Nau­tique’s condo fate is now in hands of OMB

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - JOHN BKILA

BURLING­TON — Does The Nau­tique, a 26-storey mixed-used condo pro­posal on Martha Street rep­re­sent over-in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion in Burling­ton’s down­town, or is it an ap­pro­pri­ate re­sponse to a provin­cially-man­dated growth plan?

That’s what the On­tario Mu­nic­i­pal Board (OMB) is tasked with de­cid­ing af­ter a 10-day hear­ing, be­gun back on Feb. 22, fi­nally con­cluded Fri­day.

The case — which was presided over by the board’s Su­san de Aveller Schiller and held in­side Room 247 at Burling­ton City Hall — was ad­journed on March 6, af­ter so­lic­i­tors for the City of Burling­ton an­nounced one of its wit­nesses would be unavail­able to pro­vide their tes­ti­mony dur­ing the orig­i­nally sched­uled dates (Feb. 22-March 7).

Burling­ton city coun­cil voted to op­pose a re­vised 26-storey condo by the Adi De­vel­op­ment Group dur­ing a spe­cial meet­ing of coun­cil on Oct. 24, 2016.

Re­vi­sions to the orig­i­nal pro­posal, at 375 and 380 Martha St., in­cluded a re­duc­tion in height from 28 storeys to 26, but an in­crease in res­i­den­tial units from 226 to 240.

Adi CEO Tariq Adi has said his pro­posal is in keep­ing with the plan­ning for the down­town, not­ing Burling­ton coun­cil had pre­vi­ously ap­proved a 22-storey Bridge­wa­ter lux­ury ho­tel and condo on the wa­ter­front, just south of Adi’s land.

The city’s re­sponse is it is a land­mark site for the down­town.

Fri­day’s hear­ing saw clos­ing ar­gu­ments from so­lic­i­tors Denise Baker (rep­re­sent­ing Adi); Quinto An­ni­bale (Burling­ton); Anna Tou­ma­ni­ans (Car­riage Gate Homes); and Sa­man­tha Lam­pert (Sun Life/ Martha Ter­race).

Baker made the point that Adi’s de­vel­op­ment pro­posal was ask­ing for in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion in an iden­ti­fied ur­ban growth cen­tre, not out­side it or in any sec­ondary cen­tres or ar­eas.

“I am not say­ing here any­thing goes. There still needs to be con­sid­er­a­tion of ques­tions of com­pat­i­bil­ity, which … re­flects the im­pact on the lo­cal com­mu­nity,” she said.

“How­ever, that assess­ment must oc­cur within the con­text of the provin­cial pol­icy for in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion, par­tic­u­larly… within the ur­ban growth cen­tre.”

She ar­gued the city’s of­fi­cial plan (OP) was “out­dated” and it wouldn’t meet the provin­cially man­dated tar­get of 200 peo­ple/jobs per hectare within the ur­ban growth cen­tre, “based on the city’s own num­bers and no (city) wit­ness dis­puted that.”

An­ni­bale re­but­ted by say­ing if the city’s num­bers are just shy of the tar­gets, then the city’s po­si­tion would be an ad­just­ment of the in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion strat­egy should oc­cur through a com­pre­hen­sive re­view and not on a site-by-site ba­sis.

The site of the de­vel­op­ment pro­posal at Martha Street is orig­i­nally zoned for four storeys with an op­tion to go to eight storeys with pro­vi­sions of com­mu­nity ben­e­fits un­der Sec­tion 37.

At the end of clos­ing ar­gu­ments, Schiller said she re­served her de­ci­sion in the mat­ter and all par­ties would get a copy of the writ­ten de­ci­sion when it is is­sued.

How­ever, she added, given the pres­sures on the OMB’s sched­ule, she was un­able to say when a de­ci­sion can be ex­pected, but it would come out as “rea­son­ably as pos­si­ble.”

“It will come out as rea­son­ably pos­si­ble for a time to con­sider the sub­stan­tial is­sues in this mat­ter and to reach not sim­ply a bot­tom line de­ci­sion, but an ap­pro­pri­ate de­ci­sion that clearly deals with the board’s rea­son­ing in the mat­ter and makes it clear to ev­ery­one why the board has reached the de­ci­sion it may reach,” she added.

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