Section 2 - Strategic Directions

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2.1 - Patterns of Growth

Map of City of Ottawa showing sectors

Figure 2.1

The Geography of Growth

Ottawa has grown from a pre-Confederation lumber town to the Capital of Canada.

Ottawa’s Parliamentary Precinct with its national institutions, ceremonial spaces, and distinctive boulevards dominates the city’s Central Area. South of Parliament lies the city’s commercial and employment centre and surrounding areas for shopping, local arts, tourist and convention facilities. The By Ward Market, a historic outdoor market dating to the 1800s, attracts a growing number of residents. A new downtown community is also developing on LeBreton Flats, a federal waterfront area served by rapid transit that hosts the Canadian War Museum and expansive public spaces as well as housing. 

Ottawa’s downtown surrounds the Central Area and consists of a grid of early 20th century neighbourhoods that provides much of the area’s workforce, covering the short distance to work on foot or by transit. The downtown plays a vital role in the City’s growth management strategy and is critical to the economy of the city and the region that surrounds it. The downtown is the primary focus of employment, retail, cultural and day / night entertainment activities.  Other employment centres include campus-style federal office areas such as Tunney’s Pasture, the Central Experimental Farm and Confederation Heights. Today the Central Area and the older, adjacent communities and employment centres contain about one-third of the jobs in the city.

The Greenbelt, the largest structuring element of the city, is a largely rural expanse of federal land containing farms, woodlands, wetlands, and a few employment campuses.

Many communities within Ottawa have a long and unique history.  Suburbs outside the Greenbelt such as Kanata began in the 1960s with construction of Beaverbrook, planned as a garden community. Established in 1792, the Township of Nepean straddled what later became the Greenbelt in the west. As the township’s boundaries changed, its centre shifted over time from Westboro to Centrepointe and followed growth south to Barrhaven. Orléans was initially settled in the mid-1840s.  Establishment of the parish of St. Joseph of Orléans in 1860 strengthened the growing francophone community there. St. Joseph Boulevard, the community’s major commercial street, still provides a direct route to Parliament Hill through connections with other historic main streets.  Today these communities are planned around Town Centres that offer an increasing variety of shops, employment, cultural facilities and housing.In the rural area, subdivision patterns largely give way to a mosaic of farms, natural areas, rural homes and villages. Many of Ottawa’s 26 villages act as service centres for the surrounding rural area, providing businesses, schools, churches and community facilities. Some villages also attract visitors from all areas to their country markets, rural fairs, heritage buildings and hockey arenas.

Growth in Numbers

The projected growth to 2036 in population, households and employment (by place of work) is shown in Figure 2.2 for urban areas inside and outside the Greenbelt and for the rural area. [Amendment #150, May 2, 2018]

Figure 2.2 - Projected Growth in Population, Households and Employment, City of Ottawa, 2006 to 2031

  2006 2011 2021 2031
Inside Greenbelt 533,000 540,000 562,000 591,000
Outside Greenbelt, Urban 252,000 291,000 367,000 432,000
Rural 86,000 91,000 102,000 113,000
Total 871,000 923,000 1,031,000 1,136,000
  2006 2011 2021 2031
Inside Greenbelt 228,000 237,000 258,000 278,000
Outside Greenbelt, Urban 88,000 106,000 140,000 168,000
Rural 30,000 32,000 38,000 43,000
Total 346,000 376,000 436,000 489,000
  2006 2011 2021 2031
Inside Greenbelt 432,000 457,000 482,000 506,000
Outside Greenbelt, Urban 72,000 95,000 128,000 162,000
Rural 25,000 26,000 30,000 35,000
Total 530,000 578,000 640,000 703,000


  1. Total may not add due to rounding
  2. 2006 figures are estimated actual; other years are projections
  3. Population and households are adjusted for Census undercounting. Population includes institutional residents; households exclude institutional residents.
  4. 2006 employment based on City of Ottawa Employment Survey, adjusted for undercounting.

[Amendment #76, OMB File # PL100206, September 07, 2011

Ottawa will meet the challenge of growth by managing it in ways that support liveable communities and healthy environments.  This means that growth will be directed towards key locations with a mix of housing, shopping, recreation and employment – locations that are easily accessible by transit and that encourage walking and cycling because destinations are conveniently grouped together.  This direction will also contribute to the needs of an aging population by enhancing accessibility to health services and community facilities.  Future development, whether in new communities or in already established areas that are suited to accommodating growth, will be compact and efficient from a servicing point of view. [OMB decision #1582, June 17, 2005]

By pursuing a mix of land uses and a compact form of development, the city will be able to support a high-quality transit service and make better use of existing roads and other infrastructure rather than building new facilities.  The City can secure the greatest returns on its transit investment by building at higher densities in nodes around rapid-transit stations and along corridors well-served by transit. Intensification in these locations increases transit ridership, makes efficient use of existing infrastructure and curbs the need to extend infrastructure and provide municipal services to new suburbs. This pattern of development is the most affordable in terms of the life-cycle costs of constructing, operating, maintaining, and replacing municipal infrastructure over its life span. As well, it supports the affordable provision of municipal services such as solid waste collection and emergency services that are costly to provide over large areas. On the whole, it balances the costs of servicing growth with the cost of maintaining infrastructure and providing a consistent level of services to residents.  [Amendment #150, May 2, 2018]

This approach also supports liveable, sustainable communities. It is based on an underlying commitment to conserving the natural environment and will result in reduced consumption of land and other resources outside of the urban boundary.  Wherever growth occurs, it will be managed to ensure that Ottawa’s communities are eminently liveable.  This is a commitment that will be realized through a focus on community design and a concern for people and the quality of the spaces they occupy. [Amendment #150, May 2, 2018]

This Plan meets the challenges of growth over the next 20 years by pursuing strategic directions in the following key areas:

Managing Growth

  • The City will manage growth by directing it to the urban area where services already exist or where they can be provided efficiently.
  • The City will continue to support growth in Villages to enhance their vitality, with provision for Village expansion where it is economically feasible and environmentally sound. [Amendment #76, OMB File # PL100206, September 07, 2011
  • Growth in the existing designated urban areas will be directed to areas where it can be accommodated in compact and mixed-use development, and served with quality transit, walking and cycling facilities.  [OMB decision February 1, 2018]
  • The Central Area, designated Mainstreets, Mixed Use Centres and Town Centres will be compact, liveable, and pedestrian-oriented with a vibrant mix of residential uses, and social, cultural and economic activity.
  • Infill and redevelopment will be compatible with the existing context or planned function of the area and contribute to the diversity of housing, employment, or services in the area.  [Amendment #150, May 2, 2018]

Providing Infrastructure

  • A transportation system that emphasizes walking, cycling and transit will be built.
  • Public water and sanitary wastewater facilities will be provided to reinforce the City’s commitments to a compact urban area and safe and healthy communities.
  • Development in the rural area will be primarily on the basis of private individual services where they are safe and environmentally sound, but in some circumstances municipal services will be provided to remedy environmental problems. [Amendment #150, May 2, 2018]

Maintaining Environmental Integrity

  • Air quality will be supported by a transportation system that emphasizes walking, cycling and transit and by policies that protect forests, wetlands and other natural environment areas.
  • Provincially and locally significant wetlands and forests will be conserved.
  • The City will preserve natural features and the integrity of natural systems by directing land use and approving and development that maintains ecosystem functions over time.  [Amendment #150, May 2, 2018] 
  • Green spaces will be valued and protected for their environmental, cultural heritage, recreational, educational and aesthetic qualities.

