The Town of Newmarket is planning to make cutting down dying trees on your property a little easier after introducing additional rules last year.
Council will discuss amending its private tree-cutting bylaw May 29 to address issues that have arisen in its first year in force.
Council will also address the 2024 budget and the impacts of changes in provincial planning.
Here is what NewmarketToday will be following:
Private tree-cutting bylaw
Newmarket plans to reduce the requirements to cut dead and dying trees on your property.
Town staff plans to bring forward recommendations to amend the town’s private tree-cutting bylaw. The new rules went into effect last year, requiring an application process to cut trees on private property in a bid to stop residents and developers from unduly cutting down trees.
The requirement for an arborist report to prove a tree is dying or hazardous could be lifted. They also plan to speed up the process when trees are damaged by significant weather.
“The original bylaw did not specifically address circumstances involving significant weather events that may impact the town,” the report said. “An exception has been created for these circumstances.”
Staff also plan to make the application form more condensed and include a comprehensive guide to ease the process.
In total, the town has processed 195 applications since the bylaw came into effect, with 110 of those for dying or hazardous trees.
Budget under pressure
Newmarket residents may face another larger-than-normal tax level increase next year as municipal staff struggle under different budget pressures.
A staff report said meeting the town’s typical goal of a three per cent or lower municipal tax rate increase is going to be challenging, due in part to inflationary pressures.
“Therefore, any enhancements in the 2024 budget will likely trigger a tax levy increase in excess of the target,” the staff report said.
Council passed a 5.5 per cent tax rate increase for the 2023 budget April 3, the town's highest increase in years.
The town plans to have a 2024 budget approved by the end of December.
Provincial planning changes
The Town of Newmarket will face additional requirements from the province as one of 29 large and fast-growing municipalities.
Town staff prepared a report highlighting the impacts of a new proposed provincial planning statement introduced last month. Newmarket is part of a new classification and will be expected to plan for higher minimum densities, report development data quarterly and delineate boundaries around transit stations.
However, staff noted that the new provincial planning statement lacks anything regarding natural heritage.
“Staff appreciates the province’s desire to simplify the policy context under which all development applications are processed in Ontario,” the report said. “However, care must be taken to ensure that policies around focusing growth to areas that allow for the efficient use of land and infrastructure, as well as the protection of natural heritage features are not left out or diluted.”
The municipality plans to submit comments on the new planning policy during the public consultation period.
Newmarket will stream the council meeting at 1 p.m. May 29. You can view the stream at newmarket.ca/meetings or attend in person at 395 Mulock Dr. You can arrange a deputation or send correspondence by emailing [email protected].