The City of Toronto has released a proposed new zoning by-law for the entire city, and is now engaging in public consultations. The by-law has implications for all property owners in the city:
- The zoning for a site prescribes permitted uses, height, setbacks, maximum density, and other standards that directly govern development rights and, accordingly, property values.
- Changes to the zoning by-law can affect existing developments by restricting uses or altering redevelopment potential.
- Owners with lands currently in the planning process for redevelopment or expansion need to be informed about the new transition rules so as to avoid adverse impacts under the new zoning regime where appropriate.
- All property owners in the City would be advised to review the status of their property and to consider their near-term development aspirations in light of the provisions of the proposed new zoning by-law.
- It is important to remember that the Planning Act only allows appeals to the Ontario Municipal Board if oral or written submissions about objections are made to the City prior to Council’s decision to enact the by-law. In order to protect your right to appeal the revised zoning by-law, should you not be satisfied with how the City addresses any of your planning concerns, it is important to ensure that submissions are made to the City.
- The public consultation period ends September 27, 2012.
Context – What is Happening?
Following amalgamation, the City of Toronto has been working on a new comprehensive zoning by-law in order to harmonize zoning across the former municipalities. The first attempt at this, By-law 1156-2010 enacted in 2010, was repealed by City Council in May 2011, and staff were directed to undertake consultations and bring forward a new by-law. The new revised zoning by-law was released to the public on June 18th, 2012, and is currently in the public consultation stage until September 27, 2012. Staff will report on consultations in October including any further proposed revisions. A Statutory Public Meeting will take place in November 2012. If the revised by-law is received favourably, Council is expected to adopt it in early 2013.
The New Revised Zoning By-law
We have reviewed the new zoning by-law and find that there are significant changes from the repealed 2010 by-law. Changes include provisions regarding minor variance permissions, ‘grandfathering’ of existing buildings, transition of applications in process, Tall Building regulations, the definition of gross floor area for specific uses, and new requirements and standards affecting a variety of uses including residential; drive-throughs, restaurants and other commercial operations; industrial and other employment land uses; funeral homes and cemeteries, among others.
The revised by-law includes complex transition rules, including a three year transition period where certain applications submitted before enactment of the new by-law will continue under the now in-force zoning by-laws. Other properties meeting certain criteria will be excluded from the by-law now, and will be brought into the new by-law on a case by case basis later. For a number of such reasons, the current in-force zoning by-laws will not be repealed.