A zoning by-law consists of a map and text used in the division of municipalities into zones and the regulations for using specific zones. The zones can be further divided into subzones for commercial or residential use. Before the council approves zoning by-laws, several considerations must be put in place to confirm the legal and due process as per the provincial policy statements and other issues such as protection from flood hazards and the suitability of the intended zone purpose conformity to the official plan among other issues. Therefore, the paper discusses the procedures followed in the approval of the zoning by-law.
The approval process for zoning by-law is the same as the approval of the official plan. In most cases, the zoning by-law is prepared once the official plan has been adopted. After the council has completed the by-laws’ preparation, the next process is followed by mapping and preparing the by-laws. This implies that it may take an extended period to research and prepare for the by-laws and complete the mapping. The public must be well informed of the process, and if possible, one public meeting should be organized with advance notice of 20 days via mail or newspapers. Persons present at the meeting can freely address or question the proposed zoning by-law.
The planning Act is put into action to provide mediation approaches used in solving unprecedented conflicts. The law also allows the applicant to consult with other people or organizations before submitting their applications. There are instances where the zoning by-law is revised as per section 26 of the Planning Act. It is legally recommended that the council host at least one house hearing that allows the public to critique and review the proposed by-law. Due notice must be provided for the house hearing, which should also be conducted less than one week before the public meeting. However, the municipality’s official plan can roll out alternative processes for informing and obtaining public views on the matter unless the zoning by-law is revised under section 26, which demands only one open house.
The council can amend the proposed by-law based on the reactions from the public and other local bodies. In a case where the council makes the changes after a public meeting was held, then it is within the council’s jurisdiction to decide on whether to convene another public meeting. The courts provide that the council must have substantial evidence to support the controversy on the necessity for holding or foregoing the second public meeting. However, the council has the discretion to decide on the by-law.
When the council asses the by-law, the clerk must provide written notice within 15 days of its passage as prescribed by the agencies and persons involved. The law allows people to seek an appeal 20 days after the notice for approving the by-law is issued.
The appeal should be directed to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) by filing an appeal notice with the municipal clerk. An allowance of 20 days is provided, and if there are no more appeals, then the zoning by-law becomes effective as of the date the council approved it. However, the zoning by-law cannot be effective if there are pending appeals. The LPAT can either convene another hearing for the affected parties or disband the appeals on the outline provided in the official plan appeals. Generally, the board’s decision is final as far as the zoning by-law’s approval is concerned unless there is a provincial interest that demands the validation of the decision by the Lieutenant governor.
Tindal, C. MUNICIPAL ADMINISTRATION PROGRAM UNIT 4 Management in the Municipality. Ontario, AMCTO THE MUNICIPAL EXPERTS. 2014.