Council approves design standards for new commercial developments in Guelph

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Commercial built form standards now in effect

Guelph, Ont., December 10, 2019–Council approved new commercial built form standards for Guelph on December 9. These standards provide directions and criteria for the design of new commercial development outside the downtown core.

“These standards allow us to use urban design tools to manage and guide commercial development throughout Guelph as we continue to grow and evolve as a city,” says David de Groot, senior urban designer.

The standards include seven key sections:

  1. Site organization and design relates to the location and organization of components on a site, including buildings, parking, access and circulation, storage and loading, and landscaping.
  2. General standards for commercial buildings are intended to provide a range of retail and other commercial uses including building massing, transition, façade design, layout and resiliency (i.e. building for the long term).
  3. Main street buildings relates to multi-storey buildings fronting a street that typically have retail or services on the ground floor.
  4. Neighbourhood scale commercial buildings relates to buildings that provide retail and services within a convenient walking distance of residential areas.
  5. Vehicle-oriented uses defines general built form standards for service stations, drive-thru facilities and car dealerships.
  6. Mixed-use buildings defines mixed-use buildings and details design direction for these sites.
  7. Large commercial sites defines site design and built form standards related to sites that have the capacity to accommodate more than one building on a site and typically contain a mix of buildings fronting internal streets.

Development applications with commercial uses will need to demonstrate how relevant criteria from the commercial built form standards are being met.

The standards document will be incorporated as part of the City’s Urban Design Manual and will be used by City staff when evaluating proposals for future commercial development. It will also provide the basis and recommendations for the commercial section of the Comprehensive Zoning Bylaw review currently underway.


Commercial Built Form Standards
Guelph’s urban design manual

Media Contact

David de Groot, Senior Urban Designer
Planning and Building Services
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 2358
[email protected]