OP Review Policy Updates

May 2, 2022: Virtual Open House – Municipal Comprehensive Review

Statutory Open House meeting for the City of Hamilton’s Municipal Comprehensive Review, Phase 1 – Urban focused Provincial conformity review. Presentation by City Staff and Q & A with participants.

Engagement Summary Report - Statutory Open House - May 3, 2022

Staff hosted two Virtual Open House meetings to present information about the OP Review policy updates and answer questions.

February 17: Video and Q&A

Questions and Answers Summary

These questions and comments were submitted through the Q&A function during the February 17, 2022 meeting. Some questions were also submitted in advance through the registration process. Questions and answers have been grouped according to topics discussed during the virtual event.


Will staff and Council members have the courage to move forward with no boundary expansion?
The proposed Official Plan Amendment (OPA) and proposed Low Density Residential Zoning By-law Updates are being prepared to implement the Council decision for a No Urban Boundary Expansion growth scenario to 2051.

Why should the community be optimistic about this process, given past experience of developers appealing to the Ontario Land Tribunal for amendments?
The City’s Official Plans are intended to guide development in a manner that is sustainable, compatible, and innovative. All development applications are evaluated against the Official Plan. It is an important document in guiding the future development of the city. At this time, staff are seeking public input into the proposed policy updates to ensure they reflect the values of the community. Staff have no control over the submission of appeals to the Ontario Land Tribunal in the future.

Ancaster has the Wilson Street Secondary Plan, and a Secondary Plan is being developed in Waterdown. Secondary Plans supersede and replace the Urban Hamilton Official Plan (UHOP) for these areas, which have these Secondary Plans because of their distinctiveness and sense of place. How will OPA affect Secondary Plans?
Secondary Plan areas are not to be affected by Official Plan or Zoning changes at this time. Current proposed changes are for Volume 1 of the UHOP only (with some minor exceptions to update the West Hamilton Innovation District, Centennial Neighbourhoods and Fruitland Winona Secondary Plans to implement approved employment land conversions and address provincial conformity matters). Any changes to Secondary Plans would be completed through a separate amendment process with additional engagement. The Waterdown Secondary Plan, specifically, will go to Council next month. It has been reviewed for Provincial Plan conformity.

Is there approximate timeline including dates for the 4 Official Pan Review phases outlined in the presentation?
Phase 1, the current phase, is to be completed by July 1, 2022. Phases 2 and 3 will be brought forward to Council early next year (Q1 and Q2 2023). Phase 4 will be Q2 2023. Timelines are tentative and will depend on other work, including the Major Transit Station Area (MTSA) planning.

Will Major Transit Station Areas (MTSAs) be factored into this new phase for the UHOP update? Which areas are included, the entire Blast Network, only the B Line, the B Line + the GO Stations, or all of the above?
MTSA updates will take place in the final phase of the review, as information from the Light Rail Transit (LRT) process needs to be incorporated. MTSAs identified along the priority transit corridor (LRT corridor) in the Provincial Growth Plan are being included, as well as existing and planned Go Stations.

When will inclusionary zoning and density along major transit lines be considered?­
This will be considered in Phase 4 in 2023.

Provincial Plans, Housing, Employment

What is the existing housing stock in terms of units in the Hamilton built boundary?
Hamilton has the following housing: 55% low density; 11% medium density; and 34% high density.

How much growth in terms of units, population and jobs need to be accommodated in the existing urban area with no urban expansion?
Growth to 2051 within the Urban Area (No Urban Expansion, UBE, scenario) must accommodate:

  • Units: 110,320
  • Population: 236,000
  • Jobs: 122,000

What type of housing units will need to be planned in the existing neighbourhoods/built boundary to accommodate the 2051 provincial growth forecasts without an urban expansion option?
Unit Growth by Type (City-wide) under No UBE scenario:

  • Single / semi – 9,585 (9%);
  • Towns – 14,750 (13%)
  • Apartments – 85,985 (78%)

Further refinements are ongoing to determine the unit breakdown by type within the Built-Up Area.

Does the City have any information about the recommendations of the Provincial Housing Task Force? How will those result, once released, be considered in this process?
The Ontario Housing Affordability Task Force Report (released February 8, 2022) includes 55 recommendations to address housing affordability. To date it is not known which, if any, recommendations will be supported by senior levels of government, so it is premature to consider implementation at this point. However, of note, one of the recommendations of the Task Force is to amend municipal zoning by-laws to allow up to 4 units on a single residential lot, which is consistent with the recommendations being put forward in this MCR OPA and low-density residential zoning updates. Review of the report and the recommendations is underway.

