Many Ward 25 neighbours can relate to the experience of receiving a Committee of Adjustment (CoA) public notice in their mailboxes. Over the past eight years, CoA application volume has increased by approximately 96%, leading to significant deviations from the zoning by-law outside of the downtown core.
Ward 25 is no exception to this concerning trend—there are a growing number of applications requesting long lists of variances from the established zoning by-law. Since January 2018, the CoA has considered 116 minor variance and consent applications for properties in Ward 25.
In 2014, I moved a series of motions intended to improve the CoA process and make it more accessible and transparent for residents. My motions were inspired and informed by feedback I received from the residents of Ward 25. Over the past four years, the City has implemented several new initiatives, including the following:
Application information is now posted months in advance of the hearing date on theApplication Information Centre. The CoA website also includes a FAQ page, Toronto Local Appeal Body (TLAB) information, and key staff contacts.
CoA hearings are now video-recorded and are made available to the public upon request. City staff recently began livestreaming Toronto & East York district hearings in February 2018. City staff estimate that livestreaming will begin at North York Civic Centre in fall 2018.
Additional full-time and temporary City staff are being hired to review and make recommendations on CoA applications. City Planning now generates reports for close to 50% of the applications received.
City staff have implemented an enhanced training process for committee members including periodic training on key issues.
Practices and policies are being harmonized across the four districts.
Though we have made progress over the past four years, we have a long way to go. I am continuing to advocate for much-needed improvements to the CoA and would welcome additional community feedback. If you have any suggestions or comments, please contact my office at 416-395-6408 or email@example.com.