Building Liveable Communities

  • Attention to urban design will help create attractive communities where buildings, open space and transportation work well together. [Amendment #150, May 2, 2018]
  • The City will provide opportunities to increase the supply of affordable housing throughout the City.
  • Growth will be managed in ways that create complete communities with a good balance of facilities and services to meet people’s everyday needs, including schools, community facilities, parks, a variety of housing, and places to work and shop.
  • The City will pursue a more affordable pattern of growth that allows for more efficient use of municipal infrastructure and reduces the need to build and maintain new infrastructure throughout its life-cycle. [Amendment #150, May 2, 2018]
  • The City will provide for a wide range of economic activities in suitable locations and will work with the federal government and private sector to provide a balance of jobs both inside and outside the Greenbelt. [Amendment #150, May 2, 2018]
  • The design of the city, the maintenance of greenspace and the high quality of life will enhance the attractiveness of the city for business development.
  • Familiar landscapes and heritage buildings will be conserved despite on-going change.
  • Rural communities will continue to be valued for their distinct economies and lifestyles.
  • Attention to design will help create attractive communities where buildings, open space and transportation work well together.
  • The process of community building in the city will be open and inclusive.
  • Agricultural lands, designated as Agricultural Resource Areas,  will be preserved for future generations and mineral resources will be protected for extraction.  [OMB decision February 1, 2018]
  • Mineral aggregate resource areas will be identified, conserved and protected for long-term use.
  • The City will recognize the role of small and medium-scale food production in a sustainable food system and community-based food production will be integrated into urban and rural areas, through edible landscapes, community gardens, and small and mid-scale urban and rural farms, where possible and in keeping with City policy. [Amendment #150, May 2, 2018]

2.2 - Managing Growth

Ottawa is unique among Canadian cities because its boundary takes in an urban area, comprising many new and old communities, surrounded by a large and varied countryside. The rural area contains Villages ranging in size from less than a hundred to more than 5,000 people as well as scattered development. These communities are part of the overall fabric of the city and are valued for their contribution to the quality of life in Ottawa. [Amendment #150, May 1, 2018]

About 90 per cent of the growth in population, jobs and housing will be accommodated within areas designated within the urban boundary in this Plan. These are areas where services are already available or can be readily provided through the logical extension of existing services.  This approach makes the best use of existing facilities and services and ensures that new development can be provided with urban facilities and services in the most efficient manner possible.  Concentrating growth within the designated urban area also allows for a pattern and density of development that supports walking, cycling and transit as viable and attractive alternatives to the private automobile.  Altogether, this strategy has the least impact on agricultural land, mineral resources and protected environmental areas, and supports a cleaner, safer, healthier city.  This is the most cost-effective pattern for the provision of municipal services and infrastructure.

Growth will be distributed throughout the urban area to strengthen the city’s liveable communities through:

  • Intensification and infill; and
  • New development on vacant land in designated growth areas that contributes to the completion of an existing community or builds a new community(ies). [OMB decision February 1, 2018]

In all areas, the density, mix of uses, and land use pattern will work together to make the most efficient use of transit.  This means that pedestrians and cyclists have direct access to transit, since most transit trips are combined with travel on foot or by bicycle.  Density is highest adjacent to transit and includes a mix of uses so that residents can meet many of their daily needs within the community or can find them conveniently nearby.  This pattern of transit-oriented development results in very liveable communities at any scale, from the central area to the suburbs.

Growth will be directed towards the hierarchy of nodes and corridors that help structure the city at different scales.  Nodes are activity areas built at a higher density than their surroundings, accommodating a mix of uses or a concentration of community activities.  They can occur at a range of scales, from a local shopping plaza serving the surrounding neighbourhood to a dense office and apartment core in a Mixed Use Centre.  New urban communities on vacant land are also anticipated to follow a growth pattern that supports this objective.

Corridors are linear routes that move people and goods via walking, cycling, transit and vehicles.  Again, they are higher density and more active than their surroundings and include a greater mix of uses.  The character of these corridors changes along their length, building up to higher-density nodes of activity.  Throughout the urban area, linear networks of Mainstreets act as primary transit corridors, meeting places, and shopping streets for adjacent neighbourhoods.  These corridors have significant potential for intensification and most are on roads where transit has priority over other vehicles. 

The Central Area is the city’s most intense concentration of activity and the centre of its transit system.  Access to and through the Central Area will be enhanced in 2018 with completion of the Confederation Line, the first leg of Ottawa’s light rail system.  Light rail connections within the rapid transit system will link the Central Area to the Town Centres outside the Greenbelt and to the Mixed Use Centres inside the Greenbelt.  Each of these centres has a different profile, potential for growth and identity within their community.  Improved transit service and investment in infrastructure and services over time has the potential to increase ridership and opportunities for high-density, mixed-use development.

The Central Area, Mixed-Use Centres, Town Centres and Mainstreets are all identified in this Plan as design priority areas, where both the public and private sectors will be required to achieve higher standards of design.  These areas also have priority for completion of community design plans that show how the density and design requirements for these areas can be achieved.

Lands designated General Urban Area will continue to mature and evolve through intensification and infill but at a scale contingent on proximity to major roads and transit, and the area’s planned function.  Consideration of the character in the surrounding community is a factor in determining compatibility within a community. [Amendment #150, May 1, 2018]

Urban and Rural Employment Areas are lands reserved for specific land uses that need strategic locations or separation distances by virtue of their activity from other land uses. Urban and Rural Employment Areas are important to help diversify the local economy that is dominated by government, office and population-related services. The maintenance of an adequate supply of suitable employment land is essential to the future economic prosperity of Ottawa and its residents.  [Amendment #180, November 9,2017]

Many of the larger and older Urban Employment Areas are inside the Greenbelt, well established, and have good access to highways, rail and/or arterial roads. The combination of these attributes makes these business parks a key component to diversifying the local economy and therefore they should be protected over the long term. However, the small supply of vacant land limits their ability to accommodate future job growth within this sector of the economy. Expansion is difficult for all of these areas due to established adjacent uses. Most of the vacant supply is in locations outside of the Greenbelt where the majority of future Urban Employment Area jobs are expected to locate. [Amendment #180, November 9,2017]

The balance of the City’s growth will occur in the rural area.  This growth will occur as a mix of uses in villages and as a range of rural-related uses and limited residential development elsewhere. Most villages are low in density and small in size. These are qualities that village residents value and expect to persist. As in other communities, residents of villages are concerned about liveable communities, environmental integrity, supporting infrastructure and the overall viability of their communities.  [Amendment #150, May 1, 2018]

The strategy for growth and development in the rural area is to:

  • Support the role of villages as the focus for employment and housing in the rural area;
  • Direct growth and development to those villages where community facilities and services already exist, or to those villages where community facilities and services can be provided efficiently and there is the strongest potential for the village to evolve into a complete community; and
  • Protect rural character by restricting the type and intensity of development that is permitted outside the Village designation: and
  • Direct rural employment growth that is not appropriate in a village to Rural Employment Areas. [Amendment #180 November 8, 2017] [Amendment #150, May 1, 2018]

2.2.1 – Urban Area and Village Boundaries

The majority of future development will occur within the urban boundary and within the 26 villages designated in this Plan.  The Provincial Policy Statement directs growth to settlement areas, which are built-up areas where development is concentrated as well as areas planned for long-term growth. Settlement areas in Ottawa are the urban area and villages. The urban boundary defines the area that already is serviced or may be serviced with major roads, transit and piped sewer and water services. Village boundaries define the land area that will be used for village purposes within the planning period or beyond. Sufficient land is designated in the Official Plan to meet the demands for a range and mix of employment opportunities, housing and other land uses to meet needs of the population projected by the Plan. Decisions about when and where to extend these boundaries have major implications for public spending on infrastructure, for impact on resources and for the structure and character of communities.  Assessing the adequacy of the current supply to meet this demand and the need for additional land requires consideration of several factors, in addition to supply and demand. For instance,the quantity of land required for different uses will depend on the average density of development and the mix of land uses achieved over time.  [Amendment #150, May 1, 2018]

