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( A • C • T )







Policies and Regulations for Senior’s Housing

City of Burlington

Burlington, Ontario

Prepared for:

Federation of Canadian Municipalities Canadian Home Builders’ Association

Canadian Housing and Renewal Association Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Prepared by:

Energy Pathways Inc. Ottawa, Ontario

October 1995

This case study was funded by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, but the views expressed are the personal views of the authors and the Corporation accepts no responsibility for them.




The project documented in this case study

received funding assistance under the A ff o rdability and Choice Today (A•C•T) P rogram. A•C•T is a joint initiative, managed by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Canadian Home Builders’ Association, and the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association, together with the funding agency Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. The A•C•T Pro g r a m is administered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

A • C • T, which was launched in January, 1990, was designed to foster changes to planning and building regulations and residential development approval procedures in order to improve housing aff o rd a b i l i t y, choice and quality.

T h rough A • C • T, grants are awarded to municipalities, private and non-pro f i t builders and developers, planners and architects to undertake innovative regulatory reform initiatives in municipalities acro s s Canada. Three types of projects are awarded grants under the A•C•T Pr o g r a m : Demonstration Projects, Stre a m l i n e d A p p roval Process Projects, and Case Studies (of existing initiatives).

• Demonstration Projects involve the c o n s t ruction of innovative housing that demonstrates how modifications to planning and construction regulations can improve affordability, choice and quality.

• S t reamlined Approval Process Pro j e c t s involve development of a method or a p p roach thatreduces the time and eff o r t needed to obtain approvals for housing projects.

• Case Study grants are awarded for the documentation of existing re g u l a t o r y reform initiatives.

Change and innovation re q u i re the participation of all the players in the housing sector. A•C•T provides a unique opportunity for groups at the local level to work together to identify housing concerns, reach consensus on potential solutions, and implement action. C o n s e q u e n t l y, a key component of A • C • T-s p o n T-s o red projectT-s iT-s the participation and cooperation of various players in the housing sector in all phases of each project, fro m development to realization.

All projects awarded a grant under the A•C•T Program are documented as case studies in order to share information on the initiatives and the benefits of re g u l a t o r y reform with other Canadian communities. Each case study discusses the re g u l a t o r y reform initiative, its goals and the lessons learned. Where appropriate, the cost savings resulting from modifications in various planning, development, and constru c t i o n regulations are calculated and reported.








1.1 Factors Prompting Regulatory Review . . . 1

1.2 Project Objectives . . . 2


2.1 Zoning By-law Review and Amendment Process . . . 3

2.1.1 Consultation Process . . . 3

2.2 Zoning By-law Amendments . . . 4

2.2.1 Definitions . . . 4

2.2.2 Permitted Uses . . . 7

2.2.3 Height . . . 7

2.2.4 Density and Minimum Unit Size . . . 7

2.2.5 Parking . . . 9


3.1 Location . . . 11

3.2 Demographics . . . 11

Figure 1. Burlington’s Location in South Central Ontario . . . 12

3.3 Burlington’s Housing Stock . . . 13








By the early 1990s, the City of Burlington in

Ontario had zoning policies and re g u l a t i o n s for seniors' housing that were considerably out-of-date. Consequently, applications for housing projects for seniors were handled on an ad hoc basis, resulting in inconsistent outcomes and a time-consuming process. Demographic trends indicated that Burlington faced an increasingly aging population, and could expect a c o r responding increase in demand for housing that would respond to the needs of seniors. The need to update the City's zoning by-law with respect to policies and regulations for seniors' housing was re a d i l y apparent.

In addition to these pressing factors, municipal policies and planning documents already in place helped to provide the City's Planning Department staff with the necessary d i rectives for undertaking a compre h e n s i v e review of municipal zoning by-law policies and regulations for seniors' housing. This review was part of Planning staf f ' s continuing efforts to stre a m l i n e development approvals and ongoing implementation of City Council's strategic plan.

