Fate of Proposed Condo in Burlington Rests with OMB

Burlington is one of Halton Region’s major population centres and a growing city in the GTA, clocking in at 183,000 people and counting as of the 2016 Census. Mayor Rick Goldring and his fellow city councillors have prioritized the development of various parts of the city into transit-oriented neighbourhoods for multi-purpose residency types.

Some would say it would be akin to a Vancouver-ization of this small little ‘burb in between Hamilton, Mississauga and Toronto; after all the City of Burlington does retain the services of Brent Toderian, the former chief planner for the City of Vancouver.

That being said, this does not mean that Burlington is saying yes to all kinds of high density developments. A recently proposed condominium development right along the waterfront of downtown Burlington has had some heads shaking no around Burlington council chambers, and now the matter is before the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

The development in question is The Nautique from the Adi Development Group. It is a 26-storey building to be situated at 374 and 380 Martha St., at the corner of Lakeshore Rd., as seen in this map of the current state of the location and adjacent residential buildings surrounding it.

City council had a short meeting on the condo development proposal back on October 24, 2016. The following motion was voted on, and was carried unanimously by all members of council:

The endorsement of the staff recommendation to oppose amendments to the Official Plan and Zoning By-law that would be required to permit the revised development proposal as outlined in this report for 374 and 380 Martha Street; and

Direct the City Solicitor and Director of Planning and Building to confirm Council’s opposition to the revised development proposal at the Ontario Municipal Board hearing in this matter.

Ward 2 Coun. Marianne Meed Ward said the Nautique was over-development on a small site as well as over-intensification by the purest definition of term. Meed Ward also said that despite some people’s belief at the time, this matter has already been before the OMB prior to this council decision last October. During the deliberations in the OMB, Adi agreed to reduce the height of the building from 28 storeys to the current 26, but also added 240 units from the original 226. The case is currently still being reviewed by the OMB (now known as the Environment and Land Tribunals Ontario as part of the ongoing reforms to that body). It will be interesting to see if the reformed body does not immediate capitulate to the developers.

But deliberations between planners, developers, consultants…and their lawyers over a condominium development application can get rather complex, seeing how this building either conforms to the provincially mandated Places to Grow plan or does not comply with the City of Burlington’s own plans. So let’s just look at the current location and see from a bystander’s point of view if the Nautique fits in the neighbourhood.

There are other condos within the same area, such as the 360 on Pearl, which is an 18-floor luxury condominium with 75 residential and six commercial units. There is also the Pearl and Pine retirement home, which is approximately similar height to 360 Pearl, as well as some townhomes and small street front businesses on Pine Street, around the corner from 374 and 380 Martha.

People living in the townhouses are already living next to high rises, so would there really be much difference in raising another condominium? Is there that much difference between 18 to 26 storeys?

What do you think, Burlington? Does the Nautique fit in the grand scheme of things when it comes to building a complete community in downtown Burlington?

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