The most appropriate time for the City to conduct a land supply assessment is when it considers the need to review its Official Plan, as is required every five years under the Planning Act. The City then then will consider boundary extensions, if additional land is required, within the framework of the following policies:  [Amendment #150, May 1, 2018]


Urban Boundaries
  1. The City will accommodate approximately 90% of its growth in urban areas shown on Schedule B, where urban services already exist or can be efficiently provided or upgraded. The boundary establishing the urban area is designated on Schedule A. 
  2. Sufficient land will be provided in the urban area to meet the city’s projected requirement for housing, employment and other purposes, which is based upon a planning period of 20 years in accordance with the Provincial Policy Statement; [Amendment #76, OMB File # PL100206, September 07, 2011] [OMB decision February 1, 2018]
  3. The City will undertake a comprehensive review of the Official Plan and the need to designate additional urban land, in accordance with the Planning Act and the Provincial Policy Statement.  As part of that review, the City will assess and update the planning period of the Plan and update the projections in Figure 2.2.  This will consider such matters as:
    1. The demand for additional land to accommodate the forecasted housing and employment in Figure 2.2;
    2. The current supply of developable land within the urban boundary, its distribution within the city, and its potential to be developed for housing, employment and other purposes;
    3. The Provincial requirement to maintain a 10-year supply of land designated and available for residential development and residential intensification and a three-year supply of residential units with servicing capacity in draft-approved or registered plans;
    4. The extent to which the existing land supply can meet the projected requirement through reconsideration of permitted land uses;  [Amendment #150, May 1, 2018]
    5. The achievement of the intensification target as identified in Section 2.2.2, policy 5, of this Plan. [Amendment #76, OMB File # PL100206, September 07, 2011]
  4.  If, as a result of the land supply assessment undertaken through the comprehensive review, City Council amends this Plan to designate additional urban land, such an addition will be sufficiently large to create a complete new community and/or comprise an addition to an existing community to allow for its completion. The comprehensive review will compare and evaluate urban area expansions in consultation with the community, landowners and other interested parties. The evaluation shall comprehensively apply the following criteria to determine the location of a complete new community and/or an addition to an existing community to allow for its completion:
    1. Avoid lands designated 'Agricultural Resource Area' unless there is no reasonable alternative on lands which avoid 'Agricultural Resource Area' or the lands contain primarily poorer quality agricultural soils within such Agricultural Resource Areas; [Amendment #150, March 27, 2019]
    2. Avoid ‘natural heritage system feature(s)’, unless the features are isolated or poorly connected to the larger ‘natural heritage system’ or, the ‘natural heritage system feature(s)’ will be maintained if the lands are developed for urban uses.  The land containing the ‘natural heritage system feature’ will not be considered as contributing to developable area until an Environmental Impact Statement and Integrated Environmental Review are completed and identify what land may be developed;
    3. Address the availability of existing servicing infrastructure capacity to support the development of the urban area expansion, or whether such servicing infrastructure capacity can reasonably be made available within the planning horizon;
    4. Address the availability of existing transportation and transit infrastructure capacity to support the development of the urban area expansion, or whether such transportation and transit infrastructure is planned or can reasonably be made available within the planning horizon;
    5. Give priority to land with proximity and access to a Provincial Highway where an urban area expansion is intended to include employment lands;
    6. Assess the relative scale of the costs associated with new, or significant upgrades to existing, infrastructure such as transportation, transit, water, stormwater, wastewater, public utilities and municipal services;
    7. Avoid lands containing, or in proximity to, major facilities as defined in the Provincial Policy Statement, and consider whether future sensitive lands uses within an urban expansion area would be subject to potential adverse effects from odour, noise and other contaminants in order to minimize risk to public health and safety and ensure the long-term viability of the major facility; and,
    8. Consider any other effect the designation would have on the City's ability to achieve the policies in this Plan.  [OMB decision February 1, 2018]
  5. The City will consider applications to amend this Plan to designate additional urban land only as part of a comprehensive review. Applications received between comprehensive reviews will be considered premature unless City Council directs that the comprehensive review be initiated. [OMB decision February 1, 2018]
  6. The City will guide the development of any additional designated urban land through a secondary plan or a community design plan and a subwatershed plan or environmental management plan. [Amendment #76, OMB File # PL100206, September 07, 2011] [OMB decision February 1, 2018]

    Village Boundaries

  7. The City will accommodate at least 50 per cent of rural growth in Villages designated on Schedule A, where community facilities, commercial facilities, schools and public infrastructure already exist or can be efficiently provided or upgraded.  Most of this development will occur in the large and medium villages identified below.  [Amendment #76, August 19, 2011] [Amendment #150 December 21, 2017]

  8. Sufficient land will be provided within village boundaries to provide for a 10-year requirement for housing, employment and other purposes. [Amendment #76, August 19, 2011]
  9. When the City undertakes a comprehensive review it will assess the need to expand Village boundaries to meet the requirements of policy 8. This assessment will consider such matters as:
    1. The demand for land for housing and employment in villages;
    2. The supply of developable land within those villages identified in policy 10 and its potential to be developed.
  10. The 10-year supply of land will be monitored, and an assessment of future land needs will be undertaken within each group of villages as follows:
    1. within the largest and fastest growing villages, being: Manotick, Greely, and Richmond, considered as a group; and
    2. within the medium-sized villages, being: Carp, North Gower, Metcalfe, Cumberland, Vars, Osgoode, Navan, Munster and Constance Bay, considered as a group.
  11. Where the comprehensive review determines additional land is necessary to accommodate growth in one of the groups referred to in policy 10, the City will give priority to the expansion of a village or villages where:
    1. good balance of facilities and services to meet people’s every day needs, including schools, community facilities, parks, a variety of housing and places to work and shop are available; and
    2. the new land can be connected to municipal water and wastewater services (central or communal) where they already exist or can be efficiently provided.
  12. Within the villages not identified in policy 10 new development, renewal and infill will continue to occur on private services and will build out the designated boundaries of these villages. No changes to the current boundaries of these villages will be considered.  [Amendment #150 December 21, 2017

  13. If the assessment indicates a need to expand a Village boundary, the merit of designating land in different locations and amounts will be compared and evaluated in consultation with the community, landowners an other interested parties based upon:

    1. The ability of existing or planned infrastructure to support the development of this expansion area.  Infrastructure includes such matters as pipes, public utilities, aquifers, roads, transit, community resources and greenspace:

    2. The need to preserve agricultural areas, mineral resource areas, and Natural Heritage System identified in this Plan. Where a village designation is considered for any of these areas, there must be sufficient evidence that there are no reasonable alternative locations that avoid these designations. Additional evidence must be provided where the expansion includes land in an Agricultural Resource Area that demonstrates there are no reasonable alternatives that make use of poorer soils in the designation;

    3. The need to demonstrate that the impacts of the village expansion on agricultural operations adjacent to the expansion area can be mitigated;

    4. The ability of the proposal to meet the rural servicing requirements described in Section 4.4;

    5. The effect of the proposed change on the structure and character of the village and the demand upon the capacity of existing municipal infrastructure and services within the village;

    6. The supply of lots within existing designated Villages and their relative suitability for development compared with the new lots that would be created by the proposed Village expansion;

    7. The proximity of the proposed expansion to the urban boundary;

    8. Any other effect the designation would have on the City’s ability to achieve the policies in this Plan. [Amendment #150 December 21, 2017]

  14. If a proposed amendment to a village boundary is approved, development in the affected area will require: an update of the village secondary plan or community design plan, a subwatershed plan or environmental management plan, and a new or updated master servicing study which, among other matters, will protect the environment and safeguard drinking water supplies where groundwater is relied upon.  [Amendment #150 December 21, 2017]

  15. Applications to expand a village boundary received between comprehensive reviews will be considered premature unless City Council directs that the comprehensive review be initiated.

