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 pre-hearing at the Ontario Municipal Board took place on March 12, 13 2015 where issues regarding party and participant status were resolved. At a second hearing on June 22, 2015 the OMB issued an order bringing into force the redesignation of sites under OPA 231 from Employment Area to other land use designations, and brought into force and effect a number of Official Plan policies except as they pertain to lands still under site specific appeals.
The June 22, 2015 OMB order is available in the 'Documents' section of this website, as well as a copy of OPA 231. Policies that remain under appeal are highlighted in yellow. On October 22, 2015, a third pre-hearing took place during which the OMB brought into force three additional Site and Area Specific Policies that are part of OPA 231, granted party status to 5 additional parties, ordered the submission of issues lists by the appellants and parties and set June 20, 2016 as the date the hearing would commence to deal with policies in Section 4.6 dealing with 'Core Employment Areas' and 'General Employment Areas'.
On February 9, 2016 a fourth pre-hearing took place. During this pre-hearing the Board brought into force an amended subsection (b) of Policy 188.8.131.52 and amended the schedule and content of the initial phases of the hearing. The OMB panel scheduled May 19th and 20th, 2016 to hear motions from parties and appellants. Mediation on Phase 1a of the hearing, dealing with 'General Employment Areas' and 'Core Employment Areas' is scheduled for May 24th and 25th, 2016. Phase 1a issues that are unresolved by mediation are scheduled to be heard commencing on June 20, 2016. Mediation on Phase 1b issues, which includes sensitive uses, mitigation and conversion policies is scheduled to commence on June 27, 2016.
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.
Healthy Neighbourhoods, Neighbourhoods, Apartment Neighbourhoods
In December 2015 Council approved Official Plan Amendment 320 to revise the policies of the Plan with respect to: (1) Healthy Neighbourhoods, (2) Neighbourhoods and (3) Apartment Neighbourhoods. The intent of these changes is to clarify, strengthen and refine the Healthy Neighbourhoods, Neighbourhoods and Apartment Neighbourhoods policies to support the Plan's goals to protect and enhance existing neighbourhoods and allow limited infill on underutilized apartment sites in Apartment Neighbourhoods. OPA 320 also implements the City's Tower Renewal Program by promoting the renewal and retrofitting of older apartment buildings and encouraging small scale retail, institutional uses and community facilities at grade in apartment buildings to better serve residents. The amendment is now Council policy and has been submitted to the Province for approval by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Links to the staff report that presents the final proposed policy changes resulting from the final consultations, the approved Official Plan Amendment and a document to illustrate the policy changes in excerpts of the Official Plan can be found on the Apartment Neighbourhoods Neighbourhoods page.
Environment Policies and Environmentally Significant Areas
In May 2016, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing approved Official Plan Amendment 262 to revise the Official Plan with respect to: (1) Climate Change and Energy, (2) Natural Environment, (3) Green Infrastructure and (4) Environmentally Significant Areas (ESAs). The intent of the changes is to strengthen the existing environmental policies, encompasses new priorities that have emerged since the adoption of the last Official Plan and designate new ESAs across the City. The amendment is now in full force and effect. A link to the amendment and background information can be found on the Environment page.
As part of the Five Year Review of the Official Plan, the City is amending the Plan to bring it into conformity with the Provincial Greenbelt Plan and other related environmental planning initiatives . At its meeting on April 6, 2016, the Planning and Growth Management Committee endorsed a proposed Official Plan amendment that will identify the Don and Humber Rivers and Etobicoke Creek as Greenbelt River Valley Connections, modify Site and Area Specific Policy 135 to remove areas located within the Greenbelt and modify Site and Area Specific Policy 141 to add policies respecting the Greenbelt Plan, and other related environmental planning initiatives, and expand the area of the policy as the basis for a Statutory public meeting on June 15, 2016. The staff report and information on the upcoming Statutory meeting can be found on the Environment page.
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.
Through the Official Plan Review process several housing policies were identified for review to further encourage the creation of new affordable housing. In July 2013, Council enacted Official Plan Amendment 214, which provided for affordable ownership housing and rented-registered condominium units as eligible Section 37 community benefits. In May 2015, Council endorsed draft revisions to the Official Plan definition for Affordable Ownership Housing for the purpose of public consultation. The proposed revisions include changes to make the definition more consistent with the housing market and income conditions in order to support a full range of new affordable ownership housing. The proposed revisions respond to feedback heard as part of initial Official Plan Review consultations and stakeholder sessions held as part of a focused policy review study. A public open house was held in July 2015 on the proposed revisions to the Official Plan definition for affordable ownership housing. Staff reports and consultation materials can be found on the Housing page