Community Design Plans

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This section provides information about Community Design Plans (CDPs), including Transit-Oriented Development Plans (TOD Plans). It clarifies:

  • What is a Community Design Plan?
  • How to use a Community Design Plan,
  • How to contact the City for details about any Community Design Plan

Use the interactive map below to navigate areas affected by the CDPs, access the Council-approved CDP documents, and learn about CDPs that are currently being developed.

Community Design Plans Map

What is a community design plan?

Community Design Plans (CDPs) are intended to guide change in areas of Ottawa targeted for growth and improvement as directed by the Official Plan, including the Central Area, Town Centres, Mixed-Use Centres, Mainstreets, Developing Communities, Employment Areas, and Urban Expansion Study Areas.  Their purpose is to translate the principles and policies of the Official Plan to the community scale. Once Council approves a CDP, the plan becomes Council’s policy for public and private development in the planning area.

CDPs recognize that each community is unique and has distinct opportunities and challenges for managing change. Community Design Plans for the existing urbanized areas are usually led by the City and focus on encouraging intensification while managing compatibility. Community Design Plans for the future urbanized areas (known as greenfields) assess the need for new roads, water, sanitary sewer and stormwater infrastructure and help apportion responsibility for new infrastructure between property owners and the City. The private sector typically leads and finances CDPs for such future urbanized areas and plans for the redevelopment of large, privately-owned sites, in accordance with City requirements and in collaboration with City staff. In the spirit of collaborative community building, they are prepared through an open and public process.

While all CDPs focus on land use and development they also address transportation and elements of the public realm, including parks and streetscapes. They may produce related initiatives such as design guidelines, zoning amendments, a greening strategy or any number of other strategies that are required to address the physical development of the study area. CDPs may be implemented through a Secondary Plan *.

Transit-Oriented Development Plans are a form of CDP. They are typically prepared for large parcels of under developed lands around rapid transit stations within the urbanized area. The TOD plans set the stage for future transit-supportive and intensified land development. 

*   Key Differences between a Community Design Plan and a Secondary Plan

A Community Design Plan is a Council-approved policy document. A CDP generally focuses on the planning and design of the physical environment and may address a wide range of topics. However, a CDP is not a statutory document.

A Secondary Plan is a statutory policy document approved under the Ontario Planning Act. It forms part of the Official Plan and typically focuses on land use planning matters. The process to adopt and amend a Secondary Plan is regulated by the Planning Act. The decision by Council on the adoption and amendment to a Secondary Plan is appealable to the Ontario Municipal Board.

How to use a Community Design Plan

Community Design Plans are intended to be used by organizations and individuals who will play a role in shaping future development in the CDP areas, including City departments, City Council, federal agencies, landowners, business owners, community associations and residents. Specifically, it should be used as follows:

  • To inform landowners, business owners, developers and the general public about the urban design vision and objectives for the area;
  • As the basis for a Secondary Plan setting out policies respecting land use, built form, the public realm and other matters;
  • As the basis for amendments to the City’s Zoning By-law;
  • To guide detailed planning of public capital projects identified in the plan and updates to the City’s plan for capital projects;
  • As a guideline document when preparing and reviewing site-specific rezoning, site plan and Committee of Adjustment applications as well as capital projects.

As a multi-faceted guideline document, the CDPs build upon previous plans and complement other general design guidelines prepared by the City and which may be applied to the area. Where a CDP conflicts with previously adopted guidelines, the guidelines in the CDP shall prevail.

Contact Information

Contact the City for more details about CDPs:

Royce Fu
Program Manager
Community Planning 
Planning, Real Estate and Economic Development Department
City of Ottawa
110 Laurier Avenue West, Ottawa Ontario, K1P1J1
Phone: 580-2424 ext. 43931

Alphabetical list of community design plans