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Zoning study: Small-scale Industrial uses in Commercial Zones

Project Status: 

Zoning By-law Amendment Proposal Summary

Zoning Study: Small-scale Industrial Uses in Commercial Zones (Storefront Industry)


Applicant: City-Initiated
File No: D02-02-17-0007
Date Submitted: November 30, 2017
Comments due date: January 11, 2018
Ward Councillor: City-wide

Site Locations

The proposed amendments will affect lands within commercial zones city-wide, as follows: AM-Arterial Mainstreet; GM-General Mixed-Use; MC-Mixed Use Centre; MD-Mixed Use Downtown; TD-Transit-Oriented Development; TM-Traditional Mainstreet; RC-Rural Commercial Zone; VM-Village Mixed-Use Zone.


Zoning By-law Amendment – This proposal introduces new zoning provisions allowing limited, small-scale manufacturing and food processing, including micro-distilleries and micro-breweries, in commercial areas. An earlier proposal was circulated to the public and to technical agencies in February 2017. The present document contains substantial changes to the February 2017 proposals; the key differences are summarized at the end of this section.

Currently, the Zoning By-law restricts all manufacturing and processing activities to industrial zones that are geographically distinct and apart from the fabric of the city, and located in segregated industrial or business parks. This approach is based on the 19th- and 20th-century industrial model of large, heavy-industrial plants generating noise, pollution, smoke, odours and freight traffic.

Today, however, that heavy-industrial model is in decline in North America, yet the associated framework of defined land use terms remains enshrined in the Zoning By-law. In particular, the current land use classifications do not respond well to the emerging model of small-scale, light manufacturing and food-processing activities that are integrated with a storefront retail or restaurant component in a mixed-use area. These kinds of light "storefront industries" need not be relegated to isolated industrial areas; under certain circumstances they are compatible with, and often better suited to, urban contexts such as mainstreets.

For example, making beer is technically an industrial activity under the current zoning, regardless of quantity. The growing popularity of micro-breweries and brew pubs on urban mainstreets, where the same site brews the beer and serves it to on-site customers as well as wholesaling relatively small quantities to other restaurants and retailers, is poorly accommodated by the current zoning. Craft furniture makers, dressmakers and other small-scale "maker" industries with an on-site retail component are similarly hampered. And businesses that start small (such as a craftsman making and selling his goods out of a single storefront) are prevented from growing without having to commit to a large-scale production facility in an industrial park.

The proposed amendment is intended to allow small-scale light manufacturing under certain circumstances in commercial and mixed-use areas. Manufacturing may be of food and beverage products, or of other products in small quantities. These "storefront industries" will by definition include a retail or restaurant component where the products being manufactured are available for sale and/or service to customers on-site, thereby supporting the commercial intent of these areas. However, the proposal also provides for such an operation to sell or distribute its products for resale at other locations.

Where permitted, Storefront Industries would:

  • by definition, include a retail or restaurant component, which may include an outdoor patio in the latter case;
  • be restricted to a certain maximum floor area (either 200 square metres or 350 square metres, depending on the zone) including storage;
  • not be permitted to have outdoor storage;
  • be required not to cause nuisance due to noise, odour, dust, fumes, vibration, radiation or glare;
  • Non-food-related storefront industry would, also by definition, exclude "mass-production (and) the use or production of flammable, explosive or other hazardous materials" which are considered heavy industry under the Zoning By-law.

A handful of site-specific zoning exceptions throughout the City have the effect of allowing both light industrial uses and restaurant or retail uses in zones where these are not otherwise permitted. The proposed amendment would modify these exceptions to provide that storefront industries are also allowed, in keeping with the intent of the zoning exception.

Finally, an existing legally-nonconforming grain mill at 405 Donald B. Munro Drive in Carp (in the VM zone) would have a zoning exception applied to allow the mill to operate as a light industrial use limited to a grain mill, or as a storefront industry, within its current floor area.

Proposal Details

The following draft zoning provisions are proposed for storefront industries:

