St. Lukes Precinct » Blog Archive » Proposed Townhouse Development


Proposed Townhouse Development

A Threat to Burlington culture; our lifestyle, our history and self control

In the heart of the St. Luke’s Precinct, a rich cultural neighbourhood in old downtown Burlington, an investor group lead by Maurice Desrochers of Burlington Furnished Rentals is planning on rezoning the area to redevelop the portion of Caroline Street between Burlington Avenue and Hager Avenue.

Currently the group owns a large number of homes in the downtown core which it rents out as short term executive suites. Among these rental residences are approximately 6 homes on adjacent detached single family lots along the north side of Caroline which are the focus of their redevelopment. The group has presented a plan to tear down the homes and build multi-level townhouses and increase the dwelling density to 8 or more units on this land.

To do this, the group must first apply to the city to change the site zoning from detached single family dwellings to a new higher density zoning for multi-level attached homes.

Downtown Councillor Marianne Meed-Ward and members of the city staff along with residents attended a discovery meeting held by the group late in 2012 where they presented their ideas and exterior visuals. No floor plans or specifics to square feet or lot coverages were provided. Marianne Meed-Ward attained images of the proposed elevations and currently hosts these pictures on her website here:

What does this mean to you?

It’s simple.

In order to make this happen, the developer needs to submit an application to the city to change the site zoning which will impact the zoning of this neighbourhood forever.

It will require changing the zoning to a higher density and a land use that cannot be reversed.

The changed zoning will domino and  allow for potentially any form of higher density buildings.

Allowing the change of zoning will signal to other prospecting developers and builders that the downtown is amenable to change and may create a precedent for further zone change and intensification. The reality is the current zoning is what the neighbourhood is made of — the soul. A change from this soul, this way of living, will lose the identity and what we love about our St. Luke’s Precinct.

Find out how to save St. Luke’s Precinct.


'3 Responses to “Proposed Townhouse Development”'
  1. Marianne Meed Ward says:

    Just to clarify the proposal is for semi-detached units, not townhouses.

    I am working to host a neighbourhood meeting in May with the developer to discuss the proposal, and give residents a chance to provide your input. The designs and elevations have changed since the initial public meeting in 2012, although semi-detached are still proposed.

    I’ll let residents know once that date is in the calendar.

    • admin says:

      Thanks for your clarification and engagement Marianne,
      My understanding is that Burlington among other municipalities define Townhouse loosely to mean a dwelling that shares a common part of a building or wall — in this case a common party wall. Definitions aside, what residents are concerned with is not the name of the dwelling, rather the rezoning of the entire downtown to allow for this land use. People are expressing grave concern that once we give up our single family home zoning (which means a single detached home per lot) and allow a change to a higher density zoning, any and all names of dwellings will be inevitable; Semi’s, towns, stacked towns, low rise apartment buildings. A zone change means any future zone changes will be easier too.

      What we have that makes up our neighbourhood — the concept that makes it unique to old Burlington — is its zoning. That’s all. Give this up and give up the character and history of this wonderful place we love.

      As a side note Burlington defines Townhouse this way:

      Townhouse, Street

      Means a building containing not less than 2 and not more than 8 dwelling units and is separated from each adjoining unit by a common or party wall above grade. Such common or party wall may enclose a heated or unheated portion of the dwelling unit or a combination thereof, provided that:

      (a) Individual dwelling units shall be on a separate Lot (including Parcel
      of Tied Land) with frontage on a public street;

      (b) Every dwelling unit shall have at least one separate outside entrance;

      (c) Every interior dwelling unit having a width of 6.8 m or greater,
      shall have a 90 cm wide grade level access between the front and
      rear yards, which is separate from any habitable areas of the unit.

      I believe a semi would fall within this definition being it is 2 units but not less than 2. Let us know and we’ll gladly correct the references.

  2. Jim in the Core says:

    Well all I can say is great. The more expensive they are and the better they look, will do nothing but raise the value of our properties. Currently there are several very ugly houses of no significant historical value.

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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.