“If at first you don’t succeed, try again” seems to be the motto of the City of Toronto with respect to the adoption of a new comprehensive zoning by‐law for the entire City.

Where Are We Now?

On August 27th, 2010, City Council adopted a comprehensive zoning by‐law for the City of Toronto. On May 18th, 2011, City Council repealed that by‐law rather than face almost 700 legal challenges by way of appeals to the Ontario Municipal Board.

The City’s Planning & Growth Management Committee directed City Planning staff to consult with parties who filed appeals of the first zoning by‐law adoption and to report back to the Committee with respect to progress on same, with the intention of bringing forward a new zoning by‐law to Committee. City Planning staff have now prepared a draft zoning by‐law which attempts to largely achieve the same goals as the original. A statutory public meeting with respect to the draft zoning by‐law is expected to occur in November of 2012, setting the stage for its possible adoption in early 2013.

City consultations with stakeholders, which occurred between the repeal of the first zoning by‐law and the introduction of the draft zoning by‐law to the Planning & Growth Management Committee this past Summer, addressed a number of shortcomings with the original document including, among other things, the transitioning of development applications filed under existing in‐effect zoning by‐laws, the recognition of minor‐variance and site‐specific‐bylaw permissions, matters relating to legal nonconforming uses, the treatment of existing buildings in the new zoning regime, and definition and mapping issues.

Transition of Complete Development Applications

The draft zoning by‐law now contains a transition clause which grandfathers complete minor variance, site plan approval, consent, draft plan of subdivision, plan of condominium, payment in lieu of parking agreement and part lot control exemption applications filed to the City prior its adoption. These transition clauses will be repealed on the third anniversary of the adoption date which means land owners must be diligent and act to implement the approvals acquired through these applications before the transition provisions are removed.

Complete applications for zoning by‐law amendments filed before the adoption of the draft zoning by‐law will be subject to the zoning by‐law they propose to amend. In order for this “transitioning” to occur, existing zoning by‐laws will not be repealed by City Council when the draft zoning by‐law is adopted. The City has indicated that, at some point in the future but after adoption, it intends to incorporate into the new zoning by‐law lands rezoned pursuant to an amendment to an existing zoning by‐law in consultation with property owners.

Regardless of these attempts to transition complete applications from the scope of the draft zoning by‐law, matters relating to transition have not been tested in practice. Parties with interests in real estate in Toronto are subject to risk in this regard.

What Do You Need To Do?

If you have real estate interests in Toronto the onus is on you to review the draft zoning by‐law and determine if and how it impacts your interests. If you fail to register an objection or concern with the draft zoning by‐law before it is adopted by City Council you will lose your right to appeal it to the Ontario Municipal Board.