Burlington mayor addresses concerns over high-rises proposed at former Holland Park site

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Published July 26, 2021 at 8:23 pm

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A Burlington resident recently expressed their concerns regarding the proposed high-rises at the former Holland Park site.

The concern was posted to Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward’s “Monday Mailbag,” an initiative that was launched to answer questions from the public.

“I see several new high-rise buildings are coming to the site of where Holland Park used to sit. How did this application get approved? How can this developer build as high and tall as they want?” read the concern.

Here’s what Meed Ward had to say.

“We know the development at 2243, 2269 Fairview Street and 864 Drury Lane is significant and has raised many questions and concerns in the community,” she said.

“People are asking when or if council will approve this. The applicant has applied for a Site Plan application that complies with the land use, height, and density requirements of the Zoning Bylaw.”

The mayor confirmed that the City Zoning Bylaw in this area has no maximum height limit and stated that there is no ability for council or staff to impose a height or density restriction on this site-specific file.

Back in 2019, the city implemented an Interim Control Bylaw to freeze development around the Burlington GO station and downtown Burlington. This was done due to the fact that those areas were designated Major Transit Station Areas (MTSA) and also, to study these areas closely.

The mayor emphasized that the city completed that work in 2020 by adding new policies to the OP and Zoning for both the downtown and the Burlington GO MTSA.

“One of those policies limits height to six storeys within 10 m of Fairview Street, Brant Street and Drury Lane, with taller buildings permitted beyond 10 m, but no height cap. The form of tall buildings is managed through design features, floor plate, distance separators and other technical factors which staff continue to evaluate,” said Meed Ward.

Currently, the location of the development application is within a Primary Growth Area and within an MTSA on a Priority Transit Corridor with planned frequent transit service by way of Regional Express Rail.

The three GO stations including Aldershot, Appleby and Burlington, are envisioned to accommodate significant future growth. This includes taller buildings, residential and employment density and mixed uses, including public amenities and parkland.

“The application requires site plan approval — that has been undelegated from staff and will come to council for technical review and approval. The approval authority for the proposed Site Plan application was “undelegated” from the Director of Community Planning back to Council. Despite this, Council cannot make a decision that conflicts with the permissions of the City’s Zoning By-law,” said Meed Ward.

The mayor also confirmed that the site plan review does not change heights.

The community, however, can provide input on site plan matters including layout and landscaping when the site plan comes to council for review.

In the meantime, the mayor is encouraging residents to continue sending their comments to staff and Council.

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