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Speaking with the developer

Developer Feedback

The intent of St. Luke’s Precinct website is to inform residents of this current development and future developments that challenge the character of the neighbourhood. In order to give the developers a voice, we have provided this section. We will post their letters and comments as well as comment. Please join in the conversation in the comment section below.

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Comment by Maurice Desrochers — Developer — May 10, 2013

Thanks Ruth for your comment. Finally someone who gets it. Its not all about having single family homes that makes the hood what it is. Its about the vibrance and quaintness and great architecture that make people walk around a neighbourhood and admire properties. People walking their dogs. Great gardens, kids playing, neighbours chatting, beautiful churches, music playing,people laughing. That’s what makes the hood. I see it everyday when I chat with the people that walk in front of my Ginger Bread House and admire the multi unit building that I saved. Do you really think that it hurts the hood because it’s not a single family home.I have people that come to live at one of my homes in the core from all over the world and comment on our safe vibrant downtown and love the beautiful old homes. There are great examples of semi detached homes in the hood that add allot of character to the neighbour hood.
I have been taken back by the disrespectful remarks about my integrety and my motives in redeveloping this parcel of land. You all need to remember, I am a part of this community also and am planning on leaving a possitve legacy behind that burlington can be proud of. I think you all need to really think about what it is that we really want. I’m not the enomy here. We need to work as a team and find a way to this zoning thing and also introduce some good positve change if there’s going to be change.
I encourage everyone to attend our open house at the city hall Saturday from 10-1130 am.
PS Please excuse any spelling errors, Thank you!

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Neighbours of St. Luke’s Precinct Response

Thanks Maurice,
Clearly you don’t understand The Neighbour’s of St. Luke’s perspective. It’s not about you.

1. It’s about any developer changing the zoning to build a denser form
2. Changing a zoning that has been recognized as unique, significant and worthy of protection to the community and the city is a shame
3. Changing the zoning will invite future speculators and developers to also push the zoning aside to build even less appropriate forms

It’s not about gingerbread homes. It’s not about ugly homes. It’s about keeping the zoning in place.

Within the zoning laws, you have the prerogative to build detached single family houses on those lots without issue. Proposing to change the laws for an alternate form is the issue.

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Letter From the Developer, Maurice Desrochers — May 2, 2013

I appreciate your concern. You are totally misinformed and misinforming your neighbours. This is a site specific zoning change and does not affect the zoning in the rest of the neighbourhood, nor does it affect the neighbourhood in a negative way.

You have not even seen what the new proposal is. Its leading edge and a great example of good positive change .I trust that you will be impressed when you see the new proposal. Even some of the new single homes in the core are not a good example of tying in with the neighbourhood. I look forward to seeing you on the 11th.

Best regards,
Maurice Desrochers

 

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Neighbours of St. Luke’s Precinct Response

Mr. Desroshers,

Thank you for your letter. Your effort to connect is much appreciated as is making yourself available to discuss the project with residents on Saturday May 11th at the city.

In response to your note we understand that the city grants zone changes site specific. However, we all know that they consider the zoning of an area or neighbourhood by the type of zoning around it. This raises a number of concerns:

1. the city  worked with the province’s mandate of intensification to conclude that the St. Luke’s Precinct was a unique and cohesively zoned area that should be protected from changes that could effect character  — concluding that the Precinct should keep it’s contiguous zoning. This means they recognize the significance of site specific zoning as it effects the broader area. Therefore, a change of zone in one lot will effect all lots and tear apart the precinct’s status.

2. area residents have seen how site specific zone changes in their neighbourhoods have come back to haunt them when developments have applied and were granted site specific zoning and character changes. Recent examples can be cited. The reality is that a single zone change is significant as it heavily influences the future decision making of council when they consider impact of change on each site by site occasion.

For these reasons we believe there is no misrepresentation. We are being clear that the zoning change will effect the entire Precinct. Anyone who suggests otherwise is being naive or hiding the reality of the precedent that is set by site specific changes.

In the end your new proposal, if still requiring a zone change to a higher density away from single family dwellings, is the first disastrous destabilizing step for the neighbourhood that will be irreversible. It will invite future developers to speculate by buying groups of homes for dense developments and leave us with no defence as we will have lost our precinct’s unique cohesive zoning as currently recognized by the city.

Lastly you address aesthetic. In your initial meeting with residents you focused solely on the positive nature of your aesthetic and believe it is a fit. I’m certain this next proposal will be aesthetically well considered too.

