Discriminatory Zoning: Cedar Hill, OMB Hearing
John Gladki provided expert planning testimony in support of an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) of an official plan amendment (OPA) and zoning by-law covering the Cedar Hill area in Kitchener, Ontario. The basis of the appeal was that the OPA and zoning by-law for the area discriminated against people based on their economic and familial status or need for supportive housing, in contravention of Provincial planning policies and legislation and the Ontario Human Rights Code. The by-law in question amended the parent zoning by-law to prohibit all multi-unit development in the Cedar Hill area, which is characterized by a wide variety of housing types including apartment buildings, supportive housing, group homes and lodging houses. The hearing was significant in that the Ontario Human Rights Code was introduced in evidence at the OMB for the first time as an important foundation for planning policy and regulations. The Board ruled against the amendment and advised the municipality to revise its by-law. Significantly the Board also ruled that planning legislation, including zoning by-laws, is subject to the Code.