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Published on Thursday, July 13, 2017

Council unanimously approves abolition of OMB

Oakville supports Province’s reform bill strengthening local decisions

Council unanimously approves abolition of OMB
Ontario abolishes OMB
Attorney General Yasir Naqvi, Municipal Affairs Minister Bill Mauro, and MPP Lou Rinaldi, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs at announcement
By Nathan Howes, Oakville Beaver

Oakville Town Council has given the thumbs-up to the provincial government’s proposal to overhaul the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

This comes at the same time, Council has been hearing from local residents upset with recent OMB decisions regarding proposed development of both the former Saw-Whet and Glen Abbey golf courses.

Bill 139 — known as the Building Better Communities and Conserving Watersheds Act, 2017 — proposes significant changes to Ontario’s land-use planning appeal system and would strengthen the decision-making of local governments.

The proposed legislation comes after public consultation and study, begun in 2016, of the scope and effectiveness of the OMB.

Bill 139 also proposes changes that would give Conservation Authorities more clout.

At its July 10 meeting, Council OK’d a report to be sent to the Province and circulated to local authorities.

It also authorized Mayor Rob Burton and Town staff to make submissions to the

Standing Committee and to submit comments as part of the public consultation.

“Overall, staff supports the Province’s proposed changes,” stated the report.

“While there are still some elements of the framework to be released, the general directions proposed in Bill 139 appear to be positive.”

If passed, the OMB would operate as the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, but with significant changes to its standard of review and would eliminate “de novo” hearings “ – which operate under the premise that no prior decision has been made by a municipal council – for many planning appeals.

Among the proposed changes are issues such as review standards would be restricted to consistency/conformity with provincial plans, provincial policy statements and Official Plans.

The Tribunal could not change Council’s decision on a first appeal. It would have to send the matter back to Council. Council’s second decision could be appealed.

Timelines for Council to make a decision on an application, as set out in the Planning Act, would be extended by 30 days.

A Local Planning Appeal Support Centre would be established to provide the public with free advice on the land-use appeals process.

The Town’s submissions

As part of the consultation process, the Town provided numerous submissions on proposed Bill 139.

A full list of submissions can be found in the report listed on the July 10 Council agenda at www.oakville.ca.

Joint submission with HAPP

Town staff are currently participating in a joint submission with the Halton Area Planning Partnership (HAPP) to meet a July 30 deadline.

“If passed, Bill 139 would better reflect and validate the extensive work that municipalities do in developing land-use policy, while balancing the need for a review process to ensure the principles of natural justice to property owners,” explained the Town staff report.

In the fall, if Bill 139 passes second reading and is referred to a Standing Committee, there may be another opportunity to make submissions.

Staff recommends the Town participate in public consultation to ensure the Province is aware of its support and to encourage it to enact the bill.
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Author: Mayor Rob Burton

Categories: News

Tags: Ontario Municipal Board

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