GIVE MUNICIPALITIES THE POWER TO MAKE AND ENFORCE ENVIRONMENTAL ZONING BY-LAWS
There are two ways Ontario can impose environmental regulations on its citizens. First, there are specific regulations that are designed to protect the environment (the Clean Water Act, etc.) If a citizen feels that the decision or regulations of provincial employees are unfair then he or she can appeal to the Environmental Review Tribunal.
The second method is to restrict land use. I wrote about Best Practices and Land Use approximately two weeks ago.
If a land developer wishes to appeal, then he appeals to the Ontario Municipal Board. It hears appeals regarding municipal zoning decisions and regarding the value assigned to land expropriated by the government.
A land developer that still has a grievance against the government regarding compensation for expropriated land still has an option after using the O.M.B. He or she can request a negotiated settlement using the Board of Negotiation.
Premier Wynne promised to reform the O.M.B. She stated that many complained that unelected officials from the O.M.B. could overturn a decision from an elected Municipal Government.
Premier Wynne did not discuss another problem. The length of time for an appeal creates a great deal of uncertainty for both municipalities and for land developers.
Perhaps the best measure is for a land developer to seek “Leave to Appeal” a decision from a Municipality. In essence, a party wanting to use the Ontario Municipal Board has to demonstrate a substantive injustice such as:
- Failure to follow internal procedure
- Conflict of interest
- Failure to report decisions
- Zoning or expropriation not tied to goals
Perhaps this would give municipalities the power to impose environmental concerns in its zoning by-laws while protecting the procedural fairness of land developers.
I welcome your thoughts.