Draper St. heritage houses

City Planning needs to ensure that Studies, Plans and Guidelines directed to City building are properly prioritized

FoNTRA’s examination of the Study Work Program updates reveals some concerning trends. The waiting list for studies and plans is long, and getting longer. This trend appears to be especially true for heritage-related studies, including HCD studies/plans, CHRAs, and City-Wide and Area Guidelines. We have compiled the Study Work Program data for these categories by status (Completed, Forecast, Active and Hold) using the updated reports – see attached.

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development pipeline report

Residential planning applications in the pipeline will build 43 percent more than the total need by 2051

FoNTRA found the Development Pipeline report to be a useful and important document. The data it presents provide ample evidence on the astounding imbalance between planning approvals and construction of new housing. But the data are also incomplete, because it says nothing about the provision of affordable housing for households with below-median income.

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Implementing the One-Stream Preliminary Review Program for Building Permit Applicants

FoNTRA supports the recommendations of this report to improve the Preliminary Review Program, and specifically Recommendation 4 that:

  • City Council request the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning, in consultation with the Chief Building Official and Executive Director, Toronto Building, to review application requirements for the Committee of Adjustment to consider requiring a preliminary zoning review to verify the minor variances and remove the option of a zoning waiver.

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Enhancing post-permit compliance

RE: MM37.21 Measures to Enhance Compliance After the Permit Process – by Councillor Ana Bailão, seconded by Councillor Frances Nunziata (Ward All)

Dear Mayor John Tory and Members of City Council,

We are writing in strong support of the above noted Member’s Motion to review options for strengthening the City’s enforcement of illegal construction after occupancy, or where a change of use of the property has occurred.

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Concept 2 Keys Development Application Review Program

This report brings forward updates on the work completed to date by the Concept 2 Keys team, highlighting preliminary results of Phase 1, updates on preparatory work for Phase 2, and additional City-wide development process improvements.

The Concept 2 Keys (C2K) program focusses on reducing costs, and increasing efficiency. This is laudable, except that for a government service this singular focus is fundamentally flawed – you are the City and you exist to serve the public, not just customers, i.e. development applicants. Nowhere is there any mention of residents, neighbours, or interests other than that of the applicant or undefined stakeholders.

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Toronto Buildings Review

FoNTRA representatives were part of the consultation process leading up to this report, including a meeting with Will Johnston, Chief Building Official. Our focus in that meeting was on residents as “customers” as residents are impacted by various functions undertaken by Toronto Buildings.

Errors in the reports on variances required for Committee of Adjustment applications and the errors in the use of waivers by applicants cause confusion and delays at the Committee of Adjustment hearings as well as approval of incorrect variances. There is also confusion and concern about issues that are now covered by the Building Code, such as responsibility for safely and damages to neighbouring properties related to construction next door, whether  lot lines or party walls. Also variable and lack of enforcement can be an issue.

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Waivers for Minor Variances

The Federation of North Toronto Residents’ Associations (“FoNTRA”) hereby requests that Toronto Building conduct a feasibility study for the elimination of the Use of Waivers in the identification of minor variances to the zoning by-laws for residential and commercial applications to the Committee of Adjustment (CofA).

The Waiver process started some years ago as an interim measure when a large backlog was created (and every application had to be redone) following the enactment of the consolidated By-law 569-2013.

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