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Vaughan planning budget sets priorities - Growth-led expansion

March 11, 2015
By Leah Wong

On Monday Vaughan’s finance, administration and audit committee held its final meeting on the 2015 budget, which will be finalized by council on April 1.

The city’s planning commission, which represents 3 per cent of the city’s operating and capital expenditures, made its budget request in late January.

Vaughan planning commissioner John MacKenzie asked council to approve a $14.9-million operating budget, up $100,000 from last year and a $4.2 million-capital budget.

The additional funding stems from salary and contract increases, according to the commission. As Vaughan is one of the fastest growing municipalities in Canada, commission officials say it would not be viable to reduce planning service levels at the city.

The planning commission is comprised of four divisions: development planning, policy planning, parks development and building standards. Parks development is included among commission responsibilities on an interim basis.

Each division has a set of priorities for the upcoming year.

Policy planning is focused on finalizing section 37 implementation guidelines, the New Communities Secondary Plan and the Natural Heritage Network Study. The division is also working on the resolution of Vaughan Official Plan 2010 appeals and Ontario Municipal Board mediations related to sites such as Vaughan Mills and the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre. As the province undertakes a review of the Growth Plan and Greenbelt Act, the division will be responsible for providing feedback from Vaughan.

There are a number of development fi les to be handled by the development planning division this year, including the Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital and the Costco Distribution Centre. The division will also be undertaking one-year reviews on the site plan process, the street name policy and lastly, procedures for and upgrading of its navigation portal for development files.

The building standards division plans to carry out reviews of the zoning by-law and the sign by-law and monitor implementation of Vaughan’s secondary suites policy.

Parks development is focused on parkland acquisition, parks and open space planning, parks development and construction and open space asset management. This year, the division plans to identify additional lands for the Block 18 District Park and develop strategies for parks redevelopment and land acquisition. Park development and construction activities this year will focus on the first phase of the North Maple Regional Park, the Block 40 District Park and the York Hill District Park Playground.