Bill 109 Implementation

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On April 14, 2022, the Province’s Bill 109 received royal assent providing legislative direction to implement the More Homes for Everyone Act, 2022. Through Bill 109, the province mandated a series of changes that affect de development application review process including:

  • Site Plan Control (SPC) approvals appointed to Staff
  • Removing Council as approval authority for SPC
  • Removes the ability of Cities to refuse SPC
  • Modifying SPC timelines to 60 days o Reducing Zoning By-law Amendment applications (ZBLA) timelines to 90 days
  • Requiring refunds of fees for SPC and ZBLA that don’t meet the timelines
  • Introduces appeal rights to clients related to complete applications
  • Allows the Minister to suspend timelines for approval, and send approval for a new Official Plan to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT)

The City will be taking a phased approach to amending its procedures and by-laws to meet those provincial requirements.

On April 14, 2022, the Province’s Bill 109 received royal assent providing legislative direction to implement the More Homes for Everyone Act, 2022. Through Bill 109, the province mandated a series of changes that affect de development application review process including:

  • Site Plan Control (SPC) approvals appointed to Staff
  • Removing Council as approval authority for SPC
  • Removes the ability of Cities to refuse SPC
  • Modifying SPC timelines to 60 days o Reducing Zoning By-law Amendment applications (ZBLA) timelines to 90 days
  • Requiring refunds of fees for SPC and ZBLA that don’t meet the timelines
  • Introduces appeal rights to clients related to complete applications
  • Allows the Minister to suspend timelines for approval, and send approval for a new Official Plan to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT)

The City will be taking a phased approach to amending its procedures and by-laws to meet those provincial requirements.

  • Ottawa Council Approves Site Plan Control Report

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    Ottawa City Council has approved report ACS2022-PIE-GEN-0011 as part of the response to the Provincially mandated changes resulting from Bill 109.

    The report recommended:

    A phased approach to implement the Provincially mandated changes resulting from Bill 109:

    Phase Description Deadline
    1 Site Plan Control Delegation: Implement the Site Plan Control delegation of authority to staff and create internal capacity. July 1, 2022
    2 Internal Changes: Refunds of SPC / ZBLA: Addresses any internal processes and procedure updates to create additional capacity and ensure Staff can deliver approvals within the updated timelines prescribed by Bill 109, and implement Refunds of SPC and ZBLA, should the new timelines not be met. January 1, 2023
    3 By-law Amendments: Refunds of SPC/ ZBLA: Addresses any By-law Amendments requiring Council approval, to ensure that Staff can deliver approvals within the updated timelines prescribed by Bill 109 and update the development application Fee By-law with respect to refunds January 1, 2023
    4 Implementing Outstanding Bill 109 Requirements: Entails monitoring progress, complete outstanding items from previous phases, developing a Ministerial Zoning Order procedure, address Surety Bonds, and implement any other items which did not have a specific implementation deadline. 2023


    Amendments to the Delegated Authority By-law 2022-29

    The updated Planning Act provisions required amendments to the City’s Delegated Authority By-law 2022-29 with respect to Site Plan Control approval and include:

    • Appointment of the Director of Planning Services or his/her delegate for all SPC applications approvals;
    • Amends several locations of the By-law to effectively remove Councillor involvement, as prescribed by Bill 109, from:
      • Requiring Councillor concurrence;
      • Councillor ability to withdraw SPC delegation ability;
      • Councillor imposing of terms and conditions on SPC applications;
      • Threshold of when delegation of SPC applications can be applied for (it is now all types of SPC applications.

    Approve the repeal and replacement of the Development Application Study Policy By-law 2001-451

    Bill 109 Subsection 7(1) and 7(2) and Planning Act Subsection 41(3.1) and 41(2) were amended to require applicants to consult with a municipality before submitting plans and drawings and require the information prescribed to be submitted to the municipality. To implement this, Staff are proposing to repeal and replace the Development Application Study Policy By-law 2001-451, which has not been updated since 2001 and will serve to both meet the updated study requirements of Bill 109 and implement the policy intent from the new OP.

