1. Bill 73 Encourages Dispute Resolution
Recent changes to the Planning Act allow municipal councils and other approval authorities to use mediation or other dispute resolution techniques to resolve disputes over official plans, zoning by-laws, plans of subdivision and consents.
2. What is Land Use Mediation?
A confidential, informal voluntary process in which the parties try to reach a solution that meets their needs, usually with the help of an experienced neutral mediator.
3. What are Advantages of Mediation?
- Generally faster and less expensive than an OMB (Ontario Municipal Board) or court hearing
- Greater certainty of result
- All parties achieve some of their objectives, rather
- than "winner take all"
4. Mediation by OMB Members
The OMB encourages mediation, particularly for more complex planning disputes within its jurisdiction. There is no charge for a mediator provided by the Board, but it may take a long time to schedule the process, and the parties must accept the Board member assigned to their case.
5. Mediation by a Private Mediator
Applicants, municipalities or objectors can request mediation as soon as a planning decision is appealed, before it is before the OMB. They can also request mediation concerning cost allocation or other matters outside the Board's authority.
6. Choosing a Mediator
A mediator must be impartial, without financial or other interests in the outcome. A mediator should be trained in facilitating consensus and have broad knowledge of the land use planning process.
7. What Parties should expect from a Mediator
- Mediation Agreement to confirm the responsibilities of the Mediator & Parties
- Clear mediation process
- Confidentiality with respect to statements made
- during mediation
- Mechanism to enforce resolution if reached by the
Ron has more than 30 years of experience in land use planning law, from both public and private perspectives. He has specialized training in Alternate Dispute Resolution, and has arbitrated disputes for the Builders' Arbitration Forum and private builders and owners. Ron was recently selected by Peel Region to facilitate meetings on municipal governance issues, in conjunction with Mass LBP.
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This article is intended to be an overview and is for informational purposes only.