Ontario Municipal Board is no longer

Tuesday marked the first unveiling of the latest draft annual update to London's multi-year budget with a final approval from city council scheduled for Dec. 21. Global News

A provincial board that has long been criticized for not taking local concerns into account is closing up shop.

As of Tuesday, the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) is no longer and will be replaced by the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT).

The province ran public consultations before making its decision which brought up criticisms of the OMB, relating to its accessibility and how it has overruled decisions by local councils in favour of developers.

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LPAT will run a simple legal test of appealed plans, asking whether they follow local guidelines.

If they do, the decision will be upheld, if they don’t it’ll go back to council for reconsideration.

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Deputy Mayor Paul Hubert says he’s already heard some concerns from developers, that some developers are worried the LPAT will make them more beholden to local pressures and community demands.

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“Councillors are really going to have to do their homework, know what the provincial policy statements are, know what their own official plan is, do their homework, and make a decision,” said Hubert, who adds that making the unpopular choice is often the right decision.

“Just because you have a group of people, and they may be a noisy minority, sometimes you have to make a decision that says ‘this is the right decision based on the planning principals,’ even though it may not be the most popular decision.”

Hubert says they’re still figuring out exactly how the system will roll out and its impact on London.

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