  16. The City shall conduct a comprehensive review in accordance with Section 2.2.1, Policy 9 to determine if there is a need to provide for additional land within large and medium villages, as well as the villages of Sarsfield and Constance Bay. The review shall be submitted to City Council as part of the next Comprehensive Official Plan review. [Amendment #150 December 21, 2017]

2.2.2– Managing Intensification Within the Urban Area

This Plan supports intensification throughout the urban area where there are opportunities to accommodate more jobs and housing and increase transit use.  Intensification is directed to Target Areas for Intensification which have the potential to develop at moderate to high densities in a compact form. [Amendment #150, LPAT July 18, 2019]



Definition of Intensification
  1. Residential intensification means the development of a property, building or area that results in a net increase in residential units or accommodation and includes:
    1. Redevelopment (the creation of new units, uses or lots on previously developed land in existing communities), including the redevelopment of Brownfield sites;
    2. The development of vacant or underutilized lots within previously developed areas, being defined as adjacent areas that were developed four or more years prior to new intensification.
    3. Infill development;
    4. The conversion or expansion of existing industrial, commercial and institutional buildings for residential use; and
    5. The conversion or expansion of existing residential buildings to create new residential units or accommodation, including secondary dwelling units and rooming houses.  [Amendment #150, LPAT July 18, 2019]
  1. Employment intensification means the development of a property, building or area that results in a net increase in jobs and/or gross floor area and may occur by:
    1. Redevelopment of existing employment uses at a higher density (e.g. the creation of an office building that replaces a lower-density use on previously developed land), including the redevelopment of Brownfield sites;
    2. Expansion of existing employment uses (e.g. a manufacturing plant expanding its operations on site);
    3. Infilling of vacant or underutilized land within Urban employment lands as identified in Policy 1 Section 2.2.3;
      [Amendment #180, November 8, 2017]
    4. Replacing uses with a low number of employees with uses having a higher number of employees.

[Amendment #76, OMB File # PL100206, September 07, 2011]

Target Areas for Intensification
  1. Target areas for intensification are the Central Area, Mixed Use Centres, Mainstreets, and Town Centres defined on Schedule B, and the Community Core in Riverside South. These areas are located on the Rapid Transit and Transit Priority Network as defined on Schedule D. [Amendment #150, July 18, 2019]
  2. The City’s target for residential intensification, as defined in Policy 1, is the minimum proportion of new residential dwelling units and accommodation based upon building permit issuance by calendar year in the urban area.  The target will be:  38% in 2012-2016; 40% in 2017-2021; 42% in 2022-2026; and 44% in 2027-2031.  [Amendment #150 May14, 2018]
  3. Minimum density targets, expressed in jobs and people per gross hectare, are set out in Figure 2.3 and applied to those target areas with the greatest potential to support the Rapid Transit and Transit Priority Networks.

Figure 2.3 - Minimum Density Targets

Designation 2012 Density* Density Target*
Central Area 450 500
Mixed Use Centres    
Tunney's-Quad 187 250
Lees 140 250
Bayview-Preston 106 200
Blair - 174 97 200
Baseline-Woodroffe 91 200
Hurdman 49 200
Confederation Heights 116 200
Billings Bridge 159 160
Tremblay 53 250
St. Laurent 64 250
Cyrville 35 200
Town Centres    
Orleans 45 120
Kanata 34 120
Barrhaven 20 120
Arterial Mainstreets    
Richmond (north of Carling) 179 200
Carling 133 200
St. Laurent 84 120
Bank 66 120
Merivale (Caldwell  to West Hunt Club) - Clyde-Baseline 63 120
Montreal East 98 120
Ogilvie 109 120
Walkley 69 120
Innes (Blackburn) 74 120
Community Care    
Riverside South 0 80
Development Areas identified on Annex 6    

Figure 2.3 - Minimum Density Targets

*people and jobs per gross hectare

[Amendment #150, LPAT Decision October 22, 2018]

  1. All new development within the boundaries of the intensification target areas listed in Figure 2.3 will be required to meet the minimum density targets. Higher or lower densities may be permitted in a secondary plan for a target area where that Plan that re-allocates density among sites to achieve the overall objective of people and jobs. Where phased development is proposed the proponent must demonstrate how the density target will be achieved at build out. Where implemented through secondary plans and zoning, the targets in Figure 2.3will be converted from gross density to net density and from people and jobs per hectare to dwelling units and gross floor area equivalents. [Amendment #150, LPAT Decision October 22, 2018]
  2. At the time of implementation, the Zoning By-law may provide exemptions from the minimum density targets included in Figure 2.3 for circumstances such as minor additions to and changes in use of existing buildings without the requirement for an amendment to this Plan. [Amendment #150, LPAT Decision October 22, 2018]
  3. The City has established minimum residential intensification targets to reside outside the Plan (in the Residential Land Strategy or subsequent Study) for land designated on Schedule 'B' as Mixed Use Centre, Town Centre, Traditional Mainstreet and Arterial Mainstreet, but not addressed in Figure 2.3. These targets are intended to inform the community design process, infrastructure planning, growth projections, and other planning processes. [Amendment #150 LPAT July 18, 2019]
  4. Where intensification target areas also correspond with Heritage Conservation Districts designated under the Ontario Heritage Act the achievement of intensification targets and minimum density targets will be determined in part by the requirements of the Ontario Heritage Act.  Projects that do not meet the relevant Heritage Conservation District guidelines or plan will not be recommended for approval under the Ontario Heritage Act. [Amendment #150,  LPAT Decision October 22, 2018]

Intensification and Building Height

  1. Intensification may occur in a variety of built forms from low-rise to high-rise provided urban design and compatibility objectives are met.  Denser development, that often means taller buildings, should be located in areas that support the Rapid Transit and Transit Priority networks and in areas with a mix of uses. Building heights and densities for different areas may be established through this plan or a secondary plan and will be implemented through zoning. A secondary planning process, identified in Section 2.5.6 and undertaken for a specific area may recommend a new or changes to an existing secondary plan to establish different building heights.  Low-rise intensification will be the predominant form of intensification in the General Urban Area. [Amendment #150, LPAT Decision October 22, 2018]
  2. The distribution of appropriate building heights will be determined by:
    1. The location in a Target Area for Intensification identified in policy 4 above or by proximity to a Rapid Transit station or Transit Priority corridor, with the greatest density and tallest building heights being located closest to the station or corridor; and
    2. The Design and Compatibility of the development with the surrounding existing context and planned function, as detailed in Section 4.11, with buildings clustered with other buildings of similar height. [Amendment #150,  LPAT Decision October 22, 2018]
  3. Building heights are classified in Figure 2.4 and will be used for establishing appropriate height limits in community design plans, secondary plans, the Zoning By-law and other policy plans, in land use designations in Section 3 and when considering amendments to this Plan.  The corresponding storey height for a residential use is generally three metres, and for other uses is generally four metres, while at-grade uses may have higher storey heights.    An amendment to the Zoning By-law will be required for any increase in height within that height class.

Figure 2.4

Classification Maximum Building Height (residential storeys)
Low-Rise 4 storeys or less
Mid-Rise 5 to 9 storeys
High-Rise 10 to 30 storeys
High-Rise 31+ 31 storeys and more
[Amendment #150, LPAT Decision October 22, 2018]
  1. Where a secondary plan refers to building form as Low , Medium or High profile they will have the same meaning as Low-, Medium- and High-Rise in figure 2.4 unless otherwise indicated in that Plan.
  2. Building heights are established in Section 3 and in the following policies.  However, secondary plans, including site-specific policies in Volume 2 of this Plan may specify greater or lesser building heights than those established in Section 3 where those heights are consistent with the strategic directions of Section 2.  Existing zoning that permits a greater height than set out in this Plan will remain in effect. [Amendment #150,  LPAT Decision October 22, 2018]
  3. High-Rise 31+ buildings will only be permitted where they are identified in a secondary plan that addresses the requirements of Section 2.5.6; or permitted by an amendment to an existing secondary plan that already allows High-Rise buildings; and where the High-Rise 31+ buildings will be:
    1. located generally within 400 metres walking distance of a Rapid Transit Station identified on Schedule D to maximize transit use; and
    2. separated from planned low-rise residential areas by a suitable transition as required by Section 4.11 policies 11 and 12. [Amendment #150,  LPAT Decision October 22, 2018]
  4. The Location of High-Rise and High-Rise 31+ buildings is influenced by the need to provide an adequate separation distance from other existing and potential future High-Rise buildings. Separation distances between buildings are to be considered when considering sites for development of High-Rise buildings and High-Rise 31+ buildings.  The City may implement separation distances through the Zoning By-law.  In areas with a small or narrow lot fabric, consolidation of two or more lots may be in order to address separation distance requirements. [Amendment #150, LPAT Decision October 22, 2018]
  5. For Official Plan amendments to increase building heights that are established in Section 3 of this Plan, or in a secondary plan, the proponent must demonstrate that the following criteria are met:
    1. the impacts on the surrounding area (e.g. the community design plan study area) have been assessed comprehensively;
    2. the direction in policy 10 above is met;
    3. the requirements of Section 2.5.6 where the proposal involves a High-Rise or High-Rise 31+ building; and
    4. an identified community amenity is provided. [Amendment #150, LPAT Decision October 22, 2018]
Implementation of Intensification

[Amendment #150 LPAT July 18, 2019]

  1. The City will monitor and report annually on the pattern and amount of residential intensification and the contribution made by the intensification that occurs within the target areas to the city-wide target identified in Section 2.2.2, policy 3. Progress made in achieving the density targets identified in Figure 2.3 will be assessed at the time of a comprehensive review of the Official Plan, at which time adjustments may be considered. [Amendment #150 LPAT Decision October 22, 2018]
  2. In order to implement the minimum density targets for the transit “target areas for intensification” in Figure 2.3, the City will:
    1. Review and may update existing community design plans, secondary plans, and zoning to enable achievement of the minimum density targets.  Any necessary amendments will be carried out in consultation with the landowners and local community.
    2. Consider the application of a number of alternative measures to provide capacity, including risk management and/or system upgrades in conjunction with its Asset Management Strategy and other City programs where opportunities for intensification are limited because of the cumulative impact of intensification projects on infrastructure system capacity. [Amendment #150, LPAT Decision October 22, 2018]
  3. To promote compact, mixed-use transit-oriented development in intensification target areas, the City will:
    1. Lead discussions with all internal and external stakeholders (including land owners, school boards and public utilities) with a view to addressing technical, regulatory and design matters in a way that will allow the City’s intensification strategy to be successful;
    2. Reduce the amount of land used for parking, through such measures as reductions in parking standards and the creation of municipal parking structures;
    3. Establish maximum limits for the provision of on-site parking, consider waiving minimum parking requirements, maximize opportunities for on-street parking, and consider target designations as priorities for the creation of municipal parking structures;
    4. Initiate partnerships with others in development over transit stations, municipal parking structures, municipal offices and facilities;
    5. Focus the delivery and coordination of enhanced pedestrian environments in and around the City’s design priority areas identified in Section 2.5.1 of this Plan;
    6. Establish minimum building heights in the Zoning By-law within Mixed-Use Centres, Town Centres, and Mainstreets;
    7. Implement a capacity management strategy to evaluate the condition and network capacity of piped infrastructure in the areas targeted for intensification and set priorities that reflect the City's Asset Management Strategy and development needs for improving capacity. Development Charges should cover the portion of the cost of infrastructure improvement that is required to support intensification;
    8. When carrying out community design plans identify phasing priorities and funding sources for the delivery of public facilities such as community centres, parks and various municipal programs that may be required to support intensification;
    9. Consider the achievement of minimum density targets on Arterial Mainstreets to represent a longer-term potential, and those Arterial Mainstreets located inside the Greenbelt will be considered to have priority for municipal upgrades over those outside the Greenbelt. On Traditional and Arterial Mainstreets, carry out measures to enhance the pedestrian environment and public realm, such as tree planting, improved sidewalks, and other streetscape improvements, as well as traffic calming measures to help transform these streets from wide, automobile-oriented streets, to urban avenues that exhibit more liveable conditions;
    10. For all housing forms, consider approval of alternative municipal infrastructure and development standards (such as reduced road right-of-way width, utility trenching requirements and reduced parking standards in areas serviced by public transit) in the context of a subdivision application;
    11. When implementing the intensification objectives of this Plan through the Zoning By-law the City will consider the character of the area reflected in factors such as landscaped patterns, vehicular parking and access and building locations in relation to the street and other buildings.  [Amendment #150, LPAT Decision October 22, 2018] [Amendment #150 May14, 2018]
  4. Where this Plan makes reference to the walking distance from a Rapid Transit station or a Transit Priority corridor, the walking distance shall be measured from the center point of the station using the most direct route along public streets or public pathways.  Where there is no existing or planned road network, a radius equal to ¾ of the walking distance will be measured from the centre point of the station. [Amendment #150, LPAT July 18, 2019]

Intensification Outside of Target Areas

  1. The City also supports compatible intensification within the urban boundary, including areas designated General Urban Area. The City will promote opportunities for intensification in areas determined by the policies in Section 3.6.1. Intensification that is compatible with the surrounding context will also be supported on: brownfield sites that have been remediated; on underdeveloped sites such as current or former parking lots; in extensive areas previously used for outside storage; sites that are no longer viable for the purpose for which they were originally used or intended; and on sites of exhausted pits and quarries in the urban area where the urban design. [Amendment #150, LPAT July 18, 2019]
  2. The interior portions of established low-rise residential neighbourhoods will continue to be characterized by low-rise buildings (as defined in Figure 2.4). The City supports intensification in the General Urban Area where it will enhance and complement its desirable characteristics and long-term renewal. Generally, new development, including redevelopment, proposed within the interior of established neighbourhoods will be designed to complement the area's desirable character reflected in the pattern of built form and open spaces.  The character of a community may be expressed in its built environment and features such as building height, massing, the setback of buildings from the property line, the use and treatment of lands abutting the front lot line, amenity area landscaped rear yards, and the location of parking and vehicular access to individual properties.  The City will consider these attributes in its assessment of the compatibility of new development within the surrounding community when reviewing development applications or undertaking comprehensive zoning studies. [Amendment #150 LPAT July 18, 2019]

Intensification and Housing

[Amendment #150 LPAT July 18, 2019]

  1. Applications to amend the Zoning By-law to eliminate residential apartments as a permitted use, or to change the permitted use so that the effect is to down-zone a site, will not be permitted unless there is an equivalent rezoning to ensure no net loss of apartment potential or maintenance of unit yield potential through other forms of multiple-unit housing. [Amendment #150, May 14, 2019]
  2. In situations where Council has approved a plan that permits residential apartments in an area, but an amendment to the Zoning By-law has not yet been enacted to implement the plan, City Council will ensure that residential apartments are permitted in the enabling Zoning By-law amendment. [Amendment #150, LPAT, July 18, 2019]
  3. For those lands outside of the Greenbelt that are included in a community design plan approved by Council after June 10, 2009, the following housing mix and density provisions apply:
    1. At least 30 per cent single detached but not more than 55 per cent single detached, at least 10 per cent apartment dwellings and the remainder multiple dwellings, other than apartments.  [Amendment #236, December 31, 2019]
    2. Overall residential development will meet a minimum average density target of 34 units per net hectare. Net residential density is based on the area of land in exclusively residential use, including lanes and parking areas internal to developments but excluding public streets, rights-of-way and all non-residential uses. [Amendment #150, May 14, 2018]

2.2.3 City-wide Employment Area Policies

[Amendment #180, November 8, 2017]

This Plan supports the protection of business and economic activity clusters inside the Greenbelt, within Villages, and at strategic locations close to major goods movement facilities and corridors. These lands often come under pressure from other land uses that also may find it advantageous to locate in areas with these characteristics, increase land values and undermine this Plan’s intention to protect and preserve land for employment uses and economic diversity. This Plan manages economic growth and diversity by protecting some lands primarily for employment use so that they remain affordable for employment purposes and so that they can develop over time without conflict from competing land uses.