The overall objectives of the review were to b roaden af f o rdable housing options available to seniors within the municipality, and to update, clarify and streamline zoning policies and regulations for seniors' housing. S t a ff drafted a detailed report in 1992 that p rovided an in-depth review of existing zoning policies and regulations. Much of the background research necessary for the report

had already been completed, as a result of the applications for seniors' housing that staff had processed in preceding years. The amendment report served to bring together this information and staff's recommendations into one package.

The review included consultation with community agencies and groups intere s t e d in the provision of housing for seniors: • Burlington Housing and Development

Liaison Committee

• Burlington Seniors' Advisory Committee • Central Park Seniors' Advisory


• Club Nine Seniors' Social Club

• Elderly Services Advisory Committee of Halton Region (ESAC)

• Halton Non-Profit Housing Corporation • Halton Region Planning and

Development Department • Hamilton-Halton Home


Several by-law amendments were required to update, clarify and streamline the municipality's zoning regulations for seniors' housing. The amendments were adopted by City Council in May 1993 and came into effect at the end of June 1993.


The amendments extended the types of seniors' housing that could be permitted "as of right," thereby reducing the approval time to approximately one third of that previously experienced; introduced new types of seniors' housing not formerly addressed in the by-law, in order to widen the range of choice;

and reduced or clarified development s t a n d a rds where appropriate. The amendments will help Burlington to meet its b road objective of increasing housing a ff o rdability and choice for seniors in the community.


1.1 Factors Prompting Regulatory Review

Demographic trends indicate that the City of Burlington, located in Southern Ontario, will face an increasing demand in coming years for housing that responds to the needs of seniors. Since the 1960s, there has been a considerable shift from families with young c h i l d ren to a much higher portion of the population between the ages of 55 and 74. During the next several years, seniors will be the fastest growing segment of Burlington's population.

By the early 1990s, the approval process for seniors' housing projects was very cumbersome and time-consuming. Existing zoning policies and regulations did not adequately address many aspects of seniors' housing, which resulted in applications for these types of housing projects being treated on an ad hoc and site-specific basis. C o n s e q u e n t l y, various provisions of the zoning by-law pertaining to seniors' housing w e re being applied in an inconsistent m a n n e r, such as definitions, density requirements and parking standards.

Burlington's 1969 Official Plan and its strategic plan, Future Focus, encourage and support housing for senior citizens. The Official Plan permits facilities such as "homes for the aged" or private nursing homes in a reas designated for high and medium density, with the intent that these facilities be located on the periphery of the areas rather than internally. The plan states, as part of the City's policies for the downtown district, that senior citizen housing should be encouraged within the downtown area, to take advantage of the proximity to a wide range of commercial and social services. The City also

intends that neighbourhoods be characterized by mixed development of various housing forms.

F u t u re Focus presents a framework for a d d ressing municipal issues and identifies principles and actions. It complements the O fficial Plan and was first adopted by City Council in 1988, with a revised version approved in 1991. This document specifically directs City Council to provide new planning policies and standards as a means of supporting the efforts of community and public housing organizations. Two directives in particular pertain to seniors' housing: • City Council will encourage and support the

efforts of the public and private sectors to p rovide for the specialized housing needs of g roups such as seniors and the physically disabled.

By developing new planning policies and standards, City Council will support the efforts of community groups and public agencies responsible for providing housing by developing new planning standards. These would include agencies operating gro u p homes, housing co-ops and the Region of Halton Non-Profit Housing Corporation.

Given these policy directives and Burlington's aging population, the City's planning department staff considered it timely to review the zoning by-laws and the a p p roval processes that can affect seniors' housing projects to identify limitations and inconsistencies. Before the review was initiated, planning staff had already gained considerable insight into the issues and regulations that needed to be addre s s e d , based on an analysis of applications that had been processed in recent years. In 1992,


pianning staff initiated a detailed re v i e w which resulted in recommendations and subsequent changes to policies and regulations for seniors' housing.

The A•C•T Program awarded a grant to the City of Burlington in December 1993, so that its work could be documented for the benefit of other municipalities.

1.2 Project Objectives

In consultation with community and non-p rofit organizations, the City reviewed its policies and regulations to facilitate the development of housing that would meet seniors' needs.