Are there any specific plans for houses/properties that are sitting empty and have been for years, such as a plan to provide affordable housing options?
The City can put measures in place (flexible zoning, etc.) to encourage redevelopment on this type of site, but it is up to the property owner to initiate redevelopment plans. The City is investigating a vacant residential land tax, which may provide additional incentive to property owners. The City is striving to put the zoning and policies in place to encourage redevelopment to occur.

What is the age break down of the proposed population growth? This makes a difference in the type of housing required. Many seniors are not moving from 3 bedroomed houses as not enough smaller accessible housing is available in their neighborhoods.
Age group breakdowns are available as part of the Provincial growth forecast. There is an increase in the senior age cohorts, and an important part of the process is increasing all the housing options available within our neighbourhoods. The goal is to have a range of options, including options that could help seniors ‘age-in-place’.

When is the City going to cut all the red tape and encourage the building of high-density projects to help address the housing crisis?
The City endeavors to provide an efficient development approvals process while continuing to ensure that development proposals meet all local and provincial planning requirements.

Can you provide some examples of the land-use compatibility requirements that would apply to redevelopments, including any related to environmental issues?
There would be requirements for a land-use compatibility study, which would include consideration of air quality, noise, and odour.

Does the City have requirements that a certain percentage of deeply affordable units must be physically accessible?
This is not a requirement in the current phase, but in subsequent phases various ranges of affordability will be considered. The City will utilize tools, such as inclusionary zoning. This may be included as part of either Phase 3 or Phase 4.

Have all of the employment land conversions been determined yet? If so, how many additional hectares of land will be available for other uses?
The City’s Employment Land Conversion Report was approved by Council in August in 2021. There are some sites that required further work, which is underway. Recommendations will go to Council in the coming months. Recommendations to date are generally identified conversion sites where the land has been developed for other uses. That is, the land designation did not match what is existing on the property.

Why has the density target for the Designated Greenfield Areas (DGA) been reduced from 70 (when employment lands are included in the average) to 60 people and jobs/Hectare?
The density target of 60 people and jobs/hectare is based on the analysis of designated greenfield areas (DGA) and the planned development that will occur on this land. Much of this land is already built or planned so there is not a lot of opportunity to increase the density on much of the DGA. There are opportunities to go higher is some areas. 60 people and jobs/hectare is an average across the entire DGA. However, this does not preclude higher densities in some areas.

The Garner Road wetland property that is designated for Airport Employment Growth District (AEGD) is at the headwaters of Ancaster Creek and so Hamilton Conservation Authority turned down the development proposal. What is the present zoning there and will it be removed from the AEGD?
As part of this project, we are not proposing to change any zoning within the Airport Employment Growth District.

Are these policies being tested from a feasibility perspective considering the extensive cost of construction, land costs, application fees and servicing since the current UHOP was approved in the early 2010s? If so, some case studies would be interesting to see as part of the consultation, particularly if the examples factored in an affordable housing component and/or community benefit space/feature.
We haven’t completed case studies as part of this phase of our work. It is possible this could happen as we get further into our research and planning, in particular around Major Transit Station Areas and affordable housing.

Will there be any impact on built heritage in terms of its preservation under the Ontario Heritage Act and the resources allocated to this valuable process by the City?
No changes are proposed to the existing processes for the protection of heritage resources.


Is the policy regarding Indigenous Peoples proposed going to influence the heritage designation of trails or lands? Ancaster at the corner of Rousseaux and Wilson has at least 3 major indigenous trails which branch off from that point, Old Dundas Road, Wilson Street, and Rousseaux itself, which is the Mohawk Trail along the escarpment, that's an interesting development.
In terms of trails, no we are not making any changes at the moment. This could be looked at in a later phase (Phase 3) where local context is considered. Comments regarding specific trails can also be sent directly to staff at any time.

Bike lanes and bus/tram only lanes or streets are proven ways to reduce traffic in cities while also providing dozens of other benefits, especially employment. Has the City implemented this?
Hamilton’s Transportation Master Plan establishes strategies to achieve targeted mode shift from single-occupant vehicles to public transport and sustainable modes. The provision of dedicated cycling infrastructure and transit priority measures are amongst many to provide low-stress, safe and accessible transportation options for people of all ages, abilities, and incomes. In addition to the network of off-street multi-use paths and trails, the City has converted vehicular lanes to dedicated bike lanes to provide secure and well-connected cycling facilities and advance multimodality in the transportation network. Amongst many but not limited to, the following are examples of such infrastructure improvements:

  • Bay Street cycle track,
  • Cannon Street cycle track,
  • Hunter Street cycle track,
  • Victoria Avenue North cycle track
  • Keddy Trail multi-use path

The City will evaluate the feasibility of dedicated transit-only lanes for the BLAST network to improve service efficiency along transit priority corridors.

