The Committee of Adjustment CoA) is composed of five members, who are appointed by the Council of the City of Richmond Hill. The Committee of Adjustment is authorized by the Ontario Planning Act to grant minor variances from the provisions of the Zoning By-law, to permit extensions, enlargements or variations of existing legal non-conforming uses and give consent to an owner of land who wishes to sell, convey or transfer an interest "part" of their land (i.e. creation of a new lot, lot addition, easement).
It is a common understanding that Council as a whole has delegated its authority to the Committee of Adjustment so individual Councillors must never be involved in CoA decisions.
So why did both Councillors Carmine Perrelli and Greg Beros attend the meeting on June 25th and address the committee about a minor variance on behalf of the developers, G Group Development Corp., of the Grand Palace Condos at 9618 Yonge Street? Was it to undermine or influence the Committee of Adjustment members?
When listening to this clip Councillor Perrelli admitted that it was "unprecedented"that a sitting council member was attending to CoA but then his reasoning was that it was "unprecedented times".
One wonders what this minor variance application has to do with the current "unprecedented times"?
This next clip is Councillor Perrelli sharing with us as to why he was "compelled" to address the committee.
"I felt compelled to come here and just give you my thoughts as a city elected official."
It’s very interesting that not one, but two councillors decided this one issue was so important and exceptional that it warranted their participation. Councillor Beros also chimed in with his two cents. Why? No one else spoke just the applicants and the Councillors. There was no public outcry so clearly it was only important to them and the developers.
It showed a clear lack of respect of the City's professional Planning Staff and the CoA members and the important work that they were appointed by Council to carry out.
The City of Guelph developed a "Council Guide to the Committee of Adjustment". Maybe the City of Richmond Hill should consider the same? Clearly certain RH Councillors do not understand their role as it pertains to the CoA.
The guide includes a section titled the Right and Best Practice for Council in executing their responsibilities. Included in this section on page 3 is the following:
Respect the delegated approval authority of the Committee of Adjustment and its members Don’t attend a Committee of Adjustment meeting to advocate on behalf of an applicant or stakeholder Protect your role on Council should a decision of the Committee of Adjustment be appealed to the LPAT Don’t use your political position to pressure or influence the members of the Committee of Adjustment
As an aside both Perrelli and Beros received campaign donations from the planner and various G Group Development Corp. Executives.
Note that may have no relevance as to why the Perrelli/Beros tag team spoke at the CoA meeting.