- Rural Hamilton Official Plan applies to lands with the rural area of the City
- Urban Hamilton Official Plan applies to lands with the urban areas of the City
What is GRIDS2?
GRIDS 2 (Growth Related Integrated Development Strategy) is a big-picture planning process that evaluates the land use, infrastructure, economic development and financial implications of growth for the next 30 years. The City is planning for 236,000 new residents and 122,000 new jobs in Hamilton to the year 2051. Planning for forecasted population and job growth to the year 2051 is a requirement of A Place to Grow: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe. GRIDS 2 is a study that is linked to the updates of other important City studies and plans, including the Water/Wastewater and Stormwater Master Plans and transportation network review, and the next update to the Development Charges By-law.
What is the Municipal Comprehensive Review (MCR)?
Changes to the Official Plans that implement provincial policies are referred to as a Municipal Comprehensive Review (MCR) or a “Conformity Review”. The City’s land use planning policies in the Urban and Rural Hamilton Official Plans (UHOP and RHOP) must reflect the policy direction given by the Province of Ontario through guiding policy documents including the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS), A Place to Grow: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (Growth Plan), the Greenbelt Plan, and the Niagara Escarpment Plan. Along with other Ontario municipalities, the City of Hamilton is required to submit their Conformity Amendments to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing for approval by July 1, 2022.
What is the ‘Growth Plan’?
Often referred to as the ‘Growth Plan’ by planners and municipal officials, A Place to Grow: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (2019) provides specific land use planning policies for the municipalities in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. The Growth Plan provides the land use planning and implementation policies that guide development in the Plan area. It specifies the planning timeline/horizon and growth forecasts (population and jobs) that municipalities must plan for. Through the Growth Plan, municipalities are required to plan for a minimum intensification rate (Hamilton is 50%) and minimum Designated Greenfield Area density (Hamilton is 50 people/jobs per hectare). All planning decisions must be in conformity with the policies of the Growth Plan
What is the Official Plan and why do we need to update it?
An Official Plan is a land use planning document that guides and shapes development by identifying where and under what circumstances specific types of land uses can be located. It is used to ensure that future planning development appropriately balances social, economic and environmental interests of the community. The City of Hamilton has two Official Plans:
Municipalities review their Official Plans on a regular basis to ensure they remain up-to-date, reflect current provincial policy, and represent the long term vision of the municipality. Changes to the Official Plans that implement provincial policies are referred to as a Municipal Comprehensive Review (MCR) or the “Conformity Review”. Provincial regulations such as the Planning Act, the Places to Grow Act, and the Greenbelt Act all contain requirements to undertake Official Plan conformity reviews to ensure local official plans reflect and implement the policies of the Provincial Policy Statement, the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, and the Greenbelt Plan. This is the policy-related work the City is doing currently for Urban-focused policies. The next step will be to draft updates to the Rural area policies related to provincial conformity matters, planned for early 2023.
Updates to the policies of the City’s Official Plans that are reflective of local community goals and objectives are referred to as the “Official Plan Review – Local Context”. This work will focus around policy related to parks and recreation, commercial and mixed use areas, residential density and form, urban design, institutional uses, waste management and noise. Major Transit Station Area (MTSA) policy updates will also be needed as work progresses on the City’s Light Rail Transit project. The completion of the “Local Context” review and MTSA policy development is anticipated for mid-2023.
More detailed information about the Official Plan Review process, including Staff Reports can be found on the Official Plan Review webpage.
What is ‘intensification’?
Intensification is development and re-development of lands within the built-up area of the City at an intensity of use that is greater than currently exists. The minimum percentage of intensification for Hamilton is set at 50% - this is prescribed by the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2019. The City can plan for a higher percentage of intensification. The percentage of growth the City plans to support through intensification has a direct relationship to how much ‘community area land need’ is determined through the Land Needs Assessment.
How is Climate Change being considered?
Goal #4 of the City’s Corporate Goals and Areas of Focus for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation is related to planning and aims to ensure that a climate change lens is applied to all planning initiatives to encourage the use of best climate mitigation and adaptation practices. Potential climate change impacts can arise from accommodating growth in any form. The key is to identify strategies to mitigate potential climate change impacts to the greatest extent feasible and build resilience in our community to be adaptive to future impacts.
Current climate-related policy updates directly respond to provincial policies, as part of the MCR. Additional climate-related policy updates are anticipated through the Local Context phase of the Official Plan Review
How will my feedback be used to inform decision making?
Planning Staff consider all public feedback in the formation of planning recommendations to bring forward to Committee and Council. Public engagement is a fundamental part of the planning process. We will use your feedback to determine what opinions exist about the project and the proposed scenarios for growth, and to identify any trends. Future staff reports will describe general trends in public opinion, and how they impacted the recommendation.
Where can I learn more about the history of the GRIDS project?
The first GRIDS project was undertaken in 2006, looking towards a planning horizon of 2031. The first GRIDS report is available here (2006 GRIDS Final Report). GRIDS 2 is building on the intial work of GRIDS but will plan to the year 2051.