Ontario is taking action to overhaul the province’s land use planning appeals system to give communities a stronger voice and ensure people have access to faster, fairer and more affordable hearings.
In the coming weeks, legislation will be introduced to create the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, which would, if passed, replace the Ontario Municipal Board. The new tribunal would be mandated to give greater weight to the decisions of local communities, while ensuring that development and growth occurs in a way that is good for Ontario and its future. “Our proposals would empower communities and municipalities to better determine how their develop in the future,” Minister of Municipal Affairs Bill Mauro said.
Ontario would also make planning appeals more accessible to the public by creating the Local Planning Appeal Support Centre, a new agency that would provide free information and support, which may include representation at the tribunal for citizens who want to participate in the appeal process.
The new legislation would include additional measures to transform Ontario’s land use planning appeals system, including:
- Exempting a broader range of major land use planning decisions from appeal, including new Official Plans, major Official Plan updates and detailed plans to support growth in major transit areas.
- Establishing a mandatory case conference for complex hearings to encourage early settlements, which would help reduce the time and cost of appeals and create a less adversarial system.
The proposed legislation would limit the amount of appeals to a tribunal. “In general, a decision or order of the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal may be appealed to the Divisional Court on a question of law or reviewed by the courts by way of an application for judicial review,” Ministry of Municipal Affairs Spokesperson Praveen Senthinathan said.
Over 1400 matters were referred to the OMB from municipalities across the province. The Town of Milton currently has 14 issues before the Ontario Municipal Board.