Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown

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In early 2019, Burlington City Council directed City staff to re-examine the downtown policies in Burlington’s adopted Official Plan.

By the fall of 2020, Burlington City Council will vote to endorse changes to the policies in Burlington’s adopted Official Plan that guide development in the downtown until 2031, including the height and density of buildings.

To assist Council in making their decision, the City is committed to leading an open and transparent public engagement process to ensure the voices of people from every corner of the city are heard and valued.

Please register with Get Involved Burlington and subscribe to this project page for details about opportunities to provide your meaningful input.

The downtown belongs to all of us. Let’s work together to make the core of our city the best it can be.

In early 2019, Burlington City Council directed City staff to re-examine the downtown policies in Burlington’s adopted Official Plan.

By the fall of 2020, Burlington City Council will vote to endorse changes to the policies in Burlington’s adopted Official Plan that guide development in the downtown until 2031, including the height and density of buildings.

To assist Council in making their decision, the City is committed to leading an open and transparent public engagement process to ensure the voices of people from every corner of the city are heard and valued.

Please register with Get Involved Burlington and subscribe to this project page for details about opportunities to provide your meaningful input.

The downtown belongs to all of us. Let’s work together to make the core of our city the best it can be.

  • April 2020 - Update on Official Plan Timelines

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    01 May 2020

    The release of modified policies and associated reports has been delayed. The City will work towards releasing this work later this spring, and scheduling a public meeting to consider these materials in fall 2020. A more detailed timeline will be shared soon.

  • Update on Official Plan timelines

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    27 Mar 2020

    Official Plan Update

    Over the past few months, the Official Plan project team with help from planning firm, SGL Planning and Design, have been working on developing detailed policies. The endorsed land use vision and built form concept for the Downtown was largely endorsed by Council this past January. The detailed policies were going to be available for public review during the week of March 23rd and presented to Council in April 2020 as recommended modifications to the policies of the Adopted Official Plan. However, these timelines have been delayed to protect the public and City staff and to help minimize the spread of COVID-19 virus, the City has closed facilities, including City Hall. These closures and workplace changes have had an impact on the project timeline. As a result, the public release of the detailed policies and associated reports will be delayed.

    The detailed policies will now be released at the end of April and the Public Meeting will be scheduled for the fall.

    The City recognizes the work of the Scoped Re-examination of the Adopted Official Plan is vitally important to continue to move forward. The City remains committed to ensuring the public has the full ability to comment on the detailed policies and for this reason, the associated timelines have been changed.


  • Save the Date: April 14, 2020 - Official Plan Amendment for the Downtown policies

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    26 Feb 2020

    Stay Tuned:

    In advance of the Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility Committee Meeting on April 14, Staff will be releasing the Official Plan Amendment for the Downtown policies in the Adopted Official Plan for public review and input during the week of March 23rd. The policies included in the Official Plan Amendment will be uploaded here by the end of the day on March 23rd. Anyone who has provided their email address or delegated at Committee on the project will receive an email notice containing a link to the policies.


  • Save the Date: April 14, 2020

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    07 Feb 2020

    On Jan. 27, Council endorsed a land use vision and built form concept for downtown. Planning staff, working with SGL Planning and Design, will now begin developing detailed policies to implement the endorsed vision and concept.

    These will be presented to Council as recommended modifications to the policies of the adopted Official Plan at the April 14, 2020 meeting of Community Planning, Regulation, and Mobility Committee, beginning at 9:30a.m. Members of the public can speak at this meeting without needing to register in advance. Council will be asked to endorse the modifications so they can be sent to the Region of Halton for a final decision.

    Members of the public can still provide comments that will inform policy development. Please submit comments by February 14, 2020:

    • By email to newop@burlington.ca
    • By mail or in person to Thomas Douglas, Planner, Community Planning Department, 426 Brant Street, L7R 3Z6.





  • Burlington City Council endorses a land use vision and concept for downtown Burlington, as part of the adopted Official Plan

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    31 Jan 2020

    On Jan. 27, 2020, City Council endorsed the land use vision and built form concept that had been put forward in report PL-02-20, subject to a few elements of the concept that Council directed staff to further consider between now and April 2020. The details of Council’s decision are contained in item 10.2 of the Council minutes.

    view the appendix of the vision and concept in Appendix A of PL-02-20

    Review the minutes or watch the recording of Jan. 16 meeting

    Next steps

    Planning staff, working with SGL Planning and Design, will now begin developing detailed policies to implement the endorsed land use vision and built form concept for the downtown.

    These will be presented to Council in April 2020, as recommended modifications to the policies of the adopted Official Plan. The date and time of the April 2020 meeting will be communicated once confirmed.

    Opportunity to have your say

    Members of the public can still provide comments that will inform the project.

    Comments must be submitted no later than Friday, Feb. 14, 2020:

    By mail or in person to “Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown”, care of Thomas Douglas, Planner, Community Planning Department, 426 Brant St, L7R 3Z6.


    On Jan. 16, 2020, City staff presented report PL-02-20 to the Community Planning, Regulation, and Mobility (CPRM) Committee of Council. This report and its appendices are available online at both www.getinvolvedburlington.ca/official-plan-2019 and www.burlington.ca/newop.

