A by-law of the City of Ottawa to adopt the Heritage Community Improvement Plan.
WHEREAS pursuant to Section 28 of the Planning Act, R.S.O. 1990. C. P.13, City Council may, may where it has passed a by-law designating the whole or part of an area covered by an official plan as a community improvement project area, adopt a plan as a community improvement plan for the community improvement project area;
AND WHEREAS Council has convened public meetings to consider the adoption of the Heritage Community Improvement Plan for the creation of a new tax rebate program for heritage building restoration;
AND WHEREAS on October 21, 2019 and November 5, 2019 the Built Heritage Sub-Committee and Finance and Economic Development Committee, respectively, recommended the designation of all lands within the geographic boundary of the City of Ottawa as the Heritage Community Improvement Plan Area;
AND WHEREAS on November 27, 2019, City council carried the recommendations of the Built Heritage Sub-Committee and Finance and Economic Development Committee;
THEREFORE the Council of the City of Ottawa enacts as follows:
- Attachment 1, being the Heritage Community Improvement Plan, is hereby adopted:
- This by-law shall come into force in accordance with the provisions of the Planning Act, R.S.O. 1990, c.P.13, as amended.
ENACTED AND PASSED this 29th day of January, 2020.
Section I – History and Legislative Context
In July 2016 the City of Ottawa announced the creation of the Mayor’s Heritage Matters Task Force – a cross-section of City staff and stakeholders assembled to work on a concerted effort to encourage the proper maintenance and protection of the city’s heritage buildings.
One objective of the task force was to develop tools to assist in preventing future instances of demolition by neglect. It aimed to ensure that future generations would continue to enjoy our rich architectural heritage. The task force would bring forward any new solutions or improved ways of dealing with the small percentage of heritage properties that are vacant and not well maintained.
Staff conducted research into the best practices of financial tools in Ontario municipalities to identify options for the City in its efforts to ensure that all designated heritage buildings are properly maintained and that assistance is available to eligible property owners. An incentive program could help to revitalize areas of the city where many vacant buildings are located.
2. Basis of the Plan
Across the province, over 30 municipalities offer some sort of tax relief program for heritage properties. These programs recognize that owners of heritage properties incur on average higher costs for repair and maintenance, therefore their aim is to incentivize property owners to preserve their buildings. Cities such as Toronto, Oshawa and Kingston offer refunds of up to 40% of their annual property tax bill. The municipality refunds the City’s share of the tax, and the province funds the educational portion. This is facilitated by the Municipal Act.
Staff reviewed the Municipal Act options and on the basis of financial affordability it is recommended to development of a Community Improvement Plan (CIP) under the Planning Act.. This program would encourage the restoration and adaptive re-use of heritage buildings, by giving property owners grants on the cost to restore the heritage attributes of the building.
3. Planning Act
Section 28 of the Planning Act allows municipalities with provisions in their Official Plans relating to community improvement to designate through by-law a “community improvement project area” to prepare and adopt a community improvement plan for the community improvement project area. Once the community improvement plan has been adopted by the municipality and comes into effect, the municipality may exercise authority under Section 28 (6), (7) or (7.2) of the Planning Act of Section 365.1 of the Municipal Act, 2001 in order that the exception provided for in Section 106 (3) of the Municipal Act, 2001 would apply.
According to Section 28 (1) of the Planning Act, a “community improvement project area” is defined as “a municipality or an area within a municipality, the community improvement of which in the opinion of the council is desirable because of age, dilapidation, overcrowding, faulty arrangement, unsuitable of buildings or for any other environmental, social or community economic development reason.”
Section 28 (1) of the Planning Act defines “community improvement” as “the planning or re-planning, design or redesign, re-subdivision, clearance, development or redevelopment, construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation, improvement of energy efficiency, or any of them, of a community improvement project area, and the provision of such residential, commercial, industrial, public, recreational, institutional, religious, charitable, or other uses, buildings, structures, works, improvements or facilities, or spaces therefore, as may be appropriate or necessary”.
