CLOSED - Land Needs Assessment

What is a Land Needs Assessment?

A Land Needs Assessment (LNA) is a technical study that determines how much land is needed in the City to accommodate growth. The LNA must be completed based on a methodology developed by the Province and is a required part of the City’s Municipal Comprehensive Review process (MCR). Two categories of land use are considered through a LNA - these include “Community” lands (areas for population, commercial and institutional growth) and “Employment” lands (areas for employment like business parks and industrial lands).

What does the City's draft Land Needs Assessment tell us?

Community Area (residential, commercial and institutional land uses)

  • The City needs more land through urban boundary expansion to accommodate population growth to the year 2051
  • The option of a Residential Intensification rate that either follows the City’s current trends (40%) or meets the minimum targets of the Provincial Growth Plan 2019 (50%) results in greater land need than available ‘whitebelt' land supply.
  • A Residential Intensification rate of 55% (on average) (referred to as the ‘Increased Targets’ scenario) would result in the need for 1,640 ha of land to be added to the urban area for new community uses. This would result in all of the City’s rural land that is not within the Greenbelt Plan area being brought into the urban boundary. This intensification rate is higher than the City has experienced in the past.
  • A Residential Intensification rate of 60% (on average) (referred to as the ‘Ambitious Density’ scenario) would result in the need for 1,340 ha of land to be added to the urban area. This would result in slightly less rural land being brought into the urban boundary. The intensification rate is much higher than what has been experienced in the past and will be challenging to achieve in the future.
  • The density of new Designated Greenfield Areas will depend on the desired ratio of residential unit types (singles, semis, townhouses, apartments) and how compact the ground-related housing forms develop
  • View calculations for Current Trends, Growth Plan Minimum, Increased Targets or Ambitious Density.

Employment Area (business parks, manufacturing, industrial land uses)

  • The City’s current supply of employment designated lands can support approximately 114,420 new jobs, and the forecast is for approximately 112,090 jobs in these areas. This results in a small surplus of 60 hectares, which is within the margin of error for the calculations.
  • The supply and forecasted demand for employment lands are in balance. The City has enough remaining vacant employment lands to accommodate job growth to 2051.
  • View calculations for Employment Land Need

Public Consultation Summary Report: For Information on our previous GRIDS2/MCR engagement on the draft Land Needs Assessment, see Report PED17010(j) – Appendix E - Public Consultation Summary Report: Land Needs Assessment (LNA) Thank you to all those who participated!

Meeting Recap (January 18 and 20, 2021)

Did you miss attending the Virtual Information Meetings focused on the Land Needs Assessment? In each video, in each video, the staff presentation (PDF) is similiar however the Q & A sessions are different.

January 18: Video and Q&A

Questions and Answer Summary

Section 1: Background Information and Planning Terms

When was Hamilton's boundary originally set?
With reference to the built boundary, it was established in 2006 through the Growth Plan. This was a consultation between City staff and the Province, and lands that were still vacant within the urban boundary (potentially with draft plan approval or anticipation that they would be developed in the future) were considered greenfield. This was 15 years ago, and there have been greenfield lands that have been developed, but the built boundary line was not changed in the most recent update to the Growth Plan, release in 2020.

Why is population growth taken as a given? Doesn't planning manage this? AND
Where do the numbers for projected population come from?
Municipalities are required to plan for the population forecasts that are provided by the Province in the Growth Plan. Through extensive background work, the 2031, 2041, and 2051 population forecasts were updated recently, to reflect current trends and assumptions. These updated forecasts feed directly into Schedule 3 of the Growth Plan. Forecasting is not a perfect science, but municipalities do need a number to plan towards in order to make long-term planning decisions and infrastructure investments.

Could the "whitebelt" also be described as periurban?
The difference between the whitebelt lands and the other rural lands directly adjacent to the urban boundary is the level of protection. Most of the rural lands are protected through the Greenbelt Plan, so there is no opportunity to expand urban uses into those areas, but the whitebelt lands, most being in proximity to our urban area, are not protected in the Greenbelt Plan and so there is the opportunity for municipalities to expand there urban boundaries into these areas, if it is deemed appropriate.

Can whitebelt lands in the NEF 30 zone be developed for commercial or office use as part the urban boundary expansion? AND
Is commercial/industrial development allowed in areas that are affected by the airport noise, in areas allowed for development in the Hamilton Official Plan?
Uses that would be permitted above the 28 NEF noise contour could include commercial uses or industrial uses. It is only sensitive uses (like residential and institutional) that might be sensitive to the noise impact and not permitted.

Are these limits changed with policies and who makes the changes to the boundaries?
There are a lot of boundaries that we deal with in our planning, delineated from the province. There is the built boundary, the greenfield areas, the Greenbelt protected countryside area. These are drawn by the province, and it would only be the province who would change these boundaries. If the City determines it needs an urban boundary expansion, and where we should grow and when we grow, it would be the City that would change the urban boundary line. The City would be taking them out of the Rural Area and adding them to the Urban Area.

