The invitation from the City to comment on the proposed amendments to the Municipal Planning By-laws was brought to the CRRA’s attention only on 9 December with the closing date being one week later – we objected and the period was extended to 15 January. The main sections we commented on were as follows:
The proposed amendments would mean that filming would become an ‘additional use right’ so that filming activities could take place at single residential properties without the need for the City’s approval – hence no conditions to ensure that the character of neighbourhoods are not detracted from. Filming is permitted 5 days per month for 13 hours a day at the same property which is obviously inconvenient to neighbours especially if more than one shoot in the same street is happening – which does occur. The CRRA is not totally opposed to filming as it is obviously an income generator for the region, however, it does need to be more effectively controlled by the authorities.
The proposed amendments to allow 3rd dwellings in certain circumstances are obviously in alignment with the City’s blanket policy in support of densification. The CRRA are opposed to this as it flies in the face of the concept of Single Residential Zoning. Taken to the extreme, a situation could arise where three families could be living on one property operating (say) a bed & breakfast, a child home care centre and a film studio. The very essence of single residential neighbourhoods will be destroyed as a result of such short sighted planning that will have far-reaching long term negative consequences.
The proposed amendments will allow for excessive powers to be given to the Mayor. The proposed right for the Mayor to dissolve the appeal panel at any stage is of particular concern as this empowers the Mayor to function in an autocratic manner and will negate the power of the Municipal Council. Giving the Mayor the right to unilaterally ‘hire and fire’ an appeal panel could result in a toothless appeal panel of ‘head nodders’.