Council, City staff continued to work with the applicant in an effort to further refine the proposal to address concerns raised by members of Council and the neighbourhood surrounding the property.
At its meeting of April, 20, 2020 Burlington City Council approved the planning staff recommendation of Confidential Legal Report L-10-20 to accept a new offer of settlement between National Homes (Brant) Inc. (“National Homes”) and the City.
This settlement agreement presented to us was essentially based on the assessment from staff indicating that proposed amendments to the development proposal satisfied all regulatory and planning requirements and was therefore defensible at LPAT. The settlement proposed is almost identical to the rationale provided to the previous Council.
See table for changes
Paul’s Comments: I am the only returning member of Council in 2018 who voted to support of the original settlement agreement with National Homes. That decision was based on two considerations.
The first being that the applicant had worked with community members and staff to achieve several modifications. Original 2018 approved settlement included:
• reduction of 21 units
• addition of 0.76 parkland
• addition of 7 townhomes suitable for families and seniors
The second consideration being the assessment of staff that the application satisfied all regulatory and planning requirements and was therefore defensible at LPAT.
On April 20th, 2020, I again voted in support of what was essentially the same application that I supported in 2018, for the same reasons although, as I have noted, there were some further, minor, modifications.
Ironically, it is possible that increased setbacks included in the 2020 settlement will actually increase the net density of the development. In other words, the development will be more compact.
It is unfortunate that taxpayers will likely foot a $28,000 legal fee that will be awarded against the City resulting from the new 2018 Council decision to scrap the first settlement agreement. For entire history at: https://www.burlington.ca/en/services-for-you/national-homes-inc–2100-brant-street.asp?fbclid=IwAR0lMHNG7YMZRUVBoAJhZv9or4dx5lyQxO3VTsV1P3NSoZFHl-BLPGz06fk