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22Nov
2019

Beyond Zoning: PDAs, DPs, Covenants ... And More

To adopt, or not to adopt, that is the question faced by a municipal council member in deciding whether to rezone land. The choice is simple enough - a ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ is all that is required. Certainly, a ‘yay’ requires less effort, as no outward communication (verbal or physical) is required (see section 123(4) of the Community Charter). On the other hand, a ‘nay’ requires at least some clear outward expression and, therefore, effort.

While the decision may be superficially simplistic, council is often considering much more than the zoning changes that will result from bylaw adoption. A staff report to council will typically include a list of general descriptions of expected council conditions and developer proposed amenities, such as requirements for municipal servicing, road and park dedications, public trails, amenity funding and affordable housing commitments. However, the staff report is only the tip of the iceberg, an iceberg made up of a myriad of legal documents aimed at securing those council conditions and amenities. These legal documents can be complex, the result of lengthy negotiations between municipal staff, the rezoning applicant and their respective lawyers. Some council members may choose to read these legal agreements, out of sense of duty, general interest or as a sleep aid. Others may not.

If you choose to read this paper, you will hopefully learn about some of the tools that local governments use to secure rezoning conditions and amenities and how these tools can be used effectively, with an eye to effective implementation.

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