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Official Plan Review

The first comprehensive review of the City of Pickering Official Plan, since its approval in 1997, is underway.

Although the Official Plan has been amended a number of times to implement local changes or address emerging policy issues, a thorough review and update of its policies has not been undertaken. The Ontario Planning Act requires municipalities to review their official plans every 5 years to reflect updates to Legislation, Provincial Plans and policies, upper-tier municipal plans (Region of Durham) and other changes that impact municipal planning decisions.

View the current City of Pickering Official Plan and background information.

Official Plan Review Workplan

The Official Plan Review began in 2007 when Council adopted the Official Plan Review Workplan.

The Review is proceeding to update the Plan by a series of individual amendments addressing key topic areas first and conducting a general review of remaining topics later.

The key amendment topics include: sustainability initiatives, implementation of Provincial Planning Act and Policy Statement changes; implementation of the Central Pickering Development Plan (Seaton and the Agricultural Preserve), a revised vision for the Duffin Heights Neighbourhood, environment and countryside policies (including the Provincial Greenbelt Plan), a growth strategy for the urban, downtown and newly developing areas (that implements the Provincial Growth Plan), and finally, a general review of the remaining policy topics (ie: transportation, heritage, etc).

Public Consultation in the Official Plan Amendment Process

There are many public consultation opportunities during the study process as well as the amendment process that allows for comments from stakeholders, agencies and the general public at Open Houses, Statutory Public Meetings (at Planning and Development Committee) and Council Meetings, at which the amendments are adopted. Notifications are also provided by the Region of Durham when the Region considers approval of each amendment, including the rights to appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board for a final decision.

Please contact us for more information or notification of Official Plan Review amendment meetings.

Amendments of the Official Plan Review

1.  Implementation of new Planning Act (Bill 51) Provisions

a) Phase I

Revisions to the Ontario Planning Act in 2006 provided more tools for municipalities to improve the efficiency of the planning approvals process. In the following amendment, the City adopted new policies requiring applicants to consult with the City prior to submitting development applications and to provide supporting information and studies at the time of submission in order for an application to be considered complete (see Amendment 17).

b) Phase II

2. Duffin Heights

Duffin Heights Neighbourhood land use designations and policies were revised to implement the findings of the Environmental Servicing Plan for open space system, transportation system, residential densities, community facilities, sustainable development objectives and mixed use development matters in Duffin Heights (located along Brock Road, north of Third Concession Road).

Development Guidelines were also adopted by Council to govern subdivision, rezoning, site plan and building permit applications in Duffin Heights:

3. Environment and Countryside

Research has been conducted, a Background Report considered and the preparation of a comprehensive amendment to revise natural heritage and other environmental and countryside policies is nearly complete at this time (October, 2011). The amendment will implement relevant Provincial Policy Statement, Region of Durham Official Plan, Greenbelt Plan, Conservation Authority Regulations, a series of related legislative changes,updated natural heritage systems mapping, a series of watershed strategies and a number of City initiatives. The following items provide a summary of the progress to date on this amendment:

Staff and consultants are currently preparing a draft amendment for consideration at an Open House and a Statutory Public Meeting.

4.  Growth Strategy Program

The City has initiated a Growth Strategy Program to implement the Provincial Growth Plan and Durham Regional Official Plan Amendment 128.  Amendment 128 directs 40% of future residential growth to Pickering's built-up area. The Provincial Growth Plan emphasizes intensification and the use of existing land supply to accommodate future growth. The City's study will determine the appropriate locations for intensified development, establish guidelines that will ensure transitions to established neighbourhoods and provide recommendations supporting a sustainable Pickering that promotes walkable neighbourhoods, accessible parks, public transit, and unique and distinctive communities.

A number of study initiatives and public engagements contribute to the Growth Strategy Program:

At the current time, completion of an amendment to implement a Pickering Growth Strategy is delayed until resolution of the Growth Plan Amendment of the Region of Durham Official Plan (ROPA 128), which has been appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board and is awaiting hearings and a decision.

5.  Central Pickering Development Plan

a)  Seaton

Although initially listed as a specific topic to be addressed as part of the Official Plan Review, planning for the Seaton area of the Central Pickering Development Plan area is being undertaken as a separate exercise from the Pickering Official Plan Review and can be accessed by pressing the button below:

b)  Agricultural Preserve

Some aspects of implementing the Central Pickering Development Plan are being addressed as part of the the Environment and Countryside Amendment of the Official Plan Review, while the matter of encouraging a vibrant agricultural economy in the Agricultural Preserve (west of West Duffins Creek) is to be addressed as a separate exercise by the Region of Durham.

6.  Sustainable Vision for Pickering

View the notice of open house and public meeting.  View the Open House Panels.

The City is proposing to change its Official Plan by introducing new and stronger planning tools, made available through Bill 51, that will strengthen the Plan's policy foundation for sustainable placemaking on aspects such as Site Plan Control; sustainable development; energy conservation and efficiency; the Urban Forest; climate change; Community Improvement Plans; height and density zoning; and other housekeeping items.  For more information see the Information Report, and the appendices and attachment below.

7.  General Review/Other Topics

Other topic areas such as transportation, economic development, housing, community services, cultural, heritage, community design, detailed design considerations, implementation, development review and a monitoring framework will be addressed in the General Review of the Official Plan after the key topics have been completed.