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The Policy Context. Planning and Growth Management Department Presentation to Planning Committee February 7 th , 2011. Agenda. The Official Plan (30 minutes) Community Design Plans and Urban Design Guidelines (30 minutes) The Zoning By-law (30 minutes) Housing (30 minutes).

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The Policy Context

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the policy context

The Policy Context

Planning and Growth Management Department

Presentation to Planning Committee

February 7th, 2011

  • The Official Plan (30 minutes)
  • Community Design Plans and Urban Design Guidelines (30 minutes)
  • The Zoning By-law (30 minutes)
  • Housing (30 minutes)
the city of ottawa
The City of Ottawa
  • Population - 900,000
  • Area: 2,796 square kilometres (half the size of Prince Edward Island)
  • 5th largest City in Canada – both in Population and Land Area
  • 90 kilometres east to west
  • Ottawa's area is almost 80% rural
the official plan overview
The Official Plan Overview

The Official Plan (OP) guides the physical growth and development of the municipality:

  • Where land uses will go
  • Where services will be needed
  • What lands will be preserved from development
  • What authority is delegated
  • How consultation will occur
the official plan overview cont d
The Official Plan Overview Cont’d.
  • An Official Plan is a legal document
  • Authority comes from the Planning Act;
  • An Official Plan cannot control:
    • The closure of schools
    • The cutting of trees
    • The provision of social services
    • The drainage of fields
  • 5-Year Review completed in 2009 (OPA 76) and next one to commence in 2012
the official plan review opa 76
The Official Plan Review: OPA 76
  • Approved by Council June 2009
  • Approved by the Minister of Municipal Affairs January 2010
  • Under appeal to OMB
  • Nine hearings scheduled over 27 weeks
  • Hearings to run December, 2010 – November 2011.
key strategic directions
Key Strategic Directions

The Official Plan meets the challenges of growth through to 2031 by pursuing strategic directions in four key areas:

  • Managing Growth
  • Maintaining Environmental Integrity
  • Providing Infrastructure
  • Creating Liveable Communities
1 managing growth
1. Managing Growth
  • Direct the majority of growth to the urban area where services already exist.
  • Support growth in the Villages.
  • Urban area growth will be directed to areas where density can be accommodated and served with quality transit, walking and cycling facilities.
  • Downtown Ottawa will be a vibrant mix of thriving economic and cultural activities.
density targets
Density Targets

*people and jobs per gross hectare

2 maintaining environmental integrity
2. Maintaining Environmental Integrity
  • Emphasizes transit, walking and cycling, and by policies that protect forests, wetlands and other natural environment areas to support Air quality.
  • Provincially and locally significant wetlands and forests will be conserved.
  • The City will direct land use and development in a way and to locations that maintain ecosystem functions over time.
  • Greenspaces will be valued and protected.
greenspace master plan
Greenspace Master Plan
  • Council’s objectives for urban greenspace is to provide:

“an adequate supply of greenspace, readily accessible to residents as a connected network of high-quality spaces planned and maintained on a sustainable basis”

  • Urban Greenspace Networks:
    • Increase accessibility to greenspace;
    • Identify priorities for extending the network;
    • Connect neighbourhoods to the network;
    • Supports sustainability of natural lands.
3 providing infrastructure transportation master plan
3. Providing Infrastructure: Transportation Master Plan

The Official Plan directs the Transportation Master Plan to implement the following policies:

  • Transportation Demand Management
  • Transportation System Management
  • Walking
  • Cycling
  • Transit
  • Roads and Rights-of-Way Protection
  • Other Rights-of-Way Protection
  • Parking
  • Movement of Goods
  • Transportation Terminals
providing infrastructure infrastructure master plan
Providing Infrastructure: Infrastructure Master Plan

The Official Plan directs the Infrastructure Master Plan to implement the following policies:

  • Water supply and treatment;
  • Wastewater collection and treatment;
  • Stormwater collection and release;

The IMP sets policy to support intensification through Capacity Management Strategies for piped infrastructure

