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Interim Third Party Advertising Sign Minor Variance Process

for Areas Abutting the F.G. Gardiner Expressway (Formerly

the Queen Elizabeth Way), Eglinton Avenue West,

Highway 2, Highway 2A and Highway 27.

The Urban Environment and Development Committee recommends the adoption of the recommendation of the Road Allowance Sub-Committee, embodied in the following communication (July 2, 1998) from the City Clerk:

Recommendation:

The Road Allowance Sub-Committee on July 2, 1998, recommended the adoption of the joint report dated June 1, 1998, from the Commissioner of Urban Planning and Development Services and the Interim Functional Lead for Transportation.

The Road Allowance Sub-Committee reports, for the information of the Urban Environment and Development Committee, having requested:

(1)the General Manager of Transportation to review those areas affected by this proposal which will result in restrictions in excess of those previously placed by the Province of Ontario, such report to be submitted to each of the Community Councils for comment; and

(2)the Commissioner of Urban Planning and Development Services to submit a report to the Road Allowance Sub-Committee on permit fees for the erection and renewal of signs across the Toronto area, such report to provide a comparison with similar fees charged by the Province of Ontario.

Background:

The Road Allowance Sub-Committee had before it a joint report dated June 1, 1998, from the Commissioner of Urban Planning and Development Services and the Interim Functional Lead for Transportation outlining a process for dealing with requests for minor variances for third party advertising signs that would be prohibited within 400 metres of the sections of former Provincial highways that were transferred to the former Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto on April1, 1997, by the proposed interim Sign By-law that was considered by City Council at its meeting of June 3, 1998.

The Road Allowance Sub-Committee also had before it Clause No. 1 of Report No. 5 of TheUrban Environment and Development Committee, headed "Prohibition of Advertising Signs Abutting the F.G. Gardiner Expressway (Formerly the Queen Elizabeth Way), Eglinton Avenue West, Highway No.2, Highway No.2A, and Highway No.27", which was adopted, as amended, by Council at its Special Meeting held on April 28 and May 1, 1998.

Mr. Just Cole, Permits Co-ordinator, Leasing and Legislation, Pattison Outdoor Advertising, appeared before the Road Allowance Sub-Committee in connection with the foregoing matter.

(Joint report dated June 1, 1998, from theCommissioner of Urban Planning and Development Servicesand the Interim Functional Lead, Transportation.)

Purpose:

The purpose of this report is to outline a process for dealing with requests for minor variances for third party advertising signs, that would be prohibited within 400 metres of the sections of former provincial highways that were transferred to the former Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto on April 1, 1997, by the proposed Interim Sign By-law that will be considered by City Council at its meeting of June 3, 1998.

Funding Sources, Financial Implications and Impact Statement:

There are no financial implications to the City.

Recommendations:

It is recommended that:

(1)the Commissioner of Urban Planning and Development Services receive applications involving minor variances from the Sign By-law relating to the recently transferred portions of Highways 27, 2, 2A and the F.G. Gardiner Expressway;

(2)the review of these applications for minor variance be undertaken by the appropriate staff of Urban Planning and Development Services, in consultation with staff of Works and Emergency Services, using the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) Commercial Sign Policy (attached as Appendix A of this report) as a guideline, as outlined in this report; and

(3)the Commissioner of Urban Planning and Development Services prepare a report on each application to be forwarded to the appropriate Community Council for approval by Council.

Council Reference/Background/History:

At its meeting on May 13, 1998, Council adopted, as amended, Clause No. 8 of Report No.6 of The Urban Environment and Development Committee, entitled "Status Report: Prohibition of Advertising Signs Abutting the F.G. Gardiner Expressway (formerly the Queen Elizabeth Way), Eglinton Avenue West, Highway 2, Highway 2A and Highway27". In considering the matter the Committee took the following actions:

(1)recommended that Council adopt the proposed by-law to prohibit third party signs, as an interim measure, on lands adjacent to certain former provincial highways;

(2)requested the Interim Functional Lead, Transportation, and the Commissioner of Urban Planning and Development Services, in consultation with the City Solicitor, to submit a report to the Road Allowance Sub-Committee on a variance/appeal process and that representatives of the sign industry be consulted during the preparation of such report; and

(3)requested the Road Allowance Sub-Committee to meet prior to June 15, 1998, to consider the above noted report; and to submit its decision on such report to the meeting of the Urban Environment and Development Committee scheduled to be held on June 15, 1998.

Discussion:

In response to the Urban Environment and Development Committee request that staff report on a variance/appeal process for reviewing third party advertising proposals within 400 metres of the former provincial highways that now fall under the City of Toronto's jurisdiction, the City Solicitor advises that the Municipal Act, Section 210, paragraph 146 Subsection (g), provides the following:

"The Council may, upon the application of any person, authorize minor variances from the by-law passed under this paragraph, if in the opinion of the Council, the general intent and purpose of the by-law are maintained."

Applications for a minor variance from the proposed Interim Sign By-law, which prohibits signs within 400 metres of the recently transferred provincial highways, could, therefore, be submitted to the City of Toronto. These applications could be considered by Urban Planning and Development Services staff, in consultation with staff in the Transportation Division of Works and Emergency Services and reported upon to the appropriate Community Council. City of Toronto Council would make the final decision on the applications. This Sign By-law variance process may be established without amendment to the Interim Sign By-law itself. A City-wide process for dealing with minor variances will be established as part of the process of harmonizing all of the existing Sign By-laws and developing best practices for the regulation of signs.

Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) Commercial Sign Policy:

While these segments of the provincial highways were still under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO), the Province prohibited signs within 400 metres of the highways, unless a permit was granted. The Province has a policy, entitled the "Commercial Sign Policy," which assists MTO staff in determining under what conditions signs would be permitted within 400 metres of its highways.

The portion of the provincial sign policy pertaining to billboards is attached to Appendix A of this report. This guideline could be used by staff, in conjunction with other urban design and site specific planning considerations, including Official Plan policies. The 45-metre prohibition on third party signs that is embodied in the existing Metro Sign By-law, will be adhered to in reviewing these minor variance applications.

The Municipal Act gives Council the power to exercise its discretion to grant minor variances to the Sign By-law. Although Council may adopt a policy regarding the exercise of its discretion, such policy can be used as a guideline only. Each application must be considered on its own merits.

Consultation with Sign Industry Representatives:

Staff have also consulted with the Sign Industry representatives who appeared before the Urban Environment and Development Committee. These representatives agree with the proposed minor variance approach. While they have expressed some concerns as to how their applications would be evaluated, they have expressed a willingness to work with staff on this process. They also agree that the Community Councils, who currently handle sign variance matters within their jurisdictions, should handle these applications in the same manner as all other sign variance matters.

Conclusions:

The recommendations proposed in this report would provide for a minor variance process for evaluating minor variance applications from the proposed Interim Sign By-law which would prohibit third party advertising signs on lands that are situated within 400 metres of the former provincial highways that were recently transferred to the City of Toronto. The various members of the sign industry who appeared before the Urban Environment and Development Committee have been consulted by staff in the preparation of this report and they concur with our recommendations. The City Solicitor has reviewed this report and concurs with the recommendations.

Contact Names:

Ms. Diane Stevenson, Zoning Manager, City Planning Division, 392-0142,

Fax No. (416) 392-7536 - E-Mail Address: dstevens@city.toronto.on.ca

Mr. Keeva G. Lane, Supervisor, Road Allowance Control, Transportation, 392-9312,

Fax No.: (416) 392-9317 - E-mail Address: keeva_lane.metrodesk.metrotor.on.ca.

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Appendix A

Ministry of Transportation of Ontario Commercial Sign Policy

Billboards

(Field Advertising)

"6.074Billboard Definition:

A "billboard sign" shall be a sign which contains a message that is not related to the property that the sign is located on.

6.075 Message on the Billboard:

Must not promote violence, hatred, or contempt against any identifiable group. Identifiable group means any section of the public distinguished by colour, race, ancestry, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation or disability.

6.076 Billboard Requirements in Rural Area:

A "billboard sign" which is located in an area designated as a rural area with a posted speed limit of more than 50 km must not:

(a)exceed 8 m (25 ft.) in height above the ground;

(b)exceed 60 m (650 sq. ft.) in area;

(c)be placed within the controlled area adjacent to a Class 1 and 2* highway;

(d)be placed in or be allowed to overhang a daylighting area;

(e)be placed within 305 m (1000 ft.) of another "billboard sign" per direction, provided there are no left hand "billboard signs" facing the motorist;

(f)be affixed to or mounted upon or be made to form part of a fence;

(g)be placed within 91 m (300 ft.) of the limit of a road, street, or railway that intersects a highway at grade, or

(h)be placed adjacent to a curve of more than 1165 m radius (1.0 degree 30 minutes).

6.077Billboard Requirements in Built-up or Urban Area:

A "billboard sign" which is located in an area designated as a built-up or urban area with a posted speed limit of 50 km or less must not:

(a)exceed 8 m (25 ft.) in height;

(b)exceed 60 m (659 sq. ft.) in area;

(c)be placed within the controlled area adjacent to Class 1 and 2* highways;

(d)be placed in, or be allowed to overhang, a daylighting area;

(e)be placed within 75 m (250 ft.) of another "billboard sign" per direction, provided there are no left hand "billboard signs" facing the motorist;

(f)be made to form a part of a building; and

(g)be placed within 45 m (150 ft.) of the limit of a road, street or railway that intersects a highway at a grade.

6.078Location of Billboard Signs Related to Direction of Travel of Vehicles:

In situations where "billboard signs" have been placed to be viewed on the left hand side of the highway, no additional "billboard signs" will be permitted within the spacing requirements on the opposite side of the highway (refer to diagram on spacing requirements).

6.079Angle of Billboard Sign as Related to Highway:

The angle of a "billboard sign" as this relates to the centre line of a highway shall be equal to or greater than 45 degrees whether or not the sign is affixed to a building. That is, if the plane forming the face of the sign was extended in a straight line to intersect the centre line of the highway, the angle this formed would be at the minimum angle of 45 degrees.

6.080Billboard Signs in City, Town, Village, etc.:

"Billboard signs" which are located within the limits of a city, town or village and adjacent to an assumed highway shall be subject to these instructions. "Billboard signs" located adjacent to a connecting link are not controlled by the ministry.

6.081Setback Distance for Billboard Signs:

(1)No signs are to be placed within 23 m (75 ft.) of the highway property line, except "location signs" and "bush country signs".

(2)Signs up to and including 11.9 m (128 sq. ft.) must be set back 23 m (75 ft.) from the highway property line.

(3)Signs over 11.9 m (128 sq. ft.), but not over 18.60 m (200 sq. ft.) must be set back 30 m (100 ft.) from the highway property line.

(4)Signs over 18.60 m (200 sq. ft.), but not over 30.19 m (325 sq. ft.) must be set back 46 m (150 ft.) from the highway property line.

(5)Signs over 30.19 m (325 sq. ft.), but not over 60.39 m (650 sq. ft.) must be set back 84 m (275 ft.) from the highway property line.

(6)Signs greater than 60.30 m (650 sq. ft.) will not be allowed within 400 m (1,320 ft.).

6.082Basic Setback Distances Must be Maintained:

The setback distances for "billboard signs" located in other than a built-up area must not be reduced to less than the setback distances shown in paragraph 6.081 regardless of the width of the right-of-way of the highway. Where the width of the right-of-way of a highway is greater than 37 m (120 ft.), the distance between the centre line of the highway and a "billboard sign" shall be increased proportionately excepting in the case of signs which are more than 400 m (0.25 mile) from the nearest limit of a highway.

