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Burlington City Hall has released a background report on the controversial proposal to build a nine-storey building on the south side of Plains Road East near Waterdown Road. The report documents the anxiety and concern of nearby residents.

“This is a completely outrageous and atrocious plan to destroy this part of the City and our quiet neighbourhood”, wrote one worried neighbour.

“My wife is in tears, thinking of our children enjoying the backyard and pool with hundreds of people looking at them from hidden bird’s eye view points”, said another.

The anger is related to a proposal by Infinity Developments to construct the new building between the Seasons Condominium and Birchwood Avenue. It would include 360 residential units and two levels of underground parking.

Burlington planning staff actually refer to the building as ten-storeys because of the rooftop amenities and mechanical penthouse. The City defines the height as mid-rise. Currently only six storeys are allowed.

City Council is hosting a statutory public meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 14 to discuss the proposal. It was always expected to be contentious but the release of the staff report now confirms that the neighbours are lining up in opposition.

The report offers background information for Council and public consideration. It lists a range of concerns raised by nearby residents including: traffic problems, building height and massing, loss of Plains Road character, driveway conflicts with the nearby Seasons condominium, shadow impacts, privacy and overlook, noise, setbacks and more.

An on-line survey, along with a petition from residents, was included in the report.

The text of the petition claims that the proposed building: “devalues the neighbouring properties by tarnishing privacy and charming neighbourhood aesthetics. All other neighbouring developments abide by the 6- storey by-law. The additional 360 units will wreak havoc on Plains Rd E traffic and cause overflow……..throughway traffic onto side streets where children play, which is already a grave concern to parents”.

Twenty-two individual letters were also received. Some were critical of the politicians despite the fact that a decision has yet to be made.

“Mayor Marianne Meed Ward, your election promise was no high rise “new” construction till year 2030…. Please honour this promise”.

“You can tell our Mayor Marianne Meed Ward she lied to us to get elected”.

Infinity needs amendments to both the City’s Official Plan and its Zoning ByLaw to gain approval for the building. It is counting on the fact that the building site lies within the boundary of the Major Transit Station Area (MTSA) adjacent to the Aldershot Go Station. The MTSA is a neighbourhood destined for intensification.

The proposed building would tier down at the rear in an attempt to protect the privacy of low-density homes to the south on Fairwood Place East.

The building is unusually wide. It would stretch 123 metres across the Plains Road streetscape.

“The enormous monolithic size of this building is so out of character with the surrounding neighbourhood that it will simply be an eyesore in most people’s minds”, wrote one neighbour.

The report does not make any recommendations. After the Statutory Public meeting, which will hear the views of Councillors and members of the public, the Planning staff will return with another report including its recommendation on whether to approve the proposal.

By Rick Craven

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