OMB Reform

Discussion in 'Politics (Toronto Issues)' started by AlvinofDiaspar, May 16, 2017.

  1. AlvinofDiaspar

    AlvinofDiaspar Moderator

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    #1

  2. jje1000

    jje1000 Senior Member

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    I'm largely concerned about NIMBY groups gaining additional power, especially in the suburbs.

    NIMBY-ism these days has really shed its traditional grassroots origins (Greenwich Village, Spadina Expressway) and has really become about a largely white, land-owning cohort concerned more about the value of their properties than anything else.

    To them anything will always be too tall, too dense, too large, adds too much shade, not enough parking, too much traffic, etc.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2017
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  3. AlvinofDiaspar

    AlvinofDiaspar Moderator

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    Provincial news release:

    https://news.ontario.ca/mma/en/2017/05/giving-communities-a-stronger-voice-in-development.html

    Backgrounder: https://news.ontario.ca/mma/en/2017...s-to-the-land-use-planning-appeal-system.html

    Backgrounder
    Ontario's Proposed Changes to the Land Use Planning Appeal System
    May 16, 2017 9:15 A.M.

    Ministry of Municipal Affairs

    Ontario will introduce new legislation that would, if passed, overhaul the province's land use planning appeals system, giving communities a stronger voice and ensuring people have access to faster, fairer and more affordable hearings.

    Giving Communities a Stronger Voice
    The new law would establish the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, which would replace the Ontario Municipal Board. The Planning Act would be amended to eliminate "de novo" hearings for the majority of land use planning appeals. Instead, the tribunal would function as a true appeals body for major land use planning decisions.

    The proposed law will include the following reforms aimed at giving communities a stronger voice in local land use planning decisions:

    • For complex land use planning appeals, the tribunal would only be able to overturn a municipal decision if it does not follow provincial policies or municipal plans. This would depart from the current "standard of review" for land use planning appeals, where the Ontario Municipal Board is permitted to overturn a municipal decision whenever it finds that the municipality did not reach the "best" planning decision.
    • In these cases, the tribunal would be required to return the matter to the municipality with written reasons when it overturns a decision, instead of replacing the municipality's decision with its own. The municipality would be provided with 90 days to make a new decision on an application under the proposed new law.
    • The tribunal would retain the authority to make a final decision on these matters only when, on a second appeal, the municipality's subsequent decision still fails to follow provincial policies or municipal plans.
    Under this new model, the tribunal would be required to give greater weight to the decisions of local communities, while ensuring that development occurs in a way that is good for Ontario and its future.

    Faster, Fairer and More Affordable Planning Appeals
    The proposed new law would introduce major changes to the way land use planning appeals are conducted in order to reduce the length and cost of hearings and create a more level playing field for all participants. Proposed reforms will include:

    • Requiring the tribunal to conduct mandatory case management for the majority of cases in order to narrow the issues and encourage case settlement. The tribunal would also be provided with modern case management powers to ensure meaningful case conferences.
    • Creating statutory rules regarding the conduct of hearings, including setting strict presumptive timelines for oral hearings and limiting evidence to written materials in the majority of cases.
    • Providing the tribunal with modern hearing powers to promote active adjudication, provide for alternative hearing formats and permit assignment of multi-member panels.
    • Giving elected officials greater control over local planning, resulting in fewer decisions being appealed, thereby making the decision-making process more efficient.
    Free Legal and Planning Support
    The province proposes to create the Local Planning Appeal Support Centre, a new provincial agency mandated to provide free and independent advice and representation to Ontarians on land use planning appeals. The centre would be modeled after the Human Rights Legal Support Centre and would provide planning and legal advice to people who want to participate in tribunal appeals. The centre would deliver the following services:

    • Providing Ontarians with general information on land use planning.
    • Offering guidance to citizens on the tribunal appeal and hearing process.
    • Providing legal and planning advice at different stages of the tribunal process, including representation in certain cases at case conferences and hearings.
    Sheltering Major Planning Decisions from Appeal
    The proposed new legislation would also include measures to exempt a broader range of major municipal land use planning decisions from appeal, which would provide municipalities with greater certainty and timely implementation of major decisions. The following matters would no longer be appealable under the proposed law:

    • Provincial approvals of official plans and official plan updates, including approvals of conformity exercises to provincial plans.
    • Minister's Zoning Orders.
    Local Appeal Bodies would also be given more authority. They would be able to hear appeals on site plans, in addition to their current scope of minor variances and consents.