Are there any Urban Boundary expansions proposed in Waterdown area? You mentioned that no Urban Boundary expansions will happen in the Greenbelt Plan Protected Countryside designated areas, can you confirm that you will not be proposing this in any refine?
There is an exception in the Growth Plan and Greenbelt Plan area, that allows expansion from Waterdown or Binbrook. These are identified as Towns in the Greenbelt plan. There is an exception that allows for a 10 hectare expansion to either or both of these areas through the Municipal Comprehensive Review, using criteria specified in the Growth Plan for evaluation of requests for expansion. Only half of that land can be used for residential purposes. It is an option and there are land owners in Waterdown that have an interest in seeing some urban expansion. It is a small amount of land compared to the other land areas we are going to be reviewing. This is something that will be reviewed in the coming phases of the GRIDS2 and MCR project.

Does the city have the authority to dispute the intensification targets set by the province?
Municipalities do have the ability to request a lower intensification target from the Province. That would require special approval and no guarantee. We also have the ability to plan for a higher target than what is required by the Growth Plan, so there is some flexibility.

How is ecological and human population carrying capacity taken into account to set limits to Hamilton’s population growth?
The City did not set the population forecasts or the amount of growth allocated to Hamilton from the Province. The province looked at the GTHA region as a whole by 2051, and then allocate the anticipated growth to the different municipalities. We are required to plan to the forecasts, but we are making sure to plan for this in the most sustainable way possible going forward.

Given that climate change has become much more of a pressing issue since the IPCC report was released... has the 2030 deadline to keep warming under 2 degrees Celsius affected planning?
The City has declared a climate emergency, and we are looking at it in our process and all other planning processes going forward. The City has set its own goal to be carbon neutral by 2050, so all the planning work that we are doing will consider how it does or does not help to meet that City goal.

Are there any wetlands or other sensitive areas that are vulnerable to development? Are these areas identified and how are they accounted for?
The City has it’s own mapping in the Urban and Rural Official Plans where we have mapped the Core Areas which includes wetlands. Before any of these areas could be developed, they would need to be further studied, including a sub-watershed study, which would further refine the identified natural features, and areas that cannot be developed. Some of the whitebelt areas have been studied in this regard, and some have not been studied to date. This would need to occur before any development could take place. These natural areas are factored out when we look at how much land we have available for development, but the detailed study of these areas happens at a later phase of the planning process.

Section 2: Community Area Land Need

Will water servicing be available for rural properties on the boundary of the expansion areas? Will both sides of any potential expansion area be upgraded to include things like sidewalks etc?
In cases where there are properties that directly abut the limits of a potential expansion, we don’t know the answers to these questions until we get more into detailed planning if and when the area is expanded to become urban and develop. In general, if a property owner is seeing their water supply being negatively affected by adjacent development, the City would look at options for addressing the issues (ie. a deeper well, a cistern, or potential connection into an adjacent municipal water supply). All of the planning is at the early stages right now, but if there are any issues in the future the City would work with property owners to make sure that any negative impacts are addressed. As for the urbanization of the roads to include sidewalks, it is too early to say what the status of any of the boundary roads would be. That would come at the detailed design of future development phases.

How would citizens encourage Hamilton city planning to assess its own sustainable carrying capacity for human population within its boundaries (so that it may communicate with province of Ontario about what is appropriate)?
That would need to be a request that would come from Council, then they would direct staff to take this on if there was an interest in doing this work. It is a challenge because we are mandated to plan for the forecasts that are given to us from the province.

Could you please just mention what is meant by 50/60% etc. Eg. would 100% mean that our current density would be doubled?
It would mean a significant amount of growth in the built up area, but unsure if it would mean our density would be doubled.

Given the Provincial requirement to use market demand for planning, which of the scenarios would be able to meet this objective?
Any of the scenarios that were modeled would meet the market demand objective, with the exception of the ‘Current Trends’ scenario which doesn’t meet the provincial minimum targets. Any of the other scenarios would be in keeping with the provinces direction for planning for market demand. Modelling an intensification target that is in-line with the Residential Intensification Market Demand study, which demonstrates that a 50% intensification target would be a suitable target, would result in a selection of housing types that would address market demand. The ‘Growth Plan Minimum’, ‘Increased Targets’ or ‘Ambitious Density’ would meet those provincial requirements.

What incentives or initiatives has the City been pursuing to encourage more intensification within the existing urban area?
The City has been working hard to prioritize intensification for quite some time. The City has pre-zoned areas where we anticipate seeing lots of growth (eg. downtown, future priority transit corridor, and areas around our GO stations). These areas as well as the Commercial and Mixed Use zoning allow for significant growth as-of-right, meaning that people can develop these lands for higher density and higher intensification uses without having to get additional planning approvals (like Rezoning). The City also has financial incentives in place for intensification, such as development charge exemption, park land dedication exemption, and programs for lands in the downtown Community Improvement Plan areas and other BIAs. The City needs to keep working on this moving forward, especially if we want to achieve the finalized intensification targets.

