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 firstname.lastname@example.org.