  1. Amend Section 54 (Definitions) by adding the following defined term, Storefront Industry:
    Storefront Industry means the small-scale production, processing, packaging and storage of:
    1. food or beverages, and/or
    2. other goods produced in limited quantities, using techniques that do not involve mass-production nor the use or production of flammable, explosive or other hazardous materials,
      where such an establishment includes an ancillary restaurant, retail food store or retail store use through which such goods are sold or served to the public on-site, and which goods may be sold or distributed wholesale to off-site users or resellers.
  2. Amend Part 3 (Specific Use Provisions) by adding the following as Section 99:
    Storefront Industry (Section 99)
    1. No storefront industry may
      1. become a nuisance because of noise, odour, dust, fumes, vibration, radiation or glare;
      2. become a fire or building hazard or health risk; or
      3. interfere with radio, television or other telecommunications transmissions.
    2. A storefront industry
      1. must be entirely contained within a building, except for a permitted outdoor commercial patio; and
      2. may not have outdoor storage.
    3. The total floor area of a storefront industry, including its ancillary restaurant or retail store component, may not exceed:
      1. in the AM (Arterial Mainstreet) zone, 350 square metres
      2. in the GM (General Mixed-Use) zone, 350 square metres
      3. in the MC (Mixed Use Centre) zone, 350 square metres
      4. in the MD (Mixed Use Downtown) zone, 200 square metres
      5. in the RC (Rural Commercial) zone, 350 square metres
      6. in the TD (Transit-Oriented Development) zone, 350 square metres
      7. in the TM (Traditional Mainstreet) zone, 200 square metres
      8. in the VM (Village Mixed Use) zone, 200 square metres.
    4. For the purposes of Section 101 (Minimum Parking Space Requirements), the floor area used for production, processing, packaging and storage of goods in a storefront industry is considered a light industrial use that is separate and distinct from the ancillary restaurant, retail store or retail food store component."
  3. Amend Subsections 185(1) (AM Zone), 187(1) (GM Zone), 191(1) (MC Zone), 193(1) (MD Zone),  195(1) (TD Zone), 197(1) (TM Zone), 217(1) (RC Zone) and 229(1) (VM Zone) by adding "Subject to Section 99, a storefront industry" to the list of permitted uses in each case.
  4. Amend Section 85 (Outdoor Commercial Patios) by adding the words ", storefront industry" after the words "place of assembly" in subsection 85(1).
  5. Amend Part 15 (Exceptions) to provide that, where an existing site-specific zoning exception has the effect of allowing both light industrial uses and retail store, retail food store or restaurant uses, a storefront industry is also permitted.
  6. Amend the zoning at 405 Donald B. Munro Drive, Carp, to permit the existing nonconforming grain mill or allow it to become a storefront industry.​

How does this proposal differ from the February 2017 circulation? 

The main differences between the proposal circulated in February and the current proposal are as follows:

  • The term "storefront industry" proposed in this document is defined differently from the previous proposal's "micro-industrial use."
  • The February 2017 proposal would have allowed micro-industrial use in the LC Local Commercial Zone; the present proposal excludes that zone.
  • The February 2017 proposals allowed different minimum floor areas depending on the product being manufactured, with larger floor areas for micro-breweries and micro-distilleries; these floor area limits would be the same regardless of what zone they are located in. In the updated proposal, restrictions on storefront industry floor areas are the same regardless of the type of manufacturing, but differ according to the zone.
  • The February 2017 proposal did not include product storage in the calculation of floor area, whereas the present document does.
  • The current proposal stipulates a prohibition on nuisance similar to that applicable to home-based businesses, and includes language clarifying how parking minima are to be calculated for a storefront industry.
  • The current proposal would modify existing zoning exceptions that currently allow for both light industrial uses and retail or restaurant uses, to provide that storefront industry is allowed on these sites.
  • The existing nonconforming grain mill at 405 Donald B. Munro Drive in Carp would have an exception to permit the existing grain mill or allow it to become a storefront industry.

Related Planning Applications

Not Applicable.

Timelines and Approval Authority

The “On Time Decision Date”, the target date the proposed amendment will be considered by the City’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee is April 5, 2018 and by Planning Committee is March 27, 2018.

Submission Requirements

If a person or public body does not make oral submissions at a public meeting or make written submissions to the City of Ottawa before the proposed by-law is passed, the person or public body is not entitled to appeal the decision of the Council of the City of Ottawa to the Ontario Municipal Board.  

If a person or public body does not make oral submissions at a public meeting or make written submissions to the City of Ottawa before the proposed by-law is passed, the person or public body may not be added as a party to the hearing of an appeal before the Ontario Municipal Board unless, in the opinion of the Board, there are reasonable grounds to do so.

Request to Post This Summary
If you have received this notice because you are the owner of a building within the area of the proposed zoning by-law amendment, and the building has at least seven (7) residential units, it is requested that you post this notice in a location visible to all of the residents.

Stay Informed and Involved

  1. Register for future notifications about this application and provide your comments either by faxing or mailing the notification sign-up form in this package or by e-mailing me and adding File No. D02-02-17-0007 in the subject line.
  2. If you wish to be notified of the decision of Council on the proposed zoning by-law, you must make a written request to me. My contact information is below.
  3. Should you have any questions, please contact me.

Tim J. Moerman, MCIP, RPP
Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development Department
City of Ottawa110 Laurier Avenue West, 4th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1P 1J1
Tel.: 613-580-2424, ext. 13944
Fax: 613-580-2459