Nautique’s condo fate is now in hands of OMB
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She argued the city’s official plan (OP) was “outdated” and it wouldn’t meet the provincially mandated target of 200 people/jobs per hectare within the urban growth centre, “based on the city’s own numbers and no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.