Phase 3 of the Official Plan update is currently with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the approval authority for this amendment. Once the Ministry has issued a decision in early 2013, it will be posted below.
The City of Guelph Official Plan is a statement of goals, objectives and policies for growth and development for the next 20 years. The Official Plan is developed based on input from the community and it promotes the public interest in the future development of the City. The Official Plan is focused on sustainability and establishes policies that have a positive effect on the social, economic, cultural and natural environment of the City. The Official Plan strives to maintain a high quality of life for the residents of Guelph, reduce uncertainty concerning future development, and provides a basis for the Zoning By-law and other land use controls.
Envision Guelph – Official Plan Update
The current Official Plan needs to be updated to meet legislative requirements under the Planning Act. The Planning Act requires that the Plan be revised every five years to ensure that the Plan is in conformity with provincial plans and is consistent with provincial policy.
Envision Guelph, the Five-Year Official Plan Update, consists of three phases.
Official Plan Amendment No. 39 brought the City’s Official Plan into conformity with the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe. OPA 39 is approved and is in full force and effect.OPA 39 – Growth Plan Conformity
Official Plan Amendment No. 42 introduced policies for the Natural Heritage System which establishes a sustainable greenspace network throughout the City. OPA 42 is currently under appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board.
Official Plan Amendment No. 48 is the current and final phase of the Official Plan Update. This phase ensures that the Plan is in conformity with provincial legislation and plans and is consistent with the 2005 Provincial Policy Statement.
City Council held a Public Meeting in accordance with the Planning Act for Phase 3 of the Official Plan Update (OPA 48) on April 2, 2012.
Open Houses were held on February 29 and March 6, 2012 for Phase 3 of the Official Plan Update (OPA 48) in accordance with the Planning Act. The following information was available for review at the Open Houses:
Decision Meeting – June 5, 2012
Decision Meeting Report – 12-59 – Official Plan Amendment No. 48 – Phase 3 of the Official Plan UpdateFull Report – 12-59 with attachments
- Council Report only
- Attachment 1 – Official Plan Amendment No. 48
- Attachment 2 – Public Comment & staff response summary table
- Attachment 3 – Public Comment Letters
- Attachment 4 – Summary of Revisions to Official Plan Amendment No. 48
- Attachment 5 – “Track Changes” Version of Policy Revisions
- June 5, 2012 Working Consolidation of the Official Plan
- Current 2001 Official Plan and Policy Tracking to the Five Year Update
Documents for Phase 3 (OPA 48)
January 30, 2012Official Plan Update January 30, 2012 Draft Working Consolidation
- Schedule 1 (OPA 39) – Growth Plan Elements
- Schedule 2 – Land Use
- Schedule 2 – Land Use – revised
- Schedule 3 – Downtown
- Schedule 4 (OPA 42) – Natural Heritage System
- Schedule 4A (OPA 42) – Natural Heritage System – Wetlands and ANSI’s
- Schedule 4B (OPA 42) – Natural Heritage System – Surface Water and Fish Habitat
- Schedule 4C (OPA 42) – Natural Heritage System – Significant Woodlands
- Schedule 4D (OPA 42) – Natural Heritage System – Significant Valleylands and Significant Landform
- Schedule 4E (OPA 42) – Natural Heritage System – Significant Wildlife Habitat
- Schedule 5 – Development Constraints
- Schedule 6 – Staging of Development
- Schedule 7 – Road and Rail Network
- Schedule 8 – Trail Network
- Schedule 9 – Wellhead Protection Areas
- Council Report Only
- Attachment 1 - Report 10-59 “Envision Guelph – Official Plan Update (Proposed Official Plan Amendment 42 to Address the Natural Heritage System and Comprehensive Update to the Official Plan)”
- Attachment 2 - Summary of Draft Official Plan Changes since April 2010
- Attachment 3 - Municipal Comprehensive Review of Employment Lands
- Attachment 4 - Working Consolidation of Envision Guelph: Official Plan Update including the Revised Draft Phase 3 Policies
- Attachment 5 - Policy Specific and Property Specific Comments and Staff Response Summary
- Attachment 6 - Comment Letters received since April 2010
The City’s current Official Plan was adopted in 1994 and approved by the Province in 1995. In 2001, a comprehensive amendment to the Plan known as the “Five Year Public Review Amendment” was approved by the City.