6.083Setback Distance for Billboards in Built-up Area:

A "billboard sign" that is located within a built-up area must not be placed nearer to the centre line of a highway than the basic distances set out in paragraph 6.081 excepting when a building line approved by the District Authority has been established at less than the basic distance from the centre line of the highway. In such cases, the sign may, if the ministry approved, be placed at less than the basic setback distance for signs of a similar size but not closer to the highway than the approved line.

6.084Requirements Regarding Billboard Affixed to a Building:

A "billboard sign" located adjacent to a highway may be affixed to a building providing the height of the sign does not exceed 8 m (25 ft.) above the ground. A "billboard sign" which is affixed to a building shall be on the right side of the highway, facing the motorist. Each such sign must conform to the basic setback provisions as set out in paragraph 6.081.

6.085Each Billboard Must be Covered by a Permit Up to Five Years:

A sign permit, issued by the Ministry of Transportation, must be obtained for each "billboard sign". It is a requirement of the ministry that these permits be obtained, and that they be renewed annually up to a maximum period of five years at which time a new application may be required from the initial date of the original permit. All sign permits issued prior to September 24, 1994, are not affected by the five years and will remain until such time as the sign site becomes available.

The sign permit will be issued in the name of the registered property owner for a sign located on private property. However, when the owner of the property has a documented arrangement with the advertiser/sign operator the sign permit may then be issued to the advertiser/sign operator.

The permit is to be renewed annually by payment only. The advertiser/sign operator will be entered into the sign computer system and, therefore, the renewal notice will go to the advertiser/sign operator and not the property owner.

6.086Signs Must be Placed Within Six Months of Issue of Permit:

When a sign permit has been issued, the sign to which the permit applies must be placed or erected within six (6) months of the date of issue of permit otherwise the permit shall be void and shall be cancelled. When a permit is cancelled in accordance with this procedure, the fee shall not be refunded.

Message on Sign May be Changed:

The message on a billboard for which a permit has been issued may be changed from time to time (poster panels). If the size and setback of the sign remains the same a new permit is not required. A new permit is only required when the size or setback has been changed.

6.087Billboard Signs in Bush Country:

The same procedure for naming a "bush country highway" shall apply in the case of "billboard signs".

The normal restrictions re "billboard signs" shall apply in all matters not specifically dealt with in these paragraphs re "billboard signs" in Bush Country.

6.088Billboard Signs Adjacent to Bush Country Highway May be Moved Nearer to Right-of-Way:

Where a highway has been named as a "bush country highway" and where a "billboard sign" would be hidden from the view of approaching traffic by bush when placed according to the basic setback distance for "billboard signs", these signs may be moved nearer to the right-of-way of the highway than the basic setback distance.

These highways or sections of highway have been identified by district in Appendix "D". All new designations must be approved by the Regional Director/Director of Operations in Central Region.

The sign permit will be issued in the name of the advertiser/sign operator for a sign located on ministry right-of-way for a period of five years.

The permit is to be renewed annually by payment only up to a maximum period of five years. At that time, if after reviewing the status of the waiting list it is determined that no expressed interest has been indicated for that site, the annual renewal by payment only is appropriate. All sign permits issued prior to September 24, 1994, are not affected by the five years and will remain until such time as the sign site becomes available.

The renewal notice will go to the advertiser/sign operator.

In order to maintain fairness and equal access to the highway right-of-way, a "waiting list" will be required in certain districts. The waiting list must be maintained so to be readily available to interested parties.

*Consult the Transportation Corridor Management Office as certain class 2 highways will be allowed "billboard signage"."

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Mr. Just Cole, Permits Co-ordinator, Leasing and Legislation, Pattison Outdoor Advertising, appeared before the Urban Environment and Development Committee in connection with the foregoing matter.

(A copy of Clause No. 1 of Report No. 5 of TheUrban Environment and Development Committee, headed "Prohibition of Advertising Signs Abutting the F.G. Gardiner Expressway (Formerly the Queen Elizabeth Way), Eglinton Avenue West, Highway No.2, Highway No.2A, and Highway No.27", referred to in the foregoing communication dated July 2, 1998, from the City Clerk, is on file in the office of the City Clerk.)

 

   
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