[Updated 14-Aug-2011] A few times in every person’s life, we are likely to wake up one day to see a big yellow rezoning sign, with a couple hundred words of jargon. Here below we will describe how to read one, and what to do next to become an informed citizen, and to play a part in the future of YOUR community and neighbourhood.
Here are some tips, based on experience (to be revised).
- Document this process. Get a notebook and keep notes of things as they unfold. Take a photo of the sign, for the record.
- Read the details on the sign.
- What is being proposed? Who is the proponent? If it is a yellow sign, it is likely to be for a rezoning. That means that the proponent wants something not currently permitted on the site (greater height, greater density (floor space) or something else). The sign should say what is currently permitted, and what the proponent wants. In return, they should be giving something back to the community, and the City is likely negotiating it with them. Is the rezoning being considered under a special program like STIR, which relaxes regulations and gives developers big incentives.
- Talk to your neighbours. Together discuss what the issues are and listen to each other for analysis, the pros and cons of the application. What are the issues? What are the impacts on the community? Is the proposed rezoning fair? Have facts been presented clearly and truthfully?
- If you can, seek experts in the community who can help with the technical issues. Architects, urban planners, etc. Much of the language of urban planning is special to this industry. Having someone on your side to help you navigate through the process will be very helpful.
- If you find some consensus in the community regarding the application, you may wish to organized and prepare for the open house, comment period, and eventual public hearing.
- To be continued….