The project was designed primarily to address regulations that have a direct bearing on the land development approval pro c e s s . S p e c i f i c a l l y, the City wanted to update its regulations for seniors' housing to achieve the following:

• Streamline and standardize the approvals process

• Set consistent standards for approval Changes to these regulations would also have an indirect impact in improving the planning and design of seniors' housing.

Challenges for the 1990s

Burlington's main housing challenges for the 1990s: To open up new residential lands with a significant

component of medium and high density housing • To find ways to accommodate the varying housing

needs of seniors and the elderly

• To encourage the construction of innovative housing styles geared to the changing lifestyle and family arrangements increasingly in evidence in Burlington • To find ways of significantly increasing the stock of rental accommodation, "starter homes", and for those who require it, assisted housing

—Future Focus Section 5.1, 1991 Strategic Plan


2.1 Zoning By-law Review and Amendment Process

The City of Burlington's Planning Department staff initiated the review of municipal policies and regulations regarding seniors' housing by drafting a detailed report, entitled Housekeeping A m e n d m e n t s - P o l i c i e s and Regulations for Senior Citizens' Housing.1

In the report, planning staff examined seniors' housing alternatives and identified those that already existed in Burlington. Staff reviewed the City's zoning regulations to identify deficiencies and inconsistencies pertaining to seniors' housing, in order to determine the changes re q u i red and make recommendations. The report included sections on the following factors:

• Demographic, municipal planning and administrative factors prompting the review

• Various types of seniors' housing to be considered

• C u r rent City policies and standar d s regarding seniors' housing

• P roposed amendments to Burlington's zoning regulations for seniors' housing

• The purpose of the amendments

• Planning staff's re c o m m e n d a t i o n s concerning all proposed revisions to Burlington's zoning by-law

2.1.1 Consultation Process

As part of the review process, the Planning Department consulted with local community agencies and groups that have an interest in the provision of housing for seniors. The consultation process helped the department to assess community needs and to determine if these needs would be met by the proposed amendments. The report was sent to the following organizations early in September 1992 for review and comment:

• Burlington Housing and Development Liaison Committee

• Burlington Seniors' Advisory Committee • Central Park Seniors' A d v i s o r y


• Club Nine Seniors' Social Club

• Elderly Services Advisory Committee of Halton Region (ESAC)

• Halton Non-Profit Housing Corporation • Halton Region Planning and

Development Department

• Hamilton-Halton Home Builders' Association

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1 A copy of the report can be obtained from Brian

C h i re; Senior Planner, Development; Planning Department, City of Burlington; City Hall, 426 Brant Street, P.O. Box 5013, Burlington, Ontario, L7R 326, Tel: (905) 335-7787, Fax: (905) 335-7880.

A copy may also be obtained from the Canadian Housing Information Centre, 700 Montreal Road, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A OP7, Tel: (613) 748-2367, Fax: (613) 748-4069, TTY: (613) 748-2143.


Planning staff met with those groups that p rovided feedback for further discussion of the report and recommendations. The final report, produced in February 1993, includes an appendix that details agency and gro u p input and planning staff's response to each point raised.

All of the groups participating in the consultation process were notified of a public meeting to be held in March 1993 before p roposed amendments were submitted to City Council. A public notice, which a p p e a red in city newspapers in Febru a r y, advised citizens of the March meeting, the purpose of the zoning by-law amendments, the proposed revisions in general and the availability of the Planning Department's report.

City Council passed a resolution in May to proceed with the modifications to the zoning b y - l a w, and approved the amending by-law in June 1993.

2.2 Zoning By-law Amendments

N u m e rous amendments were made in the a reas of definitions, permitted uses, height, density and parking standards. The amending by-law is included in its entirety in Appendix A.

The amendments achieved the following: • Extended the range of seniors' housing

that would be permitted in certain zones "as of right", without the need for obtaining costly and time-consuming approvals

• Introduced new types of seniors' housing not formerly addressed in the by-law • Reduced standards development where


2.2.1 Definitions

The review indicated that a number of revisions to existing by-law definitions were required to accomplish the following:

• Update existing definitions to more p recisely reflect enabling legislation and policies governing seniors' housing

• Clarify existing terms not pr e v i o u s l y defined

• A d d ress inconsistencies in the use of terms

• Include definitions for additional types of seniors' housing

Identifying the community groups and having them involved in this process was one of the most important factors contributing to the success of this review. --Brian Chire Senior Planner, Development Planning Department City of Burlington


Planning staff proposed changes to update the two existing definitions in the by-law relating to seniors' housing ("nursing home" and "home for the aged"). "Nursing home" re q u i red a simple modification to update a reference to the Nursing Homes Act.