    Receive the amendments to the Public Notification and Consultation Policy

    The Public Notification and Consultation Policy must be updated to align with the changes to the Delegation of Authority By-law (as per Recommendation 2) with regards to delegating SPC to staff, as prescribed by Bill 109. Below is a table of the current Site Plan Control engagement opportunities, what staff propose as part of this report, and the extent of changes that Bill 109 could have justified.

    Item Current Staff Proposal Change available under Bill 109
    Councillor concurrence on SPC
    Yes No No
    Council as final authority for SPC
    Yes No No
    Community/ Councillor heads up of SPC
    Yes Yes No
    Community/Councillor comments SPC
    Yes Yes No
    Notice of decision to Community/Councillor
    Yes Yes No


    Approve the amendments to the Site Plan Control By-law

    The report recommends altering the Site Plan Control By-law to align the inner urban Site Plan Control exemption threshold with the exemption threshold for applications located outside the greenbelt. The By-law would permit buildings with 4-5-6 units to be exempt from Site Plan Control. This change reprioritizes the departmental effort to create capacity internally, reducing workload to enable adaptation to shorter and more intense timelines. Further, this change directly supports the efforts of solving for the Affordable Housing and Homelessness Crisis and Emergency, declared by Council on January 29, 2020 with Motion NO 26/14, and the New Official Plan intensification targets. The documents below provide further details on the implementation of exempting buildings with 4-5-6 units from Site Plan Control:

    Site Plan Control Highlights
    Site Plan Thresholds

    City Staff in the Planning, Real Estate and Economic Development Department will continue to work to implement these approaches.

  • Bill 109 FAQ

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    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

    Current

    Staff proposed amendment

    Change available under Bill 109

    Councillor concurrence on SPC

    Yes

    No

    No

    Council as final authority for SPC

    Yes

    No

    No

    Community/ Councillor heads up of SPC

    Yes

    Yes

    No

    Community/Councillor comments SPC

    Yes

    Yes

    No

    Notice of decision to Community/Councillor

    Yes

    Yes

    No


    Will site plans still be published on DevApps?

    Yes.

    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?

    Yes.

    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.

    Other

    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.

  • Bill 109 Background

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    Municipalities in Ontario have been subjected to a number of changes as a result of the provincial government’s roll out of the More Homes, More Choice: Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan. This plan works to make housing more affordable by increasing the supply of the full range of housing options, from single-family homes to midrise housing to apartment buildings. The province is concerned that the cost of housing is rising faster than incomes, creating a housing crisis, part of which is due to a sluggish pace of constructing new housing in relation to the demand. The province has stated that lengthy approvals have contributed to the cost of new housing.

    In December 2021, the province appointed a Housing Affordability Task Force, which authored a report with 55 recommendations released on February 8, 2022. The City’s position on the impact of the Task Force’s recommendations was presented to Council on March 23, 2022 in report ACS2022-PIE-EDP-0008.

    Acting quickly to implement part of the recommendations of the Task Force, Bill 109 was introduced by the provincial government and passed first reading, on March 30, 2022 with the second and third reading swiftly occurring on April 4, 2022 and April 14, 2022 respectively. On April 14, 2022 Bill 109 passed royal assent providing legislative 8 direction to the provinces slew of changes implementing the More Homes for Everyone Act, 2022.

    Bill 109 amended four separate Acts in order to implement the More Homes for Everyone Act, 2022, including:

    • New Home Construction Licensing Act, 2017 – No impacts to the City;
    • Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act – No impacts to the City;
    • Development Charges Act – Limited impacts to the City;
    • Planning Act – High-impact to the City.

    A comprehensive list of impacts of Bill 109 can be consulted in Document 1, but below is a list of high level legislative changes:

    • Site Plan Control (SPC) approvals appointed to Staff
    • Removing Council as approval authority for SPC • Removes the ability of Cities to refuse SPC
    • Modifying SPC timelines to 60 days
    • Reducing Zoning By-law Amendment applications (ZBLA) timelines to 90 days
    • Requiring refunds of fees for SPC and ZBLA that don’t meet the timelines
    • Introduces appeal rights to clients related to complete applications
    • Allows the Minister to suspend timelines for approval, and send approval for a New Official Plan to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT)
Page last updated: 07 Sep 2022, 03:25 PM