Update on Provincial review of land use plans
The Ministry of Municipal Affairs released draft amendments to the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the Greenbelt Plan, the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan and the Niagara Escarpment Plan in May, 2016.
The proposed changes to the Plans would implement the recommendations of the Advisory Panel chaired by David Crombie. Some of the key changes to the Plans include:
- A new Urban River Valley designation in the Greenbelt Plan that would apply only to publicly owned lands;
- New policies that permit the agricultural support network within the Protected Countryside of the Greenbelt Plan;
- An updated description of the Oak Ridge Moraines Countryside Area land use designation that encourages the development of community hubs in rural areas;
- New policies that allow municipalities to introduce legislation to “grow the Greenbelt” by designating new lands as Greenbelt Protected Countryside outside of the 10-year review of the Greenbelt Plan;
- An update to the Niagara Escarpment Plan land use designations including the consideration of urban use amendments;
- Increasing the intensification target in the Growth Plan to a minimum of 60 percent for all new residential development occurring annually within the existing built-up area (currently 40% percent);
- Increasing the designated greenfield area density target in the Growth Plan to a minimum of 80 residents and jobs per hectare (currently 50 residents and jobs per hectare);
- Requiring municipalities to plan for density targets and intensification around major transit stations;
- Establishing stronger environmental, agricultural and planning criteria in the Growth Plan for settlement area boundary expansions;
- Requiring municipalities to identify and protect prime employment areas;
- Excluding prime employment areas and certain types of low-intensity employment uses from greenfield density targets; and,
- Requiring municipalities in the Greater Golden Horseshoe to integrate climate change policies into municipal official plans and to conduct climate change vulnerability risk assessments when they are planning or replacing infrastructure.
The Ministry of Municipal Affairs allowed members of the public an opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed changes to the Plans including obtaining technical information from municipalities, conservation authorities and landowners in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) to determine if further refinements to the Greenbelt Plan area are required. The public consultation period ended October 31, 2016. Weston Consulting submitted 25 letters to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs on behalf of our clients. These letters were site-specific in nature and spoke to our clients’ unique interests in the review of the Plans.
The feedback received by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs is being considered as part of their review and analysis of the proposed amendments to the Plans. The final Plans are expected to be released in early 2017. Weston Consulting will continue to monitor the review of the Plans on behalf of our clients and will be providing updates as the Ministry releases them.
Please contact Josh Berry at ext. 310 for further information on the Provincial Co-ordinated Land Use Plan Review and the services that Weston Consulting can offer in response to the review of the Plans.