Ontario Announces Significant Planning Reforms
While backing down from its election promise to completely scrap a controversial housing development on an ecologically-sensitive moraine feature north of Toronto, Ontario's new Liberal government announced on Friday that the developers have agreed upon changes to the plan. The revised plan will reduce the number of housing units by 900 and significantly increase the amount of remaining green space.To avoid a repeat of the conditions that led to the approval of the moraine housing project, the government also announced substantial changes to the province's Planning Act. The changes appear to be largely intended to undo the misguided reforms introduced by the previous Conservative government in 1996. According to the Minister of Municipal Affairs, the new Act will: 1) require that urban expansions be initiated by municipal councils, not developers, 2) double the amount of time available for municipal review of development proposals from 90 to 180 days, and 3) require that municipal planning decisions "be consistent with" provincial planning policies on matters such as smart growth rather than the current and more watered-down "have regard to".
Thanks to Geoffrey Singer