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Changes to the Planning Appeals Process

Introduction

Community, land use, or physical planning is the main focus of lesson five. The arrangement entails establishing pace and nature of future growth of a place coupled with the regulations of land developments for the enhanced attainment of the preferred set objectives. Society needs to create long-term goals for growth and executive steps to attain them. Such objectives underscore the importance of land use planning by ensuring orderly progress in a community, leading to cheaper servicing costs and other benefits. The developments in municipalities brought by land-use planning can often displease some individuals as witnessed in appeals filed at the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), a body formerly tasked with hearing petitions on land-use planning for the Ontario Province. However, the agency was substituted with the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT). The planning appeals process was drastically transformed when the LPAT replaced the OMB as presented in the discussion.

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Key Changes to the Planning Appeals Process

Hearing Process

A huge change in the appeal process between the LPAT and the previous body, the OMB lies in several areas. The LPAT body was created following the enactment of the Building Better Communities and Conserving Watersheds Act. It modified the previous planning legislation pieces and other statutes. Part of the reform objectives aimed to enhance the hearing process, restrict the tribunal’s capacity to reverse municipal decisions that conforms to provincial and local policies, and empower metropolises in their resident planning activities. The new committee also sought to shelter key planning resolutions from the appeal.

The appeal hearing process in the LPAT sharply differs from that documented in the OMB structure, mostly in the progress, procedure, and formal trial sessions. For instance, under the LPAT framework, the hearing process must encompass Case Management Conference (CMC). During the CMC, provisions for case settlement comprising mediations can be deliberated between tribunal members and the involved parties. The CMC also allows key issues to be recognized and scoped to the petition. On the contrary, under the OMB plan, the appeal documents was simply received and analyzed before sending to either pre-hearing, hearing, motion, or mediation. Moreover, the Board would aptly offer a verdict in the form of an order and/or a decision.

Representation

When directly matching the element of representation in the OMB with the present LPAT, it is evident that participating in the appeal process has become more complicated for various parties. The increased trouble with appeal involvement can partly be attributed to the costly planning and documenting evidentiary materials since the process has a short period. Under the OMB structure, the most momentous matter regarding representation was the cost factor, barring some parties’ capability to engage in the petition hearing. While the shift to the LPAT from the OMB has not sufficiently tackled this cost distresses, the new tribunal tries to restrict involvement through oral hearing, although the strategy does not considerably contribute to cost-effectiveness. From an equitable viewpoint and procedural fairness, this can be challenging.

Use of Information

Concerning equity considerations and procedural justice on information utilization during petitioning, the LPAT has failed to raise or address new fairness issues. Under the OMB, two main underlying concerns on information use entailed costs linked to the process and the capacity to quash a democratic verdict. The charges connected to a party engaging in the appeal include contracting a planning expert or legal counsel, hampering the chance to join the process. If a party could be permitted to the petition hearing without integrating the assistance of appropriate experts, the possibilities of staging a successful outcome were slim. Moreover, the OMB appeal process could reverse a council resolution, a scenario viewed by several stakeholders as an outcome of an egalitarian act. Under the LPAT arrangement, the province tried to remedy the stated issues and other efficiency apprehensions by rejecting the introduction of further information during appeal hearings.

In addition, the LPAT incorporates its application of information guidelines equally across every appeal participant, leading to fairness. Nonetheless, when compared with the OMB system, restraining the appeal document to the information given to the council generates the prospect that pertinent evidence acquired consequently to the municipal verdict cannot be regarded by the LPAT during the appeal process. Therefore, the OMB procedures on information use can be termed subjective fairness when likened to current procedures used in the LPAT structure.

In conclusion, the discussion reveals the significant changes made to the planning appeals process following the replacement of OMB with LPAT. Land-use regulations present numerous benefits such as aiding in safeguarding a community from undesirable or premature developments. However, it can impact individuals leading to disgruntlement as seen in appeal cases reaching the tribunal. The article discloses changes made to the appeals process and they include: the hearing process, representation, and use of information.

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References

Ferris, Adam. 2019. How Does the LPAT Match-Up? A Comparative Analysis of Ontario’s Current and Former Land Use Planning Appeal Board. Web.

Hansen, Leah. 2018. The Ontario Municipal Board will soon be no more. Here’s what that means for you. CBC News. Web.

Stedall, Shelley and Haddad, Tony. 2020. Municipal Administration Program. Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario.

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