Employment lands inside the Greenbelt are well served by the transportation system providing good access to a diversity of jobs. This supports the concept of complete communities, where residents have opportunities to live closer to their work. Employment lands inside the Greenbelt and those that are in close proximity to highway interchanges, freight railways and/or arterial roads are strategic locations for employment uses. To support efficient workforce access to employment locations, Major Office development is directed adjacent to transit infrastructure. [Amendment #180 November 8, 2017]


  1. Employment Areas corresponding to clusters of business and economic activities in the Provincial Policy Statement include: Urban Employment Areas designated on Schedule B of this Plan, Prestige Business Parks and Business Parks designated in Secondary Plans, Industrial Areas designated in Village Plans, and Rural Employment Areas designated on Schedule A of this Plan. Notwithstanding Schedule B of this Plan where lands are designated Prestige Business Park or Business Park in a Secondary Plan the Urban Employment Area designation shall correspond to the more detailed land use schedule in the Secondary Plan. Employment uses are those described in Sections 3.6.5 and 3.7.5 of this Plan and the respective sections in the Secondary Plans and Village Plans relating to employment areas.
  2. In all urban communities outside the Central Area, areas will be planned for a range of employment opportunities. Urban Employment Areas within each of the five urban communities outside of the outer edge of the Greenbelt, as shown in Figure 2.1, will be designated to ensure an ongoing supply of vacant Urban Employment Lands. The amount of employment land to be maintained in each community shall be determined at the time of a comprehensive review.
  3. The City will also encourage employment in the Villages of Greely, Manotick, and Richmond and a ratio of at least 0.65 jobs per household will be reflected in the amount of land designated for employment and residential development in each of these villages.
  4. While it is the City’s preference to locate most employment uses in the Urban Area and Villages, agriculture, aggregate resources and other agriculture–related industries will support employment throughout the Rural Area. Employment uses that are not appropriate in a Village due to their impacts, and which do not require municipal services, are encouraged to locate in designated Rural Employment Areas.
  5. The City encourages intensification and renewal of employment uses within the Urban Employment Areas located inside the Greenbelt. Because of their central location these Employment Areas provide access to goods movement corridors and major transportation routes for workforce access. These locations also create stable operating environments for a wide variety of traditional industrial uses, which helps to diversify the local economy.
  6. Major Office Development, consisting of buildings over 10,000 m2 gross leasable area, will play a fundamental role in supporting and increasing the ridership of the Rapid Transit and Transit Priority Network and shall be located in areas adjacent to the Rapid Transit and Transit Priority Network. Except where currently permitted by zoning, the City will only permit new Major Office Development in the following locations:
    1. Central Area;
    2. Mixed Use Centres;
    3. Town Centres;
    4. On land fronting Traditional Mainstreets or Arterial Mainstreets that are Transit Priority corridors or where the development is within 800 metres walking distance of an existing or planned Rapid Transit station;
    5. Urban Employment Areas where the majority of the site is within 800 metres walking distance of an existing or planned Rapid Transit station or 400 metres walking distance of a Transit Priority corridor.
    6. Kanata North and Kanata South Urban Employment Areas once a secondary plan for the Area or Areas has been adopted and identifies the preferred location for Major Office Uses.
    7. General Urban Areas where:
      1. The majority of the site is within 800 metres walking distance of a Rapid Transit station or 400 metres walking distance of a Transit Priority Corridor on Schedule D; and
      2. The site is on an Arterial Road on Schedules E or F; and
      3. The immediate area is characterized by existing or planned commercial development; and
      4. The Design Objectives in Section 2.5.1 and the Urban Design and Compatible Development policies in Section 4.11 can be satisfied.
  7. The City plans, protects and preserves lands for current and future employment uses through a comprehensive review process and therefore discourages the removal of employment lands for other purposes on an individual basis. Applications to remove employment lands or to convert them to non-employment uses will only be considered at the time of the comprehensive review as required by the Planning Act. Applications received between comprehensive reviews will be considered premature unless City Council directs that the comprehensive review be initiated. In either case, approval of proposals to remove or convert employment lands will be contingent upon the comprehensive review by the City that demonstrates that the land is not required for employment purposes over the long term and that there is a need for the conversion.

  8. A comprehensive review to assess requests to convert employment lands to other purposes will consider such matters as:

    1. Whether the employment lands being proposed for conversion are unsuited for employment purposes and whether there are practical means to make them suitable;
    2. Whether the lands are suitable for the uses being proposed and whether there is a need for those uses;
    3. The current supply of developable land within the urban boundary, its distribution within the city, and its potential to be developed for housing, employment, and other purposes;
    4. The distribution of employment land throughout the city;
    5. The ability to provide sufficient opportunities for the clustering of areas of like employment;
    6. The sufficiency of the supply of optimum-sized employment land parcels for the range of employment uses anticipated by this Plan;
    7. The preservation of lands for employment uses in areas proximate to 400 series highway interchanges or with accessibility to rail and airports, is intended to maintain opportunities that recognize the potential for the development of transport and freight handling uses;
    8. The preservation of lands for employment uses proximate to essential linkages, such as supply chains, service providers, markets, necessary labour pools, etc.;
    9. The preservation of a diversity of Urban and Rural Employment Areas for a variety of employment uses (e.g. light and heavy industrial, business park, research campus, etc.;
    10. The demand that proposed non-employment use(s) will create for additional municipal amenities  and services in addition to those required by employment uses and the cost of providing same, including any mitigation deemed necessary to address any negative effects on employment uses in matters such as those listed in ‘k’ below;
    11. The impact the proposed use(s) would have on the viability of any remaining employment lands or existing employment uses with regard to matters such as:
      1. Incompatibility of land use,
      2. The ability to provide appropriate buffering of employment uses from surrounding non-employment uses on and off-site,
      3. Affordability (e.g. land and lease costs) for employment purposes,
      4. Market acceptance/competitiveness (attractiveness of the employment lands in the marketplace for continued development for employment uses),
      5. Removal of key locations for employment uses,
      6. Reduction or elimination of visibility of employment lands or uses,
      7. Reduction in optimum size (of either individual employment land parcels or the overall Urban or Rural Employment Area),
      8. Interference with the function of the employment lands (e.g. restricting operating hours or delivery times or affecting the capacity of the transportation network due to characteristics of the employment uses such as noise or emissions or heavy equipment operation),
      9. Accessibility to the employment lands,
      10. Ability to provide for a variety of employment options, parcels, and
      11. Maintenance of the identity of the employment uses or area.
  9. Policy 8 above does not apply to those Urban Employment Areas with a site specific exception to permit residential uses as listed in Section 3.6.5 of this Plan.  [Amendment #180, November 8, 2017]

2.3 - Providing Infrastructure

Land use and infrastructure issues are strongly inter-related and together form a cornerstone of the City’s growth management program. Of key importance in this respect is the link between land-use patterns and transportation facilities. The provision of transportation infrastructure deeply affects land-use patterns because it brings a new range of destinations “closer” and encourages travel to them. This influences residents’ decisions about where to live and work, and may change where businesses choose to locate within the city. Land-use patterns affect the performance of transportation systems and the travel options realistically available to residents. For instance, low-density, single-use areas cannot support a frequent transit service and thereby encourage private automobile use, while higher-density Mixed Use nodes and corridors provide concentrated destinations that are more easily served by good-quality transit. [Amendment #150 December 2, 2017]

Likewise, the provision of urban infrastructure – such as drinking water, wastewater disposal and drainage – shapes development patterns by making more intense use of the land base possible. Thus, policies governing the extension and upgrade of infrastructure can provide key levers for managing urban growth.

