The City of Toronto is proposing to enact a bylaw requiring
"green roofs". This By-law, and green roofs more
generally, have both been the subject of considerable discussion.
Concerns have been expressed by developers that the costs
associated with the requirements are prohibitive and that questions
about whether and how these roofs can be constructed are being
swept aside. On the other hand, supporters of the initiative
complain that the By-law has been "watered down" and
contains too many exemptions.
The By-law will be considered at a public meeting before the
Planning and Growth Management Committee Meeting on May 6th.
Deputations may be made.
When a Green Roof would be Required
The By-law would require all new buildings and additions to
existing buildings of 5,000m2 or greater to install a green roof,
for a certain proportion of the available roof area. The only
residential buildings with a height of less than 23
public or separate schools;
industrial buildings; and
Calculating the Green Roof Requirement and Available Roof
The proportion of roof area required to be devoted to a green
roof is determined on a sliding scale on the basis of gross floor
area, as described in the following chart:
What is "available roof area"? Almost everything. The
exclusions are limited to: areas on the roof designated for
renewable energy devices (wind and solar); non-vegetative areas
required by the Toronto Green Roof Construction Standard; and
private terraces no greater in area than their abutting residential
unit. Mechanicals and outdoor amenity space are not excluded from
the calculation of available roof area.
Where the building consists of a tower above a podium, and where
no storey in the tower above the podium level has a floor plate
area exceeding 750m2, the tower roof area may also be excluded from
the calculation of available roof area and the required green roof
can be constructed solely on the podium roof.
Green Roof Construction Standard
Minimum requirements for construction and maintenance of green
roofs are contained in the By-law. It is expected that technical
standards for green roofs will still be in development at the time
of the By-law's passing. Significant concerns remain regarding
the relationship between the green roof standards and the Building
Process to Request a Reduction or Exemption
This By-law will be enacted under the City of Toronto
Act and not under the Planning Act. There will be no
recourse to the Committee of Adjustment or the Ontario Municipal
Board. An application to reduce the green roof coverage requirement
may be made to the Chief Planner. One may also apply for a complete
exemption from the requirement to provide a green roof, subject to
approval by Council. If a reduction or exemption to the green roof
requirement is approved, then a cash in lieu payment at the deemed
cost per square metre of the roof requirement ($200/m2 currently)
will be required.
The By-law is proposed to come into effect on January 31, 2010.
Only building permits issued prior to that date and active complete
building permit applications as of that date are proposed to be
excluded from the By-law.
The content of this article does not constitute legal advice
and should not be relied on in that way. Specific 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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