Planning Act to be amended in proposed Bill C-139

by P .Marsden-Dole

Changes to the Ontario Planning Act of 1994 are proposed in Bill C-139: The Building Better Communities and Conserving Watersheds Bill.

Bill C 139 was carried on division at second reading in Toronto on September 27 and referred to the Standing Committee on Social Policy for discussion on October 3.

This proposed bill is worth a look for those interested in intensification issues in respect of  municipal planning policies. Schedule 3 Section 16 of this proposed bill will have an impact on planning decisions on land use in areas served by major transit services including Centretown. The wording in Bill C 139 under consideration in respect of these changes to the Planning Act of 1994 are as follows:

The proposed Bill C 139 states that changes will be made to Section 16 official plans to include policies relating to development around higher order transit stations and stops.  These policies would require approval by an approval authority.  Decisions on these policies cannot be appealed except by the Minister and requests to amend the policies can only be made with council approval (see subsections 17 (36.1.4) to (36.1.7) and 22 (2.1.3)).  When these policies are in place, zoning by-laws that establish permitted uses, minimum and maximum densities and, except in certain circumstances, minimum and maximum heights cannot be appealed except by the Minister (see subsections 34 (19.5) to (19.8)).”

Some law firms specializing in business matters have comments on their web sites as well as The Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) which  has been following this issue. You may wish to look at Official Plan Amendment number 150 (now under review at the OMB) for references to policies regarding target areas for intensification in areas within walking distance of major transit stops (800 metres for LRT and 400 meters for Transit Priority Networks).