Planning staff considered Burlington's home for the aged definition to be too broad in scope. As it was, the definition could include buildings designed as, or converted to, s t a n d a rd seniors' apartments, rather than apply only to buildings that could be regulated under the province's Homes for the Aged Act or through administration by a public body. The definition was subsequently modified to reflect the narrower intent. The by-law had included re f e rences to "re s t home" and "convalescent home," but did not provide any definitions. Staff also noted that the terms "senior's apartment", "rest home", " re t i rement home" and "home for the aged" a p p e a red to be used inter c h a n g e a b l y. To a d d ress these shortcomings, and determine which additional terms needed to be defined in the regulations, staff provided details in the report on the wide variety of housing types and programs potentially available for seniors. They noted which types of housing existed in Burlington and needed to be included in the amending by-law, and which

ones were already addressed under other zoning by-law regulations.

In all, 12 housing types were discussed in the report:

• Nursing homes • Homes for the aged • Rest/retirement homes

• Publicly assisted seniors' apartments • Seniors' non-profit housing

• Privately assisted seniors' apartments • Retirement communities

• Private housing market/accessory units • Portable living units (garden suites) • Seniors' group homes

• Home-sharing

• Chronic care facilities2

The amended by-law includes the re v i s e d definitions for "Nursing Home" and "Home for the Aged" under the new heading "Seniors' Housing", along with definitions for " R e s t / R e t i rement Home", "Rest/Retire m e n t Dwelling Unit" and "Sponsored Seniors Residence". In the definition for R e s t / R e t i rement Home, the term "dwelling unit" is used, which in turn needed to be defined. Publicly assisted seniors' apartments, seniors' non- profit housing and

Nursing Homes

A nursing home in Ontario is defined in the pro v i n c i a l Nursing Homes Act as "any premises maintained and operated for persons requiring nursing care or in which such care is provided to two or more unrelated persons". These facilities do not come under the jurisdiction of other legislation, such as hospital acts or the Homes for the Aged and Rest Homes Act.

2 Chronic care facilities are defined as hospitals and

are already considered in the zoning by-law under that definition.


privately assisted seniors' apartments are all c o n s i d e red under the definition of "Sponsored Seniors Residence".3

Planning staff suggested that since retirement communities vary in nature and would re q u i re a site-specific analysis for each development application, policies and s t a n d a rds for this type of housing could not be included in the by-law.

In 1992, the Province of Ontario pro p o s e d amendments to its Planning Act to permit accessory apartments and to allow municipalities to develop regulations for the establishment and use of portable living units (i.e. "garden suites" or "granny flats"). Portable units are noted in the report as an innovative approach that has been used with varying degrees of success in some municipalities. For Burlington, the creation of an accessory dwelling unit within the main residence is considered a more practical approach, although the City is not opposed to

portable units. Planning staff addressed both accessory dwelling units and portable living units in a separate report to City Council in F e b ruary 1993 entitled "Apartments in Houses, which formed the City's response to the proposed provincial amendments.

The City's 1990 group home by-law allows g roup homes "as of right" in all re s i d e n t i a l zones. This type of seniors' housing therefore re q u i red no further consideration. (See Appendix B for Burlington's definition of "group home.")

The Ontario Ministry of Housing defines "home-sharing" as two or more unre l a t e d persons living in a common dwelling unit. Burlington's zoning by-law defines "family" as a person or group of persons sharing a single housekeeping unit. There is no requirement that these persons be related by blood or marriage, and there is no impediment, ther e f o re, to this living arrangement for seniors.

