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Progress on the OAA's appeal of Toronto's Zoning B-law

28 Oct 2019
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In 2013, the City of Toronto introduced Bylaw 569-2013, the Harmonized Zoning Bylaw. This resulted in significant changes to zoning across Toronto. Most notable among these changes, there was a decrease in allowable height limits of single family houses which resulted from a change in the way that height is calculated. This change affects OAA members working on redevelopment and infill housing projects across the yellow zone of Toronto, and it means that a lot more project proposals, new builds and renovations have to go to Committee of Adjustment. Since the bylaw was first proposed, small group of architects have been doing a lot of work to ensure that their concerns about it were being heard. They attended community meetings, wrote letters and commented through various channels; however, the City did not take their concerns into consideration. The group approached the OAA for assistance. OAA Council determined that it is in the public interest to support this group as municipalities in Ontario often look to Toronto for guidance. The Association agreed to launch an appeal and provide resources for a lawyer and planner who could undertake to represent the OAA at the Ontario Municipal Board. The case was first heard over a 5-day period in 2017, and was jointly presented on behalf of the OAA, the Conservatory Group and Stan Makow Architects. When the ruling was handed down in March 2018, approximately 9 months after the hearing, it was found that the City had improperly decreased heights. The OMB Member determined that this decrease was not in accordance with the Official Plan as it would mean that the character of neighbourhoods could not be maintained. As such, the Board suggested that all parties (City of Toronto, OAA, Conservatory Group and Stan Makow Architects) try to come to an agreed solution. Unfortunately, while there was considerable common ground around the required changes, the extent of the changes, the compensating height required is contentious. While the City suggested a 1m increase, and the appellants suggested 1.8m increase. We are now back at the board. The next hearing is scheduled for Dec. 6, 10, 16, 18 - 20. The public is welcome to attend. Stay tuned.

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