The new Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2019 takes effect on May 16th, 2019. It will replace the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2017.
Please find our guide to the important changes here.
If you have any questions regarding the new Growth Plan, please contact one of our municipal, planning and land development lawyers.
Bill 108 has passed the first reading and amends 13 pieces of legislation including:
- The Planning Act,
- Local Planning Appeal Tribunal Act,
- Ontario Heritage Act,
- and the Development Charges Act.
Click this link to see the act: https://www.ola.org/sites/default/files/node-files/bill/document/pdf/2019/2019-05/b108_e.pdf
Please check our 2019 Planning Reform page and other blog posts for more details on Bill 108.
MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT: PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT INTRODUCES HOUSING SUPPLY ACTION PLAN
On May 2, 2019, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing announced its “More Homes, More Choice: Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan”, which will involve sweeping legislative changes to the land use planning and appeal process.
View the government news release here: https://news.ontario.ca/mma/en/2019/05/ontarios-government-for-the-people-to-make-home-ownership-affordable-for-more-ontario-families.html
View the Housing Supply Action Plan here: https://files.ontario.ca/mmah-housing-supply-action-plan-en-2019-05-02.pdf
View the Greater Golden Horseshoe Growth Plan here: https://www.ontario.ca/document/place-grow-growth-plan-greater-golden-horseshoe or here for a PDF version
View the Backgrounder here, which outlines the various statutes that are proposed to be amended: https://news.ontario.ca/mma/en/2019/05/comprehensive-legislation-would-help-give-people-of-ontario-more-homes-more-choice.html
On Friday February 22, 2018, Davies Howe Partner Meaghan McDermid presented to a packed house at the Urban Land Institute’s event “Game Changers: Understanding the Impact of Growth Plan Reforms and Changes Ahead”. Meaghan and land use planner Emma West of Bousfields Inc. provided attendees with an overview of the significant reforms proposed by the Province in Amendment 1 to the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2017, followed by an insightful discussion from the expert panel about the potential impact of the proposed changes and the challenges still left to be met.
For more information, contact Ms. McDermid or any one of our Land Development lawyers.
Proposed Amendments to the Growth Plan were released January 15, 2019. The commenting period on the Amendments is open until February 28, 2019. There are a number of important changes to take note of found in the Our Guide to Changes in the link below . Our top five are:
- Flexibility to Add Uses to Employment Lands Before a Municipal Comprehensive Review: Lands within Employment Areas may be converted to a designation that permits non-employment uses in advance of a municipal comprehensive review, provided that there is:
- A need,
- No adverse effects on the viability of an Employment Area or achievement of minimum intensification and density targets,
- There are existing or planned infrastructure and public services in place, and,
- A significant amount of jobs are maintained.
However, certain lands will be designated Provincially Significant Employment Zones which can only be converted through a municipal comprehensive review. A list of the proposed employment zones is found in the overview of changes produced by the Ontario Growth Secretariat found in the link below.
- Settlement Area Changes in Advance of an MCR:
Adjustments -Settlement Area Boundaries may be adjusted by municipalities without an MCR when:
- There would be no net increase in land within the settlement area,
- The adjustment would support the ability to meet intensification and density targets,
- The normally applicable requirements for a settlement area expansion found in policy 22.214.171.124 are met,
- The land is not a rural settlement or in the Greenbelt, and,
- The land is serviced and there is sufficient reserve
Expansions – Settlement Area Boundaries may be expanded without an MCR when:
- The lands will meet the resident and jobs density targets or the employment area density targets established pursuant to the Growth Plan,
- The normally applicable requirements for a settlement area expansion in policy 126.96.36.199 are met,
- The land is not a rural settlement or in the Greenbelt,
- The land is serviced and there is sufficient reserve capacity,
- The land, accompanying growth, will be fully accounted for in the next Municipal Comprehensive Review, and,
- The land proposed to be expanded is no greater than 40 hectares.
The opportunity make minor rounding out adjustments to rural settlements has also been added.
- Support for Transit Oriented Development: Upper- and single-tier municipalities may delineate the boundaries of major transit stations areas and identify minimum density targets for these areas ahead of a Municipal Comprehensive Review, provided Planning Act requirements regarding official plan policies for these areas are met. The areas affected by these policies is proposed to be expanded to a 500 – 800 metre radius from the Transit Station.
- Scaled Intensification and Density Targets: Targets for Delineated Built-up Areas and Designated Greenfield Areas now scaled to the degree of urbanization of a municipality. The blanket intensification requirement that 60% of all residential development occur within the Delineated Built-up Area now ranges from 60% to 50% for more urbanized areas with a requirement that existing targets be maintained or improved for less urbanized areas. For Designated Greenfield Areas, the density target of 80 residents and jobs per hectare has been replaced with a range of 60 to 50 for more urbanized areas, and a minimum of 40 in less urbanized areas.
- Natural Heritage System and Agricultural System Mapping: Provincial Natural Heritage System and Agricultural System mapping does not apply until implemented in an applicable Upper Tier or Single Tier Official Plan and a municipality may refine the provincial mapping before incorporating it into their plan. Until then, existing Official Plan mapping applies.
The following resources may assist those looking for further information.
- The Davies Howe Guide to the Changes. Click here
- The Davies Howe Redline of the Growth Plan, for reference purposes. Click here
- Overview of changes produced by the Ontario Growth Secretariat, hosted by BILD. Click here
- The Draft Original Amended Growth Plan. Click here
- The Environmental Registry Posting. Click here
- Governmental News Release. Click here
- Government Backgrounder. Click here
Kimberly Beckman and Aaron Platt will be speaking at the OBA’s February 7th Real Property Law Section meeting on Commercial Real Estate Transactions
Kim and Aaron will discuss due diligence issues that arise in multi-tenant property transaction including reliance on surveys, zoning reliance letters, cost sharing agreements and future development concerns. They will also address the pitfalls when trying to close a deal in the face of a planning-related issue.
For more details please visit the OBA website
The 2018 Novae Res Urbis (NRU) rankings of the Top 10 Development Law Firms have been released and Davies Howe has been ranked #2 in both the GTA and the GTHA.
The NRU describes it as “another stellar year for the Davies Howe team, which continues to prove it is a force to be reckoned with” and goes on to say ”Davies Howe continues to maintain a powerful presence as one of Toronto’s preeminent planning and municipal law firms.”
We couldn’t have said it better.
On December 6, 2018, the provincial government introduced Bill 66, titled Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2018. Bill 66 proposes more than 30 amendments to existing legislation, including the Planning Act.
If passed in its current form, Bill 66 would add section 34.1 to the Planning Act, allowing local municipalities to pass an “open-for-business planning by-law” (“OFB By-law”). OFB By-laws would fast track zoning permissions for qualifying developments, subject to certain conditions normally associated with site plan approvals.
According to information released by the Ministry of Economic Development, an OFB By-law is intended to “remove planning barriers to expedite major business investments and speed up approvals so they would be completed within one year”.
Exemptions from Provincial Plans, Policies, and Laws
An OFB By-law would be exempt from, among others, the following requirements:
• Consistency with the Provincial Policy Statement, 2014;
• Conformity with the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2017;
• Conformity with the Greenbelt Plan, 2017;
• Conformity with the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan, 2009;
• Conformity with the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, 2017;
• Conformity with official plans;
• The applicability of a holding (“H”) provision;
• Height and density bonusing by-laws;
• Site plan approval; however, a municipality may still impose site plan related conditions;
• Subsections 34 (10.0.0.1) – (34) of the Planning Act which would mean, among other things, that:
– A person can apply for an amendment to applicable zoning through an OFB By-law within two years of the parent zoning by-law being passed;
– An OFB By-law cannot be appealed to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal; and
– A municipality would not be required to give notice or hold a public meeting prior to enacting an OFB By-law;
• Section 39 of the Clean Water Act, which would mean that an OFB By-law would not need to:
– Conform with significant threat policies and designated Great Lakes policies; and
– Have regard to other policies set out in a drinking water source protection plan;
• Section 20 of the Great Lakes Protection Plan, 2015, which would mean that an OFB By-law would not need to:
– Conform with initiatives made under this Act; and
– Have regard to policies set out in Schedule 1 of the Act;
• Consistency with any transportation planning policy statement made under sub-section 31.1(4) of the Metrolinx Act, 2006;
• Conformity with any development plan made under the Ontario Planning and Development Act, 1994; and
• Consistency with any applicable policy statements made under the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016.
Procedure to Pass an OFB By-law
The municipality must pass a resolution requesting the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to approve an OFB By-law, and an OFB By-law would also need to satisfy any prescribed criteria that may be established by regulation. If the Minister approves this request, a municipality could formally enact an OFB By-law, subject to any conditions that may be imposed by the Minister.
An OFB By-law would come into force on the 20th day after it is passed by Council, or a later day specified by the Minister. Although no notice is required prior to the passing of an OFB By-law, the municipality must notify the Minister within 3 days and certain persons or public bodies within 30 days of the passing of an OFB By-law.
