Building a future-ready Guelph

At the April 18, 2023 planning meeting, Council approved two items slated to support the building of a future-ready Guelph: the Comprehensive Zoning Bylaw and a sustainable development checklist.

“We were clear with Council, the Province, and the development community when we submitted our housing pledge—we have to work together to meet our collective goals. Council’s approval today will have a long-lasting, positive impact,” says Krista Walkey, the City’s general manager, Planning and Building Services. “We’ve modernized our zoning regulations and added additional permission for more housing choices.”

A Zoning Bylaw that works for Guelph

The approved bylaw is user-friendly and designed with the community in mind. It requires less site-specific development approvals from Council while implementing Official Plan objectives, which in turn will help streamline the development approval process.

The approved Zoning Bylaw:

  • pre-zones land to maximum height and density of the Official Plan land use designation
  • uses a hybrid form-based approach with a focus on usability and easy navigation
  • includes the use of tools, such as charts, illustrations, notes to add clarity and assist in interpretation
  • complies with provincial legislation, such as the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)
  • includes flexible zones that permit multiple building types and updated mixed-use zones
  • removal of exclusionary zoning and the promotion of a range and mix of housing types in residential areas
  • simplifies and consolidates uses
  • zones the City’s Natural Heritage System and restricts development in these areas
  • respects recent development approvals by incorporating site-specific Council approvals

Following Council’s approval is a 20-day appeal period. If no appeals are made, the new Zoning Bylaw will come into effect and staff will roll out the updated bylaw with support and guidance for the community.

For more information about the Comprehensive Zoning Bylaw review, please visit

Sustainable development expectations

The sustainable development checklist ensures minimum performance measures for sustainable design requirements are included as site plan approval processes are streamlined. It also provides clarity for the development community about the City’s existing sustainable development expectations in five categories:

  • air quality
  • building energy, emissions, and resilience
  • water quality and quantity
  • ecology and biodiversity
  • waste and the circular economy

The sustainable development checklist takes effect May 1, 2023 and will be applied to new site plan applications.

Submitting the checklist at the outset will help developers contribute to the City’s efficient and timely completion of site plan application approvals. This is just one of the necessary steps the City is taking in response to Bill 23, More Homes Built Faster Act, to facilitate the construction of 18,000 new homes by 2031.

Coming soon: Guelph Greener Homes

To further the City’s commitment to Race To Zero, residential property owners in Guelph will also be able to support a more sustainable Guelph. The Guelph Greener Homes program will provide zero-interest loans to help homeowners cover the costs of energy efficiency upgrades that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make homes more energy efficient, comfortable, and climate friendly. Visit to learn more, or visit City staff at the Earth Day tree planting event Saturday, April 22, 2023 at 335 Laird Road, co-hosted with Rotary Club of Guelph.


Understanding provincial legislation
City of Guelph Housing Pledge: By Guelph, For Guelph
Residential and business water conservation and rebate programs

For more information

Krista Walkey, General Manager, Planning and Building Services
Infrastructure and Development Enterprise Services
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 2395
[email protected]