This week, I am happy to share that Queen’s Park announced a series of reforms to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).
The OMB’s role in land-planning systemically favours developers in regards to local land-planning decisions. It is expensive and time consuming and ignores the accountability of local Councils. These reforms, when in place, will put an end to de novo hearings (treating each appeal as a fresh case) and implement public interest funding for residents to play a larger role in decisions.
The re-named Local Planning Appeal Tribunal will limit the scope of appeals to whether or not a municipality has failed to follow its own rules or adhere to provincial policies. Further new information raised in the course of an appeal hearing will go back to local Councils for further consideration. Where the Tribunal finds that a municipality has not followed its Official Plan, it will send that back to Council for consideration rather than replacing the decision with its own.
This means an end to the fresh second chance available to developers when their proposals are rejected by Council. Knowing this, residents will be able to better hold their elected officials accountable as Councillors now have the power to stick up for their constituents on planning files that resonate friction amongst affected communities without fear of being overturned by the OMB.
I would like to send my thanks to MPP Yasir Naqvi for following through on this request and leading these changes into a reality. I look forward to seeing how the new system will operate and how it will better benefit residents.