The Hamilton LRT stops are already fixed, as are the 3 go stations in the area. Why is there a delay until Q2 2023 to designate the Protected Major Transit Station Areas (PMTSAs)?
The LRT project was on hold for a period of time. Now that the project is once again approved, time is needed to study each of the Major Transit Station Areas including delineation and density planning of each MTSA. This work will be completed over the next year.

What sorts of densities are will there be along the BLAST network corridors other than the LRT B line?
The City is looking to achieve transit supportive densities along all the BLAST network corridors. The City’s corridors are where a significant amount of our growth has been identified, about 40% of our intensification growth. The City has been required by the Province to plan for a minimum of 160 persons and jobs/hectare along the LRT corridor.

Is the elimination of parking minimums under serious consideration as part of achieving these climate change mitigation and transportation goals and objectives?
Parking has been evaluated as part of all zoning changes and where possible, significant reductions have been made already (i.e., downtown area). Further reductions are being considered, along with the way that they will be implemented through the Zoning By-Law.


Do City staff feel that all future growth to 2051 can adequately be accommodated in the existing urban area that meets the Provincial Growth Plan and Land Needs Analysis methodology? What kind of community character (housing mix and supporting open space, community services, amenities, schools, and other infrastructure) will need to be provided to accommodate all this growth in the existing urban area?
The Council-approved preferred growth scenario is to accommodate all growth within the existing urban boundary to 2051, including additional opportunities for intensification within our neighbourhoods, creating a greater ‘mix’ in some of our neighbourhoods, including housing mix. Ensuring adequate infrastructure to support this development will be a key consideration moving forward.­

Given the anticipated growth, how will waste management work with respect to the landfill site, waste reduction initiatives. Are there alternative methods of waste management being considered?
Any required policy updates related to the waste management process will be considered in Phase 3, Local Context.

Could we hear more information about the Community Energy and Emissions Plan (CEEP)?
The CEEP is being prepared, and updates about its progress will be available in coming months and can be found on the City’s webpage.

How will flood forecasting and hydrologic modelling be integrated into land use planning before any approvals are granted?
Prior to development approvals being granted, development proposals that are located in Conservation Authority regulated areas are circulated to the Conservation Authority for comment and assessment of flood risk is undertaken. Approval by the Conservation Authority is required before permits are issued.

Is source water protection included as part of the environmental considerations for land use compatibility? Only air quality and noise were mentioned.
Source water protection is a consideration during the development approvals process for specific sites.

Will the existing infrastructure (sewers, water, etc.) be able to support the proposed increases in density, specifically within the downtown area?
This is being reviewed within the Water, Wastewater and Stormwater Master Plan currently underway. Any required upgrades will be identified within this study.

Will the City be prioritizing green building, the urban tree canopy, stormwater management in new development applications?
Standards are under development which would include green development standards for low density residential developments. Streetscape improvements will also be addressed. The standards may be forthcoming by the end of 2022.

Is there any opportunity for constraints / opportunities mapping? E.g., if the master plans you have referenced identify areas where fewer constraints exist today, is there any way to encourage development specifically in those locations first?
This is something being reviewed in consultation with Public Works staff as work progresses on the updates to the Water, Wastewater and Stormwater Master Plan.

Will The Water and Wastewater Master Plan update protocols that include resilience strategies to prevent combined sewer overflow (CSO) spills that are not detected immediately like occurred at Main/King CSO?
In 2020 the City initiated an enhanced inspection program of all it’s sewer outstations including all pumping stations and CSO tanks. The enhanced inspection program is undertaken by a dedicated group of operators and trades people who visit these sewer outstations on a regular basis and assess the operation of the assets including inspection of various facility elements including mechanical, electrical, instrumentation, etc. The purpose of the program is to ensure that our assets are functioning properly and according to their intended design.

In addition, in 2020 a Water Quality Technologist was hired by the City to support the development of a Surface Water Quality Program of the watercourses in the City of Hamilton. The Surface Water Quality Program Framework is the starting point for the City in gaining a holistic understanding of its receiving waters and the impacts from various assets within the wastewater collection and treatment systems. It highlights Hamilton’s major receiving water bodies, wastewater collection and treatment systems, internal and external stakeholder engagement and a three-phased approach of program implementation. With this framework, Hamilton’s goal is to build a wider baseline understanding of water quality over time, develop open communication and transparency with various stakeholders, and respond to and investigate any water quality anomalies that may be a result of wastewater infrastructure, throughout Hamilton’s Watersheds.


