Here are some frequently asked questions on the new by-law:

Will the City Notify Property Owners of Changes to Existing Zoning Permissions?

No. The City of Toronto has stated that owners of real estate in the City are solely responsible for reviewing the new by-law to see whether it changes the existing zoning permissions for any properties.

What Will Happen if Property Owners Do Not Review the New By-law before it is Adopted?

Your zoning rights may be changed and you will lose your right to appeal the new by-law to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). If the new by-law changes existing zoning permissions for your properties and you do not file written submissions, or make an oral deputation in objection to these changes before the new by-law is adopted by City Council, you will not have the right to appeal the new by-law to the OMB.  

What’s Changing?

The new by-law is approximately 4,500 pages in length and includes text and numerous types of maps. Below are just some of the changes we have found:

Land Use – Institutional uses such as schools and hospitals and retail uses such as big box stores, will no longer have as-of-right zoning in certain zones and future projects for these uses will be subject to the rezoning application process.

Tall Buildings – Former design guideline criteria related to minimum and maximum base building height, floor plate size limitation, and tower-to-tower separation distances on the same lot will be included in the new bylaw, which means a rezoning application must be filed to deviate from the criteria.

Gross Floor Area – The definition of “gross floor area” in the new by-law includes all areas above and below grade, excluding parking and loading areas. Even if a density permission for a particular property does not change under the new by-law, it will change in actual terms, as permitted density will be calculated using a greater area, effectively down-zoning the property.

Parking –Policy areas have been introduced whereby the number of parking space standards vary across the City depending on the proximity of a property to public transportation. This change would result in new maximums for the amount of parking that can be provided.

Natural Hazard Boundaries –The location of buildings near ravines is restricted to within 10 metres of the top of the ravine bank and the reconstruction of buildings already located within the Natural Hazard area will be restricted.

Existing Site-specific By-laws –We have reviewed many properties for our clients and have discovered that existing amendments to the existing zoning by-law have not been included in the new by-law, which means those owners will lose existing zoning rights for their properties under the new by-law.

What’s Next?

Open House - May 27, 2010

The City will hold an Open House for the new by-law, at which time members of the public will have the opportunity to review the new by-law and ask questions of City Planning staff.

Statutory Public Meeting - June 16, 2010

During the regularly scheduled meeting of the Planning and Growth Management Committee (the “Committee”), members of the public will have the opportunity to make representations on the new by-law to the Committee.

Adoption of New By-law

The window for Council to adopt the new by-law before the municipal election this fall will close on August 26th. At this point, City Council is on schedule to adopt the new by-law at its July 6th and 7th meetings.

Although requests have been made to the City to postpone the statutory public meeting in order to provide additional time to review the new by-law and to provide meaningful comments to City Planning Staff, the City has indicated that it will not revise its adoption timetable. In short, now is the time that you must act to protect your zoning rights in the City of Toronto. Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP has been contacted by many clients regarding the new by-law and would be pleased to provide you with advice during the final stages of the public consultation process, as well as make the requisite oral and written submissions on your behalf in order to protect your rights.