Long Branch planning update from David Godley – April 2017

The following text is from David Godley; I am are in posting it:

Toronto Local Appeal Board

On March 29, 2017, City Council passed Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 142 creating the Toronto Local Appeal Body with an effective date of May 3, 2017.

What does this mean?

Starting May 3, 2017, most appeals from the Toronto Committee of Adjustment will go to the Toronto Local Appeal Body (TLAB) instead of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). See website for details.

What happens to Committee of Adjustment Appeals starting May 3, 2017?

All appeals are still to be filed with the Manager & Deputy-Secretary Treasurer, Committee of Adjustment and must be filed within the appeal period on the Notice of Decision.

Appeals filed before May 3, 2017 will stay with the OMB.

Appeals filed on or after May 3, 2017 will go to the TLAB unless:

the decision was already appealed before May 3, 2017; or
there is a related appeal to the OMB for the same matter. A related appeal is an appeal under section 114 of the City of Toronto Act, under sections 17, 22, 34, 36, 38, 41 or 51 of the Planning Act or under a regulation made under section 70.2 of the Planning Act.
Where can I learn more about where and how to file my appeal?

If you are planning to appeal a decision from the Committee of Adjustment, or are looking for a general overview of the TLAB, the Public Guide is a good place to start.

To learn if a decision has already been appealed before May 3, 2017, please contact the Committee of Adjustment Case Manager for the matter.

To learn if there is a related appeal to the OMB for the same matter, search community planning applications in the Application Information Centre and contact the assigned planner if necessary.

1) Status of applications

Severance Applications and Variances for 9 March Committee of Adjustment
81 26th St. Returning from Community Meeting (1) 3 storey house 0.35 density to 1.18 Approved

55 Long Branch Avenue. Large rear addition from 0.35 to 0.71. Streetscape conserved but impacts on adjacent houses due to double the density. Approved

22 33rd. Returning to COA without Community Meeting (2) 3 storey houses density 0.35 to 0.69. Refused

9 38th Street. A revised application from February 2016. 2 storey traditional and ultra modern on 25 feet frontage lots from 0.35at 0.56 density in a solid area of wide lots. Not heard due to lack of posting. Rescheduled 4 May 3pm COA

Severance Applications and Variances for 6 April Committee of Adjustment

32 36th Street, (1) 3 storey buildings, soldier houses 0.35 to 0.91 density. Far too high a density. If 30 32nd is approved a new area of character destruction will be started. (Deferred)

20 Daisy (1) 2 storey house 0.35 to 0.53 (Approved)

23 35th addition to heritage building 2 storeys with good design facing Park but affecting abutting properties. (Approved)

39 27th Street. New 2 storey house 0.35 density to 0.39 (Approved)
16 41st Street 2 storey modern 0.35 density to 0.61 (Approved)
62 30th Street. 3 storey modern 0.35 density to 0.84 (Deferred)
119 22nd Street. 3 storey soldier house, 0.35 density to 0.95 with side yard set back of 4 inches. (Approved)

Outstanding Applications for Committee of Adjustment

29 Lake Promenade. 2 storey new house, no density change. 4 May COA

99 27th Street (2) 3 storey detached 0.35 to 1.18 – a non-fit proposal at over 3 times density where the character is rapidly becoming that of Brampton North. People in this area have now faced 6 OMB hearings with 2 outstanding. 4 May COA

56 31st Street. Modern 2 storey new house, density 0.35 to 0.55. 9 May COA.

32 28th St 2 storey 0.35 density to 0.70. 9 May COA.

51 Elder Street. 3 storey house density 0.35 to 0.98. 1 June COA

38 36th Street. 3 storey soldier houses 0.35 density to 0.70. 29 June COA.

8 Branch Avenue. Classic split for 2 soldier houses, 0.35 density to 0.98 (very high) plus iincrease in height 31 feet to 37 feet. 24 August COA

If you wish to look at all the material online go to “City of Toronto” “Development Applications” “Committee of Adjustment” “Ward 6” “Search” and follow the cues.

