Like a VIA train, Garden Suites are delayed, but still coming down the track.
A group of residents associations have banded together to appeal sections of the recently passed Garden Suite bylaw. While this will certainly delay implementation of the bylaw, it won’t derail the process entirely. So far, not much is known about the appeal to the Ontario Land Tribunal [OLT] other than that notice has been filed.
The people behind this appeal are very few in number compared to the overwhelmingly positive support voiced for this initiative during public hearings, and consultations. Nonetheless it is a feature of our democratic system that they have a right to appeal the bylaw. Unfortunately, this will hamper many more people who have been anxious to build backyard houses for themselves or their family’s needs.
The Toronto Star ran this article which sums it up pretty well:
We have been in touch with the Senior Planner responsible for this file and they do not have any more information yet about the substance of the appeal either. We can be assured that the City’s Legal and Planning staff will fight to preserve the bylaw.
From the news release of the associations behind this move, we can glean that they are concerned about 2 issues: the possibility of Garden Suites being added behind so-called multiplexes, and the potential impact on trees. Trees in Toronto are very well protected by the Private Tree Bylaw and Ravine and Natural Features Bylaw which both give Urban Forestry the power to refuse an application to injure or remove a healthy mature tree. In our experience, they can use this power to prevent construction of inappropriate projects.
SO WHAT HAPPENS NOW?
The appeal process will play out at the Ontario Land Tribunal. The parties of the appeal will have to submit their specific arguments, at which time we will know more about how long this will take and how likely it is that changes may be ordered to the wording of the bylaw as passed by council.
Stay tuned. We’ll update you as we know more.