MPP Peter Milczyn Dec. 4, 2014 e-News Update. Planning reform bill. Jan. 3, 2015 New Year’s Levee

The following text, which includes an invitation to Peter Milczyn’s First Annual New Year’s Levee on Jan. 3, 2015, is from the office of MPP Peter Milczyn:

 

New Constituency Office

I am excited to announce that my staff and I have settled into my new Constituency Office. My new office is located right in the heart of the shoptheQueensway.com BIA at :

933 The Queensway
(south side of the Queensway, just east of Islington Avenue)

My office hours are:

Monday – Wednesday: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Thursday: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Friday: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Or by appointment

Please feel free to drop in, call or e-mail pmilczyn.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org

If you wish to book an appointment with me, please contact the office.

Private Member’s Bill 39
Planning Statue Law Amendment Act

Over the course of the summer I spoke to many Etobicoke- Lakeshore residents about my commitment to attempt to make much needed changes to the Planning Act.

I am pleased to advise you that on November 20, 2014 my Private Member’s Bill, “Bill 39, An Act to amend the City of Toronto Act, 2006, the Planning Act and certain regulations,” passed second reading in the Ontario Legislature by a vote of 34 – 7. Bill 39 may go before the Legislature’s Standing Committee on General Government over the winter or spring.

In late 2013, as Chair of the City of Toronto’s Planning and Growth Management Committee, I led Toronto’s process to develop a response to the Ontario government’s consultation on Planning Act reforms. Toronto City Council overwhelmingly endorsed a series of positions upon which my bill is formulated.

The Hon. Ted McMeekin, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, is currently conducting a review, and is likely to bring forward legislation next year to reform the provincial Planning Act. My Bill is designed to accelerate the debate and generate more interest in the issue in order to influence government policy.

This Bill proposes changes to the planning process in Ontario that follow three broad themes:

-Restore more local decision making on planning matters to municipalities

-Modernize aspects of the planning process in Ontario

-Grant municipalities more powers to address the impacts of growth and development

It also contains some amendments to the City of Toronto Act which address specific concerns of the City of Toronto, most notably as they relate to the establishment of a Local Appeal Body by the city.

Restoring more local decision making on planning matters to municipalities

Bill 39 would ensure local municipalities have the final word on many planning matters, and that the scope of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) to overturn municipal planning decisions would be limited, while balancing the need to maintain a mechanism to appeal faulty decisions. The OMB is a politically appointed, quasi-judicial board with the power to overrule municipal governments’ planning decisions.

These measures will restore the public’s confidence in the planning system, restore accountability to elected officials and potentially save municipalities significant resources that are expended on preparing for and defending against numerous appeals.

Under the bill, municipally initiated Official Plan Amendments, and zoning bylaws that implement them, and approved site-specific zoning bylaws, once passed, would no longer be subject to appeal to the OMB for a period of five years. Meaning that if a municipality refuses to make a change to these documents there would be no right to appeal. If changes are granted by a municipality appeals could proceed.

However, the rules of evidence would be tightened at the OMB to limit only evidence that was before the City Council as part of the decision making process to be used at the OMB, the need to clearly and specifically outline the reasons for an appeal will be mandated, and finally the OMB would be required to make decisions that are consistent with municipal decisions and plans. These are significant changes from the current practices.

The Bill will also allow a municipality to restrict developers from seeking minor variances for three years after the passage of a zoning bylaw.

By significantly reducing the number and type of appeals to the Ontario Municipal Board municipalities will be able to concentrate their efforts on more pro-active planning, save significant time and money preparing for and defending at the OMB, as well as being more confident in finding planning solutions which are right for their communities.

Modernize aspects of the planning process in Ontario

The Bill will allow for electronic notice to be given of various planning meetings and applications thereby making information more accessible and saving municipalities’ money.

The process of seeking “minor” variances from local Committees of Adjustment has long frustrated residents and community groups.

There are four tests to determine what is a “minor” variance under the Planning Act, and three of the four tests are subjective and vague. The definition of minor variance should be enacted by regulation. The idea is it could cap the percentage or deviation of a variance from a bylaw. Such a reform is long overdue.

Municipalities will be granted more power to establish and fund the creation of Local Appeal Bodies to hear appeals of Minor Variance applications, rather than having those matters go before the OMB. While still on City Council I led the Council to approve the creation of a City of Toronto Local Appeal Body, but this was subject to getting the power to fund and manage the Local Appeal Body.

Grant municipalities more powers to address the impacts of growth and development

It would give municipalities the right to demand “excellence in design” in development and require developers to provide for public spaces that are “high quality, safe, accessible, attractive and vibrant.”

The bill would grant municipalities the power to address a chronic shortage of affordable housing by requiring developments with 20 or more new housing units to provide a portion that is affordable, whether that be ownership, rental or not-for-profit housing.

The bill would also lengthen the time municipalities would have to review applications before allowable appeals could be filed to the OMB.

The time to review Official Plan Amendments (OPA) and concurrent zoning bylaw amendments to an OPA would extend from 180 days to 240 days, and a zoning bylaw amendment from 120 days to 180 days to allow municipalities more time without the threat of a pre-emptive appeal to the OMB.

Amendments applying only to the City of Toronto

Conditions imposed upon development proposals would be able to be registered on title of the property to prevent subsequent developers who buy properties to avoid complying with previously approved conditions of rezoning.

When the City of Toronto would pass an Interim Control By-law to prevent redevelopment in an area until the City completes a thorough planning review such a by-law would not be appealable to the OMB. This would give the City up to one year to conduct proper study and analysis of a neighbourhood, street, or district.

Additional powers be granted to set fees and require mediation for the City’s Local Appeal Board for Committee of Adjustment matters.

All of these measures combined would significantly increase the ability to control and regulate development and afford greater stability and certainty to local communities about future redevelopment. Defining what a minor variance actually is would be a significant achievement as well.

The ability to ensure better design, significant public spaces, and the provision of affordable housing would all improve the quality of life in cities and towns all across Ontario.

I will continue to update you on the progress of this Bill through the Legislature as well as steps the government is taking on planning reform and other related issues.

First Annual New Year’s Levee

I hope you will join me at my
First Annual New Year’s Levee on:

Saturday, January 3rd, 2015
2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Royal Canadian Legion Branch 210
110 Jutland Rd.
Etobicoke M8Z 2H1
For more details and to view the flyer, please click here.

Upcoming Meetings and Events

As in the past, I am happy to advertise your upcoming local meetings and events.

Please e-mail my office, at pmilczyn.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org with the information, one month prior to the your meeting or event to ensure that it gets posted in time.

Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure
8th Floor, Hearst Block
900 Bay Street
Toronto, Ontario M7A 2E1
416-325-7815
pmilczyn.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org

Constituency Office
933 The Queensway
Etobicoke, ON M8Z 2H1
416-259-2249
pmilczyn.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org

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MPP Peter Milczyn | 900 Bay Street | 8th Floor | Toronto | Ontario | M5H 2N2 | Canada

 

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