It's been almost 15 years since Toronto's amalgamation. Now, after 135 meetings on finally amalgamating the zoning bylaws
for the city’s 43 planning divisions covering the 478,000 properties in its six former municipalities, the planners are taking it to the people.
There will be an open house at the Metro Hall Rotunda today between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., and the unified bylaws (which are viewable in a searchable format here
) will be discussed at an open meeting for the Planning and Growth Management Committee on Feb. 13.
"The plan here was to create a single new bylaw for the city," says acting director of planning Joe D’Abramo. "We weren’t really going to start from scratch. It’s not about changing the standard, it was more about a consolidation.... Whenever you do that, there’s always going to be a bit of change, but we’re keeping height and density the same."
D’Abramo says that some of the bylaws go back 60 years, and that there are currently 1,600 pages of amendments made to bylaws that were originally enacted to cover municipalities that haven’t existed in decades, such as Swansea and Leaside (both amalgamated in 1967).
The changes being made at this stage will be of interest mostly to developers and others in the building trades, but this is the first phase of a process that will ultimately include more significant changes to the zoning laws.
"The message I’ve been trying to give to groups that have asked for attention to revising standards is that that’s part of phase two," D’Abramo says, "and we haven’t set a priority for them. They’ll likely occur on an area by area basis. When you’re dealing with zoning, it’s really detailed, so you’re likely making those changed at an area-specific level."
Asked about the timing of the process, D’Abramo says, "Of course in a perfect world, you would have wanted to set out your rules and regulations before the boom, but it didn’t work that way, and when you’re in the midst of it, it’s even harder because the people don’t want it changed, because they’re trying to work with the rules."
D’Abramo expects the new bylaws, including 300 pages of text and thousands of pages of maps, to go to council in time for their April 3-4 session. "There might be one more council delay," he says, "only because generally after council debates anything this big, the changes can’t be made instantly at the same meeting, so they may have to come back in May."
Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Joe D’Abramo
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UPDATE: According to City Hall: The open house will now be held on Wednesday, February 27 from 4 to 8 p.m. in the rotunda at Metro Hall, 55 John St. The statutory public meeting will be held Wednesday, March 6 at 9:30 a.m. in the Council Chamber at City Hall, 100 Queen St. W.