Last week, at a meeting of Council, Aurora Town Council unanimously approved a motion that I put forward to add a sunset clause to all future site-specific zoning by-law amendments. What this means is that if a development applicant does not satisfy the time frame requirements and obtain a building permit, the development approvals will be revoked and the zoning of the property will return to its original state.
In discussing the motion, I stated that we have seen many examples across Ontario and in Canada where Councils have granted approval to residential development applications, but the approved developments are not being constructed in a timely manner and often come back to Council for amendments sometimes over multiple terms of Council. This has the effect of stalling “approved” housing for – often – years on end. In approving this motion, Aurora is once again, proud to be leading the way with innovative, forward-thinking solutions to address the housing crisis and ensure development moves forward and in a way that respects our official plan and local bylaws.
In addition, the motion directs staff to include existing Official Plan Servicing Allocation “Use it or Redistribute It” policies in all future residential draft plan of subdivision and site plan application approvals that will stipulate the applicant shall proceed to register the appropriate development agreement within a given time frame or receive an extension from Council and obtain a building permit within a specified time frame for said project. Otherwise servicing allocation will be revoked.
As our Director of Planning stated, “The addition of a sunset clause aligns to our existing Official Plan policies, where we already see some time frame requirements such as the existing three-year clause for draft plan of subdivisions. The Town of Aurora is constrained with respect to the amount of servicing we have, and this clause would encourage developers to proceed with their projects in a timely manner.”
With this planning mechanism in place, Aurora can be better positioned to foster appropriate development that will meet the needs of current and future residents when they need it.