4 create liveable communities
4. Create Liveable Communities
  • Growth will be managed in ways that create complete communities;
  • Provide rural and urban economic activities in suitable locations;
  • Maintain high quality of life;
  • Familiar landscapes and heritage buildings will be maintained;
  • Rural communities will continue to be valued for their distinct economies and lifestyles;
  • Increase the supply of affordable housing;
  • Create attractive communities;
  • Community building will be open and inclusive;
  • Agricultural lands, natural areas will be protected and mineral resources will be protected for extraction.
how we make the official plan real
How We Make the Official Plan “Real”
  • Through the Development Review Process:
    • If there is a request for height or density is it near rapid transit?
    • Are we achieving our density targets?
    • Are we achieving a mixed use to encourage “live, work, play”?
    • Will the proposal respect the neighbourhood’s character?
    • Is there adequate servicing capacity in the area?
    • Are the environmental tenets of the Official Plan being respected – how can we make the project more sustainable?
    • Are we providing an array of housing supply - affordability
    • How can we best incorporate good urban design?
how we make the official plan real1
How We Make the Official Plan “Real”
  • Through undertaking transportation planning studies
    • Based on the prioritization of the Transportation Master Plan
  • Through examining other servicing alternatives and public works implications
  • Through protecting or acquiring environmentally sensitive lands
    • Environmental Impact Statement
    • Urban Natural Features Strategy
  • Considering municipal budget implications
how we make the official plan real2
How We Make the Official Plan “Real”

Through plans and strategies:

  • Community Design Plans and

Secondary Plans

  • Urban Design guidelines
  • Zoning By-law
  • Specific development applications
community design plans
Community Design Plans

Community Design Plans (CDPs) are developed to translate the principles and policies of the Official Plan (OP) to the community scale. They are developed where significant change might occur:

  • Town Centres
  • Mixed-use Centres
  • Traditional and Arterial Mainstreets
  • Developing Communities (Greenfield Areas)
  • Villages (if expansion is planned)
community design plans completed
Community Design Plans completed
  • Barrhaven South
  • Beechwood
  • Carp Road Corridor
  • Village of Carp
  • Village of Constance Bay
  • Downtown Ottawa Urban Design Strategy
  • East Urban Community (Phase 1)
  • Fernbank
  • Greely
  • Leitrim
  • Richmond Road/Westboro
  • Riverside South
  • South Nepean Town Centre
  • St. Joseph Boulevard
  • The Escarpment Area District Plan
  • Uptown Rideau
  • Village of Richmond
proposed cdp s
Proposed CDP’s:

The following CDP’s are proposed to be completed in this term of council:

Carling-Bayview, West Wellington, Old Ottawa East,

Mid-Centretown, Scott Street/Tunney’s Pasture, East Urban Community (Phase 2), Bank Street (Rideau River to Ledbury) and Stittsville Mainstreet.

Also, the following Transit-oriented development plans will be completed over this term of council:

  • Via Station, Hurdman, Lees, Blair, Cyrville.

In addition, the zoning on several Mainstreets will be examined.

secondary plans
Secondary Plans
  • Secondary Plans provide specific policies for areas identified within an Official Plan as requiring more detailed direction on topics such as land use, urban design and transportation. 
  • A Secondary Plan is typically adopted as an amendment to the City’s Official Plan and outlines the goals, objectives and policies governing the development and redevelopment of land for the area to which it applies. 
  • There are currently 27 Secondary Plans and equivalents in the Official Plan. (Volumes 2a,2b,2c of the Official Plan)
a cdp versus a secondary plan
A CDP versus a Secondary Plan
  • Secondary Plans
  • It is a set of detailed land-use policies and designations within the jurisdiction of the Planning Act;
  • Provides only land use policies; i.e. very defined in scope;
  • Adopted as part of OP;
  • Part of the OP;
  • Can be appealed to OMB;
  • Implemented as a separate legal document;
  • Changes to a Secondary Plan require an OP Amendment and may require a Zoning By-law amendment;
  • Higher cost to amend.

