Sad But Funny

By Ben Bull
Published October 09, 2008

We'll need to file this one in the 'sad but funny' file at RTH - Toronto City Council voted on Tuesday to name their newest North York street, 'OMB Folly'.

This after the OMB overruled city council and planning staff's recommendations to decline an out-of-bounds townhouse application.

"Councillor John Filion, who has frequently knocked heads with developers, said he was flabbergasted the OMB would allow rezoning for townhouses on a site that lies outside the designated North York Centre development area," reported the Star.

"This one really stands out as the most ludicrous decision that I know of," Filion said. "It takes the cake. I could cite a lot of terrible OMB decisions, but it's the one that's just obviously absurd and ridiculous."

The developer, Stephen Maizels of the Hallstone Group, wasn't too happy either: "Are they nuts?" he said. "Where is the adulthood? When do they grow up?"

Perhaps when the OMB starts being accountable for it's frequently curious actions?

Ben Bull lives in downtown Toronto. He's been working on a book of short stories for about 10 years now and hopes to be finished tomorrow. He also has a movie blog.


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By Victim of OMB (anonymous) | Posted October 10, 2008 at 17:19:41

We live in the area of of Basswood & Churchill. When developers threatened us with the consequences of our decision not to sell to them, they said they could get OMB to overturn City Council's decision against breaking the zoning by-law which protect neighbourhoods. They warned us that the OMB always rules with the developers. In our naivite we thought we were protected by zoning by-laws, but now after investing valuable time, energy and money, we have experienced the reality of this undemocratic system which most Ontarians are not aware of. The OMB is a quasi-judicial body whose members are patronage-appointed by the governing political party; unbelieveably many well-paid members have no experience in municipal planning. The provincial government claims that the OMB decisions are not accountable to any body so they (our elected government reps) refuse to help citizens for whom they work even though they appoint the OMB members. Is this democracy?

The decision to allow the OMB Folly site ignoring the zoning by-law has set a precedent and Ontario homeowners should realize that all neighbourhoods are at risk of encroachment by multi-unit complexes despite by-laws.

Keep the street name as a reminder of the undemocratic process and perhaps as a deterent to developers who disregard by-laws. Let's use the few arsenals available to us citizens to fight the deep-pockets of the developers to save our neighbourhoods. We have so little protection even when our elected city councillors and local by-laws are on our side.

No other province nor U.S. state has an omnipotent appointed body such as the OMB. Why are we paying taxes to support this undemocratic process? What happened to McGuinty's proposal to reform the OMB?

The OMB Folly site may seem small in comparison to the environmentally-disastrous decision by the OMB to support developers by ruining the Oakridges Moraine. But the precedent set by the OMB decision on the Folly site is a signal to developers to continue ignoring by-laws and transgress into residential areas. Every taxpayer should voice their objection to supporting this undemocratic board with their taxes.

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By Cityjoe (anonymous) | Posted October 17, 2008 at 19:16:08

I guess this is about all anyone anywhere can do to the OMB?

I hope they do a variation on the name 'OMB Folly' whenever this happens again, & it will.

Good for City Council!!

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