Municipalities gained additional discretion in planning decisions

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MANITOULIN – Although changes have been made by the province to the Planning Act, the Municipal Act, 2001 and the City of Toronto Act, 2006, giving municipalities discretion to delegate decisions additional council committees or municipal staff for minor changes to zoning bylaws, it should not result in major changes for local municipalities or the Manitoulin Planning Board (MPB). The City of Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands makes its own planning decisions.

“I don’t think it will affect us here (Manitoulin Island) very much,” Gore Bay Mayor Dan Osborne, who is also a member of the MPB, told The Expositor. “We’re not dragging our feet here on minor zoning changes. I think these changes were made with larger places in the province in mind.

Theresa Carlisle, secretary-treasurer of the MPB, said under the changes, “Effective January 1, the changes mean that these kinds of minor zoning bylaw changes would not have to go to city council. Municipalities could designate a committee to deal with that sort of thing Amendments, for example, will still have to be in accordance with the Official Plan and official compliance, but will not have to go through the public municipal council process in place now.

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) issued a Notice of Decision on December 30, 2021. “Amendments have been made to the Planning Act, the Municipal Act 2001 and the Municipal Act 2006 on the City of Toronto, giving municipalities the discretion to delegate additional decisions. to committees of council or municipal staff for minor changes to zoning by-laws.

“Bill 13, the Support for People and Business Act 2021, was introduced on October 7, 2021,” the MMAH notice reads. “Schedule 19 of the Bill makes amendments to the Planning Act to expand the matters that the council of a local municipality can delegate to help streamline planning decisions. Specifically, the amendments provide new discretion to delegate planning decisions for minor amendments to zoning by-laws, subject to the establishment of official plan policies that specify the types of by-laws that may be delegated. This power could include delegating decisions for temporary use by-laws, removal of operating symbols, and other minor changes to zoning by-laws. It would be up to each municipality to determine whether to exercise this proposed new authority and what types of minor zoning by-law amendment decisions to delegate.

“The Schedule also makes consequential amendments to the Municipal Act, 2001 and the City of Toronto Act, 2006,” the notice continues. “The delegation of additional planning matters does not alter any notice or public meeting requirements or limit appeal rights. Nor does it change the requirements of the Planning Act for land use planning decisions to be consistent with the provincial policy statement and to be consistent or not in conflict with provincial plans. “

“This new discretion gives municipalities the ability to delegate planning decisions on minor zoning bylaw changes to help streamline processes. Council is required to establish official plan policies before it can delegate powers and these policies are subject to public consultation,” explains MMAH’s decision.

“The changes do not alter any notice or public meeting requirements. Nor do they change the requirements for land use planning decisions to be consistent with the provincial policy statement and to be consistent or not inconsistent with provincial plans. These documents provide strategic direction on matters of provincial interest related to land use planning to promote healthy communities, a strong economy and protect the environment.

“The Planning Act currently allows council to delegate certain decisions (to an adjustment committee): for example, decisions about approving amendments to the lower-tier official plan, site plan , plans of subdivision and consents. With the amendments, “it makes changes to the Planning Act to expand the matters that a local municipality’s council can delegate to help streamline planning decisions.” Specifically, the amendments provide new discretion to delegate planning decisions for minor zoning by-law amendments, subject to criteria set out in Official Plan policies. This power could include delegating decisions for temporary use by-laws, removal of operating symbols, and other minor changes to zoning by-laws. It would be up to each municipality to determine whether to exercise this proposed new authority and what type of minor zoning by-law amendment decisions to delegate.

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