Once a CIP has come into effect, the municipality may:
Acquire, hold, clear, grade or otherwise prepare land for community improvement (Section 28 (3) of the Planning Act);
- Construct, repair, rehabilitate, or improve buildings on land acquired or held by it in conformity with the community improvement plan (Section 28 (6));
- Sell, lease, or otherwise dispose of any land and buildings acquired or held by it in conformity with the community improvement plan (Section 28 (6)); and
- Make grants or loans, in conformity with the community improvement plan, to registered owners, assessed owners and tenants of land and buildings within the community improvement project area, and to any person to whom such an owner or tenant has assigned the right to receive a grant or loan, to pay for the whole or any part of the eligible costs of the community improvement plan (Section 28 (7)).
Section 28 (7.1) of the Planning Act further specifies that the eligible costs of a community improvement plan for the purposes of Section 28 (7) may include costs related to environmental site assessment, environmental remediation, development, redevelopment, construction and reconstruction of lands and buildings for rehabilitation purposes or for the provision of energy efficient uses, buildings, structures, works, improvements or facilities.
Section 28 (7.3) of the Planning Act specifies that the total of all grants and loans made in respect of particular lands and buildings under Section 28 (7) and (7.2) of the Planning Act shall not exceed the eligible costs of the community improvement plan with respect to those lands and buildings. The grant program contained in Section II of this report sets out the program details for a Heritage CIP Plan that includes safeguards to ensure that this legislation requirement is met.
4. Provincial Policy Statement
The Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) 2019, issued under Section 3 of the Planning Act, guides municipalities as planning decisions are made. The Planning Act requires that municipal decisions in respect of the exercise of any authority that affects a planning matter “shall be consistent with” the PPS.
The PPS supports long-term economic prosperity. For example, Section 1.7 d) of the PPS states, “long-term economic prosperity should be supported encouraging a sense of place, by promoting well-designed built from and cultural planning, and by conserving features that help define character, including built heritage resources and cultural heritage landscapes.” The Heritage CIP seeks to encourage property owners to restore and adaptively re-use buildings designated under the Ontario Heritage Act.
The PPS also supports the conservation of cultural heritage resources. For example, Section 2.6.1 of the PPS states “significant built heritage resources and significant cultural heritage landscapes shall be conserved.”
5. Ottawa Official Plan
The Community Improvement policies in Section 5.2.5 of the Official Plan set out the rationale for preparing a community improvement plan, criteria to be considered when designating a community improvement project area, priority areas for community improvement, and the range of actions that Council may undertake to implement community improvement plans. Depending on the purpose for which it is designated, a Community Improvement Plan Project Area may be part or all of the urban area of the City of Ottawa, and/or part or all of one or more villages in the City of Ottawa. The full text of Section 5.2.5 of the City of Ottawa Official Plan is contained in Schedule “A”.
The Official Plan also supports the conservation of cultural heritage resources. For example, Section 126.96.36.199 states, “The City may participate in the development of heritage resources through acquisition, assembly, resale, joint ventures, tax credits, tax exemptions, or other forms of involvement that will result in the sensitive conservation, restoration, and/or rehabilitation of those resources.” Additionally, Section 188.8.131.52 states that “the City will assess the feasibility of developing a program to provide property tax relief to owners of eligible heritage properties, using provisions in the Municipal Act, 2001. The City will undertake further study of financial incentives for the owners of heritage buildings, including but not limited to, waiving development charges, encroachment fees, etc. [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, August 18, 2011]”
Section II – Recommended Financial Incentive Program
The Heritage Community Improvement Plan would provide a financial incentive in the form of a Tax Increment Equivalent Grant (TIEG) to property owners with qualified restoration and adaptive re-use projects in the City of Ottawa. The grant would be equivalent to a portion of the increase in the municipal property taxes directly attributed to the restoration. These TIEG grants would be “self-financing” or in other words, funded through the property tax increase associated with the qualified restoration improvement.