Many architects refer to the missing middle (up to 6 or 7 stories in height) that they feel should be developed. Have they been considered in this process? AND
Can intensified neighbourhoods within the built up area be reconfigured to have more missing middle, more greenspace and more commercial. Walking neighbourhoods, with shopping, services and green spaces within walking distance?
In terms of determining our intensification potential, we would consider the missing middle through this exercise. Intensification isn’t limited to new tall buildings. There is intensification supply potential in areas that we call the ‘Neighbourhood’, and our Urban Official Plan has always encouraged intensification in these areas. It should be compatible intensification, and this is where the mid-rise, missing middle could fit. There are other opportunities for intensification in the City as well, such as second dwelling units in existing homes, and adding units to existing plazas or retail centres such as larger shopping mall areas. The existing greenfield areas in the city are anticipated to develop at a density of approximately 60 people and jobs per hectare, exceeding the density that the Growth Plan requires. There are some greenfield sites that the City had previously assumed would develop for lower densities, however, there may be potential that they could develop at higher density. The City will need to look at ways to encourage this. These areas could be appropriate locations to include some of this missing middle housing.

Will there be more green space if you increase the density? Can the existing sewer and water systems take all this development?
In the residential greenfield areas, the higher the planned density, the more opportunity there is for other uses such as open space, parks etc. Having these lands in a natural state is an advantage from a climate change perspective, to mitigate risk of flooding etc. Any opportunity we have to increase the density and have more natural open space is beneficial and should be considered. These questions are going to be addressed further in the planning process, at the secondary planning phase, when we look at land uses, parks, open space and other community facilities that are needed.

The servicing capacity is being reviewed through this process, as this is an integrated planning process that is combined with updates to infrastructure master plans – water, waste water, stormwater. The City is also reviewing the transportation network. These areas will be reviewed to determine if there are upgrades needed to the existing infrastructure to support the anticipated growth.

Have changing demographic needs, such as those from the baby boomer generation, been taken into account in this process? And has COVID been considered in the sense of where and how people are working into the future?
Yes, these factors have been incorporated into the analysis. Consideration for the baby boomer generation moving out of their housing, and having that housing supply be taken into account into the land needs assessment. While this housing can accommodate a certain amount of the future population, the findings are that the baby boomer generation is aging out of their housing at a later timeframe, closer to 80 years old, and this is anticipated later in the planning horizon (approx. 2040). While there will be some turnover of these units to those looking for that type of family oriented housing, this will not be enough to satisfy all of the demand for this type of housing.

COVID was also considered. The province’s background document for the population and job forecasting by Hemson Consulting, did consider the repercussions of COVID as an assumption. The speculation is that by 2023, there should be a return to office use similar to before COVID, although with some adjustment that there will be some shift to more remote working, however not as high as current levels.

Is the survey only applicable to the parts of the City shown in the maps in the presentation, or does it include broader areas (ie Waterdown, Flamborough, Dundas etc)?
The survey is open to everyone in Hamilton. Some questions are more general, for things like the intensification target (higher or lower rates) which will have an impact across the City. The potential growth areas (whitebelt areas) are unique areas, but the growth impacts are City-wide.

Please elaborate on how the provincial requirement to consider market demand has changed how the city is approaching its land needs assessment. Is it fair to say that this is an approach that unavoidably requires more land?
Yes. The province had released a new LNA methodology a few years ago that was not a ‘market-based’ method. It was focused less on ensuring we had enough of specific unit types, but overall accommodating the anticipated population. If that method had been used, it may have required less land, but how much less is unknown because the City did not complete a Land Needs Assessment using that methodology. The ‘market based’ method does likely have the potential to require additional land, but how much is unknown.

At the December 14 GIC Meeting city planning staff and city councilors stated that the city is considering phasing development over the 30 years to 2051. Will that phasing be based on Provincial Preservation of Prime Agricultural Lands in the later phases?
This is the next part of the project work, once the LNA is final and we know how much expansion land we require. The next step is looking into where the expansion lands could be located (of the whitebelt lands) and when they should develop, which is the phasing of development. We know that that we don’t need all the land right away, so we will look at how much land we will need for each decade of growth. Then we need to consider how this development is phased – do we plan to develop in an east to west direction, west to east, or parts of each area at once? These are just some of the phasing scenarios to consider. In the next part of the City’s work, we will be looking at these different scenarios and evaluate them using modelling to determine potential infrastructure or financial impacts, climate change implications, and creation of complete communities. These scenarios will be reviewed through community consultation, with a recommendation back to Council on the preferred growth scenario later in the year.