Will there be periodic reviews to ensure that forecasted growth can be sustained?
Yes, the Province has identified that growth forecasts will be reviewed and updated every 5 years. Further, the City is required under the Planning Act to review the Official Plan every 5 years.

Why has Council recommended not to expand the Urban Boundary? How will this impact the Real Estate market?
Council endorsed the No Urban Boundary Expansion scenario as the preferred growth option for the City to 2051. It is not known if this decision will have any impacts on the real estate market.

Has the City resumed its work on the residential zoning project? When will the City be examining other housing options such as semis, triplexes, low rise apartments as well as the family friendly building project?
The residential zoning project is ongoing in parallel with this process. Public engagement about family friendly housing will be starting in March.

Are there plans to upgrade building codes/zoning changes that focus density at public transit nodes?
The City’s Official Plan and Zoning By-law already focus density at nodes and corridors, including public transit nodes, through the Downtown, Transit Oriented Corridor (TOC), and Commercial Mixed Use (CMU) zones. Through the proposed MCR OPA, height permissions in areas designated Mixed Use Medium Density are proposed to increase to 11 stories (from the existing 6 to 8 stories) providing opportunity for increased density along these corridors, including the LRT corridor. Further planning work to examine ultimate planned density for the station areas along the LRT and the GO Stations (Major Transit Station Areas) will be undertaken over the next year and implemented during Phase 4 of the OP Review.

Will the low and medium density areas accommodate the forecasted population growth? Could there be a mix between rural and urban growth instead of only one option?
City Council has approved the No Urban Boundary Expansion growth scenario which requires the City to accommodate all growth within existing urban areas with a very small amount of infill development within existing rural developments such as Carlisle. The growth will be distributed across the urban area including low, medium, and high-density areas.

Cities cannot keep growing forever. We cannot have this discussion come up every 30, 50, 100 years. Is any thought given to how to put a limit on the size of cities and population growth before our open space is all lost?
The City must plan to achieve the population forecasts that are provided by the Province.

While council has voted to keep the urban boundary firm, there is still on-going consideration of a boundary expansion in Waterdown into the Greenbelt. Where can the public view the expansion applications that are under consideration for Waterdown into the provincial Greenbelt? What are the timelines for how the consideration of expansion here will unfold?
Staff will report back on expansion requests in Waterdown when the updates to the OPA are released and there will be opportunity for public review. Council did reduce the opportunities for expansion in Waterdown to a maximum of 5 hectares, of which a maximum of 50% can be for residential use.

When will City staff be bringing forward a timeline and plan to take advantage of the new Community Benefits Charges (former section 37 bonusing) passed in Bill 108?
The City is currently working on the Community Benefits Charges By-law with a goal of final Council approval in Summer 2022.

If a developer's plans have already been submitted, will they be given an opportunity to add more density to their plans?
If a developer wants to apply for a revision to a development application, they have that opportunity under the Planning Act.

City planning stated that the types and percentage of homes that the City is proposing in the new official plan is 78% apartments, 13 % towns and 9% singles. Will the high percentage of apartment construction and the small percentage of ground-related, single-family housing comply with Provincial Growth Plan Policy of "More Homes More Choices"?
This will ultimately be up to the Province to approve. A draft Official Plan Amendment has already been sent to the Province. Once approved by City of Hamilton Council in May, the Official Plan Amendment will go back to the Province for final approval. The City is doing its best to demonstrate a strategy to meet the Provincial Growth Plan.

How did City planning staff determine the residential unit allocations across urban neighbourhoods / downtown growth centre/ nodes & corridors?
This is determined in several ways including looking at development applications already submitted, consultations where we know applications are forthcoming, and looking at underutilized properties.

Knowing the direction of Council, will new applications for higher density development be considered in advance of the approval of the OP?
Development applications can be submitted at any time for consideration. Applications for Official Plan or Zoning By-law amendments are a public process which require Council approval.

Will new triplexes and fourplexes come about through conversion only? Does this mean that there will be no new triplexes or fourplexes?
Approvals of conversions is an interim step that will take place within the context of the existing community zoning by-laws. The intent is to do a full analysis and evaluation to introduce new residential zones through the Residential Zones project.

Doesn’t this current proposal for conversion in existing units not limit a significant amount of potential infill intensification? Given Hamilton from 2016 -2021 has had a higher population growth rate than Toronto and the timeline of the residential zoning project, when would the earliest that this would/could be implemented across the city?
The described approach to conversions is an interim measure. The City is actively working on Phase 1 of the residential zoning project which will introduce low-density residential zones. Changes to the zoning by-law cannot occur until this OPA has received final approval, therefore interim steps are necessary.

