Urban planning primer

Guidelines and recommendations for Applicants or Opponents for minor variances/severance

Executive summary

There is a strong provincial direction to limit urban sprawl, especially in the greater GTA, or any urban area surrounded by agricultural areas.

This forces urban centres to comply with the expectations of the Growth Plan 2017, including the determination of the designated targets for intensification and density within urban boundaries. In other words, neighbourhoods as we know them may be stable, but not static. We are seeing an increase in the number of minor variance applications.

The urban planning process can be daunting. It uses language that requires interpretation; it can involve multiple levels of review, beginning with the municipal Committee of Adjustment and possibly proceeding to a local appeal body (The Toronto Local Appeal Body for the City of Toronto and the Local Planning Appeal Committee outside of Toronto).

This document is specific to minor variances and severances and is intended to inform residents of considerations needing attention whether applying for, or opposing, a minor variance or a severance – or both.

The impetus for this document came from the experiences of two neighbourhood groups in Guildwood Village in Scarborough.

This document contains excerpts from both A Primer on Minor Variances, County of Peterborough, 2012 and Guide for Objecting to a Minor Variance And/Or a Land Severance, Frank G. Oakes, 2011

Urban planning – Guidelines and recommendations for Applicants or Opponents for minor variances/severances (PDF) May 2018, Guildwood Village Community Association