The Official Plan Review (OP Review)

The Planning Act of Ontario requires municipalities to regularly review their official plans to reflect updates to Legislation, Provincial plans and policies, upper-tier municipal plans (Region of Durham), and other changes that impact municipal planning decisions. A comprehensive review of the City of Pickering Official Plan is underway, and is proceeding through a series of individual amendments addressing key topic areas.

The key amendment topics include:

  1. Planning Application Pre-Submission Consultation Requirements;
  2. A revised vision for the Duffin Heights Neighbourhood;
  3. Environment and Countryside policies (including the Provincial Greenbelt Plan);
  4. A Growth Strategy for the urban, City Centre and newly developing areas (to implement the Provincial Growth Plan);
  5. Implementation of the Central Pickering Development Plan (Seaton and the Agricultural Preserve);
  6. Planning Tools for Sustainable Placemaking; and
  7. A general review of remaining policy topics.

There are many public consultation opportunities during the review process to allow for comments from stakeholders, agencies and the general public, including Workshops, Open Houses, Statutory Public Meetings (at Planning and Development Committee) and Council Meetings. Please contact the City Development Department for more information or notification of Official Plan Review amendment meetings.

Official Plan Review Amendments

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

Revisions to the Ontario Planning Act in 2006 (through Bill 51) provided new tools for municipalities to improve the efficiency of the planning approvals process. On April 20, 2009 the Council approved Amendment 17 and adopted the implementing by-law. The adopted policies require 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.

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). On November 4, 2009 the Ontario Municipal Board approved Amendment 18.

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

3. Environment and Countryside

In 2015 staff initiated a comprehensive amendment to revise natural heritage and other Environmental & Countryside policies in the Pickering Official Plan.

Following a lengthy planning process, which included the incorporation of various minor modifications to the amendment, the Region of Durham approved Amendment 27 to the Pickering Official Plan, and its decision took effect on December 20, 2017.

Amendment 27 to the Pickering Official Plan implements the 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.

City Development will be incorporating the newly adopted policies, schedules and maps, as well as the associated Informational Revision 22 into Edition 8 of the Pickering Official Plan.  For any questions regarding the revised policies, schedules and maps affected by Amendment 27, please contact Déan Jacobs at 905.420.4617.

4.  Growth Strategy Program

The City has initiated a Growth Strategy Program to implement the Provincial Growth Plan and the Region of Durham Growth Plan conformity amendment (Amendment 128). The Provincial Growth Plan emphasizes intensification and the use of existing land supply to accommodate future growth.

The City's program 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.

On July 14, 2014 Council approved Amendment 26 and adopted the implementing by-law for the Pickering City Centre. On March 4, 2015 Ontario Municipal Board approved Amendment 26. Council also adopted urban design guidelines for the City Centre to assist in the preparation of development proposals, and to be implemented through the review of development applications.

In January 2015 the City initiated the South Pickering Intensification Study to identify where and to what extent growth and development should occur in South Pickering, outside the City Centre. In Phase 1 of the Study, we asked for the community's input on growth and intensification. Thank you to everyone who participated in the community roundtables and the online survey.

Phase 2 of the Study (the Kingston Road Corridor and Specialty Retailing Node Intensification Study) concluded in December 2019 when Council endorsed in principle an Intensification Plan and Draft Urban Design Guidelines for the Kingston Road Corridor and Specialty Retailing Node Intensification Study Areas. Council also authorized staff from the City Development Department to initiate an Official Plan Amendment to implement the new vision and plan for the Corridor and Node. Official Plan Amendment 38 (OPA 38) was initiated in November 2020 and eventually received Regional approval in November 2022. OPA 38 has since been appealed to the Ontario Land Tribunal. For further updates and future notices regarding OPA 38, please visit the Kingston Road Corridor Intensification web page.

5.  Central Pickering Development Plan

The Central Pickering Development Plan, prepared by the Province of Ontario under the authority of the Ontario Planning and Development Act, 1994, establishes a comprehensive new vision for Central Pickering: that of a sustainable urban community in Seaton integrated with a thriving agricultural community in the Duffins Rouge Agricultural Preserve and an extensive Natural Heritage System. Amendment 22 to the Pickering Official Plan provides detailed policies for developing and managing the Seaton community, and was approved through various Ontario Municipal Board decisions which were confirmed by the Lieutenant Governor by Order in Council on March 26, 2014.

6.  Planning Tools for Sustainable Placemaking

The Province, through legislative changes to the Planning Act in 2007 (Bill 51), provided area municipalities with additional planning and development control tools to use in the land use planning process, and to help create more environmentally sustainable, vibrant, and healthy communities. In order to implement these new tools, the City initiated Amendment 23 to the Pickering Official Plan. On June 16, 2014 Council approved Amendment 23 and adopted the implementing by-law. Following an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board and a subsequent settlement hearing on July 7, 2016, the Ontario Municipal Board approved Amendment 23 on July 22, 2016, subject to certain minor modifications.