If the city is to grow in an efficient manner and achieve the vision set out in this Plan, it is essential that land use and infrastructure policies be “pulling” in the same direction. This part of the Plan sets out the City’s policies governing the planning and provision of urban infrastructure and these policies are further reflected in subsequent sections of the Plan on designations and the review of development proposals. More detailed information on infrastructure priorities, programs and investment will be contained in the Transportation Master Plan and Infrastructure Master Plan. Because of the close link between this Plan and those supporting plans, any decision to review this Plan will lead to a review of the supporting plans, and vice-versa.

2.3.1 – Transportation

City Council has adopted a Transportation Master Plan (TMP) to implement the policies expressed in this Plan.  The TMP identifies the transportation policies, facilities and services that the City intends to put in place over the next two decades in order to meet the travel needs of residents and businesses in Ottawa and to support the development pattern identified in the Official Plan.  The TMP policies guide the operation of the City's day-to-day transportation programs and provide a basis for developing the annual and five-year capital and operating budgets. [Amendment #150 April 27,2018]

Accommodating the movement of people during the morning and afternoon peak period is Ottawa’s major transportation challenge.  A clear objective of this Plan is a substantial increase in the use of public transit, and where possible reduced dependence upon automobile use throughout the day. Many transit trips begin and end on foot or by bicycle.  In this case, increasing transit use in many parts of the city will depend in part on providing connections to transit for pedestrians and cyclists that are safe, direct and appealing. Planning for walking, cycling and transit means sharing roads and other public spaces among all users and managing the supply of parking so that enough is provided without negatively affecting transit use. [Amendment #150 April 27, 2018]

Council has adopted several plans to support walking, cycling and transit:

  • The Ottawa Pedestrian Plan (2013 update) will help Ottawa become one of the most pedestrian active cities in North America;
  • The Ottawa Cycling Plan (2013 update) will help Ottawa achieve one of the highest shares of travel by cycling in Canada.
  • The Municipal Parking Management Strategy (2009) guides the provision and financial management of on-street parking and municipal off-street parking facilities. Through the Zoning Bylaw, the City also regulates the amount of on-site parking provided for vehicles and cyclists. [Amendment #150 April 27, 2018]

The share of travel by sustainable modes—walking, cycling, transit and automobile passenger—is targeted to reach 50 per cent of the total trips in the city by 2031. This is an increase from the 2011 level of 45 per cent. This shift in modal split is anticipated to continue to increase over the period of this Plan. Achieving this target means a substantial increase in travel by transit, since transit will be providing a larger share of trips, and trips will increase overall as the population grows. Despite this shift towards walking, cycling and transit, expansion of the road network will be necessary, particularly to provide new or improved road access to suburban communities beyond the Greenbelt. The need for new roads and ongoing improvements to the road infrastructure network is identified in the Transportation Master Plan.  [Amendment #180, November 8, 2017]

Through its Transportation Master Plan, Council has adopted a complete streets policy to guide the design and maintenance of its road infrastructure. As public spaces, roads are used for social encounters, as entryways to businesses and community facilities, and as the backbone of Ottawa’s transportation system and economy.  Planning for complete streets recognizes these roles and the need to offer safety, comfort and convenience to users of all ages and abilities: pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders and motor vehicle drivers and passengers.  However, the consideration given to different users varies by location.  For example, in target areas for intensification, the needs pedestrians and cyclists are considered first, followed by the needs of transit users and motorists. The City will seek to develop networks of complete streets as opportunities arise through new construction, renewal projects and as part of other capital projects. [Amendment #150, April 27,2018]


Complete Streets

  1. Council has adopted a complete streets policy in order to balance the multiple roles of roads and to offer safety, comfort and convenience to all users. The policy will be implemented in consultation with stakeholder groups through:
    1. Measuring the level of service and quality of service experienced by all road users in order to assess road designs and allocate right-of-way in a way that maximizes the number of people served;
    2. Updating its guidelines for transportation impact assessments and road design guidelines, standards, and processes to incorporate best practices in Ottawa and elsewhere, including rules for exempting particular design features from a right-of-way. [Amendment #150, April 27, 2018]

Active Transportation 

  1. Communities where people can walk or cycle safely and conveniently are very liveable. They are also healthy, supporting a more active lifestyle and more opportunities for socializing. When designing new communities and undertaking community design plans, the City will incorporate support for walking and cycling, and plan for direct routes that connect transit and community destinations, and provide off-road pathways and lighting geared towards pedestrians and cyclists. [Amendment #150,  April 27, 2018]
  2. In the construction or reconstruction of transportation facilities, such as roadways, bridges, and transit stations, and public buildings, such as community centres and libraries, the City will ensure the provision of facilities to address the needs of pedestrians and cyclists where feasible.  [Amendment #150, December 21, 2017]
  3. The City will protect corridors for the network of primary urban cycling routes and multi-use pathways identified on Schedule C and the network of cycling routes and multi-use pathways in the rural area on Schedule J. These routes incorporate cycling and shared pedestrian and cycling routes identified in the Ottawa Cycling Plan and select routes shown in the National Capital Commission’s study, Pathway Network for Canada’s Capital Region. For the purpose of this plan they are classified as follows:
    1. Spine routes, which follow major roadways (typically arterials) and may provide a reserved space for cyclists, ideally either a cycle track or a buffered bike lane. Spine routes will provide access along major corridors, connecting the Cross-Town Bikeways and Multi Use pathways to local neighbourhood bikeways identified in the Ottawa Cycling Plan.
    2. Multi-use pathways, which are facilities that are physically separated from the road and shared with pedestrians. These facilities may be either adjacent to a road or away from the roadway corridor and also connect major greenspaces and community facilities (See section 4.6.5).
    3. Cross-Town Bikeways which will provide continuous connectivity over long distances for cycling across the city. Cross-Town Bikeways will include both on-road and off-road facilities that will provide a consistently high level of comfort for their entire length and be the main priority of the cycling network for maintenance. Cross-Town Bikeways will maximize the use of cycling-friendly designs such as bike boxes, coloured intersection crossings, route signage, and signal timing adjustments. [Amendment #140, LPAT, July 29, 2019]
  4. The City will accommodate commuter cycling needs on the road network to the greatest extent possible.  However, the network of multi-use pathways, identified on Schedules C and J, may also be used by commuter cyclists. [Amendment #150, March 20, 2018]
  5. Priorities for new and improved cycling facilities will consider recreational cycling as well as commuter travel and other trips by cycling. Projects that yield the greatest increases in cycling trips will be recommended as priorities.
  6. The City will develop the network of active transportation facilities shown on Schedules C and J and in the Ottawa Pedestrian Plan through the review of development applications, development of public open space, and as part of capital programs to build new transportation facilities or to maintain or upgrade existing facilities. Where feasible, the City will provide separate multi-use pathways within or adjacent to rapid transit corridors.
  7. Priority will be given to pedestrians and cyclists within an 800 metre walking distance of rapid transit stations and within areas 400 metres from the Transit Priority Network. Priority will apply to the allocation of public rights-of-way, wait-times at traffic signals and City investment in pedestrian infrastructure.
  8. Long-term and short-term parking for bicycles will be provided at rapid transit stations, in secure facilities where feasible. [Amendment #150, March 20, 2018]


