Council approves update to Guelph’s commercial policy

Guelph, Ont., January 28, 2020– Last night, City Council approved Official Plan Amendment (OPA) 69 to update Guelph’s commercial policy framework. The commercial policy framework specifies the location, amount and function of retail and service land throughout Guelph.

“This amendment to the Official Plan addresses Guelph’s commercial needs by protecting existing commercial land supply and designating additional lands for commercial uses,” explains Melissa Aldunate, manager of Policy Planning and Urban Design. “The amendment allows us to meet the City’s projected commercial space needs until 2031, and plan how we’ll meet needs to 2041.”

The recommended update to the commercial policy framework addresses challenges of 1) fair geographic distribution of commercial space, especially opportunities in Guelph’s east end, 2) a lack of land parcels to accommodate traditional neighbourhood commercial developments (over 2.8 hectares), and 3) potential loss of commercial space.

The framework:

  • allows commercial development to evolve into mixed-use areas while protecting commercial space for the long term
  • designates enough land for commercial use to address a land shortage
  • protects existing commercial land by introducing requirements for minimum commercial floor space, commercial function studies, and residential density policies
  • changes the floor space measure from retail to commercial; and
  • allows an increase in the maximum commercial floor space for existing commercial mixed-use centres

The City’s commercial policies—contained within the Official Plan—were reviewed between 2017 and 2019. The review resulted in updated policies and Official Plan Amendment 69. These updates reflect changes in the commercial market that have occurred since the City’s last commercial policy review in 2006.

This Official Plan Amendment changes the land use designation for specific commercial properties within Guelph. Any newly designated commercial land still needs to be zoned through a zoning bylaw amendment prior to development occurring. 

There is a twenty-day public appeal period for all Official Plan amendments, starting from the date the Notice of Adoption is posted. The City forwards all appeals to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal.

OPA 69 conforms with A Place to Grow: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe 2019.


Guelph’s Commercial Policy Review

Media contact

Melissa Aldunate, Manager of Policy Planning and Urban Design
Planning and Building Services
City of Guelph
519-837-5616 extension 2361
[email protected]