Currently Browsing: Planning Policy Reviews

More Sprawl

The Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) lays the foundation for decisions on where land, which is either natural & wild or farmed for our food, is developed for housing or business or roads.  The Province is proposing an amendment to the Plan about which I am very concerned.

.One of the proposed changes is to have municipalities plan out till 2051. Given that statistics from Ministry of Finance indicate that there is adequate land zoned appropriately to meet forecasted needs through to 2041 (the current planning horizon) I don’t know why we would take the risk of municipalities developing Official Plans (OP) out to 2051.  The pandemic has forced a significant portion of the working population to work at home.  (The simple confirmation of this is to look at the empty GO train parking lot in King City Monday-Friday.) The number of companies announcing that employees may work remotely permanently is growing. Today I would not want to make any significant decision with assumptions as to how much (more…)

Provincial Policy Statement proposal

On Oct.21 Council agenda there is report with proposed response to the draft Provincial Policy Statement (PPS). The PPS is a high level summary of provincial policy on all matters related to land use and how the land is used.  Having read it over and looked at some of the “reviews” posted on the Environmental Registry my general comment is that consistent with other policy changes introduced in last 12 months the draft PPS does not put priority on natural heritage nor on agriculture but gives priority to development and aggregate extraction.  The latter can provide sustainable value if done correctly; but the draft PPS enables both these activities with less demanding criteria.  Feedback was initially due 10/21 but has been extended to 10/25; feedback from individuals is very much welcomed.

As Staff report reviews the PPS says development in settlement areas with appropriate densities and intensification is important for a variety of reasons including minimizing negative impact on air quality, energy conservation, building & maintaining public transit infrastructure  but then of PPS says the settlement boundaries can be expanded outside a comprehensive municipal review. Staying within the defined municipal boundary is critical for providing a framework whereby infrastructure can be funded, built and maintained in a sustainable way.  The draft policy does not provide adequate criteria for making such decisions. indicates that private communal water and sewage systems are the preferred  form of servicing for multi-unit/lot development where servicing is not available, planned or feasible in order to protect the environment  and minimize risk to public safety.  I think it is incredible that a government policy would say such a thing.  Who has not heard of private systems not being properly maintained?  And even if the municipality does not own a malfunctioning system, I cannot believe that there would not be a liability risk. Development/growth needs to be in the defined settlement areas to access the infrastructure.   I believe we should be recommending the Government to drop this policy.

The Staff report identified the need for more information about “fast tracking” some applications.  I agree that there should be criteria for such.  And I would go further to suggest that, if fast tracking is to be done, I think a criteria would be the purpose of such development.  e.g. an application to develop affordable housing in the “right” place i.e. transit supported would be a reason to fast track; conversely a development for single detached housing outside the current urban boundary should receive no concessions on timing and therefor on assessment.

In policies verb tense is very important:  I fully agree with Staff indicating that “should” is not good enough  in a statement about protecting agriculture.  It should read:  “agriculture, agriculture -related uses, on-farm diversified uses and normal farm practices SHALL be promoted and protected….”

We have lost 70% of our wetlands in Ontario already which is very unfortunate as they are deliver significant value by  preventing floods and filtering out nutrients).  I would like to see that the PPS include a statement that municipalities should endeavor to both maintain and restore wetlands.


Our King, our new OP

At Monday October 7 Council our new Official Plan, Our King, was adopted by Council.  It now goes to York Region, the approving authority. As YR has been very involved with our process we hope that approval will come quickly; until it is approved it is not in force and effect but it is a clear indicator of what our plan is for King.  Here is official notice of that adoption.  Note:  there are still two amendments approved by Council at same meeting which need to be yet incorporated into the document:  one is additional policy for severances in Kingscross and the other is modification to zoning on east side of Keele just north of King Road.



Draft OP: proposed to be adopted

On 9 /23 Council agenda there is are a report recommending that Council adopt the draft OP (September 2019). (Click on the link and scroll down to 9.1 for the report at all appendices.) This plan has been in process for several years. Overall I am pleased with the end product.  i)  Even though we have discontinued the practice of separate OP’s for the 3 villages and the hamlets etc and now have “One King” I don’t believe we are setting the stage for standardization across King; what is standardized is the process for assessing issues/activities.  And I do believe the complexity for everyone engaged in the development of King will be simplified by having only one plan. ii) The risk of climate change has been understood by many for many years but it is only very recently that King has really acknowledged the necessity of dealing with it by setting very aggressive targets and declaring a climate emergency.  This has been incorporated in this draft OP.  The recommendation from Staff in this report (more…)

Nobleton Zoning Bylaw re: lot coverage

On Council agenda September 23 there is a report which is relatively unusual:  it is a Staff report about intent to have a public meeting in the future re: a zoning bylaw amendment for the Nobleton Urban Area. Purpose of the the 9/23 report is to hear any comments from public.  As explained in the report the focus of the proposed amendments is on defined properties in the Urban Area and the issue to be amended is the amount of pervious surface on the whole lot and on the front yard. The issue is important as too much coverage (by buildings etc.) can create a situation where rainfall is not able to be absorbed quickly enough and hence there could be water damage (i.e. flooding) to the subject property or to neighbours. I have questions for Staff as it is a complex situation; given that Staff is not asking for Council to make a decision immediately I am comfortable that I will have time to understand the issues before making my own decision.