The City of Toronto ("the City") recently released a
revamped version of its Comprehensive Zoning By-law, which will
update land use controls on most properties in the City. Property
owners need to be aware of this new By-law and understand how it
will recognize or change current use permissions on their property,
as well as their ability to redevelop in the future.
You may recall that in 2010 the City released a new
"Harmonized" Comprehensive Zoning By-Law ("Zoning
By-law"), which was intended to replace the various pre
amalgamation zoning by-laws enacted by the former municipalities.
That Zoning By law updated antiquated zone categories and attempted
to standardize zoning regulations across the City.
Adoption of this By-law resulted in hundreds of appeals before
the Ontario Municipal Board and stalled the processing of
development applications at the City. As a result, in May 2011,
Council repealed the By-law and directed staff to rework the
After months of consultations with interested stakeholders, a
new, revamped version of the Comprehensive Zoning By-law
("Revised Zoning By-law") resurfaced in June 2012 before
the City's Planning and Growth Management Committee.
Information released about the Revised Zoning By-law suggests that
staff have addressed many of the issues which had caused the most
Understanding the Changes
Welcomed improvements to the Revised Zoning By-law include the
expansion of the transitional provisions which will prevent the
backlog of applications created by the last version, and clearer
regulations dealing with legal non-conforming uses and legal
Other key changes include:
removal of Tall Buildings Regulations and Conservation
clarification of the provisions regarding places of
re-organization of certain sections of the By-law to allow for
greater clarity; and,
slightly more permissive use permissions regarding eating
establishments in certain Employment Industrial and Commercial
The Revised Zoning By-law, however, still contains a number of
permissions that had given rise to concern in the earlier version.
The most common of these is the prevalence of properties which are
zoned "Not Part of this By-law" (the "holes"),
which will continue to be governed by their current,
pre-amalgamation, zoning by laws.
Don't Be Caught Out
The Revised Zoning By-law is a major issue that affects almost
every property located within the City. Accordingly, it is
important that all property owners are aware of how it will affect
their property in terms of the recognition of existing uses and or
permissions for future uses. For those property owners who filed
appeals against the former version of the By-law, it is essential
to review the new zone provisions (permitted uses and regulations)
to see if previous issues have been addressed, or new issues
In order to preserve rights of appeal, new or outstanding
concerns must be raised with the City before the Revised Zoning
By-law is finalized. Prior appeals are of no force or effect. Staff
have been directed to gather public input over the summer and
report back to the Planning and Growth Management Committee in
October 2012. A revised draft of the Zoning By-law is expected to
be released on November 8, 2012, which will be followed by a
Statutory Public Meeting, in accordance with the provisions of the
Planning Act, in late November. The Zoning By-law is expected to be
considered by City Council in January 2013.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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Russell v. Township of Georgian Bay provides a useful reminder of the fact that while municipal officials sometimes appear to hold all of the cards in disputes with home owners, that is not always the case.
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