Since Guelph’s last Official Plan update, the Province has issued a new Provincial Policy Statement, which includes new policy direction around employment lands, intensification, brownfields, air quality, and alternative and renewable energy. The City is required to ensure that the Official Plan is consistent with the new Provincial Policy Statement and conforms to the recently released Provincial “Places to Grow” Growth Plan.
Apart from the above legislative requirements, a number of long range planning studies have been completed by the City over the last five years that need to be incorporated into the Official Plan. This includes the Transportation Strategy Update (2001), Guelph-Wellington Transportation Study (2005), City-wide Trail Master Plan (2005), Strategic Plan (2007), Community Energy Initiative (2007), Local Growth Management Strategy (2008), Urban Design Action Plan (2009), and the Natural Heritage Strategy (2009).
Opportunities to enhance the style and format of the Official Plan will also be explored.
Frequently asked questions
What is the Official Plan Update?
Guelph’s Official Plan Update – Envision Guelph provides direction for the city’s growth and development over the next 20 years. Envision Guelph focuses on sustainability and sets out policies designed to have a positive effect on Guelph’s social, economic, cultural and natural environment.
Why is it being updated?
The City updates its Official Plan every five years to comply with Provincial legislation and plans, and implement new municipal policies, plans and strategies.
What’s the status of each phase of the Official Plan update?
Phase 1 – Official Plan Amendment 39 (OPA 39) brought the City’s Official Plan into conformity with the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe. OPA 39 was adopted by City Council in June 2009 and is in full force and effect.
Phase 2 – Official Plan Amendment 42 (OPA 42) introduced policies for Guelph’s Natural Heritage System and establishes a sustainable greenspace network throughout the city. OPA 42 was adopted by Council in July 2010 is under appeal at the Ontario Municipal Board.
Phase 3 – Official Plan Amendment 48 (OPA 48) was approved by City Council on June 5, 2012
What kinds of policies are proposed under OPA 48?
OPA 48 includes new and updated policies addressing the following areas:
- strategic directions and vision to guide growth to the year 2031
- detailed policies to achieve of the city’s growth management framework
- watershed planning and water resources
- public health and safety including natural and human-made hazards
- mineral aggregate resources
- climate change and the City’s Community Energy Initiative
- cultural heritage resources
- transportation providing greater focus on transit, walking and cycling
- municipal services and infrastructure
- affordable housing
- parks and trails
- urban design consistent with the Urban Design Action Plan
- land use designations
- new implementation tools such as height and density bonusing
What are some of the biggest policy changes included in OPA 48?
OPA 48 includes substantial policy changes which:
- ensure high quality urban design and place-making
- create new neighbourhoods that contain a mix of uses and are walkable and transit supportive
- promote economic vitality and innovation
- support social well-being, including planning for a diversity of housing types, affordability and tenure
- protect what valuable and manage change to ensure compatibility
- incorporate the Community Energy Initiative aspirations, targets and strategies
Why were policies included in OPA 48 updated from the versions presented to the community in 2010?
After City Council approved OPA 42 in July 2010, the City reviewed and analyzed all public and stakeholder feedback to focus on policies that would be included in OPA 48.
The City met with stakeholders and individuals to discuss their comments and concerns regarding the 2010 draft policies, and refined the proposed policies before presenting them to the community for review in January 2012.
OPA 48 includes updated proposed policies for all planning matters except those Natural Heritage System policies already approved by City Council in OPA 42.
Did the City explain the differences between the draft OP Update policies released in 2010 and the revised OP Update polices released in January 2012?
