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Significant Projects and Assignments


Expert evidence, defence of interim control by-law for urban natural area (2002)

Nancy Smith provided expert planning evidence at the OMB in support of an interim control by-law for a remnant woodland surrounding an abandoned quarry in an urban area. Council had adopted the interim control by-law to permit a professional environmental evaluation of the woodland, using methodology from the Natural and Open Space Systems Study (NOSS).

Preparation for the hearing required research through 30 years of municipal by-laws, plans and reports, as well as a review of historical photos from 1900 to 2000. It also required review and analysis of previous OMB and court decisions on interim control by-laws, plans of subdivisions, and zoning, as well as Planning Act, by-law, and Official Plan provisions.

Nancy Smith prepared the necessary Books of Documents for the hearing. She also made effective and innovative use of maps, plans and aerial photos to communicate key evidence. The OMB upheld the Interim Control By-law, and the NOSS-style study was subsequently completed.

Committee of Adjustment and water setbacks (2001-2002)

The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority wished to improve its effectiveness in protecting watercourses affected by development applications. Nancy Smith reviewed Committee of Adjustment activity, Planning Act requirements, and OMB decisions involving watercourses, setbacks, and water quality. Her final report provided strategic recommendations on practical measures the Conservation Authority can implement immediately to maintain and improve water setbacks through the Committee of Adjustment process.

Nancy Smith also presented the material in a workshop for Committee of Adjustment members and municipal and provincial planning staff within the Upper Rideau River Watershed. The workshop was presented in plain language, and was well-received by the 40 attendees.

This project required an excellent understanding of water-related issues, of regulatory functions, and of Planning Act and related legislation, regulations and policies, as well as good communication skills.

Project manager, green design guidelines for County Road 43 in Kemptville area (2001)

Nancy Smith provided leadership and project management for this innovative development of road corridor design guidelines for a rural and small town setting. The work required co-ordination of a large inter-disciplinary team of volunteer professionals, liaison with County and Township staff and Council, public consultation, workshop facilitation, and preparation of the final report.

A final report including recommendations and practical guidelines for the 5 km county road corridor is forming the basis for speedy implementation of the plan. The report is being distributed on CD, also prepared by Nancy Smith.

An important component of the project was a very successful public and owner consultation process, culminating in a Drop In evening which was notable for numbers attracted, the length of time people stayed, and positive comments received.

Expert evidence, referral of site plan control (2001)

Nancy Smith researched the site, prepared innovative evidence using mapping overlays, and dealt successfully with the many details of a site plan application, including landscaping, drainage, building location, impact on neighbours and environment, septic alternatives, and noise.

Settlement negotiation, appeal of zoning by-law, natural urban area (2001)
Nancy Smith was engaged as an expert planner to assist a community group with a zoning by-law appeal on a site with a remnant woodland and watercourse. She researched the site, zoning and official plan history and provisions, reviewed environmental considerations, and prepared material for an OMB hearing. She also developed options for potential protection of the remnant woodlot and watercourse affected by the development proposal. Prior to the hearing, Nancy Smith successfully negotiated a settlement with the land owner that resulted in the withdrawal of the appeal and avoided a costly and difficult hearing for all parties.

Expert evidence, defence of Committee of Adjustment decisions (2000, 2001)

Nancy Smith researched sites, prepared photographic, statistical and policy exhibits, provided planning advice, inventoried vegetation, and gave expert planning evidence at the OMB. Nancy Smith also developed significant and innovative empirical evidence, applying statistical techniques to planning matters, and unique ways of communicating the evidence to the Board.

Issues overview, business park site (2000)
Nancy Smith identified significant planning and zoning issues for a proposed business park in the vicinity of the Ottawa airport. Issue identification required review of the Regional Official Plan, official plans and zoning by-laws for two municipalities, airport noise and height regulations, transit service and road network.

Nancy Smith prepared a summary report for the client. Her work enabled the project to proceed to the next stage, the preparation of concept plans.

Strategic and planning advice, zoning by-law appeal (2000)

Nancy Smith worked with a community group preparing an appeal of a zoning by-law. She provided strategic advice, located resource people, researched the planning aspects of the appeal, and provided exhibit book, displays and expert evidence at the OMB hearing.

The issues involved were novel in the planning field. Her work resulted in progress in dealing with multi-cultural issues within land use planning. The appellants had significant victories before the courts after the hearing, and were granted leave to appeal the OMB decision.

Mediation: Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton Official Plan (1998-1999)

Nancy Smith was engaged as a mediator for 15 appeals of the new Official Plan of the Region of Ottawa-Carleton. These appeals dealt primarily with unrepresented appellants and rural appeals, on topics ranging from flood plains to wetlands to agricultural and aggregate resources. This work built on Ms Smith’s broad OMB experience with rural planning and assessment appeals. Ms Smith was responsible for establishing protocols and a process for the mediations, meeting and working with parties, and documenting results.

This was a first for the Region of Ottawa-Carleton. The Regional staff report evaluated the experience this way: “The mediation process was successful in resolving many appeals…. Even where mediation did not lead to an agreement…, there was general consensus that the process advanced each party’s understanding of the issues at stake.”

Strategy for Urban Federal Property in the National Capital Region (1998)

This pioneering project resulted in a new framework for federal decisions on major land parcels and is now in use throughout the National Capital Region. The success of this project reflects Ms Smith’s ability to integrate insights from widely divergent areas, including market analysis, population projections, official plans and zoning by-laws; and to strategically analyze varied data and information.

Ms Smith was responsible for Phase 1 of the project. Ms Smith integrated and analyzed demographic, market, real estate, and planning information to present a strategic overview for the project. Ms Smith also wrote the Phase 1 report which set the stage for a site-by-site analysis and has been distributed to all custodian departments in the National Capital Region.

Ontario Housing Corporation Change Management (1992-1994)

As the first fulltime chair of the Ontario Housing Corporation (OHC), Nancy Smith led a two year process of change management and organizational review. OHC owned and managed over 100,000 rent to income units across Ontario. The Corporation suffered from serious accountability and governance confusion, and was in a time of rapid and difficult change (tenant mix, funding, labour relations, deteriorating portfolio.)

During the two years, direction for the Corporation was established through the development and integration of a strategic vision into all the Corporation’s planning cycles. A budget cycle was also implemented, services from the Ministry of Housing were put on a purchase of service basis, funding allocations were changed to reflect needs, and a comprehensive leadership and governance project was completed.

Nancy Smith provided the leadership and direction for the implementation of these fundamental changes.


Expert evidence
Committee of Adjustment

Project Manager

Expert evidence
Change Management

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