Just over a month ago, Toronto City Council passed Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 142, allowing for the creation of the Toronto Local Appeals Body (TLAB), effective starting on Wednesday May 3rd. According to the City, the TLAB will be granted the ability to provide fast and efficient hearings on matters regarding to appeals on land use decisions made by the Committee of Adjustment (CoA). 

This independent, quasi-judicial body will defer the majority of CoA appeals away from the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), with the motion touted as a step in removing some of the OMB's long-established powers. However, the appeals in question pertain only to minor variance and consent applications, with matters such as Zoning By-law or Official Plan amendments remaining in the hands of the OMB.

Minor variances, under Section 45 of the Planning Act, deal with a limited change to a property, such as building a a single-storey addition. Consent applications, under Section 53, usually involve requests to divide properties to individual lots, or to add land to an adjacent lot.  

Sunrise over the Toronto skyline, image by y5wong via FlickrSunrise over the Toronto skyline, image by y5wong via Flickr

Initially brought forward in 2014 by City Council, the motion for Toronto to have its own appeals body dates back to 2006, following the ratification of the City of Toronto Act that year. Over the course of the legislative process, the City of Toronto's Executive Committee approved the initiative over a year ago, gaining wide support from council members and various residents' associations. For the City, the more localized body is designed to offer a mechanism that can show greater sensitivity and understanding to a neighbourhood context. 

Any appeals filed before May 3, 2017 will remain in the hands of the OMB, while appeals made on or after will go to the TLAB. The exception to this is if the decision was already appealed before May 3, or if there is a related appeal to the OMB for a similar matter. 

The majority of the TLAB meetings and hearings will be held at the Toronto District Library on 40 Orchardview Blvd, just north of Yonge and Eglinton. The hearings, similarly to the OMB, can be held in person, in a telephone conference, or in written form. Additional information about the Local Appeals Body can be found on the City's website, linked here. Want to share your thoughts on TLAB, and what this means to the City and OMB moving forward? Feel free to comment, using the space provided below.