Yes. The staff report and related material that accompanied the release of the revised draft OP Update in January 2012 comprehensively summarized and analyzed all comments received and identified specific revisions that were incorporated into the revised draft to respond to the submissions.
Does OPA 48 maintain the vision of the city’s 1993 River Systems Management Plan?
Yes. The policies of OPA 48, working in conjunction with the policies of OPA 42, carry forward the elements of the River Systems Management Plan, while reflecting the evolution in approaches to natural heritage systems planning since the mid-1990’s. Land uses abutting the Natural Heritage System (including the river systems) are planned to support and complement the NHS and must be planned to ensure the NHS is protected, maintained and, as feasible, enhanced and restored.
Does OPA 48 provide explicit policies for the “protection, maintenance, and, where possible, rehabilitation of all rivers, streams and creeks as environmental corridors”?
Those explicit policies polices were already approved by Council in July 2010 as part of OPA 42 and, as such, are not appropriate to include in OPA 48.
What is the status of OPA 42?
OPA 42 was approved by Council in July 2010 and has been appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board. A hearing on OPA 42 is not expected to commence until some time in 2013.
What happens if the City loses the OPA 42 OMB appeal?
Based on the results of the future hearing, the OMB could approve OPA 42 in its current form, approve it with modifications or strike down all or part of the amendment. Should it be approved in its current form or with modifications that will then be the City’s policy. Should it be struck down in part, the impact would depend on the portions of the policy struck down. Should it be struck down in its entirety, the City’s existing Official Plan policies and land use designations would continue to be in effect on lands subject to OPA 42 until such time the City developed replacement policies and those policies were in full force and effect.
Does OPA 48 maintain a mandatory 30 metre development setback from the river’s edge and the use of the setback as a vegetated corridor?
No, because minimum setbacks and buffers for components of the NHS, including river systems, were established through OPA 42.
Does OPA 48 maintain the City’s plans for linked open spaces?
Yes. Open Space, Trails and Parks policies contained in OPA 48 maintain the principles of Guelph’s 2006 Official Plan with respect to the “Linked Open Space Concept” as it pertains to parklands and trails (i.e. non-NHS lands), and are consistent with the 2009 Recreation, Parks and Culture Strategic Master Plan and its vision for a greenways system.
How did the City gather feedback from the community when updating the Official Plan?
In each phase of its Official Plan update, the City invited and responded to written submissions, promoted and hosted open houses and meetings, and considered all comments and feedback from the community.
Specifically for OPA 48 the City used traditional and social media to promote open houses in February and in March. Staff also met with stakeholders before and after the Public Meeting on April 2.
Was Guelph’s River Systems Advisory Committee given an opportunity to review policies included in OPA 48?
Yes. RSAC had the opportunity to review the first draft of the OP Update that was released in early 2010 and did provide comments to the City. The comments related to the natural heritage policies and were considered through the finalization and adoption of OPA 42.
RSAC was notified of the release of the revised OP Update in January 2012 and invited to review the material and submit comments.
How can residents learn more about the Official Plan Update?
All documents relating to the three Phases of the Official Plan Update are available at guelph.ca/envisionguelph. City planning staff can be reached at City Hall 519-822-1260 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Policy Inputs, Related Documents, and Helpful Links
- 2005 Provincial Policy Statement
- Corporate Strategic Plan
- Accessibility Plan
- Community Energy Initiative
- County of Wellington Official Plan
- Development Priorities Plan (DPP)
- Emergency Response Plan
- Employment Lands Strategy
- Encroachment By-law
- Facility Accessibility Design Manual
- Grand River Conservation Authority Regulations
- Grand River Watershed Characterization Report
- Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe
- Guelph-Wellington Transportation Study
- Local Growth Management Strategy
- Brownfield regulations
- Policy and Legislation Review concerning the Paris/Galt Moraine
- Natural Heritage Strategy
- Natural Heritage Reference Manual
- Old University and Centennial Neighbourhoods Community Improvement Plan
- Paris / Galt Moraine Study