Province restores OMB rules for development disputes
The Ontario government is turning back the clock on how development disputes are decided in the province — reverting to the old Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) rules under the newer Local Planning Appeal Tribunal’s (LPAT) name. The proposal is part of a comprehensive piece of legislation announced Thursday. Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark said the More Homes, More Choice: Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan will create more homes, including a more diverse mix of housing, to improve affordability.
"This bill will go a long way to provide people hope that they will have the right type of housing at a price they can afford,” he said a press conference at a Habitat for Humanity stacked townhome building site in Scarborough. But he did not provide a specific target of the number of homes the government hopes to see built.
"Our success is going to be shovels in the ground. This is a continual priority of our government. Today’s bill goes a long way to putting some of those plans in motion but we’re not done,” he said. The proposed rule changes, which were immediately praised by developers but also called “devastating” by some Toronto city councillors, are expected to make it faster and cheaper for builders to introduce new homes to the market and easier for homeowners to build secondary suites such as basement apartments.
Clark stated the government’s proposal generates a greater opportunity for people to live closer to their jobs, shorten the timeframe for development approval process and address the shortage of missing middle homes such as smaller apartment buildings and townhouses. This will provide an alternative option to traditional detached houses and high-rises. Although Clark said he is aware of municipal concerns around the old OMB and mindful of municipal autonomy, it is not feasible to have the two parallel systems that are currently underway. Cases that were originally appealed before the OMB have been grandfathered under those rules as the LPAT was subject to handling newer appeals over roughly the last year.
“There are 100,000 (housing) units that are stuck before the tribunal. I believe the processes we have put in place will unlock that backlog. We can’t continue to have a system where you’re waiting 24 or 36 months for a hearing. We need to do better,” said the minister.
The OMB, terminated by the former Liberal government, was often criticized for undermining and delaying Toronto development decisions, at times for years, as the appeal process allowed adjudicators to take the application back to its beginnings to consider new evidence from all sides as if the municipality had never made a decision on the matter. Those types of hearings will be reinstated, Clark said.
BILD president Dave Wilkes blamed “long timelines” for development approval and a logjam of appeals at the existing LPAT for adding 10 years to the timeline of a highrise building and 11 years to a lowrise development.
“I think the bottom line here, and it’s a simple one, is that we don’t have enough homes for people that are looking for homes in the area,” he said.
Ontario Home Builders’ Association president Rick Martins said everyone needs to stop pointing fingers and “get the shovels in the ground. What we’re looking to do is where there’s opportunity for intensification, intensify. Where there’s opportunity to create affordable housing, create it,” he said, suggesting those who are homeless can be sheltered.
However, none of the changes announced Thursday would guarantee affordable home prices or rents as part of increasing supply, after the government earlier repealed rent control for new units brought in under the Liberal government.
Among the government’s other proposed changes, Section 37 and parkland dedication funds, the money municipalities charge developers for local improvements, would be consolidated into a single new charge that would also include municipal costs for soft services such as libraries and community centres and the recovery of waste diversion costs. Those changes would come under the auspices of a new Community Benefits Authority.
The province would have broader authority in planning around major transit stations and some employment zones. It would fast-track housing around transit and allow more housing around stable employment zones by permitting mixed-use development in some locations that were formerly reserved for office and industrial building.
Changes to the growth plan to take effect May 16 would simplify minimum intensification and density targets and streamline the process for increasing land supply by adjusting settlement area boundaries.
Tim Hudak, CEO of the Ontario Real Estate Association, said he was “really excited” the government adopted several of OREA’s ideas, including better utilizing vacant land. “What I see in the government’s plan today: a lot more room for starter homes, for move-up homes when families’ kids start to get a bit bigger, more rental units,” Hudak said, arguing more supply will provide more affordability, adding the amount of regulatory red tape, taxes and charges has stood in the way.
Source: The Toronto Star
What does the new $11.2B transit plan mean for Toronto-area development?
Premier Doug Ford's government recently unveiled its nearly $30-billion Toronto-area transit expansion plan — which includes a newly conceptualized 15-kilometre "Ontario Line" that would stretch from Ontario Place to the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto.
Meant to replace the proposed downtown relief subway line to ease what Ford calls "dangerous congestion," the proposed, $11-billion "game changer" will be twice the length of what the City of Toronto originally planned. "We are making the biggest and largest investment in new subways in Canadian history," Ford told reporters.
The Ford government desires to lengthen the Yonge subway line to Richmond Hill on an shorter timeframe than the city prefers; add two stops to the existing plans for the Scarborough subway; and bury the Eglinton West LRT extension through Etobicoke, a decision that would likely incur double of what the original project costs.
Metrolinx, the provincial transit agency, has stressed the importance that the Downtown Relief Line is completed before the Yonge line is extended north into York Region.
With the province's plan, the Ontario Line will adhere this timeline.
Source: CBC News
"The Yonge line operates at or above capacity every weekday, according to the TTC. Metrolinx has predicted ridership would exceed peak capacity of 28,000 people per hour by 2041."
With the four lines expected to run through Scarborough, the Waterfront eastbound and northbound through Greektown, an extension to the Yonge Line North and an extension to the existing Eglinton LRT plan, there will certainly be a trend where new development will follow suit.
Properties at intersection corners will naturally be targeted as future re-development sites as they are likely to become hubs for stations and stops that will service these new transit routes.
Regarding the Yonge St extension specifically, a response from Richmond Hill Council to this plan has been to embrace higher densities at the area referred to as the Yonge/Bernard Key Development Area (KDA) with 37 stories from its original 15 storey ceiling maximum as well as a higher FSI of 5.5.
There will be speculation surrounding the other three additions proposed in this transit plan and if a similar consideration will always be evaluated.
While the Ontario Line is expected to across a continuously urbanizing waterfront and ever-intensifying Queen St, the northbound portion will allow the Leslieville and Greektown regions to experience a further ability to grow and develop. Expected stops at Carlaw&Queen, Gerrard&Pape, Cosburn&Pape are examples of intersections to keep an eye on to observe any future growth.
RECENT LAND SOLD
|10690 McCowan Rd||103.75||$27.5MM||Fieldgate Developments Ltd|
|Queen St W||n/a||Undisclosed||Undisclosed|
|13151-13211 Keele St||4.34||$17.5MM||Stateview Homes|
|2122 Queen St E||0.39||$12.3MM||SPI Queen Holdings Inc|
|64 Prince Andrew Place||1.77||$4.6MM||Golden Age Development Inc|
|466-468 Dovercourt Rd||0.18||$4.4MM||TAS Deisgn Build|
*Sold by CFR
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