Burlington mayor says city has ‘no legal grounds’ to stop proposed high-rises at former Holland Park site

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Published July 28, 2021 at 7:58 pm

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Burlington residents have recently been expressing their concerns over the proposed high-rises at the former Holland Park site, but according to Mayor Marianne Meed Ward, the city has ‘no legal grounds’ to stop it since there is no height restriction in the city’s official plan and zoning.

“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,” said Meed Ward this week. 

Due to the City Zoning Bylaw in this area having no maximum height limit, Meed Ward has stated that there is no ability for council or staff to impose a height or density restriction on this site-specific file.

In an interview with inhalton.com‘s Khaled Iwamura, Meed Ward confirmed that the City cannot stop something if it is legal.

“What is being proposed is legal and we have no legal grounds to stop somebody from doing something that is legally permitted in our plans,” Meed Ward told Iwamura.

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.

“There’s no question that these areas have been envisioned for some time to take height and density,” said Meed Ward, adding that the City did in fact look into whether they could impose some conditions or height restrictions in the area.

As a result, the city has added new policies to the OP and Zoning for both the downtown and the Burlington GO MTSA that include one that 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.

According to Meed Ward, the community will have the opportunity to provide input on site plan matters including layout and landscaping when the site plan comes to council for review.

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