Item - 2013.PG27.6
- This item was considered by Planning and Growth Management Committee on October 22, 2013 and was adopted without amendment.
PG27.6 - Review of Zoning Provisions Pertaining to Group Homes
- Decision Type:
The Planning and Growth Management Committee:
1. Requested the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning, to report back on an amendment to the City-wide Zoning By-law to revise the definition of 'group home' by eliminating the minimum number of three persons, and eliminating the 250 metre separation distance requirement for group homes and residential care homes.
2. Requested the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning, to conduct a public meeting in November 2013 for the purposes of consulting the public with respect to the changes to the Zoning By-law outlined in Recommendation 1of the report (October 4, 2013) from the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning.
3. Requested the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning, to prepare a final report and draft by-law for the purposes of a Statutory Public meeting at the January 13, 2014 meeting of the Planning and Growth Management Committee.
This report responds to the Planning and Growth Management Committee's request, at its meeting held on March 6, 2013, for a report reviewing the provisions pertaining to Group Home and Residential Care Home found in the new City-wide Zoning By-law. The Committee specifically asked that the report address three questions:
Whether a separation distance for group homes is justified on the basis of proper planning principles and considering the Human Rights Code as it applies to persons with disabilities;
Whether there are reasonable alternative approaches to the use of a separation distance between group homes; and
Whether it is appropriate to establish a minimum number of occupants for the purposes of defining a group home.
The Committee's action was in response to the findings of an expert report entitled Opinion on the Provisions of Group Homes in the City-wide Zoning By-law of the City of Toronto, prepared by Dr. Sandeep Agrawal, a land use planning expert with knowledge of the interaction between planning and human rights issues. Dr. Agrawal was retained to conduct a review and provide advice to City Council on the land use planning and human rights issues related to the definition of "Group Home" and the 250 metre mandatory separation distance between group homes in the then draft, now enacted, City-wide Zoning by-law. The expert found that the definitions and separation distances applicable to group homes were not supportable and recommended removing them. Staff were requested to review these findings and prepare their own report providing advice with respect to questions raised by the Committee in light of the findings of the expert.
The issue of the definition of "Group Home" and the mandatory separation distance arose because of a legal challenge against the City's Zoning By-law at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, brought forward by the Dream Team, an advocacy organization for persons with mental health issues, on behalf of persons with disabilities. The Ontario Human Rights Commission is an intervener on the application at the Tribunal.
With respect to a separation distance of 250 metres between group homes, this report concludes that the distance requirement is unsupportable from the standpoint of good planning and taking into account the Ontario Human Rights Code and its protections for persons with disabilities.
An alternative approach to separation distance between group homes is provided in part by referencing two different sizes of group homes in the Zoning By-law. A group home with up to 10 persons is permitted in all residential zones. A group home with more than 10 persons, called a residential care home, is permitted in zones that allow for higher intensity development such as apartments.
The minimum number of persons defining a group home, set at three, is recommended for removal, as recommended by the planning expert. However, the maximum number, set at ten, should remain as it distinguishes the group home from the residential care home. The residential care home retains the minimum number of eleven persons. This approach was recommended by the report from the land use planning expert.
(October 21, 2013) Letter from Barbara Hall, Chief Commissioner, Ontario Human Rights Commission (PG.New.PG27.6.2)
(October 22, 2013) E-mail from Peter and Tatiana Toledo Clarke (PG.New.PG27.6.3)