    Report PL-02-20 recommended that Council endorse a land use vision and built form concept for downtown Burlington, developed by the City’s consultants SGL Planning and Design. The recommended concept was informed by several inputs including public feedback, technical studies, and an understanding of existing and approved development in the downtown.










  • Recommendation Report on Preliminary Preferred Concept, and Release of Technical Studies

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    09 Jan 2020

    Staff recommendation report PL-02-20 is now available for review. This report will be presented to the Community Planning, Regulation, and Mobility Committee of Council on January 16, 2020 at 1 p.m. and continuing in the evening session at 6:30 p.m.

    The report recommends that Council endorse the land use vision and “preliminary preferred concept” for downtown. The recommendation is based on the evaluation of two preliminary concepts presented for public feedback in fall 2019, which was informed by several inputs including public feedback, technical studies, and an understanding of existing and approved development in the downtown. The details of the preliminary preferred concept, including maps and diagrams, can be found in Appendix A of the report.

    Appendices B, C, and D contain reports that have been previously published on this website but have not been formally transmitted to Council until now.

    Appendix E contains a new Feedback report documenting the October-December 2019 public engagement period.

    Appendices F1 and F2 provide responses to stakeholder submissions on the project that the project team received up to December 5, 2019.


    The meeting will provide an opportunity for input from the public and City Council. To register as a delegate to speak to Council at the meeting, please visit burlington.ca/delegate.

    The project team is also pleased to release the technical studies that have been completed to date. A brief summary of each study is available here. The full studies can be accessed in the Document Library. The technical reports posted to date will be reviewed by appropriate agencies and further refined, as needed. Completed studies will be transmitted to Council as part of SGL’s final report in the Spring of 2020.

  • Save the Date: Jan. 16, 2020

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    17 Dec 2019

    Preferred Concept going to Committee of Council


    On Jan. 16, 2020, Planning staff will present a report to the Planning and Development Committee recommending a land use vision and concept for the future built form of the downtown. This recommendation will be based on the evaluation of two preliminary concepts that were presented for public feedback in fall 2019.

    For information about the recommended concept and the Jan. 16 meeting, where it will be presented, please visit getinvolvedburlington.ca and subscribe for project updates (using the “subscribe” form at the bottom of the page).

    In early January 2020, staff will publish:
    • The recommended concept
    •The evaluation of the two preliminary concepts
    • Details about the Jan. 16 meeting
    • Information about how to register to delegate at the Jan. 16 meeting.

    To subscribe for email notifications on the Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown project, please email newop@burlington.ca with a request to be added to the project mailing list.



  • Information Report to Planning and Development Committee - December 5, 2019 at 9:30 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. and reconvene at 6:30 p.m.

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    26 Nov 2019

    Upcoming Council Discussion

    Discussion about the re-examination of the downtown policies in the adopted Official Plan will continue at a Burlington City Council Planning and Development Committee meeting on Thursday, Dec. 5 at 9:30 a.m. at City Hall in Council Chambers at 426 Brant St.

    City Council will consider a staff report

    At the meeting, City staff will:

    • provide an overview of the project
    • present a report, PB-89-19: Taking a Closer Look at Downtown: Concepts Discussion, that highlights the themes, principles and land-use concepts developed to show two possible concepts for how downtown Burlington could accommodate growth and development in the future
    • share a preliminary review of the public feedback received to date and preliminary directions.

    Register to speak at the meeting:

    The meeting will also provide an opportunity for input from the public and City Council. To register as a delegate to speak to Council at the meeting, please visit burlington.ca/delegate. Opportunities to delegate in the evening at 6:30 p.m. are also available. Register to speak to Council by Weds. Dec 4 at 12:00 noon.






  • Just Added *Drop-in Sessions* to review the two proposed concepts

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    06 Nov 2019

    Thank you to everyone who took the time to attend an Action Lab over the last few weeks to review and share your thoughts on the two future concepts of downtown Burlington. Revising the downtown policies in Burlington’s adopted Official Plan is complicated and we appreciate your continued commitment to participating in the discussion and the process. The feedback shared at the Action Labs and through the online survey will help City staff identify which aspects of the two concepts you like and dislike so that they can develop a third concept which will be presented to City Council in January 2020.

    If you did not have a chance to attend an Action Lab but would still like an opportunity to meet with a City planner to review the two proposed concepts, please drop by a pop-up event on the following days:

    Friday, Nov. 8 from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at City Hall, room 305

    Tuesday, Nov. 12 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at City Hall, room 305

    Friday, Nov. 15 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at City Hall, room 307

    These informal drop-in sessions will provide participants with an opportunity to:

    1. Review the work done to date on the project
    2. Ask questions about the two concepts
    3. Talk to a planner





  • Report outlining the 2 Concepts are now available

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    28 Oct 2019

    This report presents an updated vision for Downtown Burlington and a Land Use map with revised precincts, and introduces two different concepts for how the downtown vision can be achieved with different development approaches in each precinct.

    The report also explains how the vision, precincts, and concepts were created based on public feedback received in August-September, as well as technical studies and consideration for the need to conform with regional and provincial policy.

    Survey is live and open until end of day on November 19th.