Community Design Plans

  • The Community Design Plan is a framework within which decisions are made;
  • Provides all policies or strategies in one comprehensive plan;
  • Adopted as a Council Policy;
  • Listed, but not part of the OP;
  • Cannot be appealed to OMB;
  • Implemented through the Zoning By-law;
  • Changes to an CDP require Council approval and may require changes to the Zoning By-law;
  • Lower cost to amend.
urban design guidelines
Urban Design Guidelines

Urban Design Guidelines are used for reoccurring development types to assist in providing upfront expectations to developers and to provide consistent direction to similar development applications:

  • Large-Format Retail
  • Drive-Through Facilities
  • Gas Stations
  • Greenfield Neighbourhoods
  • Rural Villages
  • Traditional Mainstreets
  • Infill Housing
  • High-Rise Housing
  • Arterial Mainstreets
guidelines example large format retail
Guidelines Example – Large Format Retail

Objectives of Design Guidelines:

  • To achieve interesting, high-quality architectural design for large-format retail buildings;
  • To enhance landscaping, public open space, and environmental performance of such developments;
  • To create comfortable and attractive pedestrian environments;
  • To enhance the streetscape along public streets and contribute to a high quality public space
  • To protect and enhance the character and quality of the districts and neighbourhoods where large-format retail developments are located;
  • To promote development patterns that allow for future intensification.
zoning by law
Zoning By-Law
  • Zoning By-laws assist in carrying out the planning objectives of Council, expressed through the Official Plan.
  • The Zoning By-law is a set of regulations that controls development in a specific geographic area
  • Zoning By-laws are enabled by the Ontario Planning Act
zoning by law in effect
Zoning By-Law in Effect
  • June 25, 2008 - City Council enacted a new Comprehensive Zoning By-law for the City
  • October 23, 2008 - the Ontario Municipal Board approved the initial provisions of the Comprehensive By-law. As of October 2010, 95% of the new By-law is now in effect.
  • Ontario Municipal Board will render decisions on remaining appeals in 2011
zoning by law1
Zoning By-law

Your source for:

  • Definitions of different residential, commercial, and industrial zones and heights and densities in those zones
  • Performance standards, e.g. setbacks from the lot lines and distances between buildings
  • Parking requirements
zoning by law and the official plan
Zoning By-law and the Official Plan

The following are some of the changes to zoning permissions in order to support implementation of policies of the Official Plan.

  • Central Area:
    • Elimination of Floor Space Index restrictions that existed under former Ottawa on almost all areas designated Central Area.
  • Mixed Use Centres:
      • Minimum height requirement of 6.7 m near rapid transit stations introduced.
  • Traditional Mainstreets:
    • Maximum front yard setback introduced to bring buildings near front lot line.
  • Arterial Mainstreets:
    • Substantial increase in height to 20 and 25 metres in many arterial mainstreet areas .
zoning by law and the official plan1
Zoning By-law and the Official Plan
  • Policies Related to Intensification in the designated General Urban Area (outside Development Priority Areas):
      • Addition of land use permissions for mid-high rise residential uses on existing shopping centres such as St. Laurent SC, Carlingwood SC, Billings Bridge SC).
  • Policies Related to Employment Areas:
      • All stand-alone retail uses previously permitted under former zoning by-laws were eliminated.
  • Protection of Heritage Resources:
      • Application of heritage overlay zoning provisions to all 120 individually designated properties (excluding Rockcliffe Park) outside old Ottawa.
  • Policies Related to Promoting Alternative Modes of Transportation:
    • Shared parking reductions applied City wide, for all sites where mixed uses are developed
zoning by law and the official plan2
Zoning By-law and the Official Plan
  • Policies Related to More Efficient Use of Land:
    • Driveways to parking lots in traditional and arterial mainstreet developments need not be located on site, can be shared with other adjoining properties
  • Policies to Maintain Environmental Integrity and Protection from Hazards:
    • Eliminate non- agricultural uses on lands designated Agriculture
  • Policies related to Sustainable Land Use Planning and Community Greening:
    • Permit community gardens as a land use in most zones
requests for zoning by law amendment
Requests for Zoning By-law amendment
  • When the City receives a request for a Zoning By-law amendment, we review the request based on its impact on:
    • Change of use and externalities of the proposed use
    • Will a change in density impact the character of the neighbourhood?
    • Will there be adequate buffering between environmentally protected lands and neighbouring properties?
    • Will there be adequate parking provided?
  • Over 350,000 Households
  • 60% Own, 40% Rent
  • The vacancy rate has been traditionally low, currently at 1.5%.
  • Only 7% of all housing built since 1996 has been rental accommodation
  • Over 1/3rd of renters in Ottawa pay more than 30% of their income on rent and this is expected to grow
The City provides shelter to over 1,100 homeless men, women and children every night
  • Over 10,000 households on the centralized waiting list for rent-geared-income housing, 2,000 households placed from the centralized waiting list each year
housing and support services
Housing and Support Services