When new units become available in low density homes, that may be rented, will the City require units to be licensed/legal units?
With the proposed zone changes, these units would be a permitted use subject to zoning regulations. The zoning by-law does not regulate tenure. As a separate process, the City is contemplating short-term rental licensing regulations.

When a house is purchased in the next few years, will it be known what is allowed to be built on the property as far as secondary dwellings?
The City approved Secondary Dwelling Unit regulations in 2021. Secondary dwelling units are permitted as of right throughout the urban area. The City is currently proposing to add additional uses to existing low density residential zones. Further zoning changes will be forthcoming through the Residential Zones project.

Has there been consideration for providing incentives to residential landowners who intensify (e.g., by converting a single detached home to a triplex)? This might be helpful to encourage implementation and support for the draft Zoning By-law.
There are no incentive programs at this time.

Is any part of Elfrida going to be considered part of the urban boundary?
No, there is no part of Elfrida that will be considered part of the urban boundary, provided the Province grants final approval to the OPA.

The Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) is the ultimate referee on what will be built. How will you ensure that whatever zoning and bylaws are introduced, that developers will not submit applications well beyond the limits set, and thereby undermine the City's own policies?
The right to appeal to the OLT is contained within the Planning Act. Anyone can go through this appeal process as part of development approval processes.


When do you expect to hear back from the Province about this plan?
The Province may provide comments to the City on the Draft OPA that was provided for provincial review on Jan. 12. The Province has 90 days to provide comments to the City on the Draft OPA. Conversely, the Province may not provide any comments to the City on the Draft OPA and instead wait until the Council-approved OPA is provided to the Province for approval (following the statutory public meeting in May). Once the OPA is sent to the Province for approval, the Province has 120 days to issue a decision on the OPA.

February 22: Video and Q&A

Questions and Answers Summary

These questions and comments were submitted through the Q&A function during the February 22, 2022 meeting. Some questions were also submitted in advance through the registration process. Questions and answers have been grouped according to topics discussed during the virtual event.


Is it true that Hamilton Council will review the need for boundary expansion annually? How would that work the 5-year provincial reviews?
Council will not be reviewing the boundary expansion annually. Official Plan reviews take place every five years, and Municipal Comprehensive Reviews (MCR) are required 10 years after the initial OP is adopted. Boundaries are revisited only at the time of an MCR.

What did Council agree to review annually at the November 2021 meeting?
Council directed staff to review growth rates and housing supply information annually, so staff will be monitoring indicators such as intensification and housing development on an annual basis.

Are the 4 phases required to be completed by July 1, 2022?
The first phase focuses on updates to the Urban Hamilton Official Plan (UHOP). The UHOP updates need to be completed by July 2022 to meet a provincial deadline. The updates to bring the Rural Hamilton OP into conformity with provincial polices will take place in the Spring 2023 (Phase 2). Phase 3, looking at more local matters will take place at this time as well (Spring 2023). Phase 4, which includes consideration of Major Transit Station Areas (MTSAs) and inclusionary zoning, will take place in mid 2023.

How can a plan be developed for 20 years into the future?
The Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe has forecasts for employment and population for the next 30 years. The province requires municipalities to plan for this horizon. Every five years the City will be reviewing the Official Plan to see if these longer-term forecasts are being supported.

Does the No Urban Boundary Expansion Scenario conform to the provincial policies and the Market Demand direction given by the province?
The draft Official Plan Amendment (OPA) that is Phase 1 of the City’s MCR process will need to conform with provincial policies including the requirement to plan for a marked based housing forecast. Ultimately the Province will decide on its conformity.

How are the various inputs weighed in compared to the provincial mandates?
The City is required to conform to all provincial policies and conform to the Growth Plan. The policy direction is weighted equally.

What policy work is being done in relation to this to mitigate against appeals to the Ontario Land Tribunal?
This OPA will be passed under Section 26 of the Planning Act, so should the amendment be approved by Council and the Province, there are no rights to appeal.

Since Hamilton did not achieve its provincial growth targets previously, are checks and balances being incorporated into this to focus on holistic, complete development (infrastructure/transportation/housing)?
The City has been generally on tract with growth forecasts on population, with some lag on employment similar to many communities in Greater Golden Horseshoe. There is a focus on creating complete communities, including supporting infrastructure. As noted, Staff is required to monitor our progress on an annual basis which will help inform the next Municipal Comprehensive Review process.

City planning staff spent a great deal of time, effort and money analyzing the housing requirements for the future growth of Hamilton. Based on their detailed analysis, they recommended that the urban boundary be expanded. What justification was used by City councillors to reject the planning staff recommendation?
Discussion about Hamilton’s Growth Strategy took place at the November 19, 2021 General Issues Committee Meetings. Through the link, anyone can access the video and hear the points made by Council members, leading to their decision.


