The provincial government is expected to make an announcement this week that could have a big effect on development proposals in municipalities, including the city of Belleville.
The Ontario Municipal Board, that deals with development proposal appeals, such as for subdivisions, is being replaced.
The OMB has often been criticized by municipal officials as being developer-friendly and the hearings were expensive.
During a provincial government set of public hearings in 2016, hundreds of people submitted complaints leading to the upcoming substitution of the scaled-down Local Planning Appeal Tribunal.
The OMB would make decisions based on what it believed to be the “best” planning outcome, sometimes overruling the decisions of local councils on development in their communities.
Belleville Planning Committee Chair Councillor Jackie Denyes says the city doesn’t have a lot of development decisions go to the OMB and this tribunal will take a more “legal look” at the planning decisions.
Quinte West Planning Chair Deputy-Mayor Jim Alyea says the new provincial planning appeal system, being rolled out this week, should be a “fairer system”.
The new tribunal will answer a simple yes or no “legal test”… does the proposal follow the city’s official planning rules, is it consistent with local planning documents?
The OMB would often overrule a municipal council decision and substitute one of its own.