On July 8 the Toronto City Council officially implemented the Development Permit System by amending the city’s Official Plan to read:
“The entire City of Toronto is identified by this policy as a development permit area. However, development permit by-laws will only be prepared for those areas within the City identified by Council, following at least one community meeting in the affected area, in addition to any requirements under the Planning Act.”
This means that Leaside is now a development permit area but a by-law necessary to implement the system for Leaside will not be put in place until at least one community meeting has been held. That meeting will not be a decision making meeting but will only give input to our councillor who will not be bound by opinions expressed at that meeting.
The amended Official Plan further states:
“Development Permit by-laws will establish the extent and the method of public notification and the means by which Council will confer with the public on applications for a development permit, in a manner that in the opinion of City Council is at least as effective to that available for zoning and minor variance applications in areas where a development permit by-law does not exist.”
This means that Leasiders will receive notice of development permit applications but although the developer will have a right to appeal the decision concerning the application, most likely made by a city planner, an affected Leasider will have no right of appeal.
The amended Official Plan goes on to state:
“Where a development permit by-law has been enacted, Council may delegate its decision making authority respecting development permit applications and its authority to execute, amend and release development permit agreements to a Committee or body appointed by Council or an employee of the City of Toronto. However, despite the delegation, the Ward Councillor may require that the development permit application be submitted to the appropriate Community Council and to Council for a decision.”
This means that city council may or may not appoint a city planner to approve development permit applications in Leaside. However if council retained this authority either in a committee of council or by appointing a body of citizens such as now exists with the Committee of Adjustments, city council would be defeating the intended purpose of the development permit system which is to allow city planners to make these decisions without having to go through what in their opinion is the time wasting process of holding public meetings for each rezoning or minor variance application and at the same time relieving councillors of having to make these tough decisions.
And then the amended Official Plan states:
“City Council directs that the development permit by-laws be drafted by local planning staff and brought to the local Community Council for consideration at a statutory public meeting.”
This means that the statutory public meeting will be crucial because it will establish the physical character of our community and its resulting traffic patterns not only for ourselves but for future residents as well.
Hope to see you at those meetings!