Bill 109 FAQ

Site Plan Control (SPC) Consultation

The chart looks like it’s giving Councillors more consultation powers than Bill 109 intended, is that correct?

Yes, in their commitment to a transparent planning process, staff have opted to keep the public notification (heads-up and notice of decision) at this time, even though Bill 109 does not require any consultation for Site Plan Control (SPC).

Staff also opted to keep an opportunity to provide targeted comments, specific to the parameters of SPC under the Planning Act. This is beyond the requirements of Bill 109.

However, these provisions will be monitored over the coming months to better evaluate the value of staff time invested into these consultation components that are in-and-above that of the Planning Act requirements. Bill 109 significantly reduced timelines for SPC and ZBLA, and all parts of the application review process must be examined for efficiency to prevent refunds in 2023.

Below is a table of the current Site Plan Control engagement opportunities, what staff proposed as part of the Phase 1 report, and the extent of changes that Bill 109 could have justified.

Implementation – Phase 1 item


Staff proposed amendment

Change available under Bill 109

Councillor concurrence on SPC




Council as final authority for SPC




Community/ Councillor heads up of SPC




Community/Councillor comments SPC




Notice of decision to Community/Councillor




Will site plans still be published on DevApps?


When a Councillor hosts a public meeting as part of a zoning by-law amendment application (ZBLA), would there be opportunities to have answers on a SPC?


Would Councillors still be able to provide comments in the ZBLA report related to SPC?

No, this would be done as part of the SPC process. While staff understand the desire of Councillors to share their thoughts on SPC applications publicly, Councillors can consider also sharing their comments on SPC applications in their newsletter.

Are timelines for comments from the Councillor and the public being reduced?

For now, the timelines will remain the same, but staff will be looking at it as part of Phase 2. Bill 109 significantly reduced timelines for SPC and ZBLA, and all parts of the application review process must be examined for efficiency to prevent refunds in 2023. Staff could be recommending shorter timelines and stricter comment content as part of Phase 2.

Does a proponent have any requirement to participate in a community session?

There is no requirement or obligation for a proponent to participate in a community session as Bill 109 removed Councillor concurrence components for SPC. The Planning Act dictates the consultation touch points, and the City goes well beyond.

While there is not a requirement, staff continue to be of the opinion that it is in the best interest for the proponent to consult with the community and the Councillor before they submit a complete application to the City.

SPC Process and timelines

Is there a possibility to require applicants to submit both a ZBLA and SPC concurrently?

Ultimately, with the Bill 109 changes, the decision will be with staff. It is up to the staff and the Councillor to come to a mediated agreement.

How do we resolve cases where staff and the Councillor will not agree on a SPC condition or outcome?

It is up to the staff and the Councillor to come to a mediated agreement. Ultimately, with the Bill 109 changes, the decision will be with staff.

Capacity and desirability to meet new timelines vs issuing refunds

Would staff not agree that it is much more important to take the time we need to get SPC and ZBLA right, than to prevent the refund of fees?

The direction from the Province in Bill 109 is to reduce SPC and ZBLA timelines at the risk of giving refunds. If Council makes a decision, which staff do not advise, to disregard the new timelines, Council needs to be prepared to support the application review process with alternative financing.

As stated in the report, Development application review is a self-financed service offered by the City, where planning application fees pay for the staff that do that work. This is part of a City commitment that “growth pays for growth”, meaning that the development industry pays for the services it needs to operate.

Potential future refunds from unmet timelines imposed by Bill 109 would directly lead to the City having to either draw from tax base revenue to afford current service delivery, or lead to service and staff reductions further risking planning application fees.

Do we have the capacity to achieve the reduced timelines and still meet the due diligence within current staffing levels and new timelines?

Complementary to this Bill 109 report is a resource report, which patches some gaps until the Bill 109 Phase 2 report later this year, by adding some needed new positions and converting some temporary positions to permanent.

The Planning Act, amended by Bill 109, is different to the Building Code’s ability to stop to clock when the file is in the hands of developers. The lever that staff have in the post Bill 109 Planning Act process is to deem an application complete, which will be an important point to focus on the front end of a file.

Phase 2 will focus on application completeness and also prioritize the current application review process to ensure that we meet the Bill 109 timeline requirements of the Planning Act.

During the new OP, there was talk of a Site Plan Control Light. Is this moving forward to reduce requirements?

Staff will be looking at this possibility as part of Phase 2, as a way to meet the Bill 109 reduced timelines.

SPC Exemption Threshold

Drainage and garbage issues are often raised at SPC, how will these be addressed with the proposed exemption?

These would be part of building permit review. Garbage location and drainage mitigation are part of the documentation required for applicants to obtain a building permit.

SPC triggers forestry review to save trees. What is the mechanism for this with the proposed exemption? There is worry that this change could lead to less trees.

The incorporation of a tree review and the tree protection by-law into the building permit application process for infills was the focus of the big tree by-law review project.

The City now have 3 forestry inspectors in Forestry who specifically review building permit applications and tree information reports associated with infill development. Building Code Service circulates Forestry on the infill applications, staff connect with the applicant down to get the tree information report which is a requirement (if it hasn’t already been submitted) and the Forestry Inspectors work with the applicant to retain and protect trees on site, issue tree permits for those that need to be removed and approve tree planting plans for the sites.


What happens to SPCs in complex areas?

Staff are not changing the definition at this point.

How is the department going to address a continuous understanding of neighbourhood character to planners? How would we prevent Councillors reintroducing neighbourhood context to file leads?

The Development Review areas are meant to be geographical experts and staff retention is a key part of ensuring continuous neighbourhood understanding. The separate Resource report adds a development review area Manager and also recommends temporary positions be made permanent, both of which will help.

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