New tool promises to improve development process

York Region handles hundreds of development applications every year. Now, an award-winning tool that helps developers easily track active development applications promises to improve the development process.

The Development Application Status and Teams Dashboard also allows the public to review the status of applications and provides regional contact information. An interactive map can filter applications based on date received, municipality, application type or specific site.

Each development application involves massive amounts of information, data, maps and comments from multiple departments. To make that process more efficient, the region developed YorkTrax, an online platform that replaces individual departmental systems so users at all levels of the approval process can more easily collaborate on applications as approvals are reviewed and completed.

The region received a certificate of merit from the Peter J. Marshall Innovation Award Jury at the 2020 AMO Conference. The project demonstrated many of the award’s criteria, including innovation, tangible benefits to the community, improved efficiency and the ability for other municipal governments to use the project’s concept. York created the platform in-house when no other suitable solution could be found, saving as much as $2 million, the Association of Municipalities Ontario reports. When COVID-19 hit, the transition was seamless, as staff could access the entire system remotely, it adds.

York Region reviews and approves development applications and ensures provincial planning regulations and regional interests are protected through implementation of the Regional Official Plan. Development applications are received, processed and circulated by local municipalities. Visit to learn more and explore the dashboard.  

According to the 2022 Mid-Year Development Activity Summary, development charge revenue in the first half of the year totalled more than $291 million – a 23 per cent increase year over year. Development applications submitted totalled 262, a two per cent increase over “an already very high-volume activity year” in 2021. Proposed residential units increased by 160 per cent to 12,017 applications due to high-density development proposals in Richmond Hill and Vaughan. With 872 subdivision applications, the region says it has a “good supply” of residential inventory currently under review.

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