This past Thursday, Marianne Meed Ward and the City hosted a public meeting on behalf of Landform Group, a development company from Ottawa that has purchased the lots that span from Blathwayte Lane to Locust Street and to Elgin Street. The lots are situated within the Core Precinct boundaries.
The meeting was a gracious gesture by the developer as it isn’t typical to engage the public in a dialogue so early in the design phase. Landform Group was interested in soliciting input from the community so that the feedback could be considered into the intent and final design ahead of application to the city.
The developer presented their vision for the property to a room of 70 or more residents. The tasteful building shown was called the Saxony and was an approximately 42 unit 5 story condominium situating most of it’s building mass adjacent to Blathwayte Lane and Elgin Street. The plan as presented did not conform to current zoning for a number of reasons including 5 Storey’s instead of 4 max, it lacked retail on Elgin and Locust Streets, and it included an on grade parking lot.
Though the attending residents had a wide range of comments, one resounding theme was that the community is very resistant to developments that are continually pressuring to change zoning and disrupt the roll-out of the Official Plan. People voiced concern that any change to the zoning by way of forceful developer applications, disturbs the evolution of an area and changes the way people live.
During the presentation, the developer’s architect made it clear that their intention was to respect the community and existing built form and that they were flexible in the product that they wished to bring to the downtown. They suggested that a build which would fit the zoning was previously considered but had been shelved since they presumed the 5 story would be better received.
The conclusion of the meeting was that Landform Group would consider the feedback and possibly reconsider their plan.
It is important to note that during the meeting and in followup conversations, that residents genuinely appreciated the effort that Landform Group went to to present a thoughtful plan and for their transparency and additional consideration toward a plan that would fit zoning. It left many pinching themselves and saying — “wow, this is how it can and should be”. Most people sincerely thanked Landform for their professionalism and respect.
In recent years, the development process has unfortunately become a contentious issue and is now nothing short of a constant growing stress for residents that have to gear up to fight for what they believe — what they know should be easier if the city and development simply respected the community and zoning guidelines.
So Thursday was an example of a healthy process between the city, the developer and the community in which they work.
As we prepared this summary, we just received a letter from Landform Group:
Core Residents Group
Re: Our presentation on Thursday November 13th
On behalf of Landform Development Group, (LDG), I would like to express sincere thanks to all of the ward residents who attended our pre-development proposal on Thursday evening. The attendance was larger than we expected and the comments we received are appreciated.
I would also like to thank Councillor Marianne Meed Ward for moderating the presentation and Rosalind Minaji from the City of Burlington planning department for her attendance and comments.
Our commitment is to build great buildings in great communities, and after listening to all of the comments and feedback, we are very pleased to be building in (Ward 2 – St. Luke’s Precinct) in the City of Burlington.
We listened to all of you, and I am pleased to announce we will formally submit our new design and application in accordance with current zoning allowances (4 storeys of condos) in the spring of 2015.
The ‘Saxony’ project will be a 4-storey classic condominium building, designed to reflect the rich and vibrant heritage of the community in the City of Burlington.
Thanks again for your attendance and the great feedback!
Mr. Daniel Mclean
Landform Development Group Inc.
Copy: Councillor Marianne Meed Ward, City of Burlington
Once again, kudos to Landform Group for showing respect to the community and responsible leadership amongst your peers and thanks to all those who attended to be counted and voice your opinions. It was everyone in the room; city, developer and residents that showed that the development and intensification process can be productive and positive.