The program would be based on the assumption that development would not occur ‘but for’ the incentive made to the property owner. Grants would be paid only after restoration and development is completed, the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) has reassessed the property, and any property assessments appeals have been settled, and taxes have been paid in full.
The program would commence on or after the date that this Plan comes into effect, and would be offered for a trial period of three years, subject to the availability of funding as approved by City Council. An annual budget of five hundred thousand dollar ($500,000) upset limit over the duration of a three-year pilot Heritage CIP program period.
Because TIEGs are “self-financing” or in other words, funded through the property tax increase associated with the qualified restoration improvement, TIEG incentives are in frequent use in Ontario.
Heritage Incentive Grant Program
The intent of the Heritage Incentive Grant Program is to encourage the restoration and adaptive re-use of buildings designated under the Ontario Heritage Act. The Heritage Incentive Grant program would also encourage restoration of the heritage attributes for a redevelopment proposal, and assist in achieving improved building architecture, site design and site landscaping. These benefits would be encouraged by offering a financial incentive in the form of an annual grant funded from incremental property tax assessments and the corresponding increased contribution to tax revenues made by owners of CIP project properties.
All submissions under the Heritage Incentive CIP must be for the restoration and adaptive re-use of properties located within the City of Ottawa. Eligible projects include buildings designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act and contributing (Category 1, 2, 3 or Grade I) properties designated under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act.
Candidate properties would be reviewed in detail, based on best knowledge of current trends and history to ensure that an incentive is, in fact, required to stimulate restoration and adaptive re-use. The applicant is required to provide a rationale clearly demonstrating that the project would not otherwise proceed in the absence of the incentive and that the project meets the Council-approved Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada.
The City would reimburse the successful applicants in the form of an annual grant equal to seventy-five per cent (75%) of the municipal tax increment resulting from the project. Grants would extent for up to 10 years after project completion to a maximum of five-hundred thousand dollars ($500,000), but not exceeding the total costs of the restoration work.
Applications will be processed and approved based on satisfying eligibility requirements and the following considerations:
- Urgency of the project (i.e.. Restoration/rehabilitation requirement)
- Contribution to the public good (eg. Contribution to the public realm, other Official Plan goals such as housing affordability and sustainability)
- Project is located within a Design Priority Area
- Tax uplift to the City
Staff from the Heritage and Urban Design Branch along with Economic Development and Long Range Planning and Finance Services would examine each application. This review would ensure that the projects receiving grants are eligible under the program and that they do not represent ‘organic growth’, but rather are occurring because of financial incentives.
Grants would be paid only after building restoration and project is completed, the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) has reassessed the property and taxes have been paid in full.
Staff would prepare a report for each application under the Heritage CIP and submit it for approval by Council.
As a condition of approval of an application for a Heritage CIP Tax Increment Equivalent Grant, the applicant must enter into an agreement with the City. The agreement will be registered against the property to which it applies and will specify the terms, duration, and the default provision of the grant.
3. Program Duration and Limits
The amount of time needed from concept to completion for a typical redevelopment project may take from a few months to several years to complete. Often projects can take 3-5 years to be ready to make an application.
The Ontario Planning Act sets no legal time limit for completing a Community Improvement Plan. Accordingly, in order to allow time for full assessment, design and planning, and to provide time for City outreach and marketing, it is proposed that the grant program be tested for a three-year trial period following Council approval and adoption of the required bylaws.
The Heritage CIP program would commence on or after the date that this Plan comes into effect and would be offered for a period of three years, subject to the availability of funding as approved by City Council.
Applications would be accepted during this three-year period (up to 2023) but would not be available on a retroactive basis. For Council-approved TIEGs that have been approved for a duration of up to ten years, discontinuation of the program or a change in grant entitlement would not affect or reduce the approved grant amounts, or the grant entitlement period.
