Minimum Parking Review: Final Zoning Proposals (March 3, 2016)

Following extensive consultation beginning in May 2015, the Minimum Parking Review has produced a set of detailed zoning proposals to be presented to Planning Committee and Council later this year. These proposals are being circulated for public comment on March 3rd, 2016:

While reading these proposals, please refer to the maps included below as Appendix A and Appendix B, which show the areas where the proposed new minimum parking requirements would apply. Appendix A is zoomed in on those areas where new parking requirements are proposed; Appendix B shows the actual schedule that would appear in the Zoning By-law.

Please send written comments no later than Tuesday, April 5, 2016 to:
Email: or

Mail: Review of Minimum Parking Requirements
City Hall
110 Laurier Avenue West, 
4th Floor Mail Code 01-14
Ottawa, Ontario  K1P 1J1

Fax: 613-580-2459

How do these proposals differ from the Draft Recommendations published in Discussion Paper #2 (October 2015)

The October 2015 Discussion Paper presented detailed zoning recommendations along with some explanation for why they are being proposed. Many of the recommendations proposed here are similar or identical to those changes. However, in some cases we have modified our recommendations. For those readers already familiar with the October 2015 Draft Recommendations and who just want to know what's changed, we have provided some notes below highlighting the major changes and the reasons behind them.

Map boundaries

  • Area X has been expanded to include the former Village of Rockcliffe Park and that part of Ward 13 south of Montreal Road.
  • Area Z has been expanded to include:
    • the Mixed-Use Centre near Gladstone O-Train Station, an area bounded by the O-Train, Somerset Street, Preston Street and the Queensway (previously shown as Area X); and
    • the Mixed-Use Centre at Preston/Carling, an area bounded by the Queensway (northern boundary); Carling Avenue (southern boundary); Lebreton Street (eastern boundary) and Champagne Ave. S/Beech Street/Loretta Ave. S (western boundary.) (Previously shown as Area Y.)

Minimum parking ratios for non-residential uses in Area X and Y

The October 21 Draft Recommendations and accompanying web content indicated that, where parking is required for non-residential uses, the rate in Area X and Area Y would be 50% of the current suburban (Area C on Schedule 1/Table 101 of the current Zoning By-law.) The new recommendations use 50% of the current inner-urban (Area B on Schedule 1/Table 101) ratios.

Area Y exemptions

  • Where the October 2015 recommendations proposed to exempt Retail Food Stores (grocery stores) up to 1,000 m2 gross floor area from minimum parking requirements, it is now proposed to increase that exemption to 1,500 m2.
  • The October 2015 recommendations proposed to exempt Restaurants up to 500 m2 from minimum parking requirements. It is now proposed to lower that threshold and exempt Restaurants up to 350m2 from parking requirements. Following discussions about the particular pattern of restaurant use (tending to be more concentrated around peak periods than other uses) as well as the generally smaller size distribution for this use. 350m2 represents the 95th percentile of restaurant uses on Traditional Mainstreets and so represents a more conservative approach to a special case while remaining true to the overall logic behind exempting small-scale uses.

Visitor parking requirements

  • The October 2015 recommendations proposed to reduce the minimum visitor parking rate throughout Area X and Area Y from 0.2 visitor spaces per dwelling unit in excess of 12, to a maximum requirement of 60 visitor spaces, to 0.083 visitor spaces per dwelling unit in excess of 12 (maximum 60.)The new recommendation proposes 0.1 per unit over 12, to a maximum of 30 visitor spaces.
  • The October 2015 recommendations proposed no visitor parking requirements throughout Area Z. That recommendation has been amended to apply the same visitor parking requirements as are proposed in Areas X and Y, i.e. 0.1 spaces per dwelling unit in excess of twelve, to a maximum of 30 spaces. (This is also the rate that currently applies in Area A east of the Rideau Canal.) Please note that this would have the effect of introducing a minimum visitor parking requirement for residential uses in the Central Area west of the Rideau Canal, where currently no visitor parking minima apply.

Parking reductions near rapid-transit stations outside of Areas X, Y and Z

The October 21 Draft Recommendations proposed a simple percentage reduction in non-residential parking rates depending on proximity to a suburban rapid-transit station (i.e. 50% reduction within 400m, and a 25% reduction between 400m and 800m.)

The current proposal is for reductions only within 400m walking distance of these stations (not out to 800m.) Any non-residential or mixed-use building within that walking distance would be treated as Area X for parking purposes. That is, non-residential uses up to 200m2 would be exempt from parking, as would up to twelve dwelling units in a mixed-use building. Where parking is required, the rate would be equal to one-half the current inner-urban requirement. (Area B on Schedule 1A/Table 101.) Existing reductions for residential buildings near transit would not be changed.

The current proposal is more focused on encouraging density and mixed use closer to the transit stations themselves, rather than on extending reductions far from the station.

Earlier Documents

You can access the two previous Discussion Papers below:

Some of the feedback received earlier in the process, as well as some answers to frequently asked questions, can be accessed below:

In case you missed it, we've also produced a short video that discusses some of the reasons for our approach: