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October 19, 1999

To: Planning and Transportation Committee

From: James Ridge, Acting Commissioner

Urban Planning and Development Services

Subject: New Practices for the Review of Development Applications:

Supplementary Report


This report provides Planning and Transportation Committee with the City Planning Division's response to the recommendations from the Community Councils on the New Practices report.

Financial Implications and Impact Statement:

A number of the recommendations from the Community Councils will have budget implications for staffing and for other operating costs.


It is recommended that Planning and Transportation Committee support the City Planning Division's responses as set out in this report.


On July 1999, Planning and Transportation Committee received the New Practices report and directed that:

1. The report be referred to the Community Councils for review and comment back to Planning and Transportation Committee.

2. That staff arrange for briefing sessions for members of Community Council prior to the September 14, 1999 Community Councils.

3. That copies of the report be distributed to all registered resident associations.

4. Notice of the meetings of Community Councils to be given by newspaper advertisement.

Briefing sessions for Councillors were held on September 10, 1999 and were attended by about 30 Councillors and/or executive assistants. Approximately 1000 copies of the report were distributed to the registered resident associations by the City Clerk. Notice of the Community Council meetings appeared in the newspaper in the latter part of August.


City Planning staff have been asked to clarify two aspects of the July 27, 1999 report. Regarding the one-window circulation and review of comments within specified time frames, discussions on the implementation of these practices have not been concluded with other City departments. Before implementing any changes to current circulation practices, the Commissioners of the affected departments will be asked to endorse those changes.

Regarding notices for community meetings, such notices have been, and are recommended to remain, the responsibility of the City Planning Division.

The comments of the Community Councils and staff responses are detailed in the following pages.

Toronto Community Council

The Toronto Community Council recommends adoption of the staff recommendations.

East York Community Council

(1) Staff be requested to report on how the size of the notification area could be related to the impact of the proposed development.

Comment: The Planning Act sets out requirements for giving notice of public meetings of 120 metres. These are set out by regulation and apply across the province. Staff recommend that notice of public meetings be given according to the regulations under the Planning Act.

Response: Do not support.

Etobicoke Community Council

(2) Members of Council continue to chair community meetings and that staff of Urban Planning and Development Services only do so if requested by the local Councillor(s).

Comment: Practices varied across the City and were largely determined by the Councillor. Staff chairs would free the Councillor to ask questions and focus on residents issues. However, staff can adjust to the Councillor's style.

Response: No objection.

(3) The notification to Ward Councillors of site plan approval applications to contain a 'response box' for completion by Councillors requesting a "bump-up".

Comment: This can be accommodated through a format change.

Response: No objection.

York Community Council

(1) With respect to the process for community consultation, that the community meetings be chaired alternately by the Ward Councillors if the process is implemented during this current term of Council.

(2) The Ward Councillor be responsible for chairing the community meetings, during the next term of Council.

Comment: As indicated earlier, staff believe that there are some benefits to having a staff chair.

Response: No objection.

(3) Regarding the Proposed Site Plan Approval Process, that the Ward Councillors notify planning staff of their absences or unavailability, to allow the Councillors to submit comments on their return and to "bump-up" the issue to the Community Council, if necessary.

Comment: An extended bump-up period under these circumstances could be accommodated. Staff would notify the Councillor in writing of the new extension deadline.

Response: No objection.

Scarborough Community Council

(1) The Commissioner of Urban Planning and Development Services be directed to:

(i) send by First Class Mail, notification of planning applications to tenants and owners within 400 feet of an application; and

(ii) send by Third Class Mail, at the applicant's expense, notification of planning applications to tenants and owners beyond the 400-foot boundary, as may be determined by the local Community Council.

Comment: Mailing information for tenants is no longer available through the assessment rolls. The Planning Act has been amended to compensate for this. A sign is now required to be posted on the property notifying interested people of the purpose of the application and the time, date and place of the public hearing. This procedure is effective.

Response: Do not support.

(1) Site inspections on site plan applications be continued in the East District, as previously carried out by the former City of Scarborough, and that the Commissioner of Urban Planning and Development Services be directed to continue to review internal operations to provide this service City-wide;

Comment: If so directed by Council, a detailed report on this matter will be prepared. There are significant cost implications of providing this function city-wide. Staff site plan inspections would not make the best use of limited staff resources. This practice was only carried out in the former City of Scarborough.

Response: Report if directed by Council.

(2) Telecommunications equipment not be exempted from the site plan control process.

Comment: Council has struck a Telecommunications Steering Committee. All tele-communication applications are to be referred there. A decision on this should be deferred pending a further report from this committee.

Response: Defer any change to current practice.

(3) Recommendation No. (6) in the report of the Commissioner of Urban Planning and Development Services be amended to read as follows:

"(6) staff be authorized to accept, as an alternative where site inspection resources are limited, certificates of completion from Provincially registered professionals as a proof of compliance with City requirements and Provincial statutes with regard to site plan approval and condominium registration;"

Comment: This is in keeping with the staff recommendation. It has worked extremely well.

Response: No objection.

North York Community Council

(1) The report (June 25, 1999) from the Commissioner, Urban Planning and Development Services, be adopted subject to the following amendments:

(a) amending Recommendation 2(i) by adding at the end thereof the words:

"but only after consultation with Councillor(s) in accordance with practices presently in use in the former City of North York;"

so as to read:

"2(i) delegation of authority to staff, as permitted by statute, to approve applications for site plan control approval, various classes of consents, draft condominium approval (except for conversion of rental housing) and authority to execute, amend and release site plan agreements on behalf of the City but only after consultation with Councillor(s) in accordance with practices presently in use in the former City of North York;"

Comment: Decisions on delegation and exemption thresholds should be made by Council and not individual Councillors.

Response: Do not support.

(b) amending Recommendation 2(ii) by adding at the end thereof the words:

"and that the planner in charge of a project have available specific expertise that may be required, in particular urban design and landscape resources;"

so as to read:

"2(ii) a case management system which provides for a continuity of planning staff assignments from the beginning to the completion of any project and that the planner in charge of a project have available specific expertise that may be required, in particular urban planning design and landscape planning resources;"

Comment: Such resources are now available in all District Offices.

Response: No objection.

(c) adding the additional recommendation:

"2(viii) prior to preliminary reports being written, Councillors be given the opportunity to hold a community meeting if they so require so that the planners have the benefit of community input at an early stage before preliminary evaluation;"

Comment: Community meetings at this stage could delay the submission of the preliminary report. This could lead to more Ontario Municipal Board appeals on the basis of failure to make timely decisions. Councillors may schedule community meetings at any point in the process, however, staff are committed to the delivery of the preliminary report within 6 weeks of the receipt of the application.

Response: Do not support.

(d) amending the Recommendation 3(ii) by deleting the words "intensity of" and replacing with the words "criteria to be applied to", so as to read:

"3(ii) to establish areas of site plan control on a consistent basis across the City, establishing appropriate thresholds defining the criteria to be applied to development or redevelopment which would require the submission of an application for site plan approval as detailed in this report."

Comment: The proposed changes do not appear to affect the intent of the staff recommendation. The proposed thresholds are in staff's opinion appropriate and no change to the wording seems necessary.

Response: Do not support.

(e) amending Recommendation 3(vi) by adding the words "after consultation with local Councillor(s);" so as to read:

"3(vi) to delegate authority to execute, amend the release agreements, as required, to the Chief Planner or delegate(s) after consultation with local Councillor(s);"

Comment: As indicated earlier, delegation is a Council decision not an individual Councillor's.

Response: Do not support.

(f) adding the following recommendations:

"(11) that all studies related to a project over a certain threshold be commissioned by the City of Toronto at the expense of the applicant and that staff be requested to report further on a suitable threshold;"

Comment: This recommendation would cause significant delays and costs to the process. Significant administrative expenses would be incurred by the City. Although peer reviews are undertaken in certain cases, such reviews are unusual and are undertaken in response to unusual circumstances. Such cases are reported individually and appropriate direction sought.

Response: Do not support.

"(12) that the Commissioner of Urban Planning and Development Services, be requested to report further on a policy that would require the removal of signage related to planning practices at the specific steps in the planning process;"

Comment: The current application form is under review and can be modified to include appropriate instructions.

Response: No objection.

"(13) that pre-application meetings include Councillors, or their staff, if they so request;"

Comment: Staff recommend, without exception, that applicants meet with the local Councillor(s) prior to filing applications.

Pre-application meetings are intended to provide information as to background studies required, administrative process and other similar matters.

Response: Do not support.

"(14) that Councillors be immediately notified upon receipt of an application;"

Comment: This is recommended in the staff report.

Response: No objection.

"(15) that informal consultation meetings be held with the community prior to a preliminary evaluation report;"

Comment: Such a process would delay the delivery of the preliminary report. Without such a report, staff would have no instructions as to notice. As indicated earlier in this report Councillors may schedule community meetings at any point in the process. Staff will deliver the preliminary report no later than 6 weeks after receipt of the application.

Response: Do not support.

"(16) that notification of planning applications be sent to persons in the area including residential and business tenants and property owners;"

Comment: Notice is to be given in accordance with Planning Act regulations. No assessment information is available with respect to tenants. A sign is to be posted on the subject property, advertising the time, date, place and purpose of the meeting.

Response: Do not support beyond requirements of the Planning Act.

"(17) that all telecommunication applications be forwarded to the Telecommunications Steering Committee for direction;"

Comment: This is in accordance with Council instruction.

Response: No objection.

"(18) that industrial applications be exempt, unless requested by the Ward Councillor(s);"

Comment: Site plan control is proposed for industrial applications in particular circumstances. This should be consistent with a City-wide approach and not on a site-by-site basis.

Response: Do not support.

"(19) that the following not be exempted:


additions to commercial parking lots;

school portables; and

telecommunication equipment"

Comment: Staff have earlier commented on telecommunication equipment. With regard to townhouses, the staff proposal is to exempt street townhouses under specific circumstances such as: 8 units or fewer, no front yard garages, no corner locations. Under all other circumstances such as, more than 8 units, condominiums or private road developments, townhouses are subject to site plan control. Additions to commercial parking lots could be improved if under site plan control.

The value-added in the review of school portable locations has proven to be limited and has consumed staff resources better used in other ways.

Response: Staff do not support the placement of school portables under site plan control. Staff do not support the amendment to the exemptions regarding townhouses. Decisions on site plan control and telecommunication equipment should be deferred. Commercial parking lot additions could be under site plan control.

"(20) preliminary evaluation reports not include staff comments which may prejudice the final staff recommendation;"

Comment: Such reports should be limited to fact, process and issues to be addressed. The purpose of the preliminary report is to decide if the application should be processed further or refused. Refusal reports would, of course, include significant staff comments.

Response: No objection.

"(21) certificates of inspection be commissioned by Urban Planning and Development Services and paid for by the applicant."

Comment: Certificates are to be issued by the architect, engineer or landscape architect responsible for that aspect of the project. To institute some other practice would involve considerable staff time and cost.

Response: Do not support.

(g) That Appendix 3, entitled, "Site Plan Approvals" attached to the report (June 25, 1999) from the Commissioner of Urban Planning and Development Services, be amended as follows:

(i) the deletion of the words, "unless located on a designated "Main Street" and have a lot frontage no more than 12.5 m" in table 2 (page 17), entitled, "Proposed Exemption", relating to New Development: Institutional, Commercial, Office, Mixed Use, so that it now reads: "Proposed Exemption" - "All subject to site plan approval".

(ii) the deletion of the words, "in the Port District" in Table 2 (page 18), entitled, "Proposed Exemption" relating to New Development: Industrial, so that it now reads: "Proposed Exemption" - "All Industrial exempt unless: adjacent to or opposite a residential use; adjacent to a school, park, arterial road or highway; adjacent to a ravine; or recycling".