All grants are offered subject to Council approval of operating funds where applicable. The commencement of timing for program duration for each incentive grant starts on the date the application is approved by Council, based on total program funding available.
The program will provide an annual upset limit of five-hundred thousand dollar ($500,000) upset limit over the duration of the three-year Heritage CIP program period subject to the yearly budget process.
The provisions of any grant commitment will be administered in accordance with any administrative rules governing this and other grants.
4. Goals and Objectives
The principal goals of the Heritage CIP would be to encourage property owners of buildings designated under the Ontario Heritage Act to restore their buildings. This program is targeting vacant and abandoned heritage buildings that are very costly to restore, and to help offset those additional costs for restoration.
5. Community Improvement Project Area
The proposed Heritage CIP would be available to properties located with the City of Ottawa limits.
6. Community Improvement Plan Incentive Program
Among several incentive options available for Ontario municipalities under the provisions of the Ontario Planning Act, the Heritage CIP would include only a Tax Increment Equivalent Grant (TIEG). The TIEG program would be structured to cover the costs associated with the restoration of a designated heritage building from project inception to completion. All grants would be paid only after the site development is completed, the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) has reassessed the property, and taxes have been paid in full.
Grants would be funded from incremental property tax assessments and the corresponding increased contribution to tax revenues made by owners of CIP project properties that, but for the provision of financial incentives, would not otherwise have occurred. Representatives from Heritage and Urban Design Services Branch, together with Economic Development Services, Development Review Services and Financial Services would examine each application to ensure that the projects receiving grants do not represent ‘organic growth’, but rather are occurring because of financial incentives.
As the municipality receives the additional property taxes that result from the increased assessment associated with the redevelopment, the City would reimburse the owner in the form of an annual grant. Grants would extend up to 10 years after project completion to a maximum of five-hundred thousand dollars ($500,000), but not exceeding the total eligible costs of the restoration work.
The assessed and municipal property taxes (“base rate”) will be determined before commencement of the project. The increase in municipal property taxes (or “municipal tax increment”) is calculated subtracting the municipal property taxes before reassessment from the municipal property taxes after reassessment as determined by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) following project completion. The amount of the grant payment will be recalculated annually based on the municipal property taxes levied and the resultant municipal tax increment paid by the owner for that year.
While the City cannot guarantee that the benefit of the Heritage CIP TIEG program would flow through to tenants, the owner is required to inform the tenant of their participation in the Heritage CIP. There is no requirement for the property owner and tenant to submit an application jointly. The owner must provide evidence to the City that the tenant is aware of the program so that they may negotiate lease terms with complete information.
Heritage CIP incentives would only be available to the owner that signed the original grant application and incentives are not transferable. If all or part of a property were sold within a grant eligibility period, then grant payments would immediately be discontinued.
However, the City may, at its discretion, transfer all or part of a grant amount to a new property owner subject to the new owner entering into an agreement (where applicable) with the City that fulfills the requirements of the original agreement, plus any new requirements.
Coordinated development proposals that include abutting properties under the same or separate ownership would be subject to a maximum grant amount, which may not exceed five-hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) per heritage building.
