Residents living in ABCRA's neighbourhoods have been no strangers to receiving communications from the city regarding variance applications for buildings and land in their vicinity that are either being redeveloped or renovated. These applications must go before the Committee of Adjustment, a panel of citizen members who regularly hold public hearings to consider these applications. Some of these applications are for changes that can be considered "minor” or inconsequential variances to the city's by-laws, while others, if approved by the Committee of Adjustment, can have negative impacts on neighbours or lead to changes that are lasting and can have a negative influence on a neighbourhood's character or streetscape.
If you receive one of these notifications, it is very important that you understand the implications of the requested variance(s) both for your property as well as for the neighbourhood overall. And, if you believe they will have a negative impact, it helps to know what steps you can take to discuss the variances with the applicant. It also helps to understand the process of opposing the application at the Committee of Adjustment if your concerns cannot be resolved otherwise.
The "Urban Planning Primer", prepared and kindly shared with us by the Guildwood Community Association, provides the information you need to understand the various key policies and pieces of legislation that govern Toronto's city planning, as well as the variance application process. The information will help you submit or oppose an application before the Committee of Adjustment and allows you to address, refer to, and quote zoning and other bylaws in your application or opposition letter and before the Committee at the hearing.