Recommended Amendments to the Planning Act and the Ontario Municipal Board

June 9, 2011

in Correspondence, Ontario Municipal Board, Planning Act

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Hon. Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario
Main Legislative Building
Queen’s Park
Toronto, ON
M7A1A1

Tim Hudak, M.P.P.
Leader of the Opposition, Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario
Main Legislative Building
Queen’s Park
Toronto, ON
M7A1A1

Andrea Horwath, M.P.P.
Leader, Ontario New Democratic Party
Main Legislative Building
Queen’s Park
Toronto, ON
M7A1A1

In anticipation of the provincial election in October 2011, we are writing to suggest amendments to the Planning Act and the Ontario Municipal Board that would lead to improved planning for Ontario

The Federation of North Toronto Residents’ Associations (FoNTRA) believes that long-term planning can be improved through stabilizing a municipality’s Official Plan. Accordingly, we encourage rules-based planning and discourage site-specific Official Plan amendments.

To enhance the Official Plan as a planning instrument for the municipalities in Ontario, FoNTRA advocates two small, but significant, amendments to the Planning Act.
• The Planning Act should be amended to require Official Plans to prescribe building intensities and popula-tion densities. This amendment would provide guidance for site-specific re-zonings; and
• Site-specific amendments by anyone other than public agencies should be eliminated to maintain the validity of public policy in between the mandatory comprehensive Official Plan updates every five years.

The Planning Act should also be amended so that the relationships of policies under the Provincial Policy Statements (PPS), Provincial Plans, and Official Plans are clarified. Further, the conformity of Official Plans with policies under the PPS and any Provincial Plans should be established in a single review/approval process.

FoNTRA also advocates the need for further improvements to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). Many municipalities are dismayed by OMB decisions whereby the OMB interprets the Provincial Policy Statements in a manner that focuses on intensification regardless of the suitability of the location. More importantly, the OMB continues to disregard the express wishes of the municipalities (both lower and upper tier) in upholding an Official Plan designation from a different era by add-ing additional density to the specified area. The Planning Act should be amended to correct these problems with respect to the OMB.

We believe that these recommended amendments will significantly improve development planning in Ontario and request that you provide FoNTRA with the position of your party on these recommendations. We are available to discuss the proposed amendments with you and/or your representatives.

Yours truly,

Geoff KettelPeter Baker
Co-Chair, FoNTRACo-Chair, FoNTRA
129 Hanna Road124 Sherwood Avenue
Toronto, OntarioToronto, Ontario
M4G 3N6M4P2A7
gkettel@gmail.competerwbaker@rogers.com

Copy:
City of Toronto MPPs and Councillors and other interested parties
FoNTRA representatives and others
Federation of Urban Neighbourhoods

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