Famous architect and planner Christopher Alexander had identified a planning pattern referred to as "city-country fingers" whereby urban corridors are extended outward like a star (or fingers); so that urbanites and farmers could be within walkable distance of each other (a good symbiosis).. would the city consider the merits of such an elegant regional design plan? (1.19.25) clarification: my question about "city and country fingers" pattern is about the where.. it has to be thought of when choosing where to expand. (please read the questions as asked :)
Once we know where the growth areas will be, the next step is Secondary Planning, where a land use plan would be developed to delineate the road network, open space network, and land use designations etc. In particular when we are developing lands that were formally rural, we need to consider what that rural-urban interface looks like. The potential impacts on the agricultural community need to be considered, and what are appropriate buffers between these uses.

Who provides the forecasting to the City? And what are the risks to the City if the forecasts are not followed? AND Q: Who are the population and density "forecasters" (names/departments)? How do treaty people living in Hamilton reach these Ontario forecasters to discuss our concerns about their imposed mandates?
Population forecasts are set by the province, through the Ontario Growth Secretariat, which is part of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. The Hemson background technical document (Hemson Consulting – Greater Golden Horseshoe: Growth Forecasts to 2051) would be the best reference for how these forecasts were determined. What happens though if the City plans for these forecasts and does not achieve them? That is what we are trying to address through this process by phasing development, it will allow the City to periodically review if more urban lands are required, as population forecasts are updated. The City is also completing a fiscal impact assessment to determine the most cost effective way to accommodate anticipated growth.

Section 3: Employment Area Land Need and Climate Change Considerations

How is the City engaging in a meaningful way with Indigenous communities through this process, and honouring the Dish with One Spoon Wampum treaty?
Consultation with indigenous communities is an important part of our planning process for this project and all other planning projects. The City has engaged with local indigenous communities at earlier phases in this planning process, and we have reached out to engage again about this phase of the GRIDS project.

Is the Hamiton Airport still expected to grow to the degree that the AEGD's size is still justified?
There are lands in the AEGD that are currently vacant, but it is anticipated that they will develop in the future to 2051 and accommodate jobs. There have been some announcements recently about larger projects focused on warehousing and logistics in that area. We anticipate that the demand for these uses will continue in the future. However it is not anticipated that we need to add any additional land to the AEGD. When it was first approved, there was anticipation of a second phase of development that would be required, but it has been determined that it is not required at the present time, and the existing designated lands are sufficient.

It was mentioned that no new employment areas would be needed in these planning scenarios. Yet the idea of "complete communities" was also mentioned as an intention. Wouldn't complete communities' include walkable / neighborhood employment opportunities?
It is anticipated that Community Areas will have a certain percentage of jobs, likely related to commercial, retail, some office, and institutional jobs (schools) which will contribute to the achievement of complete communities. It is the traditional manufacturing and industrial jobs that are not planned for the Community Areas, these would be located in Employment Areas. The whitebelt lands that could be included through future community area land need are very close to some of the business parks on the mountain and the AEGD. This would allow the opportunity for new communities to be places to live that are closer to these Employment Areas.

Doesn't it make sense to develop the closest Whitebelt lands to the Downtown Community Node in Phase one of the residential urban boundary expansion to reduce commute times and greenhouse gas emissions instead of "Leap Frog" development?
That will be evaluated when the City starts to look at where and when growth will occur, and potential scenarios to consider. Connectivity to the existing urban area will be a key consideration when we are evaluating growth options. The connectivity of development also plays into our evaluation through a climate change lens, especially considering estimation of the number of vehicular kilometers travelled in each scenario to different destinations in and around the city.

Is it possible to include local power generation in the lands need assessment? -community owned power generation, that is.
It has not been part of the assessment to date, but could be reviewed especially in community (secondary) planning stages. When planning these new communities, there may be opportunity to incorporate this in the early development plan.

How does the City ensure that developers and builders meet higher building codes so that all new homes are built to the highest insulation and heating standards, instead of providing the cheapest products to complete the development?
The City is currently working on the development of a Green Standards document. It is a work in process at the moment. It would provide staff and developers a guideline to push for higher building standards that are more efficient.

What is the responsibility of the City to adhere to the provincial forecasts. Can the City choose not to work to the provincial forecasts? What are the risks if the City does not plan to these forecasts?
The City must plan to the provincial forecasts. The conclusion to our Municipal Comprehensive Review process is an Official Plan Amendment that has to be sent to the province for approval. If the City submits a document that does not plan to their mandated forecasts than we would likely not get approval of our Official Plan Amendment.

Would novel zoning regulations be considered in order to allow for more 'complete communities' such as small workshops in residential areas or certain urban agriculture allowances?
The City has been updating the Zoning By-law over the past number of years in an effort to consolidate the Zoning By-laws of former municipalities into one comprehensive Zoning By-law. It is being developed in land use stages, right now the residential zones are being reviewed and completed. The new zoning regulations in each of the land use sections are more liberal and permissive than those in the former by-laws. Overall, the intent is to be flexible and permissive. When new communities are developed, at the secondary planning stage, perhaps there can be consideration of changes to policy or zoning to be more flexible or permissive to achieve certain land uses.

