I’ve been following a May 2, 2019 Twitter discussion featuring Jennifer Pagliaro, @jpags, City Hall reporter at the Toronto Star

I’ve been following a May 2, 2019 Twitter discussion featuring Jennifer Pagliaro, @jpags. Some excerpts follow below.

If you wish to get the full context, you may wish to follow the discussion on Twitter. In posting excerpts, at the post you are now reading, I’m seeking to set into place highlights of memes and tropes currently gathering momentum, in the city where I used to live.

My interest in these matters is from the perspective of a foreign correspondent, with a particular interest in cultures of land-use decision making at the municipal and provincial level. A related topic concerns how language is used within such cultures.

A feature of such cultures is that they sometimes change over time.

It’s also a feature of such cultures that each municipality’s planning culture – which may differ markedly, from one jurisdiction to another – is a reflection of the municipality’s local history.

Interdisciplinary colloquium at University of Waterloo

I recently attended an all-day interdisciplinary colloquium on heritage planning, at the University of Waterloo. Over coming months, if my schedule of blogging work permits, I will report on the latter event.

I mention the colloquium at this point because I was most interested to learn that, for planners, academics, and others connected in one way or another with the Heritage Resources Centre at the University of Waterloo, the question of language usage, as it applies to heritage planning, which is a subset of planning in general, is a central issue, concerning which much thought and discussion is regularly devoted.

I was so interested to learn that my own interest in this topic is more than just a personal, idiosyncratic interest of mine.

I attend such events, as the recent University of Waterloo colloquium, also as a foreign correspondent, not so much in the geographical sense (I live 40 minutes by car from Waterloo) but with reference to the fact I attend as a blogger, a reporter, and not as a planner, academic, or the like.

My excerpts of Twitter passages from Jennifer Pagliaro follow below. With regard to any occasional typos, I’ve left them as they are, in this case.

Language usage

Language usage, as I am using the term (others will have different ways of using it), is concerned with how we use language for specified purposes. My study of language usage includes an interest in how power at times distorts language, because it has the power to do so. Language usage also concerns itself with the distinction between rhetoric and reality. As well, the category is concerned with the formal, systematic study of rhetoric, and with humanity’s attempts to define reality.

Josh Matlow

Councillor Josh Matlow: “We are going to be organizing.” Is talking to his colleagues, @TMrakas, neighbourhood groups

Councillor @JoshMatlow, who fought for an end to OMB alongside @kristynwongtam and others, says these changes are a “giveaway to the development industry” and expensive for residents who will foot the bill for cost of growing communities

Minister Clark

Asked how he would respond to those who say this is a boon for developers and a slap in the face to local decision-makers, Clark says he’s focused on those who can’t see a dream of homeownership

Clark asked how those experiencing extremely high rents in Toronto are helped by these changes

Clark mentions there are many units stalled at OMB/LPAT, suggesting some are all of those units should be approved. Those are open appeals meant to be decided by an independent body

Clark has asked how these changes will make housing more affordable. I am not clear on the answer. Clark mentions providing “hope” to residents

Clark says the changes on DCs etc. is about “accountability” and “predictability” but does not directly answer @jeffreybgray’s question about whether this is about developers ultimately paying less for growth

s.37 was supposed to be a way for developers to compensate local communities for the benefit of building taller and denser than the rules allow

Based on language we have, it sounds like municipalities will no longer be able to negotiate for “community benefits” or cash-in-lieu under s.37 and in some cases parkland under separate section. There was talk of a cap, which could lead to fewer $ for cities

“Getting growth right in the Greater Golden Horseshoe is critical,” Clark concludes by saying. Few specifics here

Minister Clark says builders need to be encouraged to build the type of housing residents actually need. All of this is being rolled out as a “More Homes, More Choice” Bill. It’s the province’s promised “housing supply action plan”. “We will not touch the Greenbelt,” Clark says

There will ask be changes to how community benefits, parkland dedication and some development charges are collected, but the details are not clear so we don’t yet understand the effect of the change. Here is some language from government release:

[If you want to read it, you will need to go to Twitter or elsewhere.]

This government is now saying that appeals will be allowed on the basis of whether an application is “good planning” rather than on consistency and conformity issues. That means: old OMB rules, new LPAT name.

It was expected fresh evidence wouldn’t be allowed at a first hearing at the LPAT, but that’s being challenged in divisional court right now – a fight which is probably moot at this point

Under the LPAT, those powers were limited to appeals on whether the municipal decision conformed with provincial policy in an attempt, the Liberal government said then, to show more deference to local decision making

I wrote about the long-controversial OMB and the negative effect of its compounding decisions in a three-part series here:

[If you want to read it, you will need to go to Twitter or elsewhere.]

Under OMB, tribunal heard appeals basically as new — or “de novo” — with fresh evidence to decide if the application represented “good planning” and as though the municipal decision basically never happened.

Basics: Planning decisions are made at the local level after much consultation with public and input from city planners and other city staff. Decision is made by council to approve or reject development applications.

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