Credit Reserve Association Directors spend a great deal of time reviewing and addressing applications made to the Committee of Adjustments. Every year the Credit Reserve Association delivers deputations to the Committee of Adjustments for properties that significantly exceed current bylaws.
There is often much confusion on the role of the Committee of Adjustment and the process whereby representations to the Committee can be made by interested parties. Each municipality is mandated by Provincial legislation to have a Committee of Adjustment. Its role as a quasi-judicial authority is to rule on applications by owners or developers for minor variances from municipal zoning by-laws and rule on severance applications.
The term of the Committee members in Mississauga corresponds with the term of the City Council. Each new Council appoints the seven member Committee shortly after the municipal election. The Committee meets on most Thursday afternoons in the Council chamber at City Hall. A normal day will have approximately ten applications to be heard. The agenda and the applications themselves are posted on the City website. Notice of an impending application must be posted clearly on the impacted property. Neighbours within a 60 metre radius must also receive direct notice. On a typical hearing date, the Committee will hear from the proponent of the individual application or his planning consultant or lawyer. Reports and comments from City planning staff have been circulated to the Committee members prior to the hearing date. The Committee will then hear deputations from other interested parties. Neighbours can submit letters of support or objection until the Thursday morning on the day of the hearing. These will be reviewed by the Committee at the hearing. A majority decision of the Committee on an application is final but can be appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board.
A successful application must meet four planning tests in the opinion of the Committee.
These four ‘planning tests’ are:
- Is the request minor?
(This is often subjective. For example a seemingly major request may be minor if it is in conformance with neighbouring properties.)
- Does the request have a negative effect on the area or neighbourhood?
- Does the request maintain the intent of the zoning bylaw?
- Does the request maintain the intent of the City’s Official Plan?
(The Official Plan includes in policies for such things as height, setbacks and gross floor areas)
The City website has recently been improved to include an enhanced Committee of Adjustment section. It includes details on the process, meeting agendas, individual applications and past decisions of the Committee. The Contact section has an email link to send comments on a particular application. Live streaming of the Committee hearings will soon be available on this site. The City of Mississauga’s Committee of Adjustment site can be accessed here: