As previously reported in a Wood Bull blog, the City of Toronto is considering implementing a development permit system. As part of the public consultation process, the City of Toronto has launched a public website www.toronto.ca/planning/reset called Reset TO, released a toolkit on the development permit system, and will be holding a series of public open houses and meetings March 18-24.
The development permit system is a land use planning tool, introduced by the Province of Ontario in 2001, that combines zoning, site plan, and minor variance processes into one application and approval process. To date, only the Township of Lake of Bays, the Town of Carleton Place, and the Town of Gananoque have implemented the development permit system. The City of Brampton has approved an official plan amendment and by-law for implementing a development permit system for a pilot district in the downtown area, which has been appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board by local landowners.
NRU Toronto, a weekly publication that report on news in municipal government and urban planning, recently published an article on the City of Toronto’s development permit system initiative. The article included interviews with Joe Abramo (the director of zoning and environmental planning who is leading the initiative), Confederation of Resident and Ratepayer Association (“CORRA”), and municipal lawyers, including Dennis Wood. Dennis Wood’s views on the development permit system, as quoted in the NRU article “Zoning Alternative?”:
Dennis Wood (Wood Bull LLP) agrees with D’Abramo that development permit by-laws may not be as murky as some suggest.
“There’s more opportunity for qualitative language about urban design, so they have the standards that one finds in zoning, but [development permit by-laws] can have other things too,” he said. “In that sense, you might say they’re better than zoning if you buy into the qualitative side. So I don’t agree that a development permit by-law will not be understood.”
Wood said that he agrees with CORRA that getting “good front-end planning on this,” along with participation from the development and ratepayer community is essential to ensure a permit system would work “reasonably well.”
“My personal experience is that neighborhood groups are up to it, provided that they get satisfactory support from the planning staff ,” he said.
To read the full article, subscribe to NRU at http://www.nrupublishing.com/
Update: Open House June 9 2014 - City of Toronto Draft Development Permit System Official Plan Policies