GRIDS 2 and Municipal Comprehensive Review

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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.

What is the MCR?

The Municipal Comprehensive Review (MCR) is a requirement of the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (Growth Plan) and the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) at the time of the City’s 5-year Official Plan Review. The MCR is the process by which the City brings its Official Plans (both Urban and Rural) into conformity with updated Provincial policies which apply to Hamilton (PPS, Growth Plan, Niagara Escarpment Plan, Greenbelt Plan). The population and job forecasts of the Growth Plan to 2051 need to be planned and accommodated for through the MCR.

Through the GRIDS 2 process, the City is well on its way to completing the MCR. Both a Land Needs Assessment (LNA) as well as the “How Should Hamilton Grow?” evaluation of growth options were completed and presented for final approval of Council on November 19, 2021. Council adopted a No Urban Boundary Expansion Growth Scenario to accommodate the forecasted population and jobs to 2051. The policies of the City’s Official Plans must now be updated to reflect Council’s preferred growth option through the MCR, as well as other policy updates to implement new and revised Provincial policy direction.

Previous information about Land Needs Assessment and Evaluation and Phasing, can be found under the respective headings in "Updates" tab.

MCR Draft Policy Updates

Policy Planning Staff have reviewed the existing policies in the Urban Hamilton Official Plan against provincial policy documents like the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe and the Provincial Policy Statement, and have proposed draft changes to local policies based on topic area themes (e.g., Employment, Housing, Growth Management, Climate Related, etc.). Staff have also proposed draft policy changes to implement the Council decision to implement the “No Urban Boundary Expansion” growth option. These draft policy updates are first step of the City completing the MCR process and Official Plan Review.

The next steps in completing the MCR and Official Plan Review include:

  • Updates to the Rural Hamilton Official Plan (RHOP) for conformity with Provincial policy (e.g. refinements to the Agricultural and Natural Heritage Systems mapping, agriculture and open space policy updates). Anticipated for early 2023
  • Local Context policy updates for locally specific matters not related to Provincial policy (e.g. parks and recreation, urban design, residential development policies). Anticipated for mid-2023
  • Major Transit Station Areas (MTSAs) planning (e.g. delineation of MTSAs and density targets on the Light Rail Transit corridor, investigation of inclusionary zoning). Anticipated for mid-2023

Proposed Changes to the City’s Zoning By-laws

To implement the draft policy changes proposed to the Urban Hamilton Official Plan as a result of Council’s decision to implement the No Urban Boundary Expansion growth option, staff are preparing the necessary changes to the Zoning By-laws of the former Communities (but not Zoning By-law No. 05-200). The City’s Zoning By-laws are the primary mechanism for implementing the Official Plans. The proposed changes to the former Community Zoning By-laws will align with the draft policy changes proposed to the Urban Hamilton Official Plan by providing more opportunities for intensification in the City’s low density areas.

The proposed changes will:

  • Widen the range of permitted housing forms in low density residential zones
  • Provide small scale intensification opportunities

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.

What is the MCR?

The Municipal Comprehensive Review (MCR) is a requirement of the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (Growth Plan) and the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) at the time of the City’s 5-year Official Plan Review. The MCR is the process by which the City brings its Official Plans (both Urban and Rural) into conformity with updated Provincial policies which apply to Hamilton (PPS, Growth Plan, Niagara Escarpment Plan, Greenbelt Plan). The population and job forecasts of the Growth Plan to 2051 need to be planned and accommodated for through the MCR.

Through the GRIDS 2 process, the City is well on its way to completing the MCR. Both a Land Needs Assessment (LNA) as well as the “How Should Hamilton Grow?” evaluation of growth options were completed and presented for final approval of Council on November 19, 2021. Council adopted a No Urban Boundary Expansion Growth Scenario to accommodate the forecasted population and jobs to 2051. The policies of the City’s Official Plans must now be updated to reflect Council’s preferred growth option through the MCR, as well as other policy updates to implement new and revised Provincial policy direction.