Support Services






  • Branch has 64.5 FTEs
  • Partners with over 150 agencies
existing subsidized housing
Existing Subsidized Housing
  • 22,000+ units with 56 local housing providers (includes non-profits, co-ops and private landlords)
  • Significant public and community asset ($2.8 billion replacement cost)
  • Limited supply versus demand
  • On average up to 2,000 households are housed off the Centralized Registry List
affordable housing1
Affordable Housing
  • Funding Sources
  • City Incentives and Tools
  • Action Ottawa
  • Specific Projects
  • Affordable Homeownership

1. Funding

  • Approximately 1217 units funded since 2003
  • With 466 built and 751 under construction
  • 2003-2008 - $25M City / $18 M Federal / $16 M Provincial
  • 2009/10 $39M combined Federal/Provincial
  • City Funding – Capital Grants, land and waiving/deferral of fees.

1.2 Funding

Canada-Ontario Affordable Housing Program (AHP)

  • Currently in year 3 of a 5 year extension to AHP (2009 – 2013)
  • Funding and program guidelines for years 3 to 5 NOT available (2011 to 2013)
  • Funding is significant and required to plan and leverage City resources.

2.1 City Incentives and Tools

Range of Tools and incentives

  • Capital Funding
  • Exemption and deferral of development charges
  • Access to Surplus City Property
  • Exemption of Planning Fees
  • Grants in Lieu of Building Permit Fees
  • New Multi – Residential Tax Rate
  • Municipal Capital Facilities By-law

3. Action Ottawa

  • City’s Affordable Housing Program
  • Started in 2003 to provide/bundle incentives and capital to develop affordable rental and supportive housing
  • Planning Committee and Council to approve priorities and Requirements to target funding
  • Combines incentives such as capital grants, accessible grants, fee relief and development exemptions

4. Recent Projects

Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation (CCOC) Beaver Barracks

  • Phase I (160 units) occupied
  • Mixed income community
  • City Land provided $1
  • Partnerships with support services agencies
  • Subject to Downtown Urban Design Review and NCC Design Review
  • Green Building Design

4.1 Recent Projects

Shepherds of Good Hope - The Oaks

  • Conversion of apartment hotel to 55 units of supportive housing
  • Unique partnership between Shepherds of Good Hope, Ottawa Inner City Health and Canadian Mental Health Association
  • Affordable Housing worked with Sheperds of Good Hope for 2 years to help develop proposal
  • Funded and converted in 2009/10

4.2 Recent Projects

Cornerstone Housing for Women

  • Land Purchased under the Federal Homelessness Program Initiative
  • Capital Funding provided from Action Ottawa and the AHP and the Anglican Diocese
  • Energy Efficient Building Design
  • Will Provide 42 supportive apartments for women

5. Affordable Homeownership Programs

  • City deferral of development charges at Somerset Gardens (2007/8)
  • AHP –Homeownership Component – 138 households received federal/provincial down payment assistance since 2008
  • Non-profit housing providers such as Habitat for Humanity, CADCO and Options for Homes develop affordable homeownership developments and increase affordability
  • All loans and deferrals are secured by agreement and second mortgage with repayment provisions and exemptions following a 20 year period
  • Subject to market fluctuations and changes to mortgage requirements