Mississauga’s Planning and Development Committee yesterday expressed their support for Bill 139 and endorsed staff’s comments on the Ontario Government’s proposed legislation. The legislation would change the land use planning appeal system in Ontario and better preserve the natural environment.
The Government of Ontario introduced Bill 139 – the Building Better Communities and Conserving Watersheds Act in May 2017.
The new act would create the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal and the Local Planning Appeal Support Centre to replace the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). Together, these agencies would give municipalities a stronger voice in land use planning.
Among other changes, the Bill proposes to amend the Planning Act to only allow appeals to the Tribunal where a Council decision fails to conform to a policy statement or is inconsistent with a provincial or upper-tier plan. The Bill would also expand the types of matters that are exempt from appeal.
The City’s Legal Services staff reviewed the proposed amendments in consultation with Council members and City departments.
The resulting staff report includes a recommendation that the Mayor or designate convey support for the Bill and provide comments to the Standing Committee.
“Mississauga welcomes the opportunity to help shape land use planning at the local level,” said Mayor Bonnie Crombie. “It is time that municipalities strengthen our authority to make local land use planning decisions. The proposed amendments align well with our efforts to build a great city that respects and preserves the natural environment as it continues to change and grow.”
In addition to expressing support for Bill 139, it is recommended in the report that comments be submitted relating to clarifying aspects of the new test for conformity, transition provisions to avoid a large influx of appeals, climate change policy requirements and exemption from appeal for Section 37 benefits and Community Improvement Plans.
“People should have a better, faster, more accessible and affordable process for appealing land use decisions,” said Janice Baker, City Manager and Chief Administrative Officer. “Municipalities know their communities and understand local land use issues. Bill 139 puts the responsibility for good planning where it belongs, in the hands of local decision makers.”
The recommendations contained in the report will be brought to Council for approval on October 11, 2017.