What is the process for allowing small plots of land (less than 20 acres) within the existing Whitebelt areas to be developed for residential or commercial use?
Whitebelt lands are lands that are not within our urban area or the Greenbelt Plan area but are designated rural. There is a policy within the Provincial Growth Plan to allow for some minor urban expansions within these Whitebelt lands, however, given the current direction from Council, staff is recommending that there not be any expansions, of any size. A policy has been included in the draft OPA which prohibits this type of small urban boundary expansion.

What is the age breakdown in the proposed city population growth? This makes a difference in the type of housing required. Many seniors are not moving from 3 bedroomed houses as not enough smaller accessible housing in their neighborhoods.
Age group breakdowns are available as part of the Provincial growth forecast. There is an increase in the senior age cohorts, and an important part of the process is increasing all the housing options available within our neighbourhoods. The goal is to have a range of options, including options that could help seniors ‘age-in-place’.

Is any consideration being given to the maximum sizes of single detached residences. We learned that in Portland Oregon their intensification policies are considering these limits to ensure efficient use of densified lands.
To date, there hasn’t been discussion about limiting the size of single detached residences. Zoning updates are being developed and staff will continue to look at opportunities to achieve intensification goals.

Can you explain next steps for the deferred employment conversion requests in the context of the GRIDS 2 process?
The City can only look at employment conversions through the MCR. A report went forward in August 2021 with staff recommendations on existing requests. There are some outstanding requests for which recommendations will be forthcoming, likely towards the end of April.

Is there a plan for redeveloping and remediating pre-existing urban areas prior to approving new communities on lands on the outskirts of the city?
There are existing policies and zoning in place to allow and encourage redevelopment to occur within the urban boundaries. The goal is to be permissive to redevelopment and incentivize developers to come forward to redevelop their land.

Does this official plan pre-emptively address Hamilton’s need for family housing policies in urban central areas (3–4-bedroom units, minimum amount of amenities/green space, etc.)?
The City does have policies coming forward as part of this MCR that will encourage ‘family’ size dwellings. In terms of amenities and greenspace, generally the policies would support this. Further details will be part of future zoning regulations. Staff are going to be consulting on a family-friendly housing discussion paper in March 2022.

With respect to housing affordability, the price of purchasing a home continues to rise as the inventory of homes decreases. Wouldn't allowing more houses to be built not bring the price of homes down?
Bringing additional supply may help the affordability of homes, but likely not significantly. Affordable housing needs to be addressed through multiple fronts using different policy responses and available tools.

What changes are intended to make the construction of “lane way housing” or second suite housing permitted as of right in low density areas.
The City passed Zoning By-law amendments in 2021 which permit Secondary Dwelling Units (including laneway housing) as-of-right across the Urban Area.

If the process of development is driven by developers, how can the City encourage developers to build within the urban boundary? Especially when there is a lack of affordable housing?
The City is not proposing any urban boundary expansions, as per Council direction, so the only option is to encourage development within the existing urban boundary. The City has put in place a number of incentives to try and encourage development within the Urban Area. With respect to affordable housing, this is an area for further study and action.

Are you looking at any expropriation of areas such as Kenilworth and Barton Street with vacant or very low-density housing that can be redeveloped into higher densification?
Staff are not aware of any expropriation processes.

What kind of incentives does the City plan to provide for redeveloping in core areas?
The City can put measures in place (flexible zoning, etc.) to encourage redevelopment, but it is up to the property owner to initiate redevelopment plans. The City is investigating a vacant residential land tax, which may provide additional incentive to property owners. The City is striving to put the zoning and policies in place to encourage redevelopment to occur.

Will the City consider new incentives to revitalize the core urban area?
The City completed a review of its incentive programs in the Fall 2021. These are reviewed every five years, so there are opportunities to make changes as well as bring in new incentives.

Has there been any discussions about community benefits in the development process with the Hamilton Community Benefits network?
The City is in the process of preparing a Community Benefits Charge By-law with a goal of final Council approval in Summer 2022.


How did the current Urban Indigenous Strategy inform cultural heritage aspects of the OPA?
The City’s first phase of the Official Plan Review is related specifically to the provincial policy updates. Staff has engaged with the City’s Indigenous Coordinator to help connect with Indigenous Communities and ensure that appropriate consideration is given to Indigenous perspectives. There may be further updates in Phase 3, Local Context.

In regard to cultural heritage (the acknowledgement of Indigenous peoples as caretakers and stewards of our lands and waters) how does this section address climate issues, food security, water infrastructure etc. related to the 7 generations?
These are important considerations for the City, and there will be additional updates as part of the MCR. Ideas and additional comments are welcome as guidance for staff.