OMB Hearings

80 Twenty Third Street, January 4 2017. Awaiting Decision
2 Ash Avenue, January 23 2017. Applicant, City and Residents settled.
68 Daisy Avenue, 73 4 storey townhouse units, February 24 2017. Prehearing Conference for 1 day held
2 Shamrock Avenue, March 8 2017 Awating Decision
82 Twenty Seventh Street, March 21 2017 Awaiting Decision
9 Meaford , April 11 2017 No planner on board (see attached) Awaiting Decision
5 31st, 28 March 2017 Awaiting Decision
5 Ramsgate, 16 May 2017
20 Elton, 28 March 2017 Awaiting Decision
24 33rd, 1 May 2017 No planner on board
40 37th, 18 April 2017 Awaiting Decision
14 Villa, July 17 2017 2017

34 27th, 15 May 2017
160 30th, 28 June 2017

Status can be checked on OMB website under E status, toronto but no index is given so you need to scroll down/up entries.

3) Future of the OMB

Queen’s Park mulls reforms to powerful land-use tribunal

Jeff Gray – CITY HALL REPORTER

The Globe and Mail

Published Tuesday, Apr. 18, 2017 5:00AM EDT See below:

The provincial Liberal government is contemplating an overhaul of the Ontario Municipal Board that would dramatically reduce the powers of the controversial land-use tribunal.

The Globe and Mail has learned that the current proposals under active discussion inside Queen’s Park would significantly rein in the powerful OMB, which has long been criticized by municipal planners, politicians and local residents as too friendly to developers.

But some fear a drastically weakened OMB would give too much power to local politicians beholden to not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) neighbourhood associations, potentially slowing development, blocking attempts at intensification and making it harder to build more new housing in the Toronto-area’s already hot real estate market, which the province is scrambling to find ways to cool.

Critics have been pressing the province for years to either scrap or radically restructure the OMB, which hears applications from developers trying to build projects over the objections of local city planners or residents.
With Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government sinking low in opinion polls and an election due next year, that pressure intensified in recent weeks after a controversy erupted over a 35-storey condo tower approved next to John Fisher Junior Public School near Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue in Ms. Wynne’s midtown Toronto riding. The project has prompted vocal protests from parents, the school board and Toronto Mayor John Tory, who called the project “preposterous.”

Sources familiar with the proposals say the reforms would see the OMB turned into a more hands-off appeal body, along the exact lines that many of its critics, including Toronto chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat, have called for.

Under the current plans, The Globe has learned, the OMB would be largely stripped of its ability to conduct what are known as de novo hearings, or hearings that start from scratch. Such hearings would only occur if a municipality fails to make a decision on a development within the required time frame. As a result, the reformed OMB would largely be restricted to considering challenges of council decisions, as an appeal court might.

In another proposal, most of the new OMB’s hearings would be through written submissions, eliminating the costly and time-consuming courtroom-like process required now that can see city planners cross-examined as though they are witnesses at a trial.

For major decisions, one source familiar with the proposals said, the OMB would be required to have a panel of three members, instead of leaving the entire ruling up to just one member as it does now.

The OMB would also, in the first instance, likely send its ruling back to the municipal council in question for reconsideration. Whatever the council then decided could bounce back up to the OMB for another appeal, however.

The proposed reforms would also drastically scale back the OMB’s current wide-ranging powers over outcomes, strictly limiting its decisions to whether a council has complied with the province’s planning policy statements and the council’s own municipal official plan. This could mean that developers’ efforts to go beyond limits imposed by a council, such as on the height of a condo tower, for example, at the OMB would be dramatically reduced.

Sources say the OMB would no longer hear challenges, usually launched by developers, to entire municipal official plans, a practice that can now delay their implementation for years.

Last year, the Premier told Municipal Affairs Minister Bill Mauro to make reviewing the OMB a key mission of his mandate. In October of 2016, his office released a public consultation paper that laid out many of the possible changes, and sought feedback from planners, developers and the public. One source said recently that the proposals now on the table at Queen’s Park still needed to be approved by a cabinet committee. The government has long said that proposed amendments to the Planning Act to reform the OMB would be put forward for legislative approval this spring.

Mark Cripps, press secretary for Municipal Affairs Minister Bill Mauro, called The Globe’s report “speculation” and said the minister had made no final decision on any OMB reforms. The legislation still had to be drafted, he said, although he expected it to be unveiled before spring was out.

“Nothing’s been finalized yet. A lot of this sounds like right out of the consultation paper,” he said. “We expect to bring something forward in the coming months.”