7. General Program Requirements
The general and program specific requirements contained in this CIP are not necessarily exhaustive and the City reserves the right to include other requirements and conditions as deemed necessary on a property-specific basis. The financial incentive program contained in this CIP is subject to the following general requirements:
- Only owners of properties designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act, or contributing (Category 1, 2, 3 or Grade I) properties designated under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act may apply for this CIP grant;
- The City reserves the right to audit the works that have been approved under the Heritage CIP at the expense of the applicant;
- An upset limit of five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) subject to the yearly budget process;
- The applicant shall be required to include as part of any Heritage CIP TIEG application an independent tax study by a qualified consultant, having an Accredited Appraiser Canadian Institute (ACCI) designation or an AIMA (Associate) or MIMA (Accredited) designation from the Institute of Municipal Assessors, which provides an estimate of the property assessment increment related to the heritage restoration improvement;
- Generally, the City would provide grant payments under this CIP only after the applicable permits have been issued; construction is complete and has received final inspection approval by the City; the property has been reassessed by MPAC demonstrating that the minimum required increase in assessment has been achieved; and, following reassessment, the property owner has paid property taxes in full;
- The City is not responsible for any costs incurred by an application in relation to the program, including, without limitation, costs incurred in anticipation of a grant;
- If an applicant is in the default of any of the general or program specific requirements, or any other requirements of the City, the City may delay, reduce or cancel the approved grant;
- The City may discontinue the program at any time, but applicants with approved grants would continue to receive said grants subject to meeting the general and program specific requirements;
- All proposed works approved under the incentive program and associated improvements to buildings and/or land shall conform to all relevant codes, policies, procedures, standards, and guidelines, including applicable municipal by-laws, Official Plan policies and zoning requirements, and approvals;
- The improvements made to building and/or land shall be made pursuant to a building permit where required, and/or other required permits, and shall be constructed in accordance with the Ontario Building Code where applicable;
- City staff, officials, and/or agents of the City may inspect any property that is the subject of an application for the Heritage CIP Incentive Program offered by the City;
- To be eligible to receive Heritage CIP grants, beginning with the first post-development grant payment and continuing throughout the grant period, the owner’s financial accounts with the City must be in good standing (including taxes, water, fines, and all other accounts due). On an annual basis, the property taxes must be paid before the grant is released (i.e., the grant would not be paid if the property owner is in arrears);
- If post-construction assessment is appealed by any party for a property and/or buildings subject of an approved grant application and the post-appeal assessment is reduced, the City would recalculate payments made to the applicant under a TIEG application, that were based on the higher assessment and corresponding municipal tax increment, and any overpayment amount shall be repaid to the City by the Owner;
- To be considered for the Heritage Incentives CIP program, a project must include a restoration component to the project;
- Internal upgrades in existing buildings are not expected to have a beneficial impact on the assessed value of the property and do not qualify for the incentive grant program in this CIP;
- A pre-consultation meeting for the proposed development is required to determine the type of necessary planning and heritage applications;
- Applications for funding under this program are subject to approval by City Council;
- As a condition of approval for a TIEG application, the applicant must enter into agreement with the City. The Agreement would be registered against the land to which it applies and would specify the terms, duration, and default provisions of the grant;
- Applicants cannot also receive concurrent funding through the Heritage Grant Program for Building Restoration.
8. Eligible Costs
Eligible costs for the Heritage Community Improvement Plan Incentive program include the following:
- Restoration of heritage attributes (as identified by heritage staff, when no heritage attributes are documented). All projects must conform to the Council-approved Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada.
- Costs associated with hiring a heritage consultant/architect to oversee the work
- Heritage reports (e.g. Cultural Heritage Impact Statements, Conservation Reports)
Applications will be processed and approved based on the criteria identified above. City staff would undertake review and evaluation of an application and supporting materials against program requirement
9. Project Eligibility
This Heritage CIP only applies to properties located within the boundaries of the City of Ottawa.
- Only properties designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act and contributing (Category 1, 2, 3 or Grade I) properties designated under Part V under the Ontario Heritage Act are eligible.
9.2. Property Uses
Eligible properties include institutional, commercial, mixed-use and mid to large-scale multi-unit residential buildings.
Eligible properties include privately owned properties or properties assessed under Section 3 of the Assessment Act.
All eligible proposals shall obtain a building permit along with all other approvals.
9.3. Ineligible Uses and projects
As the purpose of the Heritage CIP is to encourage restoration of designated institutional, commercial, mixed-use and mid to large-scale multi-residential buildings, therefore small-scale residential buildings are ineligible (e.g. single, semi‑detached and townhouses).
Property owners of non-contributing (Category 4 or Grade II) buildings in heritage conservation districts are not eligible for this Heritage CIP.