What is the potential for Cultural Heritage Landscape conservation?
Cultural Heritage Landscapes are acknowledged within the OP. The Province has not identified additional Heritage Landscapes and so at the present time amendments do not address any additions. Staff encourage anyone to bring forward questions and ideas about new Heritage Landscapes to be considered through future review phases.

How is the Official Plan addressing the overwhelming number of empty parking lots in the city as options for development?
The development process is typically landowner driven. If landowners who own parking lots or vacant lands submit development applications, the City will process them and make recommendations to Council. It is staff’s hope that through these updated policies encouraging intensification we will see landowners coming forward with redevelopment applications.

Would the City of Hamilton consider revising parking minimums for new developments like the City of Toronto has?
The City is evaluating parking in the development of the new comprehensive zoning by-law. There have been some reductions and eliminations already for parking in some areas.

Are we going to allow tandem parking in this city like many of our neighboring municipalities? Parking variances lead to fighting between neighbours and are a major hindrance to increasing density. One bedroom dwelling units should not require parking.
As part of this review, staff are continuing to evaluate parking regulations and design standards.

Will new rules allow more than one car to be parked in a long driveway?
At this time, the rules regarding long driveways are not being addressed. When the residential zoning component is addressed as part of the comprehensive zoning by-law, staff will be looking further at these and other considerations.

How does the City propose to address the former communities which have single main roadway access capability to accommodate increase traffic presently overloading roadways?
As part of the development approvals process, staff will continue to review traffic impacts through development applications for intensification projects, in coordination with Transportation Planning.


How will you ensure that natural heritage features such as wetlands and forest cover will be protected under the new Official Plan?
The City currently has policies to prohibit development within wetland areas and natural heritage features. Mapping and refinements to mapping will take place during Phase 2, when the Rural Hamilton OP will be the focus.

Is stormwater management included in this process and if so how and where?
There are existing policies addressing stormwater management in the Official Plans, and there are some updates including introduction of green infrastructure policies and low impact development techniques. An update to the Water, Wastewater and Stormwater Master Plan is currently underway which may inform further policy updates in a future phase.

Does low impact development include permeable pavers as an alternative to stormwater sewers or retention ponds? Are there incentives for using these types of techniques?
Yes, permeable pavers are identified as low-impact development technique and there are policies related to this.

What work is being done to ensure developments are being designed and built to a standard that will mitigate the anticipated climate changes?
The City is working on developing Sustainable Building and Development Standards, requiring developers to identify specific techniques to help mitigate climate impacts. While it is not part of this specific project, it is something the City is looking at and will bring forward ideas to Council later this year. There are also updates underway to the City’s Water, Wastewater, and Stormwater Master Plan.

Are the combined sewers being addressed?
This would need to be reviewed as part of the Water, Wastewater and Stormwater Master Plan.

Is it part of the official plan review to require new buildings to have zero emissions of greenhouse gases and to require parking spaces in underground and above-ground parking lots to allow charging of electric vehicles?
The City is encouraging electric vehicles through the policy updates. More specific details will be contained within the comprehensive zoning by-law update.

The new Policy B. encourages the use of locally sourced materials in both new construction and retrofits to reduce carbon impact. How will you encourage this use?
One of the policy updates does include the use of locally sourced materials to reduce the amount of green house gas emissions. The City is creating Sustainable Building and Design Standards which may provide further direction on this issue.

Banning gas furnaces is actively considered or in place in some municipalities; what would it take for this to be pursued?
This issue is not considered as part of the Official Plan review which focuses on land use planning matters. Phase 1 of this process is focused on conforming to provincial land use planning policy.

Were there consultations with Environment Hamilton and Hamilton 350 to inform the section about Climate related issues?
There has been and is planned additional stakeholder engagement with organizations involved in the GRIDS2 process (i.e., Hamilton Conservation Authority, Environment Hamilton, and others).

How will the City protect older growth forests and trees?
The City has an Urban Forest Strategy that is underway. In addition, there are natural heritage policies within the OP that protect significant woodlands.

Have you looked at deconstruction policies as an alternative to demolition to provide an incentive to recycle construction material? You might want to look at Portland, Seattle, or Vancouver.
The policy update does encourage the re-use of buildings and materials.

