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A controversial development proposal in Aldershot is going to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) for a decision. The move will substantially eliminate further public input. Infinity Developments has appealed the City’s failure to make a decision on its proposal to build a large nine-storey building on Plains Road.

The developer’s application was filed with the City in April 2021 legally requiring Council to make a decision by August 19th. Instead, Burlington councillors discussed the proposal at a statutory public meeting in September, but no decision followed.

Local Councillor Kelvin Galbraith regrets the Infinity appeal.

“I was a bit surprised by this appeal as I thought this application was very close to what the City and Region was looking for in terms of intensification in this area.  The application does fall within the Aldershot MTSA.  It is unfortunate that the appeal process takes further public input out of the decision making”.

Neighbours are on record being bitterly opposed to the design of the new building.

“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 nearby resident.

The proposed building would be unusually wide. It would stretch 123 metres across the south side of Plains Road from Cooke Boulevard nearly to Birchwood Avenue. The nine-storey structure has also raised privacy concerns for residents on Fairwood Place East to the south, despite being tiered down at the rear.

Rear view of the proposed development

Infinity needs amendments to both the City’s Official Plan and its Zoning Bylaw to gain approval for the building. Current zoning only permits six storeys.  The developer is counting on the fact that his site lies within the boundary of the Major Transit Station Area (MTSA).

Negotiations between the City and the developer may continue behind closed doors despite the appeal, consequently a settlement agreement remains possible. The existence of the appeal however provides Mayor Marianne Meed Ward with yet another opportunity to criticise the Province’s OLT.

On another issue related to Infinity, the Planning Committee this week formally accepted the developers’ application for construction of a twenty-nine story building on the east side of Waterdown Road, just north of Plains. Acceptance is not approval. It starts the formal planning clock, meaning the City has 120 days to make a decision on the file. A Statutory Public meeting may soon be scheduled.

The practice of municipalities not rendering decisions on development projects is widespread in Ontario. Hamilton is regularly taken to the Land Tribunal because planning decisions have not been rendered within the required time frame.

By Rick Craven

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