Two other definitions were addressed in the report. The City's definition of institutional uses required some minor changes, and staff recommended adding a definition for floor area. In the definition for institutional uses, a re f e rence to "homes for the aged or infirm" was revised to omit "or infirm" and to state that institutional uses "does not include a g roup home or correctional group home." Planning staff included a definition for "gross building floor area" to limit the size of rest/retirement homes based on floor area.

Homes for the Aged

A home for the aged facility in Ontario is operated by either a municipality or a non- profit charitable institution under the provincial Homes for the Aged and Rest Homes Act and the federal Charitable Institutions Act. Such homes provide various levels of personal or nursing care for persons 60 years of age or over, and they usually have self-contained units.

Burlington defined its homes for the aged as being a p p roved charitable institutions that provide re s i d e n t i a l , sheltered, specialized or group care for seniors, or a home operated under the Homes for the Aged and Rest Homes Act. The homes include accessory uses, such as club and lounge facilities.


2.2.2 Permitted Uses

The former by-law permitted homes for the aged "as of right" in all zones except development, industrial or single-family residential zones. Nursing homes were not allowed previously "as of right" in multiple-family residential zones. The amended by-law extends opportunities for seniors' housing by allowing nursing homes as a "use not restricted" as of right) in multiple-family residential zones.

One restriction included in the amendments p rohibits the location of nursing homes in "D" development zones. The by-law had allowed this use pre v i o u s l y, but most of Burlington's "D" zones are in rural areas not serviced with municipal water. Planning staff re g a rded the lack of a municipal water supply to these areas as a major disadvantage for nursing homes, which need a reliable and adequate supply to meet high-volume needs and for fire servicing.

Given that re t i rement homes and non-pro f i t seniors' apartments are similar in character to s t a n d a rd apartment buildings, the amendments allowed for these uses "as of right" in zones permitting apartments and in downtown commercial zones, where municipal policies encourage such uses.

2.2.3 Height

Height provisions were not pr e v i o u s l y specified for homes for the aged and nursing homes in high-density zones. It was City Council's long-standing policy, however, to restrict new multiple-family development outside the downtown area to a maximum of eight storeys.

The amended by-law includes an eight-storey maximum restriction in all apartment zones, with two exceptions. One is an apartment zone in the downtown area and the other is a downtown commercial zone. Staff recommended that no restrictions be imposed, pending the outcome of a separate review of Burlington's downtown zoning, which includes both of these zones and was scheduled for completion in 1994.

A former two-storey maximum limit in medium-density and commercial zones was increased to three storeys, with the provision that these buildings be required to maintain a 1 5 - m e t re setback from the boundary of a single-family residential zone. This was in keeping with existing City regulations that permitted thre e - s t o rey apartment buildings with the necessary setback.

This increase was suggested by two of the g roups involved in the consultation pro c e s s , the Halton Non-Profit Housing Corporation and the Burlington Housing and Development Liaison Committee They noted that the installation of elevators is more cost-efficient in three-storey buildings and there is no change in building and fire code s t a n d a rds from those pertaining to two-storey buildings.

2.2.4 Density and Minimum Unit Size

Very diverse densities for seniors' housing had been approved by the City in the past. For nursing homes and homes for the aged, Planning staff advised that appr o p r i a t e density controls could be provided thro u g h amendments to height and parking regulations. No density standards were p roposed in the amendments, there f o re, for this type of housing.


Planning staff considered the number of units per hectare to be an inappropriate standard for determining density for rest and re t i rement homes. The dwelling units in these homes are not completely self-contained as they lack full kitchen facilities and may have shared bathrooms. Staff suggested instead that a maximum floor ratio of 1.25 times the lot area be used as the standard. This ensures that buildings will be moderate and acceptable in size and scale. Ontario's 1981 Human Rights Code prohibits restricting occupancy on the basis of age.4

Staff concluded that private buildings geared towards seniors cannot in fact be restricted to seniors, and should there f o re meet usual apartment density standards. No changes were recommended for these buildings from the usual apartment density standard already specified elsewhere in the City's by-laws.

