Interim Control By-Law Land Use Study – Burlington, ON

In March 2019, Burlington City Council passed an Interim Control By-law (ICBL) to temporarily restrict the development of lands in the Downtown Burlington Urban Growth Centre and the lands in proximity to Burlington GO Station. The ICBL in Burlington was triggered in response to emerging concerns over development applications with intensities significantly higher than those anticipated in the current Official Plan. Dillon led the completion of this Interim Control By-Law Land Use Study which was completed within a one year period.

An Interim Control By-Law (ICBL) is a Planning Act tool (s.38) available to municipal council to prohibit the use of land, buildings or structure within a defined area while undertaking a review or study in respect of land use planning policies. In addition to the ICBL, the City identified the need to clarify the role and function of the John Street Bus Terminal as a Major Transit Station Area, which had been used in part as the basis for a recent Ontario Municipal Board Decision, which allowed for a 26 storey high-rise building, where the Official Plan called for up to a maximum of 8 storeys.

Burlington ICBL study area
Photo of GO Train at station

The purpose of the ICBL Study was to:

  • Assess the role and function of the downtown bus terminal and the Burlington GO station on Fairview Street as Major Transit Station Areas
  • Examine the planning structure, land use mix and intensity for the lands identified in the study area
  • As required, provide recommendations to the City on updates to the Official Plan and Zoning bylaw regulations for the lands identified in the study area.

The work included a multi-modal transportation analysis and comparison of the transit supportive characteristics of Downtown Burlington and the Burlington GO Station Area to other areas across the GTHA. Our recommendations ultimately hinged on appropriate infrastructure for the level of future development and transit supportive policies.

In completing this project, Dillon had to interpret and navigate a complex policy environment from the provincial, regional, and municipal levels. We were asked to evaluate the status of Downtown Burlington as an MTSA, given ambiguous definitions for MTSAs in provincial policy. We worked closely with the City reviewing their OP and Zoning By-laws and providing advise on any changes based on the ICBL study.

Project Details

Project Partner: City of Burlington
Business Unit: Community Strategies
Service Offering: Community Planning