On March 5, 2015, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
introduced Bill 73, Smart Growth for Our Communities Act, 2015, to
reform the Planning Act and the Development Charges Act with the
aim to give citizens a greater say in how their communities will
grow and give municipalities more tools to fund community
The proposed amendments to the Planning Act would:
Allow municipalities to create a "community planning
permit system" to encourage public participation and which,
once established, would not be subject to any appeals of private
applications for five years;
Require municipalities to set out in its official plans how and
when the public will be consulted on land use planning matters and
to explain how public input affected its planning decisions;
Extend the review of new municipal official plans to ten years,
instead of the current five-year cycle; #
Once a municipality establishes a new official plan, prevent
new appeals to the official plan for two years unless amendments
are initiated by the municipality;
Define what constitutes a minor variance;
Provide an option to municipalities to have an additional 90
days to resolve issues involving official plans and official plan
Provide municipalities with an additional 60 days to engage in
alternative dispute resolution to resolve appeals prior to
forwarding the matter to the Ontario Municipal Board; and
Remove the ability to appeal certain matters to the Ontario
The proposed amendments to the Development Charges Act
Increase the amount of capital costs that municipalities can
recover for transit services;
Allow municipalities to recover capital costs for waste
Require municipalities to follow reporting requirements to
detail how funds from development charges and Section 37
contributions are spent;
Require development charges to be payable at the time of
issuance of the first building permit; and #
Require municipalities to better integrate how development
charges fit with long-term planning, including local asset
The Ministry also proposes to establish a stakeholder working
group to provide advice on the implementation of the proposed
amendments. Stikeman Elliott will be keeping a close eye on the
proposed amendments to Planning Act and Development Charges Act
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