TORONTO — A new study has found delays and inefficiencies within the City of Toronto’s Committee of Adjustment (COA) process add $21,000 to $58,000 annually to the cost of renovations and infill building projects.
The study, commissioned by the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) and conducted by Altus Group Economic Consulting, suggested in order to meet the city’s goal of building 285,000 homes by 2031, the system must be overhauled.
“Toronto is a rapidly growing city, and the building of infill homes and renewal of existing housing stock add much-needed housing supply for current and future residents,” stated Justin Sherwood, BILD’s senior vice-president, in a release. “With the city recently adopting various zoning reforms such as four units per lot as-of-right, and looking to make additional changes in the near future, the need for a more efficient process that reduces strain on city resources has never been greater.”
The Altus study looked at the timelines for minor variance applications for the last eight years (2015-2022), using data from the City of Toronto’s Open Data Catalog.
It found the volume of applications to Toronto’s COA process has doubled over the last decade, resulting in lengthy delays. These delays can add eight per cent to 14 per cent annually in additional construction-related costs, amounting to between $9 per square foot to $19 per square foot annually, or approximately $21,000 to $58,000.
The study found the total average decision timeline for typical COA applications, regardless of COA district, was 95 days across the entirety of the eight-year period. This is 65 days longer than the 30-day service standard required by section 45(4) of the Planning Act and 32 days longer than the 63-day target for service standards set by the city.
The report offers six recommendations for action, including delegating authority for minor variances to staff and fixing the underlying zoning issues that are creating increasing volumes of applications.