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Toronto’s New Zoning By Law

At its meeting of June 18, 2012, the City of Toronto’s Planning and Growth Management (PGM) Committee considered a staff report on the draft zoning bylaw. The report recommends that the latest version of the draft bylaw be made available for public and stakeholder consultation between June 2012 and September 2012, leading to a further staff report to PGM in October 2012. Click here for Staff report.

Leading up to the release of the new draft by-law, ORHMA was very active in pressing staff to consider the concerns of Toronto’s restaurant industry. Since the repeal of Toronto’s Comprehensive Zoning By-law in May 2011, ORHMA has had the opportunity to meet with Planning Staff on two separate occasions to outline our concerns in advance of the drafting and release of a new by-law. It is fair to say that City Staff have listened and responded directly to the four main concerns of ORHMA, being size of eating establishments, size and location of outdoor patios, definition of gross floor area as it relates to eating establishments and grandfathering and transition rules.

  • Within the zone categories where eating establishments are typically found (e.g. CR, CRE, CL etc) the calculation of gross floor area now has a series of floor area exemptions, the most notable of which being “storage rooms, washrooms, electrical, utility, mechanical and ventilation rooms in the basement‘. The only difference between this exemption and the one that currently applies to restaurants in 438-86 are that there are no exemptions for ‘offices’ or ‘staff rooms’.
  • Grandfathering rules appear to be more visible in the document and clearer to understand. Existing easting establishment that may not conform to the new bylaw provisions are now recognized by grandfathering exemption clauses. A transition clause has been updated to deal with planning applications (rezoning, site plan, minor variance etc) submitted prior to the adoption of the new bylaw.
  • Previously considered size limits in the SS1 (Downtown) and SS2 (Main Streets) areas of the city have been increased from 300 to 400
  • The prohibition on rear yard patios has been replaced with a requirement that the patio be no less than 30 metres from a residentially zoned property and that the area of the patio be no greater than While the reversal on the rear yard prohibition is commendable, the effect of the 30 metre separation is to practically continue a prohibition most of the SS1 and SS2 areas of the city where the separation between residential zoned properties and commercial areas is often the width of a lane way (approx 6m).
  • Staff have clarified that an elevated patio, means above the first storey.

A preliminary acknowledgement of ORHMA members concerns was made on pages 15-16 of the staff report and there have been some positive changes reflected in this new by-law with respect to eating establishments. However, ORHMA will reserve a final opinion until we’ve had a chance to review the whole document.

ORHMA will be providing members with a detailed report on the contents and implications of the by-law as currently drafted in the coming weeks. A free information session will be hosted by ORHMA, providing expert advice and interpretation of the by-law.

link for more info is