- Posted on:
May 3, 2019
Ontario P.C.’s Proposed NEW Local Planning Appeals Tribunal
In proposed legislation announced on Thursday, Steve Clark, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, stated the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, (known as the Ontario Municipal Board prior to 2017 changes by the previous Liberal government), would regain power to make final decisions based on its own determination of the best planning outcome – a power the old OMB’s critics say allowed it to unfairly impose developer-friendly rulings on municipalities. Mr. Clark also promised to clear the tribunal’s current backlog, where a potential 100,000 unapproved housing units sit in limbo in Toronto alone.
Representatives from BILD, and the building industry in general, were in attendance as plans for more affordable housing development were announced. They welcomed the proposals and said these would help them build more homes to meet pent-up and rising demand for places to live.
“By speeding up the approvals … that’s going to bring the homes to the area for the growth that we are experiencing,” said Dave Wilkes, president and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), which represents Greater Toronto Area developer
These changes would reduce bureaucracy and spur the construction of new homes of all kinds, including rental apartments: Mr. Clark stated that, “For too long, government has stood in the way of increasing housing supply in this province, and hard-working families are paying the price.”
Environmentalists and some municipal politicians were concerned that the plan shows the government of Premier Doug Ford may unduly be siding with the building and land development industry.
The minister said that while his government’s critics feared it would do away with what are known as development charges – large fees developers pay to cover the costs of the water and sewer pipes and other infrastructure needed before they can build homes – it is instead keeping them in place, but making some changes. To stimulate the much-needed construction of rental housing, developers could put off paying development charges for rental or non-profit housing for five years.
And to encourage new homes to be built with secondary units, such as basement apartments, those units would no longer be subject to development charges. Planning Act changes would also make approvals for these units in existing homes easier.
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