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

10th Floor, West Tower, City Hall
100 Queen St. West
Toronto M5H 2N2

Attn: Nancy Martins, Secretariat

RE: PH30.7 Implementing the One-Stream Preliminary Review Program for Building Permit Applicants

Dear Ana Bailao, Chair, and Members of Planning and Housing Committee

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.

On a number of occasions, we have raised with the Chief Building Official the various issues residents face with Committee of Adjustment applications:

  • Submitted with unreliable or inaccurate waiver requests in lieu of having undertaken a Preliminary Zoning Review (PZR) and/or
  • Submitted with a Preliminary Zoning Review (PZR) but with a waiver request introduced at the Hearing following negotiations between the City and the applicant.

The waiver process results in too many errors by applicants or the waiver information is provided only at the hearing. Both of these situations deprive the Committee and especially residents of transparent and fair process. Time is wasted for all, not only for the applicant, but for staff and residents and other members of the public attending to try to comment on applications in their neighbourhoods. For a fair and transparent hearing, the meeting notice must include a complete and accurate list of variances prepared by Toronto Buildings. All clients should be required to have a Preliminary Zoning Review with a detailed review of a project proposal confirming compliance with the City’s Zoning By-law(s) and applicable law prior to the Hearing.

Yours truly,

Geoff Kettel
Co-Chair, FoNTRA

Cathie Macdonald
Co-Chair, FoNTRA

cc: Will Johnston, CBO and Executive Director, Toronto Buildings
Kyle Knoeck, Acting Director, Zoning and Committee of Adjustment, City Planning