The Economic Development and Long Range Planning (EDLRP) Branch would manage and administer the Program with participation from Heritage and Urban Design Services (HUD) Branch, Development Review Services (DRS), and Finance Services. A ‘one window’ approach would be used for a single application submitted at the time of site plan application, if required, or building and/or heritage permit application for the project.
Final approval of all new grants would be contingent on Council approving the first year of grant payment at the time of the annual City budget approval. Once a grant application is approved and an agreement is entered into between the City and the applicant, the City is obliged to continue annual grant payments as set out in the agreement. However, the recipient’s accounts with the City – taxes, water, any fines etc. – must be in good standing, and on an annual basis, the current year’s property taxes have been paid before the grant is released.
Applicants may have an initial conversation with either an Economic Development Officer from EDLRP or a Heritage Planner from Heritage and Urban Design Services or with a representative of DRS. In either case; these initial conversations may lead to an applicant’s desire to proceed.
Where the applicant does wish to proceed, and when initial discussions suggest the likelihood of acceptance under the Heritage CIP program, the next step would be a required preliminary pre-consultation meeting to be arranged by Heritage and Urban Design Services. Where a Site Plan application is required, both Heritage and Urban Design Services and staff in Development Review Services would be required at this meeting. At the pre-consultation meeting, the applicant would be advised about any additional steps that may be required. For example, the applicant may be advised that the project may require a Site Plan, Rezoning, Transportation Study, Conservation input in addition to a Heritage Permit.
For those cases where the project may proceed directly to a Building Permit after the Heritage Permit, staff in Heritage and Urban Design Services would arrange a subsequent meeting with a Development Information Officer (DIO) and Building Code Services. The applicant would be advised about any additional steps that may be required. For example, the applicant may be advised that their project would require separate permit applications for signs, encroachment, etc.
Where these initial conversations confirm that the project should proceed, subject to required approvals that form part of the process, the applicant would then complete a Heritage CIP Application. The application must include required supporting documentation, including, an independent tax study that sets out an estimate of the property assessment increment prepared by a qualified consultant, having an AACI designation (Accredited Appraiser Canadian Institute), and a Cultural Heritage Impact Statement and Conservation Plan prepared by a qualified heritage conservation professional, having a membership in the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals (CAHP) must be submitted to the CIP coordinator in Heritage and Urban Design Services.
Staff in EDLRP together with HUD and DRS would review the application, perform such due diligence as is deemed appropriate and forward the application together with any analysis or additional information to Committee and Council. In particular, staff would examine the application to ensure that projects receiving grants do not represent ‘organic growth’, but rather are occurring because of financial incentives.
Where a Heritage CIP TIEG has been approved for a project, staff in EDLRP would inform the applicant and immediately begin a process to initiate a formal agreement, which would be prepared by the City’s Legal Department, based on the detailed information supplied by the applicant in the CIP grant application. Each year until the end of the TIEG period or until the maximum grant amount has been reached, staff would review the project to ensure that the owner has paid the property taxes in full for that year and all other amounts to be paid to the City are in good standing.
Concurrent with this process to enter into a formal CIP incentive agreement, the applicant would conclude any remaining design requirements and proceed with next steps required in the process of development and permit approvals.
In addition to a Heritage Permit these additional steps may include one or more of the following permits and approvals, but are not restricted to the following:
- Site Plan Approval
- Demolition permit
- Application for construction permit
- Septic permit
- Zoning and Permitted uses
- Official Plan Amendment
- Minor Variance etc.
- Other approval
- Lot grading approval
- Ministry of Natural Resources consent
- Permit required from Ministry of Transportation Ontario (MTO)
- Permission to infill (Conservation Authority)
- Monitoring and Amendments
The City would conduct periodic reviews of the grant program and activities relating to community improvements under this Plan to determine effectiveness. Council may utilize this information to amend this Plan as necessary to ensure that the goals outlined in Section 11 are achieved.
