Typically, zoning by-laws are used to implement the vision and
objectives of a municipality's Official Plan. However, as an
alternative to zoning, provincial legislation also allows for the
use of a DPS as a means of implementing Official Plan policies. The
role of the DPS is to prescribe development standards and criteria
for an area that are in keeping with the desires and expectations
of the community. Using a DPS provides greater certainty about how
an area will develop over time by limiting the flexibility to
accept site-specific development proposals that come forward in the
future. As discussed below, the City of Toronto is now preparing to
put forward a DPS in certain areas of the City, which is something
that landowners and other interested parties should be following
The following are some important features of a DPS that you
The DPS by-law will set out development standards and criteria
for development within a defined area of the municipality. Such
standards can include minimum and maximum development heights,
standards for shadow impacts, use of materials, community benefits,
etc. Applications for a Development Permit will be assessed
relative to the standards and criteria set out in the DPS
When a DPS by-law is in force for a particular area in the
municipality, all by-laws passed under Section 34 of the
Planning Act for that area, including associated minor
variances, are deemed to be repealed;
No site-specific zoning amendments or minor variances may be
made to a DPS by-law; and
When a DPS by-law is in force, only the Development Permit
applicant may appeal a refusal to issue or conditions relating to a
Development Permit to the OMB. Similarly, there are no
opportunities for third party appeals of the issuance of a
In short, the proposed use of the DPS represents a radical
change in how land use planning and development will be undertaken
in the future. Readers should note that the DPS is by no means
unique to Toronto. Ontario Regulation 608/06 allows
all municipalities in the province to implement a
Status of Toronto's proposed Development Permit System
Toronto's first proposed DPS is moving very quickly through
the approval process. City staff hosted a number of open houses and
public meetings in each planning district last month. On April 10,
2014, the Planning and Growth Management Committee will consider
report dated March 26, 2014 on the results of the consultation,
revised recommendations and suggested criteria for determining
areas that will be considered for implementation of a DPS by-law.
Pilot areas for the use of a DPS by-law have not yet been
determined, but staff were previously directed to consider the
implementation of a DPS by-law in King/Spadina.
In selecting areas in which to implement a DPS by-law, the
planners have suggested the use of the following criteria:
Areas of growth with Secondary Plans or where background
studies have been completed supporting a vision for the area;
Areas of growth where there is intense development
Major roads designated as Mixed Use Areas; and
Stable residential neighbourhoods (which might have a less
onerous review process).
Required fees for DPS applications have not yet been identified
by the City of Toronto and may vary by area. Plan requirements for
a complete application are set out in Schedule 1 to Ontario
Regulation 608/06 and are similar to those currently required for
rezoning and site plan approval applications.
April 10, 2014: Planning and Growth Management
Committee to consider the March 26, 2014 staff report on the
results of the stakeholder consultation, revised recommendations
and suggested criteria for determining areas that will be
considered for implementation of a DPS by-law;
June 9, 2014: Statutory Open House;
June 19, 2014: Planning and Growth Management
Committee Statutory Public meeting to consider the final Official
Plan Amendment for the implementation of a DPS;
July 8 and 9, 2014: City
Council consideration of the new DPS Official Plan policies;
20 day statutory appeal period.
Do not miss the opportunity to protect your appeal rights
Any changes to Official Plan policies may impact development
permissions and the value of lands. Landowners and other interested
parties will have two opportunities to appeal the DPS requirements;
firstly at the Official Plan policy stage and later at the
individual DPS by-law stage.
Any landowner who fails to express concerns or issues with the
proposed new Official Plan policies, and later at the DPS by-law
stage, prior to the adoption and passage respectively by City
Council will not be able to maintain an appeal and risks not being
added as a party to an appeal at the Ontario Municipal Board.
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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