    The legislation would also restrict applications to amend new secondary (i.e. neighbourhood) plans for two years, unless permitted by municipal council, and limit the ability to appeal an interim control by-law when first passed for a period of up to one year. The legislation would also protect municipal policies that support appropriate development around protected major transit station areas, such as GO Train stations and subway stops.

    AoD
     
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  4. AlvinofDiaspar

    AlvinofDiaspar Moderator

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    More on the transit bit - from jpags:

    Jennifer Pagliaro ‏Verified account @jpags
    Mauro clarifies plan around transit hubs. Cities will have ability to chose to deny appeals once a plan around those areas already in place
     
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  5. Waterloo_Guy

    Waterloo_Guy Active Member

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    The one bright side to this is that it might make the approvals process much quicker since developers will probably be filing fewer appeals in the future. Faster approvals are a very good thing.
     
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  6. Automation Gallery

    Automation Gallery Senior Member

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    The fact that any development appeal will make it more public... scares me:eek:
     
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  7. Waterloo_Guy

    Waterloo_Guy Active Member

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    Same here. But it sounds like they will be required to make decisions based on existing laws and regulations, and appeals bodies have no reason to cave to public pressure.
     
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  8. jje1000

    jje1000 Senior Member

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    But then you end up with organized "community" groups putting pressure on city politicians to adjust the city plans/regulations. And then planning starts becoming attached to the election cycle, which it should not.

    See John Tory gladhanding the bunch of midtowners who are happy to put their children in front of a camera in order to decry development beside John Fisher public school.

    And of course:
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news...0-metres-of-transit-stations/article34979676/
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2017
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  9. Waterloo_Guy

    Waterloo_Guy Active Member

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    All true. Unfortunate, but true.
     
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  10. ADRM

    ADRM Senior Member

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    Plus the city's current planning guidelines largely suck and continue to perpetuate the mess we're in.
     
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  11. Waterloo_Guy

    Waterloo_Guy Active Member

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    From the front page story:

    The Ontario Home Builder's Association (OHBA) is concerned that this new Tribunal will put politics ahead of smart growth planning, making it much harder to add more housing to municipalities across the province. Additionally, these changes could very well undermine the province's own planning policies aimed at densifying cities. Regarding the local politics ordeal, Joe Vaccaro, CEO of OHBA stated, "...it will only serve to empower NIMBY councils to make planning decisions to get re-elected. The role of the OMB has always been to take the politics out of local planning and ensure that decisions are based on evidence, 'good planning', and conformity to provincial policy".

    Does this really make sense? This new body will be required to uphold provincial laws and regulations. How could it undermine the province's policies if it is required to adhere to them when making a ruling?
     
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  12. HDLtd

    HDLtd New Member

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    The new body will have to consider provincial policy, and municipal policy, and determine whether or not the decision by council was in conformity with those policies. Municipal policy is so vague that a 5 storey building and a 50 storey building could at the same time be in conformance with the official plan.

    This will grind development to a halt. Very bad for growth, very bad for housing prices, trade jobs, manufacturing jobs tied to construction, architects, planners, engineers etc. Basically a significant part of our economy... All because of a few nimbys who fear change.
     
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  13. Waterloo_Guy

    Waterloo_Guy Active Member

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    I think it will do the opposite. The planning department is very pro-development, even though they quibble over height. They don't want to oppose development. And if this new process is faster than the OMB, it will move developments along more quickly.

    The biggest problem is that ambitious proposals will often be shot down. But I think the supply of new units will be fine.
     
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  14. HDLtd

    HDLtd New Member

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    We are talking about the City of Toronto, right?

    Planners are required to apply local policies to new development applications. Most if not all new policies are brought forward by council and are if not overtly anti-development, drafted to put more control in local councillors hands.
     
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  15. jje1000

    jje1000 Senior Member

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    Axing OMB boosts cities’ planning power – for better or for worse

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news...ower-for-better-or-for-worse/article35007990/
     
    #15

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