The province has announced a review of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) which hears disputes over land use planning and development. A consultation paper will be released in the fall to solicit feedback. I brought a Resolution on OMB Reform (DI-03-16) to the July 12 Development & Infrastructure Committee seeking support to advise the province to forbid appeals to the OMB of requests for Official Plan or Zoning Bylaw amendments, where a municipality’s OP and Zoning have already been approved by the Region and the Province. I believe municipal councils in concert with planning staff, residents, and the development industry, should be the final decision-makers on land use matters. The motion failed 6-1.
My Take: I remain committed to seeking OMB reform during the consultation process, and am a member of the province-wide OMB Reform working group of like-minded politicians across Ontario. I continue to believe that the best planning system is one without the right of appeal to the OMB, a system where the best opportunity for everyone to influence development in their communities is to get involved in shaping an Official Plan, elect representatives who will support it, and advocate to council on specific developments. This is accountable, transparent, free of charge, equally fair to residents and developers alike, and accessible to all – no need to have deep pockets to fund a costly OMB appeal.