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Section 37 benefits review

greenleaf

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It looks like the planning department is finally reviewing section 37 policies:

"This report summarizes the results of a consultant study undertaken to review the Section 37 implementation process, and recommends process changes. The recommendations in this report are informed by the outcomes of the accompanying consultant’s study (Attachment 1) which relied on extensive consultation with City staff from a broad cross section of divisions, Councillors, and the development industry.

Staff have reviewed the consultant's findings and have made recommendations which address: clarifying what constitutes a reasonable planning relationship within the City's Section 37 Implementation Guidelines; requesting the Province to amend Section 37 of the Planning Act to enable a standardized determination of the quantum of benefits; continuation of the consideration of introducing base densities in specific areas of the City when updating Secondary Plan policies and/or site specific and area Official Plan policies; and annual public reporting on Section 37 benefits."


It seems crazy that the city would have to ask the province for standardized s37 benefits!
 

Greg Banks

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There was once upon a time a published list both in print and on the net of Section 37 benefits listed Ward by Ward from 1998 to 2011...I used to use it for reference however that listing seems to have disappeared from the net late last year...much to my chagrin I never bothered downloading a copy...Did anyone else?
 

DSC

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There was once upon a time a published list both in print and on the net of Section 37 benefits listed Ward by Ward from 1998 to 2011...I used to use it for reference however that listing seems to have disappeared from the net late last year...much to my chagrin I never bothered downloading a copy...Did anyone else?
I think it was connected to http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2011.AU2.4

I remember a list but do not have time to search the web for it - I doubt it has (intentionally) vanished. If you can't find it I would ask Planning.
 

plink

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There appears to have been a database created here. It's not posted (nor is it clear how up to date it is) but perhaps you could contact the authors... (their contact form explicitly mentions "request a copy of [...] individual ward statistics"]
 

Greg Banks

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A Vaughan's amendment seems interesting....It looks like he is opening the door to Citywide pooling of unused benefits at project completion through consultation with the Chief Planner and the PGM (or at least a protocall to do such)...maybe some of the less active wards will get some sugar in the future...however can't you just hear the gnashing of teeth from newly developing wards (3, 4, 5, 23, 24...36 in the future) that they are going loose their gravy....
 

thecharioteer

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A new document is up detailing section 37 in non-planner speak (for the most part). Finally!

www.toronto.ca/section37
This has to be one of the most laughable, disingenuous documents to emerge from the current planning regime at the City. Note in Page 2 the section on "negotiation": "City Planning staff typically lead the process". Planning staff almost never leads the process. The Ward Councillor calls the shots and generally makes it up as they go along, using precedents from other applications as starting points in order to extract the maximum "benefit" out of the developer (in truth this cost is passed on to the new purchaser and results in higher priced units).

There is no formula, no transparency, and no rationale given for these amounts. Community consultation? Rarely. (They often consider it "cheque book planning"). Consistency? Kyle Rae considered the heritage preservation at Five St. Joseph as a Section 37 benefit. KWT at Massey Tower did not.

When the City has been challenged at the OMB on its lack of a policy framework for its use (and misuse) of Section 37 (like they were by Menkes at 365 Church) they have lost. There are so many issues raised by this misuse that the Province is now re looking at its use in a broader context of planning reform.
 

greenleaf

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Charioteer - no doubt, I agree with you in almost all respects. There certainly is a bit of marketing (wishful-thinking?) going on here.

There needs to be a set standard for s37 and I have heard our Chief Planner agree with that. Executing that effort is another thing. But this is a first step.

In any case, before this, there was nothing available to the public unless you dug really deep into the by-laws.
 

Greg Banks

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There was once upon a time a published list both in print and on the net of Section 37 benefits listed Ward by Ward from 1998 to 2011...I used to use it for reference however that listing seems to have disappeared from the net late last year...much to my chagrin I never bothered downloading a copy...Did anyone else?
I found it again...although not up to date it offers info on agreements up 2012 for Section 37 and I noticed a couple of 2013's for Section 45.
If anyone is interested the address seems to be

www.mit.edu/ (squiggly horizontal line) jhawk/tmp/p/p4/S37.pdf

Why you have to go to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology site to find the infomation is beyond me.....
 
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DSC

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I found it again...although not up to date it offers info on agreements up 2012 for Section 37 and I noticed a couple of 2013's for Section 45.
If anyone is interested the address seems to be

www.mit.edu/ (squiggly horizontal line) jhawk/tmp/p/p4/S37.pdf

Why you have to go to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology site to find the infomation is beyond me.....
Thanks, it is certainly odd that it seems to only be a t MIT - maybe connected to a thesis? UPDATE: I have now found an UPDATED VERSION on City website, dated October 2014.

http://www1.toronto.ca/City Of Toronto/City Clerks/Elections/Candidates/Files/s_37_45_community_benefitsreportward_all_1998to10142014.pdf
 
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dt_toronto_geek

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I have a problem with S37 going to other areas of the city, or Wards. If Planning and the Councillor negotiates S37 for projects in their Ward why should the "gravy" go elsewhere? Those living in fast growing areas need the S37 funds to help grow the community as more people move into it whether it be new or revitalized parks, community centres, trees and beautification projects. If residents are piling on and resisting midrises in other neighbourhoods outside the higher growth areas (which would help grow their area and provide financial benefits) why should funds be transferred to them?
On another related matter, development charges are too low in Toronto, that needs to be addressed and the entire tax base in the city could benefit from that.
 

saynotofaux

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I have a problem with S37 going to other areas of the city, or Wards. If Planning and the Councillor negotiates S37 for projects in their Ward why should the "gravy" go elsewhere?
S37 funds never go out-of-ward, but they are commonly used by Councillors to pay for in-ward community benefits that have no reasonable planning connection whatsoever to their originating development project.

I did my Master's thesis on Section 37 in Toronto and the biggest problem I found was that more than half of S37 funds collected during the development boom have not yet been spent to deliver their intended benefit - City Staff won't automatically budget and deliver S37 projects. If the local Councillor does not persistently coordinate (and, basically, pester) various divisional staff to incorporate S37 money into their budgets, then that benefit simply won't get delivered.

Anyways, I'm hoping to soon get around to shortening my Thesis findings into a more concise article, and once I do so I'll post it in this thread.
 

junctionist

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That would be interesting to read. Doug Ford said section 37 money should be spent around the city, which is nonsense--that money is supposed to help the area around a development handle additional density. But the system itself has many issues that makes it vulnerable to criticism.
 

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