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Terms of Reference for OSWatch

Purpose:

To outline OSWATCH’s mandate and the principles and procedures governing the relationship between OSWATCH and the OSCA Board when dealing with land use, zoning and development issues.

Principles:

  1. OSWATCH is the Board’s principal adviser on land use, zoning and development issues and is expected to take the lead on behalf of the Association in making representations on such issues before public bodies.

  2. OSWATCH is generally the first point of contact between residents and the Association with respect to the above issues.

  3. OSWATCH responds to concerns by members on land use, zoning or development issues and investigates, and assesses, those concerns and makes representations to official bodies when it deems this appropriate.

  4. OSWATCH should encourage, where possible, a full community dialogue on proposals for new developments or changes to existing land use policies, when such issues are brought to its attention. Such dialogues should be designed to ensure that the implications of a proposal are fully understood by the community and that the possibility of mutually satisfactory alternatives are fully explored. Mediation could be considered.

  5. OSWATCH also proactively examines land use, zoning and development issues when it feels these issues could significantly impact on the communityand makes representations on such issues before public bodies.

  6. OSWATCH and the Association generally will not normally become involved in zoning, land use or development issues when there is a dispute between two or more residents who are in adjoining properties, unless OSWATCH determines that it has broader implications for development issues in the community.

  7. In assessing land use, development or zoning issues OSWATCH and the OSCA Board take as their first point of departure the land use and development objectives contained in the Ottawa South Neighbourhood Plan (City of Ottawa, 1980) and its subsequent revisions.

 

Procedures:

  1. Generally the Board will delegate all zoning, land use and development issues to OSWATCH.

  2. The chair of OSWATCH may, from time to time, bring issues before the Board to keep Board or Executive Committee members fully informed. If the chair judges an issue to be sufficiently controversial or divisive, he/she should seek the Board’s advice and/or its endorsement or support of a representation that OSWATCH plans to make to a public body.

  3. Where a major issue emerges which requires OSWATCH to engage legal or other professional counsel to prepare a case before a public body which requires access to the Board’s reserve, the chair of OSWATCH will brief the Board, or in the event that scheduling does not allow a full meeting of the Board, the Executive Committee, and seek approval for access to these funds.

  4. Where time does not permit the referral to OSWATCH, and/or the holding of a community dialogue on an issue, the Board will hear the views of residents and if possible proponents of proposals at a properly constituted Board meeting. Any official Board position would be the result of a formal resolution.

  5. As the Association is primarily constituted to represent the interests of residents in the community, the Board should be supportive of residents’ groups when they have serious and legitimate reservations concerning the appropriateness of a particular proposal. If the community is genuinely split in terms of its views, the Board should use the principles and objectives of the Neighbourhood Plan in helping to determine the appropriate position to take.

As Passed, March 20, 2001