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April 3, 2018

What you need to know about the new Ontario Local Planning Appeal Tribunal

Upset about too-big condos and wonky zoning decisions in your neighbourhood? You’re not alone.

But this week, the province of Ontario will introduce a new process for appealing those decisions.

On April 3, the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), the quasi-judicial body that deals with development proposal appeals, will become the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT).

And many are happy to see it go.

The much-criticized OMB was often perceived by municipal councillors and communities as being too deferential to developers.

So in early 2016, the province launched a review of the OMB — spearheaded by Yasir Naqvi, Ontario’s attorney general and the MPP for Ottawa Centre — and held public town halls across the province.

Hundreds of people submitted comments and complaints, leading to the creatively-named Building Better Communities and Conserving Watersheds Act 2017, which abolishes the OMB altogether and substitutes the scaled-down LPAT in its place.

Here’s what that may mean for you and your community.

A tale of two tests

  • Before: The OMB would hear arguments from both sides and make decisions based on what it believed to be the “best” planning outcome, at times overruling the decisions of local councils.
  • Now: The LPAT will answer a simple “yes or no” legal test — does the proposal follow the city’s official planning rules? If not, the matter will be sent back to municipal councils to issue another decision. The tribunal will not make planning decisions itself.

One of the most important changes is the legal test the tribunal will now use to decide whether a development proposal should go ahead.

Keep reading on CBC News


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