By Chad Ingram
Published June 1 2017
The provincial government is making changes to the Ontario Municipal Board a body that hears appeals on municipal planning decisions effectively replacing the board with what it is calling a “local planning review tribunal.”
It is expected that legislation governing the change will be tabled in coming weeks.
As Haliburton County planning director Charlsey White told county councillors during a May 24 meeting OMB hearings can be very long and very expensive processes.
“Some hearings were taking years” White said.
At least part of the province’s modification of the OMB which is done under the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and housing is an attempt to streamline the process.
With tighter controls on just what kind of decisions can be appealed it also appears the changes would put more clout in municipal planning decisions made by local councils.
Appeals will be able to be made in cases where provincial policies and/or local official plans are not followed but there will be a list of certain types of decisions that cannot be appealed.
“Just because an appellant doesn’t like a decision that’s not justification for it to move forward to an appeal” White said.
Councillors wondered who the local planning review tribunal would consist of.
“Is it a local tribunal or is it a tribunal to deal with local planning matters?” asked Algonquin Highlands Reeve Carol Moffatt.
White responded that the group is still a province-wide tribunal however said there would be an opportunity to create an actual local tribunal through a prescribed process the municipality would have to follow.
Haliburton County recently made a request to the province for a blanket exemption on provincial approval for official plan amendments meaning that the county would effectively become the ultimate approval authority on official plan amendment requests.