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 consultations. The intent of these draft changes are to: strengthen the policies to preserve the physical character of our low-rise Neighbourhoods; implement the City's Tower Renewal initiative and to provide additional guidance for infill development on sites with an existing apartment building. These draft policy revisions were the subject of an extensive public consultation in October and November 2014. The Consultants report back on 'what we heard' in the public consultations may be accessed by pressing the 'Apartment Neighbourhoods, Neighbourhoods tab on the introductory page to this website. The public consultations provided many excellent comments and a staff report will be considered at the April 13, 2015 meeting of the Planning and Growth Management Committee (add link to PGMC report) to discuss what we heard during the public consultation and to provide a revised proposed Official Plan Amendment to be brought forward to a statutory open house in the fall of 2015.
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.