With many developers blaming the current amount of red tape for slowing project approvals and exacerbating the real estate crisis, some are concerned a weakened OMB would only make things worse. They can be expected to fight back against the proposals. Just last week, a group of senior developers met with the Premier and pleaded their case.

“The reality is that those local political decisions will not all be good planning decisions,” said Joe Vaccaro, chief executive officer of the Ontario Home Builders’ Association. “What other mechanisms are you going to put in place to ensure council decisions are good planning decisions?”

Ms. Keesmaat, Toronto’s chief planner who has been advocating for changes to the OMB, along with her counterparts in municipalities across Ontario, said the proposals contain many of the reforms she has been calling for. “I am very optimistic that we are on the cusp of reforms that will repair what is right now a really broken system,” Ms. Keesmaat said.

She dismissed concerns that a weaker OMB and a strengthened hand for city council would allow NIMBYs to strangle new development in Toronto. “There already is a very pro-development culture in the city,” she said. “We wouldn’t be one of the fastest growing cities in North America if that wasn’t the case.”

Geoff Kettel, co-chairman of the Federation of North Toronto Residents’ Associations (FONTRA) and a veteran of battles at the OMB in which residents and city planners must face off with well-funded developers’ legal teams, welcomed the proposed reforms. He said they would make it much less likely that an “egregious” condo tower would be approved next to a school such as John Fisher.

In that case, the city and local residents ended up dropping their opposition to the high-rise tower on a midrise site in a mediated settlement because it seemed clear they would lose in a full hearing before the OMB.

“The big issues for us were the influence of money … and the need to level the playing field,” Mr. Kettel said. “There is that elephant in the room all the time. With having the OMB so powerful, even if the city would [like to] turn something down, they might not … because they know they are going to have to go to the OMB.”

In an e-mail, prominent Toronto developer Stephen Diamond defended the current OMB model: “The OMB has been part of the planning of our city for over 70 years and has helped shape Toronto to be one of the most liveable and dynamic cities in the world.”

He warned that any changes must “ensure that responsible land use decisions continue to be made to safeguard an adequate supply of land for housing.”

Follow Jeff Gray on Twitter: @jeffreybgray

9 Meaford

David Godley has also shared the following message regarding 9 Meaford:

Letter to City Solicitor about Planning Consultants in relation to 9 Meaford and and bringing future planning consultants on board.

Hello Brian,

There have been an extraordinary number of severance cum variance applications in Long Branch.

The feeling in the community is exasperation. In the last 5 years or so they have done everything possible to prevent what appear to be major departures from the intent of  Official Plan and Planning Act.

It is often the OMB overriding local advice and decisions.

I know that all Departments are extremely stretched due to cutbacks. The Planning Department admit to expediency by supporting increasingly dense proposals.

9 Meaford is an extreme case where the Planning Department supported one of the most outlandish proposals yet received.

One of the reasons for their support was that they did not use the correct analysis or the City policy to measure compatibility.

Alex, your staff lawyer, said at the meeting on April 3 with the community said that 5 outside planners had been approached.

We found out from Terry Mills that he was not approached. He had previously acted for the City on similar matters and would likely have taken this case.

He is also able to give expert evidence on urban design which none of the other consultants I have come across are able to due to lack of study. Urban design is optional at planning school.

As you probably are aware my view is that no input on urban design (the third dimension) exists in application review such as 9 Meaford yet the issue is exclusively urban design.

The OMB unfortunately are not equipped to make this distinction so frequently make planning errors. This is a long standing fundamental error apparent to me when we worked together on 51 Lakeshore Drive.

Arris (Terry Mills) was a planning consultant put forward by the community.

Consequently no planning evidence against the application was given at the OMB hearing on April 11 2017.

It was also too late in the day for the community to bring planning evidence forward.

The main point is that if none of the 5 planning consultants would take this case, they are not going to take any case in Long Branch.

Maybe they would have a few years ago.

The money is firmly in the private sector now.

Having acted for the City on severances and minor variances is now a black mark on their copy books of planners.

It follows that the list of planners to be approached is out of date and should therefore be revised.

Please could you have your list of planners to whom you give work on severances cum variances be revised to bring it up to date.

Because of the 9 Meaford case the Legal Department is seen as a stumbling block for achieving good planning in accordance with the legal and planning framework.

Please let me know (and those copied) whether you are ready, willing and able (to use a legal phrase) to move forward on this.

All the best, David

 

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