Cambridge city councillor proposes order to keep province's zoning orders in check
CAMBRIDGE -- One Cambridge city councillor is hoping to put a check on provincial power when it comes to their zoning orders.
Ward 4 Coun. Jan Liggett is bringing forward a motion meant to add public consultation and impact assessments before council signs off on a Minister’s Zoning Order (MZO).
The provincial planning tool currently allows developers to bypass public consultation and appeals.
“We’re starting to get them rapid fire now,” she said. “To have one week and one two weeks later, to me that’s kind of a scary situation.”
Signs are popping up in the village of Blair that say ‘No to MZO’ after Cambridge gave the all clear for an MZO in order to build a one-million square foot warehouse there.
Liggett originally support the MZO request for the Blair project, but says she would do it differently now.
“We should had had sober second thought,” she said. “We should have figured out a way to do public consultations.
“Personally I think that was the wrong thing.”
The Architectural Conservancy of Ontario has argued the MZO’s in Cambridge are being abused and leaving people without a voice.
“We want to put up housing that’s going to be respectful and welcoming, not just slammed up, cheap things,” said ACO chair Kae Elgie.
She adds that the number of MZO’s spiked to 33 in 2020, more than double compared to the next highest year.
“I think a lot of developers are being very bold, to say the least,” said Ward 2 councillor Mike Devine.
While Devine is voicing his concern for MZO’s as well, he says the Blair project was already appropriately zoned.
“I think the jury’s out now,” said Devine. “We’ll see, but I do believe some of the other stuff that’s coming is not appropriate at all.”
Cambridge council is set to review Liggett’s motion on May 11.