The following variables should be monitored on an individual project and aggregate basis for the incentive program:
- Number of applications;
- Increase in assessed value of participating properties;
- Estimated and actual amount of tax increment financing grant provided;
- Number of buildings restored;
- Hectares/acres of land developed;
- Number of program defaults
The feedback from monitoring the CIP may lead to minor revisions to the grant programs. Therefore, the City may periodically review and adjust the terms and requirements of any of the programs contained in this Plan or discontinue any of the programs contained in this Plan, without amendments to the Plan, subject to Council approval. Such minor changes or discontinuation of programs would be provided to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing for information purposes. Increases in funding provided by existing financial incentives or changes to eligibility criteria that would increase funding provided, the addition of any new programs to this Plan would require a formal amendment to the CIP in accordance with Section 28 of the Planning Act.
The grant program described in the Plan would be available subject to an annual budget allocation approved by Council. Similar to the tax increment-based Brownfield Grant, Heritage CIP grants would be identified as the applications are received and reviewed. Operating pressures associated with approved Heritage CIP grants would be brought forward through the budget process in the anticipated year(s) of payout and funded through the increment taxes that would be generated from the community improvements as described in this document.
12. Additional Community Improvement Plan Programs
Applicants in receipt of the Heritage CIP program will not be eligible for other City of Ottawa Community Improvement Plans.
Schedule “A” – Section 5.2.5 of the City of Ottawa Official Plan
5.2.5 – Community Improvement
[Amendment #40, April 26, 2006]
The Community Improvement provisions of the Planning Act allow municipalities to prepare Community Improvement Plans for designated Community Improvement Project Areas that require community improvement as the results of age, dilapidation, overcrowding, faulty arrangement, unsuitability of buildings or for any other environmental, social or community economic development reason. Once a Community Improvement Plan has been adopted by a municipality, approved by the Province, and is in effect, the municipality may offer incentives to encourage private sector investment. The municipality may also undertake a wide range of actions for the purpose of carrying out the community improvement plan.
- The City will maintain and promote an attractive and safe living and working environment through community improvement. To this end, community improvement will be accomplished through the:
- Designated by by-law of Community Improvement Project Area(s), the boundary of which may be part of all of the urban area of the City of Ottawa, and/or part of all of one of more Villages as defined in the Plan, and as amend from time to time;
- Preparation, adoption and implementation of a Community Improvement Plan(s) within a designated Community Improvement Project Area(s), pursuant to the Planning Act and the community improvement policies set out in this Plan;
- Ongoing maintenance, rehabilitation, redevelopment and upgrading of areas characterized by deficient/obsolete/deteriorated buildings, deficient municipal recreational or hard services, and social, community, or economic instability; and,
- Establishment of programs to facilitate municipal and private sector rehabilitation and redevelopment that addresses identified economic development, land development, environmental, energy efficiency, housing, and/or social development issues/needs.
Community Improvement Project Areas
2. The designation of Community Improvement Project Areas shall be based on one or more of the following conditions being present:
- Known or perceived environmental contamination;
- Vacant lots and underutilized properties and buildings which have potential for infill, redevelopment or expansion to better utilize the land base or the public infrastructure;
- Other barriers to the repair, rehabilitation or redevelopment of underutilized land and/or buildings;
- Buildings, building façades, and/or property, including buildings, structures and lands of heritage and/or architectural significance, in need of preservation, restoration, repair, rehabilitation, energy efficiency or renewable energy improvements, or redevelopment;
- Absence of an adequate mix of uses;
- Deficiencies in physical infrastructure including but not limited to the sanitary sewer system, storm sewer system, and/or watermain system, streetscapes and/or street lighting, municipal parking facilities, sidewalks, curbs, or road state of repair;
- Poor overall visual quality, including but not limited to, streetscapes and urban design and/or overhead wiring;
- A concentration of obsolete or aging low-density land uses, vacant lots, surface parking lots and/or abandoned buildings;
- High commercial vacancy rates;
- Deficiencies in community and social services including but not limited to public open space, parks, indoor/outdoor recreational facilities, and public social facilities and support services;
- Opportunities to improve the mix of housing types;
- High commercial vacancy rates;
- Any other environmental, energy efficiency, social or community economic development reasons.
