At the recent meeting of Bruce County Council, news came through that the Provincial Government will be reviving the old rules of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), which is now known as the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT), along with making other changes.
Saugeen Shores Mayor and Bruce County Councilor Luke Charbonneau, was surprised when he learned of the government’s decision.
Mayor Luke Charbonneau
While municipal councils, with advisory committees, make land-use decisions that can either allow or restrict development, a landowner or developer can appeal the decision at the LPAT.
The previous provincial Liberal government created the LPAT and developed appeal rules that put the ‘adjudicators’ in the position of simply testing whether or not a municipal council’s decision conformed to local and provincial planning policies (Provincial Policy Statement – PPS).
While the current Ford government said that it would abolish the OMB, it has apparently backtracked on that decision.
The newly-named Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) was created by the former Liberal government to act more like an actual appeals body to review council decisions and ensure more local decision-making when it comes to planning issues.
All members of the body are appointed by the province through the public secretariat and, according to the secretariat’s website, appointments require: “Experience, knowledge or training in the subject matter and legal issues dealt with by the tribunal; aptitude for impartial adjudication; aptitude for applying alternative adjudicative practices and procedures that may be set out in the tribunal’s rules.”
While municipal councils with advisory committees make land-use decisions that can either allow or restrict development, a landowner or developer can appeal the decision at the LPAT, which can then be overturned by LPAT adjudicators who can simply test whether or not a municipal council’s decision has conformed to local and provincial planning policies (Provincial Policy Statement – PPS).
Many municipalities have publicly said that they want either a complete overhaul or “abolishment” of the LPAT (OMB) and a return to planning being done by elected municipal officials and/or municipal staffs.