Land Use Contracts: Endgame Begins
The provincial government has tabled in Bill 17, the Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, 2014, amendments to the Local Government Act that will lead to the termination of all outstanding land use contracts.
Land use contracts were authorized by provisions of the Municipal Act that were in effect for a relatively brief period in the late 1970s, prior to the introduction of development permit, development cost charge and off-site servicing requirement powers. They were used either to authorize site-specific variances from zoning bylaw use and density restrictions, to oblige developers to provide off-site works and services, or both. Zoning bylaws generally do not apply where land use contracts are in place, except to the extent that they may be incorporated by reference into the contracts, though in many jurisdictions the land use contract is an “overlay” taking precedence over zoning regulations. Many thousands of parcels in the province are subject to land use contracts. The amendment or discharge of a land use contract requires the consent of the owner of the affected land. With the passage of time, LUC provisions have become increasingly out of step with the generally applicable zoning regulations for comparable lands.