The City had previously established a minimum unit size regulation that exceeded the Ontario Building Code and Ministry of Housing standards. One of the gr o u p s consulted in this review noted that the P rovincial Policy Statement on Land Use Planning for Housing pr o h i b i t s municipalities from establishing minimum unit size standards that exceed those in the p rovincial building code. The issue of minimum unit size was given further consideration in a separate report submitted later in 1993 to City Council, and Burlington's by-laws were subsequently changed to reflect provincial policies and standards by deleting any r e f e rence to minimum unit sizes in excess of the building code.

Although provincial legislation does not permit Ontario municipalities to establish l a rger minimum unit sizes, one of the community groups participating in the consultation, ESAC, suggested that space re q u i rements for seniors should r e c e i v e c a reful consideration. These would need to be assessed in relation to other factors pertinent to seniors' housing, especially affordability.

4 Limiting occupancy on the basis of age could be

re g a rded as discriminatory, and be open to court challenge. However, federal and pr o v i n c i a l legislation has been interpreted to allow laws, and special programs and activities, designed to ameliorate housing disadvantages resulting fro m age or disability.


2.2.5 Parking

The review revealed that parking standard s for seniors' housing were incomplete and required refinement. Planning staff examined existing parking facilities for various types of seniors' housing already built or appro v e d , and considered parking standards for seniors' housing established by 15 other municipalities in Southern Ontario.

The recommended changes pr o v i d e d s t a n d a rds that were comparable to those of the other municipalities surveyed or in some instances allotted more parking space. The need for more space reflects a diff e rence in public transit services available in Burlington c o m p a red to the other municipalities surveyed.

For nursing homes and homes for the aged, the City adopted the following standard: • 1.0 visitor parking space per four beds • 0.85 parking space per staff member Most of the other municipalities surveyed used a standard of one visitor parking space per four beds for nursing homes; most existing nursing homes in Burlington were designed approximately to this standard. For homes for the aged, the City had previously specified one space per four dwelling units. This was revised because a dwelling unit could contain more than one bed, and visitor demand was estimated based primarily on the number of individuals occupying beds. No standard had existed for rest and re t i rement homes. A review of existing facilities in Burlington and of the standard s used in other municipalities resulted in the following requirements:

• 1.0 occupant parking space for every two retirement dwellings

• 1.0 visitor parking space for every four retirement dwelling units

• 0.85 parking space per staff member No recommendation was made to reduce the s t a n d a rd for private apartments gear e d t o w a rds seniors in relation to the apartment s t a n d a rd specified elsewhere. This was in consideration of Ontario's Human Rights Code, as in the case of density discussed in section 2.2.4 above.

Space Requirements for Seniors

When considering space requirements, it is important to keep in mind the principles of "aging in place" and "quality of life." The implications of units that cannot accommodate assistive devices (e.g. wheelchairs) may be that seniors will be forced to move into long-term care facilities as opposed to aging in place.

Small units for seniors are also based on the assumption that seniors do not need much living space. Seniors have e x p ressed concern that small units make it difficult for them to entertain friends and family and have advised that units should be designed to enhance the quality of life for seniors.5

5 Planning Department, City of Burlington,

Housekeeping Amendments: Policies and Regulations for Senior Citizens' Housing, February 12, 1993 Staff


To determine an appropriate standard for n o n - p rofit housing projects, planning staff took into account the tenant mix policy of the Halton Non-Profit Housing Corporation. Staff also reviewed a 1988 study that looked at parking patterns in seniors' and family n o n - p rofit housing projects in two other nearby municipalities, Brampton and Mississauga. Based on this input, planning staff recommended a standard of 0.6 resident parking spaces and 0.25 visitor parking spaces per unit as being appropriate for Halton Non-Profit Housing projects, given the tenant mix policy in place at the time of the review.

As this tenant mix policy could be changed in the future, staff advised that the parking s t a n d a rd for these housing projects not be included in the by-law. They re c o m m e n d e d instead that City Council support future applications for non-profit housing pro j e c t s using the recommended standard or a higher one based on future tenant breakdowns.


3.1 Location

The City of Burlington is located in the urbanized area of Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. Burlington is adjacent to the City of Hamilton and approximately 70 km west of the City of To ronto. It is one of four municipalities within the Regional Municipality of Halton. The Regional Municipality of Halton and the regional municipalities of Peel, Yo r k , M e t ropolitan To ronto and Durham form the G reater To ronto A rea (GTA), established by the provincial government for planning purposes. Burlington's location within the G TA is expected to result in pre s s u re on its urban lands to accommodate future GTA population growth.