Additional questions which were not addressed during the meeting

Are there refinements with the MCR process? (specifically within the Greenbelt Plan Natural Heritage system).
if refinements are required, the City would have the opportunity to complete them through the MCR.

Is the white belt the only rural land in Hamilton that is not protected by the greenbelt?

Are there any large scale plans for cleaning up and using old industrial areas?
The City encourages the redevelopment of brownfield sites and offers incentive programs to support development efforts.

Many think the Climate Change needs to be a lens through which development is planned. Should it not be considered first given that?
Many factors will be considered during the planning of new communities, including climate change, which will be a key consideration.

Why is the city only looking at greenfields? What about redevelopments on things like large surface parking lot?
Redevelopment of non-greenfield sites including parking lots, infill projects and commercial redevelopment is anticipated and encouraged.

Thank you for the informative presentation. With the onset of the COVID crisis what consideration is the City giving to an increased work from home culture theoretically requiring less density/intensification AND
Is your planning accounting for the increase in working from home brought about by the Covid crisis. In other words, are you accounting for the desire for larger, ground related housing that seems to be what people are now desiring?
The long term impacts are currently unknown and there are many differing views on this subject, but the background reports (Hemson Consulting – Greater Golden Horseshoe : Growth Forecasts to 2051) suggest a return to overall pre-pandemic growth projections within 3 years.

Can you describe your idea of what the ambitious plan would look like in Hamilton? Would we be looking to utilize all of the grey lands in the built up area. Is affordable housing included in the plans?
The ambitious density assumes higher levels of intensification and density within the City and new growth areas. We assume a significant amount of intensification will occur which includes development of some greyfield lands. Affordable housing is not directly addressed through the land needs assessment, but will be an important part of new community planning going forward.

Is the tall building plan by the city part of this intensification?
Intensification assumptions are in line with the Downtown Hamilton Secondary Plan and tall building guidelines.

One aspect of climate change are dramatically increased precipitation events. What provisions with expanded areas for watersheds have been made?
Subwatershed planning is required as part of the future Secondary Planning process for the development of new communities.

With increased intensification has consideration been given for mixed use where more people might be able to shop, work and live in a more compact form so that it will be more accessible to active transportation?
The creation of compact, mixed use communities which facilitate active transportation is a planning goal and will be considered in the design of new communities.

What considerations are made to improve transportation methods to accommodate increased population in the urban areas?
The City is completing a transportation network review as part of the GRIDS 2 which will include consideration of enhanced transportation infrastructure requirements.

How many hectares of good farm land gets paved over in your various scenarios?
The scenarios range from 1,300 ha to 1,600 ha of land required for urban expansion. Some parts of the whitebelt lands are currently in agricultural production. As part of the next round of the project, an agricultural impact assessment will be completed to examine impacts on agriculture arising from the growth scenarios and identify ways to minimize and mitigate impacts.

Is expansion being "encouraged" by the provincial govt? They are very cozy with developers.
The Province requires municipalities to plan for forecasted growth in accordance with the land needs assessment methodology.

What do you see as the main risks of not expanding the urban boundary? for who? Thank you
A no urban boundary expansion scenario may result in the City not achieving its growth forecasts if a balanced supply of housing is not available to accommodate the growth.

If there is a surplus can we stop Business parks like 03/6 gobbling up Ag. land?
The land needs assessment has not identified a need for additional employment lands. The City’s existing employment lands are assumed to be fully developed by 2051.

Is laneway housing part of this discussion? there are environmental impacts.
The City is currently completing a study on regulations to permit secondary dwelling units, which would include laneway housing, more widely throughout the urban area.

January 20: Video and Q&A

Questions and Answer Summary


In the GRIDS-2 Background Report PED17010(h) on page 34 indicates” Expansion into the Protected Countryside of the Greenbelt is protected from being redesignated for urban uses (with a minor exception of a 10ha) Waterdown/Binbrook - Please elaborate.
For the most part, the City cannot expand its urban boundary into the Greenbelt Protected Countryside, but there is a minor allowance for a small expansion up to 10 hectares for Towns or Villages in this area. Waterdown and Binbrook are identified as Towns in the Greenbelt Plan. The City is permitted to consider expansion of up to 10 hectares to either or both of these areas through the Municipal Comprehensive Review, using criteria specified in the Growth Plan for evaluation of requests for expansion.

We have an intensive farming operation on the border of urban designation in Waterdown. What does the GRIDS2 process envision to help avoid conflict between current farms & future developments. Will Hamilton ensure minimum distance separation is respected AND
I'm really concerned about farm lands. I hope they receive the protection they and our food source deserve.
When the City looks at a potential urban boundary expansion, the Growth Plan provides criteria for the City to review. Protection of agricultural lands is key amongst these criteria, so the MDS will need to be considered, that the agricultural food network will be maintained, and if there are any potential impacts that are unavoidable, that they are minimized and mitigated to the greatest extent possible. The City will be undertaking an agricultural impact assessment as part of the evaluation of growth options, to determine the types of impacts that we might encounter and how we can minimize and mitigate these impacts.

