Last night, Toronto City Council considered the Follow-Up Report on a Local Appeal Body for Toronto and adopted it with amendments. These amendments address some of the concerns raised by the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) and many others regarding the governance and financial structure of this new body. Toronto’s Local Appeal Body (LAB) would be a city appointed body which would replace the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) in hearing appeals of Committee of Adjustment decisions on both minor variances and consent applications.
Key amendments made by City Council include:
- Reducing political interference in the LAB appointments process by recommending that the three citizen members of the Local Appeal Body Nominating Panel are appointed by the City Clerk instead of City Council.
- Requesting that the Integrity Commissioner clarify City Councilor’s involvement with the LAB to ensure its independence.
- Promoting the accessibility of the LAB by reducing the proposed appeal hearing fee to be paid by the appellant at the LAB from $500 to $300.
The complete recommendations and amendments adopted by City Council can be found here.
While the OAA maintains that the creation of the LAB is not in the best interest of the public and will not result in better built form, the Association was pleased to see that many of the amendments adopted last evening respect some recommendations made by the OAA to Toronto City Council
Fulfilling our mandate to serve and protect the public interest, the OAA will continue to monitor this issue as the City of Toronto continues to debate the structure of this new body. The City now intends for the LAB to be hearing appeals as early as October 2016.