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Tiny looking to streamline planning act process

Provincial Planning Act amendments to provide efficiencies for Tiny staff upon delegation of authority; public meeting to be scheduled
Tiny Township municipal office located at 130 Balm Beach Road West. Staff photo/MidlandToday

Changes by the province could soon impact Tiny's planning department in a positive manner.

At a recent regular meeting of council, planning and development director Shawn Persaud gave a high-level overview of amendments to the Planning Act by the province earlier this year, and how those would affect Tiny staff and its residents.

Staff provided council with recommendations for a few of the Planning Act updates through Bill 276, Supporting Recovery and Competitiveness Act, 2021; the first of which was regarding cancellation certificates.

“Let’s think about a rural property on a concession road; it’s been created by the committee of adjustment,” Persaud said.

"The way the Planning Act regulation was set up, that lot can never be changed. Even if that landowner wanted to buy, for example, an additional fifty feet behind the property from the adjacent landowner, they couldn’t physically do that because there was no way to break up the original parcel.”

Persaud noted that cancellation certificates were “more of an administrative function” similar to a lot deeming bylaw, which could be handled through council-approved delegated authority to staff instead of the committee of adjustment. 

Validations correct or make effective prior registered instruments that have contravened the Planning Act, and validation certificates are required by the municipality to correct the title of a property.

“It’s more of an administrative legal matter than a matter that is dealt with through an evaluation of planning policy.

"Currently, that delegated authority is to the committee of adjustment. To be honest, in the last 15 years, we may have only had one or two of these types of applications that have come forward to the township,” said Persaud as another staff recommendation.

Upon royal assent of Bill 13, the Supporting People and Businesses Act, 2021, additional powers have been allowed by the province as of late last year.

Staff recommended a public meeting be scheduled for an official plan amendment of the township to delegate authority approval to staff with regards to removal of holding symbols and temporary use bylaws.

Persaud first gave an example of a holding symbol on a property in a private road agreement situation, with the official plan requiring the “private property owner enter into a private road agreement with the township prior to the municipality lifting the holding symbol."

“The regulation for lifting a holding symbol is very specified in the official plan,” said Persaud. “And a notice still has to go out to the property owners, but staff are recommending that delegated authority in order to speed up the process; we would probably cut the time in half with regards to these specific situations.”

For temporary use bylaws specific to garden suites or temporary housing, Persaud explained that specific criteria is outlined in the township’s official plan for reviewing an application.

Delegation of authority to staff still requires a public meeting under the Planning Act, giving the public an opportunity to provide feedback before a bylaw is brought before council.

“I know that council and staff have had a number of discussions over the last number of years about ways that we can streamline the planning process,” Persaud summarized, “and activate some of these additional delegated authorities to speed up some of these more administrative straight-forward planning matters.”

Coun. Cindy Hastings stated she was happy to see more streamlining, and commended a joint comment submission developed by planning directors across the county who worked with County of Simcoe planning staff, regarding application time-frames and refund of fees, and amendments to site plan control.

Council approved the staff recommendations, with direction to proceed in scheduling a public meeting at a later date.

Information on the Planning Act changes report, as well as the joint comment submission to the County of Simcoe, can be viewed within the agenda page located on the Tiny Township website.

Archives of council meetings are available to view on Tiny Township’s YouTube channel.

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Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

About the Author: Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Derek Howard covers Midland and Penetanguishene area civic issues under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada.
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