3. Priority for the designation of Community Improvement Project Areas and the preparation and adoption of Community Improvement Plans shall be given to those areas:
- Targeted for growth and intensification in Section 2.2.2 Managing Growth Within the Urban Area, in particular, the Central Area, Traditional and Arterial Mainstreets, Mixed Use Centres and the vicinity (within an 800‑metre walking distance) of existing or planned rapid transit stations; and/or
- Where the greatest number of conditions (as established in Policy 2) are present; and/or,
- Where one or more of the conditions (as established in Policy 2) is particularly acute; and/or,
- Where one or more of the conditions (as established in Policy 2) exists across the urban area of the city. [Amendment #150, December 21, 2017]
Community Improvement Plans
4. Community Improvement Plans may be prepared and adopted to:
- Facilitate the renovation, repair, rehabilitation, remediation, redevelopment or other improvement of lands and/or buildings;
- Facilitate the preservation, restoration, adaptive reuse and improvement of buildings with historical, architectural or other heritage significance;
- Facilitate the development of mixed-use buildings, or the introduction of a wider mix of uses in areas that are deficient in mixed uses;
- Facilitate the restoration, maintenance, improvement and protection of natural habitat, parks, open space and recreational amenities;
- Facilitate residential and other types of infill and intensification;
- Facilitate the construction of a range of housing types and the construction of affordable housing;
- Upgrade and improve municipal services and public utilities such as sanitary sewers, storm sewers, watermains, roads and sidewalks;
- Improve pedestrian and bicycle circulation;
- Facilitate public transit supportive land uses and improve the quality of, and accessibility to, transit facilities;
- Contribute to the ongoing viability and revitalization of the Central Area, Mainstreets, and other areas that may require community improvement;
- Improve environmental and energy consumption conditions;
- Improve social conditions and support services;
- Promote cultural development;
- Facilitate and promote community economic development; and,
- Improve community quality, safety and stability.
5. During the preparation of a Community Improvement Plan and any subsequent amendments, the public will be informed, and public input will be obtained in keeping with the policies for Public Notification contained in this Plan.
6. In order to implement a Community Improvement Plan in effect within a designated Community Improvement Project Area, the City of Ottawa may undertake a range of actions as described in the Community Improvement Plan, including:
- The municipal acquisition of land and/or buildings within the Community Improvement Project Areas where a Community Improvement Plan has been adopted, approved and is in effect, and the subsequent:
- Clearance, grading, or environmental remediation of these properties,
- Repair, rehabilitation, construction or improvement of these properties,
- Sale, lease, or other disposition of these properties to any person or governmental authority,
- Other preparation of land or buildings for community improvement.
- The municipal acquisition of land and/or buildings within the Community Improvement Project Areas where a Community Improvement Plan has been adopted, approved and is in effect, and the subsequent:
- b. Vacant lots and underutilized properties and buildings which have potential for infill, redevelopment or expansion to better utilize the land base or the public infrastructure;
- c. Application for financial assistance from senior level government programs;
- d. Participation in senior level government programs that provide assistance to private landowners for the purposes of community improvement;
- e. Provision of information on municipal initiatives, financial assistance programs, and other government assistance programs;
- f. Support of heritage conservation through the Ontario Heritage Act.
7. All developments participating in programs and activities contained within Community Improvement Plans shall conform with the policies contained in this Plan, applicable Community Design Plans, the zoning by-law, maintenance and occupancy by-laws, and all other related municipal policies and by-laws.
8. The City shall be satisfied that its participation in community improvement activities will be within the financial capabilities of the City.