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Home News Developer charges quickie heritage designation being used to thwart Burlington residential development

Developer charges quickie heritage designation being used to thwart Burlington residential development

A developer is crying foul over a decision by Burlington Council to place a heritage designation on a house that is on the site of a proposed 31-storey mixed use building. Camarro Developments’ lawyer says the developer had received approval to demolish the building in 2015 based on an opinion report from a heritage professional who cited numerous “intrusive building alterations and modifications,” adding, “there are no further changes to the property that would support a different conclusion at this time. Camarro hired their own consultant to conduct a heritage review last fall. The consultant, referring to the decision in 2015 to allow the demolition wrote, “Heritage Burlington Committee voted (in 2015) to recommend demolishing the house because they believe the property was not exceptional enough to justify a forced designation.” In the interim, the 2018 municipal election resulted in the election of a new council who had promised to rein in what was seen in some quarters as runaway development of high-rise towers. The property is located more or less on the boundary between Downtown Burlington and the Brant North area near the GO station where the city wants to see the high rises located.

Artists rendering of the proposed development

The letter alleges that the real reason behind the heritage designation is to thwart the 31-story development Camarro had planned for the site. In December the developer was ready to move on the project. It submitted the necessary consultant report’s including its own heritage report on December 5. It proposed holding the statutory public meeting on January 10th. Burlington moved quickly to designate the property as a heritage building, declaring its intention to do so on December 15th and ratifying its designation on January 24th. The developer’s counsel concludes, “ it is our position that the Notice of Intention to Designate was passed for the sole purpose of thwarting a development application…and is, therefore an inappropriate use of the Ontario Heritage Act.”

Appeals are anticipated.

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