How is "market based" taking account of changing tastes - not only looking at past market demands but also gathering new inputs on how tastes and demand is changing? If you only look at past market demand you will inevitably end up with replicating sprawl.
The market is defined through the provincial forecasts for the type of housing units that would be anticipated (projected need for single detached, semi detached, townhouses and apartments). Much of the determination of market demand is based on demographic information, such as age structure of the anticipated population, and the housing choices throughout their lifecycle. Planning for market demand means providing the full range of housing types to meet the demographic needs.

Why are there some white belt lands that seem to be within the Urban area? AND
What criteria makes land Whitebelt and is prime agricultural land considered Whitebelt land?

The whitebelt lands are those rural lands that are not within the Greenbelt Plan Protected Countryside Areas. Some of the whitebelt lands cannot be developed for sensitive land uses because they are within the 28 NEF noise contour. There is active farming on parcels of the whitebelt lands, as they are still classified as rural.

I believe you just said the green field area "can be and should be developed". Is the city already taking the position that green fields should be developed?
There are Greenfield Areas that are already within the City’s urban boundary. They are already designated as urban and identified for future growth. Many are within Secondary Plan areas, and have been designated for future residential growth. We make the assumption that these existing greenfield areas in the City’s urban boundary will be developed. Any new greenfield area that are to be added to the urban boundary through expansion is what we are considering at this point through the Land Needs Assessment.

Can you provide some context on how Binbrook got developed? It seems so out of place given the Greenbelt areas surround it.
Binbrook was developed prior to the implementation of the Greenbelt Plan, and prior to amalgamation of the City of Hamilton. It was one of the former Township of Glanbrook’s urban areas.

We understand that Ford has reduced Greenbelt lands. So is the 10 hectares an allowance given recently by the Ford gov't? (Was the decision to allow a 10 hectare expansion a new policy under the current provincial government?)
The 10 hectare expansion policy was introduced in the most recent update to the Growth Plan in 2019. The update includes a criteria that the City must use to review and evaluate any potential areas for the 10 hectare expansion.

When will the GRIDS2 Agricultural Impact Assessment start and how can we participate?
Currently the City is determining the consultant team that will be carrying out the AIA work. In terms of timeline, it will happen shortly, as it will inform the next phase of the planning process. If there are individuals who are interested in being involved or have a particular area of interest as it relates to the agricultural impact assessment, they are encouraged to get in touch with Planning staff at

Section 2: Community Area Land Need

What has to happen for the City to adopt the Ambitious Density targets? Is that something that Council can mandate of new developments? How can the targets be adopted and implemented? What incentives has the City been pursuing to drive intensification?
Recommendation to Council on a final land needs assessment will recommend one of the two intensification scenarios referred to in the presentation material. This recommendation will take into account the feedback that we are being provided through this consultation as well as from our stakeholder group. It will be Council’s decision in terms of which scenario they choose to adopt. This chosen scenario will lead the direction of the rest of the GRIDS process, because it establishes how much additional land may be needed. The implementation of targets related to intensification in the approved scenario will be written into our Official Plan, as well as the targets related to designated greenfield area density.

With regard to incentives to drive intensification, the City has been updating the Zoning to be more flexible and permissive to allow mixed use and higher density development as of right in certain key development areas. Intensification is incentivized in certain areas (downtown, BIAs) and through exemptions to the development charges by-law, the parkland dedication by-law. The City will need to continue to look at other incentives throughout the planning horizon to keep encouraging the high rates of intensification needed to meet the targets.

What consideration is given to releasing or extending land need on a staged basis; i.e assuming new expansion only takes place after all existing land is used; thereby deferring expansion for 10/20 years? AND
If Hamilton proceeds with the ‘increased’ or ‘ambitious’ targets, most or all of the whitebelt lands will be needed to accommodate population growth. In regards to phasing, will priority be given to non-prime agricultural lands over prime agricultural land?

Phasing consideration is the next stage of the planning process. Once the City has finalized the Land Needs Assessment and we know what type of urban boundary expansion we are planning for (how much land we need to add), then we will look at the phasing of the lands. We know that we do not need all of the lands before 2031, so we will be exploring options for where and when the City will grow over the 2051 planning horizon. We will need to determine how any needed lands will be brought into the urban boundary – either in an east-west or west-east direction, or small amounts of land from multiple areas. These decisions have not been made yet, but Planning staff will be doing an evaluation of the impacts of different phasing scenarios, such as servicing, transportation, financial, climate change implications. The City will be coming back to the public for consultation on the draft evaluation framework in the coming months.