The provincial government also proposes a new Regulation under Bill 66 that would:
• Require confirmation that the proposal is for a new major employment use;
• Require evidence that the proposal would meet a minimum job creation threshold (e.g. 50 jobs for municipalities with a population of less than 250,000 people, or 100 jobs for municipalities with a population of more than 250,000 people);
• Identify the uses of land, buildings or structures that may be authorized by an OFB By-law, such as manufacturing and research and development, but not residential, commercial or retail as the primary use; and
• Prescribe how notice is to be given to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing following the passing of an open-for-business by-law (similar to how the Minister is notified following the passing of a zoning by-law – e.g. email and personal service).
The deadline to submit comments to the Environmental Registrar with respect to Bill 66 and its accompanying regulation is January 20, 2019.
Bill 66 has passed first reading. Davies Howe LLP will continue to monitor its status.
If you have any questions regarding Bill 66, please contact one of our municipal, planning and land development lawyers.
Part IV of the Planning Act (the “Act”) outlines municipal authority for the implementation of a “community improvement plan”.
The Act allows the designation of a community improvement project area for any “environmental, social or community economic development reason”, including building age or structural condition, overcrowding, poor planning, unsuitability of buildings, or intent to encourage affordable housing.
These justifications have been interpreted broadly since Re Yonge Street Regeneration Project, 1998 CarswellOnt 6675, where a Joint Board of the Ontario Municipal Board and the Board of Inquiry agreed that s. 28 of the Act is not limited to curing physical deterioration. The Joint Board relied on the wording “for any other reason” to conclude that a valid CIP can be undertaken on the basis of physical deterioration and neighbourhood quality.
Upon an application for judicial review of the Joint Board Decision, the Ontario Court of Justice affirmed this view, holding that the language “is sufficiently broad to allow municipalities to designate community improvement project areas on the basis of whether there may be social or economic benefits to such a designation regardless of whether the area suffers from any physical dilapidation or blight”.
Designation of a CIP by Council under s. 28(2) of the Act requires enabling policy in the municipality’s Official Plan. Based on the definitions provided in Section 28(1) and (1.1), a community improvement project area can be a single, specific property, a larger area that is deemed to be a desirable candidate for redevelopment, or even the entirety of the municipality.
In addition, community improvement plans are subject to Ministerial approval, and the preparation of a community improvement plan is treated in the same manner as the preparation of an Official Plan. Subsection 28(5) incorporates the provisions of Section 17 respecting consultation and public meetings, submissions and comments, adoption of the community improvement plan, and prescribed notice.
Section 28 itself does not specify rights of appeal; rather, the ability to appeal a community improvement plan is created by reference. Under section 28(5) of the Act, section 17(49) as it read on the day before the Building Better Communities and Conserving Watersheds Act, 2017, incorporates section 17(36) of the Act, which allows for an appeal of all or part of the decision by a person who made oral or written submissions to Council.
Effect and Opportunities
Where a By-law has been passed to designate a community improvement project area, section 28(3) allows the municipality to acquire, hold, or prepare land for community improvement, or to facilitate private investment.
The statutory powers available to municipalities once a community improvement plan is in effect are described under subsection 28(6) and (7), which allow construction or rehabilitation of buildings on municipally-held land, the granting of financial incentives to owners or tenants, or the disposition of buildings or land by lease or sale to any person for a use that conforms with the community improvement plan.
Community improvement plans may also be used in conjunction with brownfield remediation programs, heritage property relief, and property tax assistance through subsections 365.1 and 365.2 of the Municipal Act, 2001 and subsections 333 and 334 of the City of Toronto Act.
When employed with a community improvement plan, the brownfield remediation assistance provisions allow for a municipality to cancel all or a portion of municipal taxes. They also allow deferral of municipal taxes for contaminated properties within a community improvement project area if the community improvement plan contains policies contemplating tax assistance for remediation of contaminated properties.
A municipality may also pass a By-law to implement property tax relief of 10 to 40 percent for owners of eligible heritage properties, subject to an agreement to protect heritage features.
Without a valid community improvement plan, these grants and loans to private property owners and property tax relief programs would be illegal per section 106 of the Municipal Act, 2001 and section 82(1) of the City of Toronto Act, 2006. The “prohibition against bonusing” in that provision prevents municipalities from financially assisting any industrial or commercial enterprise, including lending money, leasing at below-market value, loan guarantees, or exemptions from charges or fees, unless done under the authority of a valid community improvement plan.
The municipality may, by By-law, dissolve a community improvement plan and community improvement project area.