MPAC’s willingness to reassess the properties on Yonge Street is a welcome, but short-term solution. While MPAC states they did not consider re-development potential directly, their property valuation approach contradicts their statement. This is demonstrated by their omission of the area's full planning context in their original assessments and their insistence of starting every valuation with a highest and best use application which promotes unchecked development. Otherwise, how could they have missed the four critical planning documents that govern this portion of Yonge Street, namely, the Yonge Street Heritage Conservation District Plan, Area Specific Policy 174 and 382 and Official Plan Amendment 352 and Implementing Zoning By-laws?
The necessary change in policy goes beyond MPAC. The City must determine what kind of new classification makes sense for small, low-rise commercial buildings and then it will be up to the Province to accept that proposal and incorporate it into new law and practice for MPAC. I've created a working group with these exact stakeholders to do just this. We all need to work together to readdress the unfairness of the assessment process for the hardworking small business owners. It's the best way to keep help them and to keep our main streets vibrant.