(i) the deletion of the words, "All exempt unless located adjacent to a substandard lane or in or within 10 m of a ravine: in table 2 (page 19) entitled, "Proposed Exemption: relating to New Development: Residential - singles, semis, duplexes, fourplexes, semi-detached, triplexes and fourplexes", so that it now reads "Proposed Exemption" - single-family and semi-detached lots created by consent and lots which are in the Valley Impact Zone (V.I.Z.) and special policy area lots, all subject to Site Plan Approval."

(ii) the deletion of the words, "The lesser of 600 mē or 20% of existing gross floor area are exempt: in Table 2 (page 19), entitled, "Proposed Exemption" relating to Apartment Additions", so that it now reads "All subject to Site Plan Approval".

(iii) the deletion of the words, "Exempt", in Table 2 (page 22), entitled, "Proposed Exemption" relating to "Replacement, Reconstruction and Compliance Development" so that it now reads, "Subject to Site Plan Approval if increasing the Gross Floor Area."

Comment: Staff carefully assessed the proposed exemption thresholds and are of the opinion that they are reasonable and supportable. Lowering the thresholds would involve significant delays to minor applications, provide little added value and would have significant staffing implications.

Response: Do not support.

(a) that "preliminary evaluation reports" be called "preliminary assessment reports";

Comment: Staff prefer shortening the name to "Preliminary Reports".

Response: Recommend use of title "Preliminary Reports".

(b) adding the recommendations embodied in the communication (October 12, 1999) from Mr. George Belza, save and except those recommendations which overlap with Recommendations (1)(a); (1)(b);(1)(d); and (1)(e) referred to above;

Comment: Staff have reviewed the correspondence and are of the opinion that the recommended changes will add unnecessary delay and will have significant cost implications.

Furthermore, the correspondent recommends that Council give rights to third parties with regard to site plan approvals. There is no statutory authority to do so.

Response: Do not support the changes proposed.

(c) "amending the bolded portion of Recommendation (9) embodied in the communication (October 12,1999) from Mr. George Belza so that it now reads as follows:

"where an applicant appeals an official plan amendment or rezoning application prior to the required statutory public meeting, staff shall process the application in a manner which provides Community Council with a sufficient range of options so as to minimize the risk of prejudicing Council's position before the Ontario Municipal Board."

Comment: Planning staff are obliged to give advice to Council on their professional opinions which may or may not support Council's position. Council can decide to accept, reject or modify that opinion. It is not appropriate for staff reports to provide a range of options.

Response: Do not support.

(d) adding a further recommendation to read as follows:

"that the use of an expanded notice radius for community and statutory public meetings and associated costs be determined in consultation with the Ward Councillors."

Comment: The Planning Act sets regulations for notices of statutory meetings. Staff recommend that these be adopted as a City standard. As indicated earlier, broader notification is unnecessary and unwarranted given the expense and usually limited response. They provide for a 120 metre notice.

Response: Do not support.


The proposals in the New Practices remain valid and are recommended subject to the adjustments noted in this report.

It is absolutely essential that City-wide practices be adopted with efficiency, responsibility and accountability as key elements. Staff are of the opinion that the proposals in our reports meet these tests. By focussing on interventions that add real value, limited staff resources can be deployed to address both the important local and city-wide planning priorities of our new City.


Ted Tyndorf

Director of Community Planning, East District

Scarborough Civic Centre

Telephone: (416) 396-7006

Fax: (416) 396-4265

E-mail: ttyndorf @ cit y .scarborough.on .ca

Reviewed by:

_____________________________ ___________________________

Paul J. Bedford James Ridge

Executive Director and Chief Planner Acting Commissioner

City Planning Division Urban Planning and Development Services


Please note that council and committee documents are provided electronically for information only and do not retain the exact structure of the original versions. For example, charts, images and tables may be difficult to read. As such, readers should verify information before acting on it. All council documents are available from the City Clerk's office. Please e-mail


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