January 2, 2018
Author: John Fox
On December 18, 2017 the Government of Ontario posted a summary of proposed regulations under the Planning Act relating to Inclusionary Zoning. The Province is inviting commentary, which is due as of February 1, 2018. We have provided a link to the proposed changes below. This Blog provides a brief summary and commentary on the proposal.
The proposed regulations give us some new insight into the parameters we can expect from Inclusionary Zoning (IZ). The Provincial rules will set a base line standard, but there is a considerable amount of latitude left to municipalities. In particular:
Developers like certainty and this first consultation document is unlikely to satisfy. It leaves a good deal to be determined locally. While that’s a good thing in my view (what’s important to Toronto, may not be so much in Ottawa, and totally irrelevant in Trenton), it means key pieces of the equation remain missing. We will have to wait for the municipalities to chime in to understand, for example, how they will calculate the affordable price, and therefore what the extent of the municipal contribution is likely to be.
It was a surprise to see no reference to cash-in-lieu of providing affordability. I had predicted that there would be such an option eventually and that it would be placed at the option of the municipality. (For any provincial official reading this, I know you have said that there would be no cash-in-lieu all along. So, not your fault). The idea being to give municipalities a means of building an affordable housing war chest that they could apply to municipal priorities. Under the plan set out, the only avenue to build without IZ is off site replacement in proximity. Of note, there does not seem to be any restriction on who actually delivers the units, leaving open the possibility of some trading among developers and not for profit housing providers to deliver IZ requirements in a nearby site. The proposed regulation prohibits any site having more than 50% IZ units – presumably to prevent simply pushing all local IZ units onto one site. In any event, there is some room for creativity in these rules.
Finally, there is still a lot of wood to chop before we see an actual by-law. However, developers in the development stages of 20 unit plus developments must be alive to these proposed changes. If the by-law passes before you submit your site plan application, you are in the new world of IZ.