Is there an assumption that existing urban lands will be developed first prior to expansion?
The assumption is that all of the greenfield lands in the City’s urban boundary will be developed by the year 2031. In terms of intensification, the assumption is that intensification will continue throughout the planning period to 2051, and the City will work to meet its annual intensification targets. An option that is being considered through the review of potential phasing scenarios is the opportunity to structure the policies so that we achieve a determined amount of intensification before certain lands are brought into the urban boundary for development.

In terms of phasing the white belt lands, will non prime agricultural land be prioritized over prime agricultural lands? That would be reviewed through the Agricultural Impact Assessment. The province does have criteria about development on prime agricultural lands. If we are to expand on prime agricultural lands, the City needs to demonstrate that they have reviewed all possible options for other alternatives. The AIA will do a comparative assessment of the different areas, since some are prime and some are not.

Would servicing like water be available to those rural properties on the outside of any expansion areas? What is the servicing strategy for the potential development areas?
The city does have polices that protect property owners from negative impacts related to adjacent development and would work with a property owner to find a solution. There may be an opportunity to connect if you are a rural property on a rural-urban boundary road. However, it is very early to comment on this since we do not know where those boundaries will be drawn. These areas will be undergoing a lot more planning work before they are developed – like secondary planning and block servicing strategies. All property owners in the vicinity of those areas would have an opportunity to be involved in those future planning processes.

The GRIDS process is integrated with our infrastructure master plan updates, such as water, waste water and stormwater master plans. This work will help to determine where and when the City will grow, as it relates to any servicing implications and any required upgrades. Once we have developed a final phasing plan, the infrastructure master plans will also be updated to reflect the future growth scenario.

(follow-up) Does the cost consideration come in at this time as well?
Through the phasing evaluation we will be doing a fiscal impact assessment. This will help to determine the cost of future upgrades to infrastructure needed in each growth scenario, what upgrades are needed to our transportation infrastructure, what community facilities are needed to support new communities. Then the fiscal impact assessment will determine the cost implications of the options to the existing tax payers to accommodate this growth, and what costs will be covered by development charges.

Does planning presume the LRT will be going ahead?
What we presume is that along the B-line corridor, there will be some form of priority transit along that corridor. The assumption is that it will be a higher order transit corridor, we just don’t know what form it will take (LRT, BRT). It is still anticipated that there will be a lot of development along the corridor in the form of intensification.

Somewhat technical so hopefully appropriate for this session: (1) There is a TC energy pipeline that runs within the hydro corridor that is located between Twenty Road and Rymal Road. Does this get taken into account through the LNA/GRIDS process?
Rights-of-way are factored out when the City is determining developable area. In the future, if the lands are brought into the urban boundary, it would have to be determined through the secondary planning stage how the community would be developed and how the corridor would be worked into the neighbourhood design.

Did intensification planning include the possibility of increasing density in single-family areas, so that townhouses and low-rise apartments could be added to areas that are now only single family?
We assume that we will see intensification City-wide, even in ‘neighbourhoods’ as well as nodes and corridors. Through the City’s intensification supply update, supply was reviewed across the City by considering underdeveloped properties that have potential for increased development, excess parking areas, and aging plazas. Nodes and corridors, were also reviewed, which are more obvious locations for intensification. Secondary dwelling units are being reviewed currently through the Residential Zones review, and each additional second dwelling unit would count towards the intensification target if they are in the built-up area. In the existing Designated Greenfield Areas, there were assumptions made that some areas that were previously anticipated to accommodate low-density development (single and semi-detached dwellings) could actually accommodate other forms of development like townhouses. For any new potential greenfield areas currently in the whitebelt, we need to determine what density do they develop at in the future (ratio of dwelling unit types and housing mix).

What is the rationale for the City to go higher than what the province requires regarding intensification and density? Isn't there a risk to over intensifying?
There are many reasons why the City would plan for higher than the 50% intensification minimum, including the land supply constraints, intensification trends and the anticipation that Hamilton’s growth will continue to occur. The climate change perspective also provides a basis to push the target higher. There will be multiple opportunities throughout the planning period to review this target. The Official Plan is reviewed every 5 years, and through this, there is opportunity to review if the City is having a challenge meeting its targets, or if we are exceeding them.

There are lands in the AEGD along Garner Road that are designated Institutional but have special policies indicating that they shall be developed for employment uses if institutional uses are not developed. Were these identified as emp. or res in LNA? sorry community, not "res"
The assumption was that there would be jobs on those lands either as institutional or employment area jobs. If there was any change or conversion to a different use, we would have to review, but because they are designated as institutional it is assumed there would be jobs on those lands.

What percentage of Hamilon is 'grey fields? Q: what percentage of the built up area of Hamilton has been identified as gray fields. Can Hamilton expand UP in these areas rather than outwards and thus avoid any further sprawl at all? (Summary: Can Hamilton built up on the grey field lands instead of moving outwards?)
Greyfields are former commercial or retail areas that may have potential for additional development. Our assumption for the City’s intensification is that some of these areas will redevelop. Areas like Lime Ridge Mall and Eastgate Square are designated as mixed-use areas so a higher intensity of development would be permitted as-of-right.

