Report to/Rapport au :


Planning and Environment Committee

Comité de l'urbanisme et de l'environnement


19 March 2010 / le 19 mars 2010


Submitted by/Soumis par : Nancy Schepers, Deputy City Manager/Directrice municipale adjointe, Infrastructure Services and Community Sustainability/Services d 'infrastructure et Viabilité des collectivités


Contact Person/Personne ressource : John L. Moser, General Manager / Directeur général

Planning and Growth Management/Urbanisme et Gestion de la croissance

(613) 580-2424 x 28869,


City Wide/à l'échelle de la Ville

Ref N°: ACS2010-ICS-PGM-0075








Innovation en matière d'aménagement : Sommet stratégique – résultats et plan d’action





That the Planning and Environment Committee receive this report for information.




Que le Comité de l'urbanisme et de l'environnement prenne connaissance du présent rapport.





On February 18, 2010 the Planning and Growth Management Department hosted "Planning Innovation: A Policy Summit."  This half-day session focused on reviewing policy tools within the Planning Act that the City, the community, and the development industry could act upon to realize the goals of the Official Plan.


In particular, the Summit focussed on advancing a program that would allow for additional height and density in return for community benefits; a grant or financial program aimed at assisting in the preservation of heritage façades or designated heritage buildings; and a program aimed at redoubling efforts to develop Ottawa’s employment lands.


The purpose of this report is to provide a summary of the outcomes of the Summit and an action plan to implement the findings. 




An "As It Was Heard" summary of the Summit's proceedings can be seen in Document 2; however, the key outcomes from the discussion of each issue have been summarized below.


Issue #1:          Implementation of Height and Density Incentives/Conditional Zoning in Exchange for Community Benefits


Section 37 of the Planning Act provides municipalities with the authority to share in the increased value (economic uplift) that may result from the increased height and/or density of a development project. The legislation contemplates an exchange of height and/or density for community benefit in the context of good planning and under conditions set out in the Official Plan. Essentially, a developer receives something of value, and the intention is that the municipality receives something of value in return. The legislation however provides little guidance other than the requirement for a municipality to have a provision in its Official Plan relating to the authorization of increases in height and density of development for this purpose.


Discussion at the Summit focussed on the role that the City, the developer, and the community would play in implementing a Section 37 agreement, and in particular the definition of the community benefit, as well as what types of density or height for which development applications would require an agreement. The prevailing sentiment was that while such a program may have value, the City should first ensure that the Intensification Priority Areas, as identified in the Official Plan, have the appropriate zoning in place to permit the as-of-right height or density. To do this, a number of Community Design Plans and Secondary Plans must be re-assessed, along with the areas along the LRT corridors identified in the Transportation Master Plan.


Action to be undertaken:


The Department will review the zoning on Arterial Mainstreets, Mixed Use Centres, and Suburban Town Centres to develop zoning mechanisms to implement minimum density targets; revise performance standards to implement a more urban form of development; and revise parking standards to make them secondary to the achievement of minimum density targets. This work will be undertaken through to 2013, with full Ward Councillor and community consultation.


Issue #2:          Implementation of Tax Incentives, Policies, or Grant Programs to Encourage the

Retention and Restoration of Built Heritage Resources as Part of New Development


There are a number of potential benefits to the City and property owners that could be generated by a Heritage Tax Rebate Program. Receiving a 40 per cent refund on the City and Educational portion of property taxes may encourage more property owners to agree to designate their properties and enter into Heritage Easement Agreements, thus ensuring that significant built heritage resources are conserved and protected in perpetuity. A Heritage Tax Rebate Program could serve as an effective and unique incentive to attract investor interest to some of the City's historic properties, which may also be targeted for restoration and adaptive re-use.

The program could leverage new interest in the revitalization of vacant or underutilized designated heritage properties.


At the Summit it was argued that a grant program, even if financially viable for the City, would provide little or no direct financial benefit to the developer. Instead, it was concluded that the City would be more effective in achieving its goals by entering into Section 37 agreements with the development industry that would go beyond the preservation of building façades to ensure that buildings in their entirety are incorporated into new development in return for height or density benefits.


Action to be undertaken:


The Department will investigate the creation of a heritage conservation program using Section 37 agreements and report back to Planning and Environment Committee in Q2 2010. City staff will be meeting with City of Toronto planning staff to learn more about Toronto’s successful use of Section 37 in heritage planning.


Issue #3:  The City of Ottawa’s role in the development of Employment Lands


A key to realizing the economic development potential of a municipality is the analysis of employment lands, that is, those lands designated in an Official Plan to accommodate activities including manufacturing, warehousing, offices and associated retail or services. Ottawa has a strong history of major office development in business parks considering its history as a destination for high technology companies. However, there is a disturbing trend as employment land consumption is declining despite what is deemed to be an adequate 25-year supply of employment lands. Ottawa has a history of converting employment lands to non-employment uses (residential and retail) and has lost 35 per cent of its vacant employment land supply since 2001.


Discussion at the Summit focussed primarily on the role that Federal government office accommodation has in Ottawa. In particular it was noted that Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) does not have a history as a community partner, and therefore has not been fully engaged with the City or the community in pursuing mixed-use redevelopment of its underutilized properties (e.g. Tunney’s Pasture, Confederation Heights, Booth Street complex). It was argued that with a very limited supply of employment lands within the Greenbelt that the City should be undertaking a leadership role in working with the Federal government to redevelop its properties.


Action to be undertaken:


Staff of the Planning and Growth Management and Community Sustainability departments will join with Members of Council in meeting with PWGSC officials and Ottawa-area Members of Parliament with the aim of pursuing joint planning exercises on selected Federal lands within the Greenbelt.




There are no rural implications related to this report.




The Planning Innovation Policy Summit was attended by 45 individuals, including representatives from community organizations, Ottawa's development industry, and Members of Council.








There are no legal/risk management implications associated with this report.




Planning and Growth Management Priority: Encourage the development of existing employment lands to promote job creation and minimize infrastructure costs.


Planning and Growth Management Priority: Manage growth and create sustainable communities.












Document 1    Planning Innovation: A Policy Summit - Backgrounders

Document 2    Planning Innovation: A Policy Summit - Outcomes "As It Was Heard"




Staff will implement the outcomes of the Summit in accordance with the actions outlined in this report.





"AS IT WAS HEARD"                                                                                         DOCUMENT 2


Planning Innovation: A Policy Summit – “As It Was Heard”



Issue #1:


Implementation of Height and Density Incentives /

Conditional Zoning in Exchange for Community Benefits



Issue #2:


Implementation of Tax Incentives, Policies, or Grant Programs to Encourage the Retention and Restoration of Built Heritage Resources as Part of New Development



Issue #3:


The City of Ottawa’s role in the development of Employment Lands