Burlington's planning area includes 177.4 km2

of land and consists of two distinct areas, one urban and the other rural, with six planning districts.

3.2 Demographics

Burlington's population has grown steadily over the last 25 years and is shifting to older age groups. By 1988, Burlington had reached 47.68 percent of its estimated population capacity and is expected to reach about 57 percent capacity by 2001.6Its total population

is expected to reach 164,000 by the year 2011 and to continue growing to an ultimate capacity of approximately 195,000 to 205,000.

The City's population totalled 129,575 in 1991, with the majority being between the ages of 25 and 44. The 20 to 54 age group is expected to show a modest increase over the next 20 years, but remain relatively the same in proportion to the entire population. The 55 to 69 and the over 70 age groups are becoming larger components of Burlington's population. As of 1993, seniors comprised 10 p e rcent of the population, which closely matches Ontario's 11 percent. By 2001, seniors a re expected to comprise 15 percent of Ontario's population and 20 percent by 2021. The changes in the demographic profile over the past 20 years have had, and will continue to have, a significant impact on the provision of services and facilities in the municipality. One notable impact is that households have changed from primarily child-r e a r i n g families to predominantly adult ones.

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6 F i g u res and other information in this section are

drawn from Housekeeping Amendments: Policies and Regulations for Senior Citizens’Housing.


Figure 1. Burlington’s Location in Southern Ontario


3.3 Burlington's Housing Stock

A wide range of housing types have been built in Burlington, including townhouses, rise apartments, medium-and high-density condominium projects, small-lot singles and, more re c e n t l y, innovative forms of small medium density (low-rise) units. These housing types complement the predominant single detached form, which at the time of the 1991 census accounted for a p p roximately 60 percent of all re s i d e n t i a l units in Burlington.

The City predicts that the current high demand for medium-and high-density housing will continue to increase, with the p rovincial government's move away fro m institutional care for the elderly and the influence of the Metro To ronto housing market. At the time of the re v i e w, seniors' housing in Burlington included four nursing homes, nine existing and one appr o v e d assisted seniors' apartment projects, and five existing and one approved re s t / re t i re m e n t homes.


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, C




The comprehensive review undertaken by Burlington's Planning Department resulted in several amendments to the City's zoning by-law. The project also achieved the objective of s t reamlining the approval pr o c e s s . Applications for seniors' housing projects no longer need to be examined on a site-specific basis. With many new types of seniors' housing and related standards now being a d d ressed in the City's zoning by-law, the potential for a wider range of housing options for seniors readily exists.

Planning staff anticipate that the revised by-law will enable them to process most applications for seniors' housing pro j e c t s within about eight weeks. This re p resents a marked decrease from the approximately six months required previously to accommodate rezoning.

The project was an innovative one for Burlington. It was the first time that the City had undertaken a systematic review of regulations governing the land development a p p rovals process for seniors' housing. The community consultation process pro v e d beneficial, with some changes to the proposed amendments being made based on agencies' input.

Since completing the re v i e w, Burlington has received numerous requests for information f rom other Canadian municipalities i n t e rested in simplifying their appr o v a l p rocess for seniors' housing projects and increasing housing options for seniors.




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The City of Burlington has defined "group home" in its by-laws as follows:

A G roup Home is defined as a single housekeeping unit supervised on a 24 hour a day basis on site by agency staff on a shift rotation basis, and funded, licensed, approved, or supervised by the Province of Ontario under any general or special Act and amendments or replacements thereto, for the accommodation of not less than 3 and not more than 8 residents, exclusive of staff. If a Group Home is located in a commercial zone, a Development Zone located north of Highway No. 403 in Lots 1 to 13, both inclusive, in Concessions I and II, E.F. or in a zone which permits an Institutional use, the maximum number of residents permitted, exclusive of staff, is 10. A Group Home may contain an office provided that the office is used only for the operation of the Group Home in which it is located.




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