There has been tremendous progress on Toronto's Official Plan Review since the Review was initiated. Due to the size of the City and the breadth of policy matters in the Official Plan, Council approved conducting the Official Plan Review in stages by thematic area in order to enable the public to focus more clearly on proposed Plan changes. Different thematic policy areas of the Official Plan have been reviewed and are now in effect or are passing through the review process as noted below.
Council unanimously enacted new Heritage Official Plan policies, Official Plan Amendment 199, in April 2013 to strengthen the City's heritage policies and implement the Provincial Policy framework. These policies, which won the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals Award of Excellence in 2013, were approved by the Province in November 2013 and appealed in their entirety to the Ontario Municipal Board. Through mediation a settlement was reached with appellants in April 2015 and the new heritage policies were brought into force in May, 2015.
Economic Health and Employment Lands
The Planning Act currently requires that any Official Plan Review include consideration of the policies and designations of the City's Employment lands. The City Planning Division, working closely with Economic Development, Culture and Tourism, consulted the public and carried out fieldwork and policy development resulting in Official Plan Amendment 231 adopted by Council in December 2013. The effect of the new Official Plan policies were to: preserve 97 per cent of the City's employment lands for business and future job growth; limit sensitive uses in employment areas that could affect the functioning of area businesses; create new Official Plan designations for Employment Areas; and to promote the maintenance and growth of office space and jobs on rapid transit. OPA 231 was approved, with minor modifications by the Province in July 2014 and there were 178 appeals of that decision to the Ontario Municipal Board, including appeals of the entire Official Plan Amendment. The first prehearing of the OMB hearing took place on March 12-13, 2015, however the entire amendment is still under appeal as of April 5th, 2015.
In August 2014, Council approved Official Plan Amendment 274 to revise the transportation policies of the Plan dealing primarily with pedestrian and cycling policies, goods movement and the promotion of 'complete' streets. The amendment was approved by the Province on December 31, 2014 and is in effect with the exception of the 'complete streets' policies which are subject to oneappeal of OPA 274. Policy development and public consultation on revisions to transit and active transportation policies will continue into 2015.
Neighbourhoods, Apartment Neighbourhoods, Healthy Neighbourhoods
In August 2014 Council approved draft revisions to the Official Plan policies for
Neighbourhoods, Apartment Neighbourhoods and Healthy Neighbourhoods for the purpose of public consultation. The changes aim to strengthen the policies to preserve the physical character of our low-rise Neighbourhoods, implement the City's Tower Renewal Initiative and provide additional guidance for infill development on sites with an existing apartment building. In fall 2014 these draft policy revisions were the subject of extensive public consultation. In May 2015 Council approved proposed policies for further consultation at an open house in June 2015. The proposed policies include refinements to the 2014 draft policies and respond to feedback heard during the fall 2014 consultations. A Final Recommendations report will be submitted to the Planning and Growth Management Committee on September 16, 2015, with a Statutory Public Meeting on November 16, 2015 to consider a proposed Official Plan Amendment.The staff reports and consultation materials can be found on the Apartment Neighbourhoods Neighbourhoods page.
In August 2014 Council approved draft revisions to the environment policies of the Official Plan for the purpose of public consultation. The Official Plan has strong environmental policies that have been implemented through many civic undertakings such as the creation of the Toronto Green Standards to new development. The intent of the changes to the Environmental policies is to update the Official Plan to capture Council initiatives for district energy provision and climate change resiliency. The changes include the addition of environmentally sensitive areas across the City that have been identified through research since the Plan was brought into force. In October and November 2014 public consultations were held across the City to hear comments on the draft policies. A report outlining the draft policies and the outside consultant's report on what was heard during the consultation can be accessed by pressing the Environment tab on the introductory page of this OP Review website. A report will be submitted to May meeting of Planning and Growth Management Committee outlining what we heard in the public consultations and presenting revisions to the proposed policies to be the subject of further consultation at a public open house.
Urban Design Policies
At its meeting in May 2015, the Planning and Growth Management Committee requested that City Planning staff continue to develop draft policies for the purposes of public consultation. The staff report (April 16, 2015) provides a summary of consultation outcomes and key work to be undertaken for each policy direction to complete the Urban Design policy review. The policy work to be undertaken results from feedback City staff received on the Council-endorsed policy directions between October and December, 2014. City Planning Division staff, with the assistance of LURA Consulting carried out extensive consultations across the City on the policy directions and will apply the feedback and refine the policy directions into draft policies for members of the public and Planning Growth Management Committee to consider. Both the staff report and the LURA Consulting report can be found on the Urban Design page.