Province of Ontario Growth Planning
Many of the developments proposed in our area are given allowance through the province's growth plans.
Bloor Street West is considered a transit hub and the growth plan states there should be heavy development within a certain proximity of public transit.
Despite the lack of proper infrastructure supports, community services, extra traffic and overcrowding of local schools and transit, developers are pushing for highrises that will house thousands of extra residents.
Our Area's City Staff
Ana Bailao, Ward Councilor, and Deputy Mayor
Victoria Fusz, Senior Planner
Community Planning, City Planning Division
Our Provincial Representative
MPP Marit Stiles (Davenport), Critic, Education
Member, Standing Committee on Government Agencies
The city of Toronto has a development "Application Information Centre" where the public can find reports from developers and the progress of proposals.
You can perform a quick search by:
Entering an address or intersection in the top search bar, then click the Search button; or
Clicking anywhere on the map to search for applications
Quick search results default to displaying all application types:
Community Planning applications
Committee of Adjustment
Toronto Local Appeal body
City-wide regulations on land use; size, height, location and use of buildings and structures; and parking and loading spaces. For more information click here.
The city is many planning studies of our area. Simply put, a planning study is looking at the uses of an area that focuses on the physical form, economic functions, and social impacts of future development. It involves goal setting, data collection and analysis, forecasting, design, strategic thinking, and public consultation. Find planning studies here.
The Official Plan (OP)
Our councillor's office will always refer to this during discussions about Ward 9 development.
The Planning Act
The Province of Ontario sets out rules and regulations in the Planning Act which describe requirements for planning processes, how land uses may be controlled and by whom. The Planning Act gives the City the power to create Official Plans and Zoning Bylaws which in turn provide direction to the various officials, staff members and other authorities involved in the planning and development decision-making process.*
However, in reality, the Planning Act also hobbles the City of Toronto:
Section 34: Zoning by-laws
34 (1) Zoning by-laws may be passed by the councils of local municipalities
Area, density and height
(3) The authority to regulate provided in paragraph 4 of subsection (1) includes and, despite the decision of any court, shall be deemed always to have included the authority to regulate the minimum area of the parcel of land mentioned therein and to regulate the minimum and maximum density and the minimum and maximum height of development in the municipality or in the area or areas defined in the by-law. 2006, c. 23, s. 15 (1).
City of Toronto
(3.1) Subsection (3) does not apply with respect to the City of Toronto. 2006, c. 23, s. 15 (2).
The Ontario Planning Act (Planning Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13) can be found here.
Section 37 (Community Benefits with Strings Attached)
Often during community meetings with the city and developers, you will hear “Section 37” quoted as means of negotiating for community benefits. What is Section 37? Section 37 of the Planning Act allows communities to secure cash OR in-kind contributions from developers in return for allowing them to circumvent the City’s zoning bylaw limits of height and/or density. More often than not, a developer wants more height and density. The City has a set of S37 guidelines with an identified list of benefits that can be secured from developers. In reality, while Toronto Planning staff play an important role in determining the value of contributions secured from developers, the ward-based councillors play a significant role in determining how the contributions should be distributed.
Simply put, Section 37 gives the developer the power to get what they want for limited return to the community. A developer can “negotiate” with our Ward’s councillor and the community for extra building height and density by finding something that works for most residents.
What is considered a “community benefit”? Some examples are:
a curb cut in front of a long-term care home
a community centre
affordable housing (see inclusionary zoning)
keep in mind that affordable units in a luxury condo come with percentage limits and oft-times a term limit as well
According to Neville Park (How Section 37 Funds Work (And Don’t Work), torontoist.com)
“Developers do need incentives to get on board with building a livable, well-designed city—but Section 37 probably isn’t the best way to do it.
The City’s own guidelines say that good planning should be the standard for new development, not a bonus. If the area needs a new daycare or better street furniture anyway, is the City just using Section 37 to implement things they should have already planned for—and, equally importantly, budgeted for? And if not, does that mean the benefits are superficial, people-pleasing elements rather than an essential part of urban planning in Toronto?”
In community meetings, you will hear the councillor and the developers emphasizing Section 37 as a negotiating tool when in reality S37 is also a way to circumvent holding the City and developers accountable for cumulative impact studies and solutions, especially when minimizing residents' concerns about the disproportionate amount of development applications in the South Junction Triangle. To be clear S37 is to “compensate” neighbourhoods that will be negatively affected by the higher density development.
Common negative effects usually include shadows cast by the new development and increased congestion on local streets, which can potentially make life more difficult in the surrounding communities and upset neighbouring residents. The question to ask then is if a development is so poorly planned that it causes significant negative impacts in the surrounding neighbourhood, then it probably should not be built in the first place.
Unfortunately, while Toronto can change its own rules and guidelines for using S37, it is the Province that would have to take responsibility for fundamentally reforming the tool or creating an alternative.*
Read more about Section 37:
Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT)
This is a provincial responsibility. Despite what the Province of Ontario states:
Protecting your appeal rights
To protect your appeal rights – particularly with respect to official plans, zoning bylaws or plans of subdivision – ensure that you make your views known by making a written submission or an oral presentation at a public meeting.
History has shown that LPAT tends to side with developers more often than not. We need to try and keep developers from appealing to LPAT. Contact us with your ideas. It takes a village to create a village that is welcoming to all.
Bill 108, More Homes, More Choice Act, 2019
"Poor planning decisions, such as designating too much land for development, overbuilding infrastructure (sewers, transit) and unnecessary boundary expansions cost us all. Moves away from creating complete communities. Loss of employment lands."*
Read more about Bill 108's new regulations for community benefits here.
This is a policy that would require a certain percentage of affordable housing units in new residential developments, creating mixed-income housing. It's one policy to help address the housing needs of Toronto’s low-income and moderate-income households (earning roughly between $35,000 and $88,500 a year depending on household size). For further details see this.
Privately-Owned Publicly Accessible Spaces (POPS)
POPS are owned by the developer who purchased the land that they will build on. These areas include parkettes, walkways, urban plazas, and courtyards that are privately owned and maintained by developers and private corporations. Despite that, POPS are required to comply with the City’s bylaws and are open and publicly accessible, with some open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, while others have restricted hours. In reality, POPS are pseudo-public spaces that are controlled by private ownership.
During community meetings with developers and city staff, the term "POPS" will be touted as a benefit -- a magnanimous gift that a developer is bestowing upon the community as a "compromise", in order to placate our concerns over a concentration of highrises within a small land footprint, population growth in the face of a lack of infrastructure, community services, poor transit supports and overcrowding of our local schools.
"What is being presented as POPS are the types of spaces that would be included in any property as an amenity and selling point to existing and future tenants, Meslin said.
“Instead, what you have is, a kind of created system where developers will come to the table with less than what they would be willing to give and then bargain up and give what they should be giving anyways in exchange for extra height and density,” he said.