Previous information about Land Needs Assessment and Evaluation and Phasing, can be found under the respective headings in "Updates" tab.

MCR Draft Policy Updates

Policy Planning Staff have reviewed the existing policies in the Urban Hamilton Official Plan against provincial policy documents like the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe and the Provincial Policy Statement, and have proposed draft changes to local policies based on topic area themes (e.g., Employment, Housing, Growth Management, Climate Related, etc.). Staff have also proposed draft policy changes to implement the Council decision to implement the “No Urban Boundary Expansion” growth option. These draft policy updates are first step of the City completing the MCR process and Official Plan Review.

The next steps in completing the MCR and Official Plan Review include:

  • Updates to the Rural Hamilton Official Plan (RHOP) for conformity with Provincial policy (e.g. refinements to the Agricultural and Natural Heritage Systems mapping, agriculture and open space policy updates). Anticipated for early 2023
  • Local Context policy updates for locally specific matters not related to Provincial policy (e.g. parks and recreation, urban design, residential development policies). Anticipated for mid-2023
  • Major Transit Station Areas (MTSAs) planning (e.g. delineation of MTSAs and density targets on the Light Rail Transit corridor, investigation of inclusionary zoning). Anticipated for mid-2023

Proposed Changes to the City’s Zoning By-laws

To implement the draft policy changes proposed to the Urban Hamilton Official Plan as a result of Council’s decision to implement the No Urban Boundary Expansion growth option, staff are preparing the necessary changes to the Zoning By-laws of the former Communities (but not Zoning By-law No. 05-200). The City’s Zoning By-laws are the primary mechanism for implementing the Official Plans. The proposed changes to the former Community Zoning By-laws will align with the draft policy changes proposed to the Urban Hamilton Official Plan by providing more opportunities for intensification in the City’s low density areas.

The proposed changes will:

  • Widen the range of permitted housing forms in low density residential zones
  • Provide small scale intensification opportunities
CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.
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    How is the Land Needs assessment taking into account the Community Energy and Environment "low carbon modelling" which would change some of the assumptions contained in the "Business as Planned" assumptions. I am referring to the data presented in the June 15 CEEP Advisory Committee presentation by SSG

    DaveinDundas asked over 1 year ago

    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)

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    What has to happen for the City to adopt the "increased targets" or "ambitious density" in its planning. Can Council mandate use of these targets and require new developments to adhere to them.

    DaveinDundas asked over 1 year ago

    The intensification target is not property specific, but rather a City-wide measure of development in the built-up area. There are areas of the City that are the focus of increased rates of intensification, such as the Downtown and within the Nodes and Corridors. Council will need to adopt an intensification target through this review process, and that may be one of the two scenarios mentioned in the question. Once an intensification target is known, the Planning Staff will incorporate the intensification target in the City’s Official Plan through revisions to policy areas.

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    1. Do we know what potential exists for intensification within the existing urban boundary, for example by development of the "Missing Middle" we have started hearing about? Do we know what incentives and disincentives exist for intensification within the current urban boundary, and how we might create more incentives? 2. Have changes in population characteristics been considered in preparing this LNA, specifically the fact that baby boomers have begun to divest themselves of their single family detached homes, and are looking for other forms of housing? History shows us that it will take about 15 years for this bubble to move through, with an increased availability of detached homes during this time.

    sonja.depauw asked over 1 year ago

    The missing middle has been considered in this exercise. 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 developments could fit. In terms of incentives for intensification, 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. With regard to the consideration of population characteristics in the LNA,  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).

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    How do the plans reflect the teaching that, 'We are All Treaty People' and demonstrate adequate respect for the Dish With One Spoon Treaty Wampum that is reference daily in our public schools?

    kml asked over 1 year ago

    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.  

Page last updated: 13 May 2022, 09:24 AM