The challenge is that though you believe your aesthetic to be superior to others and that there should be an ideal — citing that there is infill that doesn’t meet your standards — the reality is that this neighbourhood consists of many looks and home sizes; a diverse aesthetic that has evolved over time. This is a natural process that is central to the beauty of the area and a direct result of the single family home zoning.

The single family home zoning influences the process by maintaining a graceful influx of home buyers that purchase because they love the Precinct and appreciate the nature of the place. Then some renovate, some replace — but all one home at a time to an outcome that though eclectic, is importantly slow and to scale with the neighbourhood. A scale both in the size of the homes but more importantly the scale of disruption. One home on one street being renovated or rebuilt is limited in its disruption — in all senses. One home at a time upsets a minimal in terms of traffic, emotions, neighbourhood people’s relationships and families. One home at a time is not divisive to the people.

A development of a number of homes — a whole street block — that hopes to change the zoning tears a hole in a neighbourhood. It is destabilizing. It changes character. It divides people. It disrupts daily lives and flow and demands all people accomodate and change for the needs of the development.

Your proposed development, and any similar future development that needs zone changes, will do more than change the look of the street. It will divide the neighbourhood and force everyone to change the way they live, and the way they relate to each other. It will erase what generations have loved about the downtown core’s neighbourhoods.

This is why a growing number of neighbours have concluded that this type of development is destructive and misguided.

— The Neighbours of St.Luke’s Precinct

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'4 Responses to “Speaking with the developer”'
  1. Ruth Thoem says:

    I note that commenter’s name is required, but am unable find any names behind “The Neighbours of St. Luke’s Precinct”. Perhaps I missed these on your website.
    Could you please introduce yourselves?
    Thanks!

    • admin says:

      The commenter’s name is required as great way to ensure some sort of civility in the communication. I believe the Neighbours and moderators of this site are demonstrating that too. There are so many neighbours assisting in this effort that we simply can’t name them all. Myself, I’m just a moderator and website manager for the group. If you’d like to meet a few of us, I suggest you come to the community meeting this coming Saturday May 11 at city hall.

      You do raise an interesting question with your suggestion of transparency. Perhaps those behind Maurice Desrochers development — those financing and owning the development should introduce themselves. They are truly the non-disclosed participants. We’re all around you in clear view.

  2. Tony says:

    Mr. Desrochers says “Even some of the new single homes in the core are not a good example of tying in with the neighbourhood”. Which homes please?

  3. Sara says:

    Brilliant response from the Neighbours of St. Lukes.

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Popular
Update – Jan 25, 2016
Public Meeting: January 25 on proposed redevelopment of 546 Burlington at Caroline Street Date: January 25, 6:30pm Room 247 2nd Floor ------ Resident's of St. Luke's Precinct, please support your neighbourhood by attending this meeting and voice your opinion about this proposed project that threatens to shrink house side yards, back yards and setbacks in order to fit 3 houses on a current single home lot. This is a precedent setting set of amendments for the St. Luke's Precinct. Hang on to reasonable amendments and use of your by-laws and protect your hood.
Update – Oct 20, 2014

Public meeting Nov 13 on proposed redevelopment of Locust/Elgin
Date: Nov 13, 7pm, Rm 305, City Hall
------
Residents of St. Luke's Precinct, please attend this meeting and voice your opinion on this development that so far proposes to require zoning changes. Zone changes anywhere within the precinct will cause a precedent of further zone change as stated by planning. Hang on to your zoning and protect your hood.

Stay tuned for more info.

Update – Sept 26, 2014

A neighbour of the St. Luke's Precinct has informed us that surveyors have been measuring the Dalewood Apartments property at 1367 Elgin Street.

Part or all if this property is owned by Maurice Desrochers development group / Executive Furnished Rentals. Desrochers has previously indicated a desire to rezone this property for 8 story condominiums.

A site rezone of this nature would mean a precedent rezone for the whole precinct.

Stay tuned for more information.

Update – Sept 12, 2014
510 Hager Avenue / New Home Build — Late summer, the city received the site plan application/plans for the second Mattwood house on Hager Ave. This is the lot(s) originally proposed as townhomes/semis by Mattwood but the Neighbours of St. Luke's expressed discomfort for the zone change and appealed to the builder to do single detached builds.
Update – June 4, 2014

Confirmation from the city is that the developer is intending on building 2 detached single family homes. They have begun the first on the south most lot but have yet to propose a plan for the 2nd. This first house will conform to the current zoning and needs only minor variance approval.