Ontario government using special orders to rezone land without appeals

“The Ontario government has significantly ramped up its use of special orders that eliminate the requirement to give public notice before changing the way land can be developed.

Minister’s zoning orders, or MZOs, were once considered a tool only for extraordinary cases. They allow the minister of municipal affairs — currently Steve Clark — to set aside local planning processes and public consultations, and designate land use without the possibility of appeals…”

Read more: Ontario government ramps up use of special orders to rezone land without appeals – Toronto Star (Oct 9, 2020)

The Friends of Simcoe Forest finally had a seat at the table. 

“For the past few years, the environmental group led by local resident Mary Wagner have been opposed to Simcoe County’s plan to build an 11-acre waste processing complex in the heart of the Freele County Forest, a pristine 200-acre woodland located in the Township of Springwater, north of Barrie…

…In April, while the pre-hearing for the LPAT was still underway, the county made a request to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing for one of the most sought-after planning tools available in the province to fast-track development approval: a minister’s zoning order (MZO).”

They’ve fought plans for a waste facility in a Simcoe forest for years. The government is now using a ‘bulldozer of planning’ to override their opposition – Toronto Star (June 7, 2020)

Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government has issued a series of special orders to approve a handful of plans from prominent Toronto-area developers and quash any potential opposition, saying the projects are needed to help the economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Known as minister’s zoning orders (MZO), they allow Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark to make a final ruling on how a piece of land is used in the province with no appeals, such as those from citizens or environmental groups before Ontario’s Local Planning Appeal Tribunal.

Ontario issues special orders to approve developers’ plans and quash opposition (Globe & Mail, May 26, 2020)

“On January 29, 2020, a non-profit corporation called the Elmvale Active Seniors Residence (EASR) submitted a letter to Warden Cornell and members of County Council, requesting the County’s support for their application for a Ministerial Zoning Order (MZO) to facilitate the development of a seniors retirement campus on the border of Elmvale.

Council was also asked to consider an MZO for the County’s Environmental Resource Recovery Centre (ERRC), which will provide the necessary waste management infrastructure for our next curbside collection contract in 2022 and support the Province’s long-term waste goals…”

Read more: County’s MZO issues for projects in Springwater – Aware Simcoe (May 3, 2020)