In what way was the city's need for affordable and co-op housing been taken into account in planning for intensification and density?
The LNA is a technical document and does not take into account whether a unit is affordable housing or social housing. It looks at the unit types that will be in demand (single, semi-detached, townhouses, apartments) over the planning horizon. It is important however, to address these questions in other stages of planning. For instance, in any potential new communities, how are we ensuring we get the mix of affordable units, and how do we incentivize this? At this stage in the LNA, it is not part of this process, but it will be part of future planning processes.

How have population and demographics been taken into consideration in determining community area land need?
As the different generations move through their housing choices, that is taken into account in the forecast that the City receives from the province. This determines how many housing units the City needs based on the demographic information. While there will be some supply of existing residential units when there is a turnover from the baby-boomer generation, the trend is that this will be delayed as they choose to stay in their homes into their 80s. It is anticipated that the existing supply of units will not be able to keep pace with the demand of those in their family forming years for this type of housing unit.

Why did staff not model the 81% intensification rate based on the Provincial Govt's market-based approach? For the city to accommodate all of the forecasted population growth in the urban boundary, the City would need to achieve an intensification rate of 81%, which is an extremely high intensification rate for the City. The LNA did not model an 81% intensification scenario because it would not satisfy the provincial requirement for a market based LNA. The City has also completed a Residential Intensification Market Demand study which identified that a 50% intensification rate was a suitable aspirational target for the City to strive for until 2031. A target of over 80% far exceeds that identified market demand rate and recent rates of intensification, so City Staff have not identified this as an option.

Section 3 – Employment Area Land Need and Climate Change Considerations

Heather said we already have a lot of vacant lands in our employment areas. If there is a 60 ha surplus can some be added to green belt.. eg along Garner road.
60 ha is almost half of what is needed if we use the ambitious model. which could be returned to greenbelt on Garner.
(Summary: Can the 60 hectares of surplus employment land be used for residential, or added to the greenbelt?)

In parallel to this work, as part of the Municipal Comprehensive Review, the City is also completing an Employment Lands Review. This is an opportunity for the City to review the Employment Areas to see if there are lands that should no longer be designated for employment use. The only time that a City can remove lands from an Employment Area is through the MCR process. It is also a chance for property owners who own Employment Land to request a conversion of their lands for other uses. Through that process there were requests for conversion to other uses. It is anticipated that there will be some employment lands that will be converted out to allow other uses. They are normally lands that are not currently being used for employment, and through this process we are recognizing those uses by redesignating them. The total area that may be converted through this process could be anywhere from 40 hectares to 100 hectares, which will use up the 60 hectares of surplus employment lands.

Based on the communication that employment lands are not required, I'm not clear if the blue lands around the airport will be available for development in the near future?
These lands will remain rural into the future because our employment area land need has identified that there is no need for additional employment land to the year 2051. These lands are still not within the Greenbelt Plan, but will remain rural during this planning horizon.

How does the Land Needs Assessment take into account the Community Energy Plan low-carbon modelling which would speak to some of the assumptions in the business as planned scenario?
The Community Energy Plan is being developed right now to see how the City can ensure energy needs are being met in the long term while also improving our overall energy efficiency, reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It is also taking a long term approach, looking to 2050 in the different modelling work. The LNA is a technical document and needs to be completed using the provincial methodology, which doesn’t take into account the CEP. GRIDS 2 / MCR staff have been working with staff who have been creating the CEP, and we are looking to see what comes from their modelling of the Low Carbon Scenario. This scenario will inform how the City will grow, and will inform our official plan policies, and provide direction for development in the future. We will be working with the staff who are leading the CEP to see how the results from their modelling can inform the next phase of decision making for GRIDS 2. More information on the Community Energy Plan is available on Engage Hamilton.

How is the City engaging in a meaningful way with indigenous communities the area?
Planning is mandated to consult with indigenous communities through our work, but we would like to make sure that this is meaningful. Through some our previous rounds of consultation, we had met with members of the indigenous community, and we are actively seeking to engage in this round as well. We would like to make sure we can engage in an informed and meaningful way with the contacts in these communities, and are looking for further opportunities for engagement.

Additional question not addressed during the meeting

The illustration showing the Greenfield Areas to be developed is conceptual & doesn't include specific streets. Is there a more detailed illustration showing these Greenfield Areas, i.e. like the one that shows the airport and "noise area boundaries"?
All mapping is available on the GRIDS 2/MCR website at

Share CLOSED - Land Needs Assessment on Facebook Share CLOSED - Land Needs Assessment on Twitter Share CLOSED - Land Needs Assessment on Linkedin Email CLOSED - Land Needs Assessment link
<span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing:">Load Comment Text</span>