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Niagara Falls
Saturday, June 15, 2024
Letter: What is the purpose of municipal zoning bylaws?
Letter to the editor. File

Dear editor:

Perhaps I’m naive, but what is the purpose of the municipality having zoning bylaws?

Presumably we elect municipal officials and pay municipal taxes to live in an ordered community planned such that some areas are commercial, some areas are agricultural, some are greenspace and some are residential.

And the rules for each are clearly laid out in zoning bylaws, which specify where and what can be built and things like maximum building height, lot coverage, setbacks, etc.

Those are the rules and we the citizenry agree to abide by them regardless of whether we are individual homeowners, developers or builders.

So, why does our planning department accept any application for development as being “complete” if it does not conform to the existing bylaws for the property?

Presumably, if an application is simply not accepted because it doesn’t meet the existing criteria it is not an accepted application deemed complete which can be appealed to Ontario Land Tribunal?

If one goes into a bank to apply for a mortgage and refuses to meet the lending criteria by demonstrating the ability to repay the loan, the bank will simply refuse to accept the application.

If that happens, one will have no appeal to a higher authority because we don’t agree with the bank’s rules.

If I want the mortgage and can’t meet the criteria I will likely have to find a property for which I can qualify or demonstrate how I meet the bank’s criteria, not suggest the bank should change the rules to suit me.

Maybe one way to short-circuit the new provincial law regarding developments (as detailed in “How new Ontario law curtails town’s power over development,” The Lake Report, Feb. 23), Niagara-on-the-Lake should simply refuse to accept any application that doesn’t meet our bylaws.

And if a developer wants to appeal a non-application, let them file their non-application directly with the province which can assess it by provincial zoning bylaws – which don’t exist.

Bob Bader

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