Is any change coming for Cootes Escarpment Park initiative and development/lack there of in the Pleasantview area?
The Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System (the EcoPark) is a collaboration of nine partner agencies (City of Hamilton, Halton Region, City of Burlington, Conservation Halton, Hamilton Conservation Authority, Bruce Trail Conservancy, Hamilton Naturalist Club, McMaster University and Royal Botanical Gardens) who manage and protect their own lands through their existing operations, local and provincial policy, and regulatory frameworks. Certain tracts of land within the Pleasantview area are within the EcoPark as they are owned by Partner agencies. More information about the EcoPark System can be found at Naturally Connected | Cootes to Escarpment (cootestoescarpmentpark.ca) . At this time, the City of Hamilton is not proposing to acquire additional lands in the Pleasantview area. We do not know of land acquisition plans of other EcoPark Partner agencies.

The Pleasantview area was placed within the Area of Development Control of the Niagara Escarpment Commission (NEC) in September of 2021 by the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry. Accordingly, the NEC is now the approval authority for development within the Pleasantview area and most types of development (unless exempt) are subject to the issuance of a NEC Development Permit.

What prohibitions are being examined/ removed in the Niagara escarpment?
The Niagara Escarpment Plan was updated in 2017 and a new policy was developed that prohibited the extension of water and wastewater services to existing lots and uses that front onto an urban boundary road. This OPA is in conformity with provincial policies.


Urban development has already taken place around the Nebo Road/Twenty Road East and airport areas. Why would the remaining lands in these areas not be infilled to become part of the city? This would not create significant environmental or agricultural issues. Can there not be a balanced approach with a mix or intensification in existing urban areas along with recommended boundary expansion?
Lands around the airport have been identified already as being part of the urban area. The Airport Employment Growth District Secondary Plan guides the growth in the airport area.

Lands that are not currently designated urban (referred to as the Whitebelt lands) in the Twenty Road East and West areas are not proposed to be added to the urban area, in accordance with the Council No Urban Boundary Expansion growth decision.

Will this process change the Ancaster Wilson Street Secondary Plan?
The City is not proposing any updates to Secondary Plans at the moment. If changes are proposed in the future, there will be a separate process, including public engagement.

Is there consideration of restoring the density target in Designated Greenfield Areas (DGAs) to 80 people + jobs per hectare, to support transit in those areas?
The greenfield target in the Provincial Growth Plan is currently 50 people and jobs/hectare. Staff are looking to move this to 60 people and jobs/hectare. The density target of 60 people and jobs/hectare is based on the analysis of designated greenfield areas (DGA) and the planned development that will occur on this land. Much of this land is already built or planned so there is not a lot of opportunity to increase the density on much of the DGA. There are opportunities to go higher is some areas. 60 people and jobs/hectare is an average across the entire DGA. However, this does not preclude higher densities in some areas.

What will you do if low density areas that include vacant and dilapidated buildings are not redeveloped by their landowners and developers?
The development process is landowner driven. The City is currently looking at a vacant land tax, to deter landowners from leaving land vacant.

What is the difference between using zoning bylaws vs design guidelines to influence the character and quality of Hamilton's built form? Which does Hamilton use?
Zoning by-laws are the legal document prescribing land use regulations. When it comes to character and materials this is considered within design guidelines. Design guidelines are intended to guide development and are not legal requirements. Zoning by-laws and design guidelines are intended to work together. The City is working on providing more guidance through the development of (updated) urban design guideline standards which will be applied city-wide.

Is there a time estimate for the incorporation of the residential land use bylaws into 05-200?
In addition to the work being done to support the OPA, the City is also working on the comprehensive zoning by-law for the residential zones. We are hoping to bring this forward in 2023.

Regarding parking in the front of a dwelling. I am assuming that the 50% landscape will still be in place as a bylaw?
The 50% landscaping is currently being evaluated as part of the residential zoning project.

What is preventing Hamilton from adopting more progressive planning policies (as seen in BC and through the national architecture policy)?

The City is reviewing best practices and evaluating them for local application as part of this process and in an ongoing way.

Why triplex/fourplex permissions only in existing buildings, and not purpose built?
The approach to conversions outlined today is an interim step to facilitate moving forward with implementing Council’s direction in the short term. Certainly, consideration of a full range of residential densities will be looked at through the residential zoning project.

Are any changes proposed to the low, medium, high density designation density ranges and/or is more flexibility proposed to ensure a mix of housing types and limit the need for OPAs? These targets should be applied across the city and not only on a site-by-site basis.
The approach to increasing density outlined today is an interim step to facilitate moving forward with implementing Council’s direction in the short term. Certainly, consideration of a full range of residential densities will be looked at through the residential zoning project.


Is there an indication of when the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) will get back to Hamilton about the proposed changes?
The proposed OPA was provided to the province in January. They have 90 days to provide comments. Staff expect that by April, comments will be received, if any. Following the 90 days, the City can move forward with the statutory consultation process, consideration by Council, and formal submission of a revised OPA will go to the Province. The province then has 120 days to approve and/or provide comments.

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