Note from Kevin Beattie to Councillor Filion on OMB outside planners

May 18, 2012 · 0 comments

in Correspondence, Ontario Municipal Board


From: Kevin Beattie
To: Councillor Filion
Sent: Wednesday, May 9, 2012 10:43:26 AM
Subject: OMB outside planners vote

I thought the idea of dramatically reducing City funding (be they lawyers or planners, staff or outside) for OMB cases had been quashed so was surprised to read in this mornings paper of yesterdays vote at Council. Thank you for your active role in seeing this incredibly bad idea “soundly defeated”. Sadly it speaks volumes of how poorly the Mayor understands the planning process. He deserved this humiliation for such monumental short sightedness.

Although I share the Mayors concern about wasted tax dollars (City and Provincial) fighting and often losing ridiculous OMB appeals, the solution requires a little more leadership than simply giving up the fight. The solution must address the cause(s) and not just the symptom. If the City elevated the role of Planning in City governance, hired a top notch Planning Chief, tightened the OP, updated the ZBL, and got planning staff to respect our own plans and rules there would be far fewer appeals. Although the notion of abolishing the OMB grabbed headlines, a more practical course of action for addressing planning concerns outside the City’s direct control would be to lobby the Province for a comprehensive review of it’s disjointed planning acts and policies (OMB included) with an objective to bring greater clarity, certainty, and efficiency to the planning process for developers and residents. This would dramatically reduce the number of appeals, saving time and money for all stakeholders, and at the same time help deliver on the laudable goals of the GGH Growth Plan.

I know you understand that planning and development decisions (good or bad) have a very long term impact on the social, economic, and environmental quality of our neighbourhoods, the City and the Province. We certainly can’t afford the Mayor’s kind of reckless short sightedness so thank you again for your vigilance on planning matters within the City’s direct control. I hope this victory will encourage you to continue the battle for common sense on City planning matters, and to accelerate efforts to illicit support of other Councillors and MPP’s to join FoNTRA and CORRA’s push for meaningful planning review and reform at the Provincial level. I believe the timing is (finally) good from a political perspective. We have a very astute and capable Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. We have a government in need of low cost, high impact opportunities to visibly demonstrate it’s ability to pull up it’s socks and execute it’s promises. This certainly fits the bill. It’s low hanging fruit so let’s help them see it.

Kevin Beattie

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