Do you own or have an interest in land in the City of Toronto? If so, your property rights could be seriously affected.

The City of Toronto has recently released a draft proposed new Zoning By-law for the entire City of Toronto. This proposed Zoning By-law will impact all property within the City’s boundaries. The proposed Zoning By-law is intended to replace the 43 existing, in-force by-laws of the former area municipalities comprising the City of Toronto.

The proposed Zoning By-law makes significant changes to the existing zoning regime which will affect both existing, developed properties and properties slated for redevelopment.

For example, not all of the site-specific zoning by-law amendments previously approved by the City (and/or the Ontario Municipal Board on appeal), have been incorporated into the proposed new Zoning By-law. We also understand that City Staff do not intend to recommend that existing minor variances be incorporated into the new Zoning By-law. This will mean that buildings which were constructed in accordance with previous minor variance approvals will become legal non-conforming upon the new Zoning By-law coming into force and effect. Moreover, those landowners who have not yet obtained building permits in accordance with previous minor variance approvals will lose the additional development rights granted by the Committee of Adjustment and/or Ontario Municipal Board.

It is our recommendation that all landowners should be diligent in ascertaining whether or not the proposed new Zoning By-law will have an impact on lands in which they own or have an interest. City Staff currently intend to prepare a Final Report with respect to the proposed new Zoning By-law in the Fall of 2009, and the new Zoning By-law could be adopted by City Council before the end of this year. Failure to object to By-law changes could result in the loss of existing rights, or present significant hurdles to any redevelopment proposal.

Please note that, under the Planning Act, in order for a landowner to appeal the new Zoning By-law, the landowner or its representatives are required to have made either oral or written submissions to City Council prior to the adoption of the new Zoning By-law.