  1. The City will protect corridors for and develop the rapid-transit network of existing and proposed corridors on Schedule D.  The network operates on grade-separated, fully exclusive rights-of-way such as light rail corridors, as well as segregated lanes within a road right-of-way.  Rapid transit offers convenient, fast, and frequent public transportation service that is not delayed in general traffic and features a high carrying capacity [Amendment #150, March 20, 2018]
  2. The City will also protect corridors for and develop the Transit Priority Network on Schedule D. The Transit Priority Network is a system of arterial and collector roads where frequent, all day transit service is provided now or in the future. Transit priority measures, such as dedicated bus lanes within a shared right-of-way or advance signals that allow transit to proceed ahead of other vehicles serve to increase the speed and reliability of transit service. Transit priority measures also will be implemented in other, appropriate locations. [Amendment #150, March 20, 2018]
  3. The City will introduce high-quality service at an early stage in the development of new urban communities.  As these communities mature, they will ultimately be served by the extension of full rapid-transit facilities. [Amendment #150, March 20, 2018]
  4. The City may acquire lands for transit rights-of-way as a condition of approval for a subdivision, severance, site plan, condominium or minor variance. Reference should be made to Schedule D - Transit Network and its accompanying notes. [Amendment #150, March 20, 2018]
  5. The City will ensure the provision of park-and-ride facilities to enhance accessibility to rapid-transit service at selected stations and other appropriate sites.  In this regard, the City may require that the proponents of major development at existing or planned rapid-transit stations provide sufficient land for park-and-ride facilities, for which the City may enter into agreements for purchase, rent, operation or shared use.
  6. The City will continue to work with the City of Gatineau and the federal government to improve transit service between the Cities of Ottawa and Gatineau and investigate means to reduce or discontinue the use of King Edward Avenue and Rideau Street as bus waiting areas. The City will protect for the possible inclusion of exclusive rapid transit service across such bridges as the Prince of Wales Bridge, the Portage Bridge, the Chaudière Bridge, or other locations that may be recommended by Environmental Assessment studies.  In the interim, the City may seek opportunities to enhance active transportation at these crossings where feasible.  [Amendment #150, March 20,2018]

O-Train Network

[Amendment #226, February 26, 2019]

  1. Development within the Development Zone of Influence for the O-Train Network presents significant opportunities for private sector development to integrate with and advance achievement of the City’s broader objectives for transit-supportive development.  For development proposals in this area, it is important that consideration be given to the manner in which the development will support the City’s transit-supportive development objectives and support protection of the asset (properties and structures) and its current and future operations.  The extent of the Development Zone of Influence shown on Annex 17 has been determined by a combination of factors including the O-Train Network alignment depth, geotechnical conditions, and sub surface development. [ Amendment #130, May 27, 2014] [Amendment #226, February 26, 2019]
  2. The City may require development applications within the Development Zone of Influence, shown on Annex 17, to be supported by a Proximity Study. [Amendment #130, May 27, 2014]

Roads and Rights-of-Way Protection

  1. The City will develop the road network shown on Schedules E to H to provide for the safe and convenient movement of people and goods.
  2. The City will protect rights-of-way for the road network shown on Schedules E to H and as listed in detail in Annex 1.  A description of the road network classification and further rights-of-way protection policies are also found in Annex 1.
  3. An amendment to this Plan is required when an arterial road or city freeway is to be added or deleted from the schedules, or when an Arterial – Conceptual (Alignment Undefined) is proposed to be changed to an Arterial – Proposed (Alignment Defined).  An amendment to this Plan will not be required to add or delete major collector or collector roadways, such roads being generally deeded to the City through the subdivision approval process.  An amendment will be required for all other schedule changes.
  4. The City may acquire land for rights-of-way or the widening of rights-of-way through conditions of approval for a subdivision, severance, site plan, condominium or minor variance.  As detailed in Annex 1, this may involve unequal road widenings, the requirement for additional land for corner triangles at intersections or railway crossings, roundabouts and the use of easements in the Central Area. [Amendment #150, March 20, 2018]
  5. When the City permits interim uses of the land in its rights-of-way, it will ensure that the uses are in accordance with the objectives of this Plan.
  6. Priority use of lanes on a road or planned new lanes may be given exclusively to certain classes of roadway users if it contributes to the implementation of transportation and land-use objectives of this Plan.  This may result in roadway lanes reserved for transit vehicles in identified locations supportive of rapid-transit and the transit-priority network.  The City may give priority use of lanes to cyclists or high-occupancy vehicles on selected roads.  Additional truck-priority lanes (e.g., Waller to Nicholas Streets) may also be implemented. [Amendment #150, March 20, 2018]
  7. The City will ensure that road corridors function as public spaces, while providing the necessary public infrastructure by implementing approved corridor or street design guidelines, including those for road classification types and for heritage districts, tourist areas and business improvement areas.  It is recognized that the parkway network in the city, primarily developed by the National Capital Commission, contributes greatly to the distinct open space character of Ottawa. [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, August 18, 2011]
  8. The City recognizes the role of Ottawa Road 174 as an important rural arterial roadway and as a consequence, new accesses from individual properties along this roadway will generally not be permitted, particularly when shared or joint access points are possible, or alternative road access might be provided for. Additional related policies are found in Section 4.3 policy 15 and Volume 2C, Consolidated Village Plans, policy 23. [Amendment #150, March 20, 2018]
  9. The City will continue to work with the federal and provincial governments and the Province of Quebec and the City of Gatineau, to determine the location of future bridge crossing(s) of the Ottawa River.  The need to secure an effective truck route is a primary consideration in the planning of a new crossing because restrictions on existing bridges have concentrated trucks on King Edward Avenue and the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge, leading to industry inefficiencies and negative community and environmental impacts.  Until a new Ottawa River crossing is built, the City will:
    1. Continue to prohibit development in locations that could hinder the implementation of a potential crossing; and

    2. Encourage the federal government to cooperate with municipal and provincial governments in exploring: alternative means of accommodating interprovincial truck travel while minimizing impacts on the Central Area; approaches to implementing transit and transportation demand management strategies; and modifications to bridges and their approaches to better meet transportation needs. [Amendment #150, March 20, 2018]

  10. Provincial highways are the core elements of the City transportation system.  In considering prospective changes to the provincial highway network, the City would likely favour actions to improve road safety and reduce emissions, but it is not likely to favour actions that have substantial neighbourhood impacts or increase congestion on parallel or intersecting streets. [OMB decision #1582, June 17, 2005]

Other Rights-of-Way Protection

  1. The City will purchase surplus railway rights-of-way and select utility (e.g., hydro line) corridors and will consider purchasing spurs, and other associated railway corridor properties as they become available, for use as future transportation and utility corridors depending on budgeting and affordability. When such rights-of-way are acquired, recreational and agricultural uses may be permitted as interim uses.  Future use as a transportation or utility corridor will have priority over any interim use.  Provision will be made for recreational uses to continue, wherever possible. [Amendment #150, March 20, 2018]
  2. The City will not close and sell unopened road allowances, lanes or roads that have reasonable potential, in the short- or long-term, for use as a roadway, a transit or utility corridor, or a pedestrian or cyclist link or, as outlined in Section 2.4.5, public access to the shore of a water body.
  3. When the City closes and sells an unopened road allowance, it will maintain public access for cyclists and pedestrians in the future where such access supports the policies of this Plan. [Amendment #150, March 20,2018]
  4. Under the provisions of the Planning Act, the City may require the dedication of lands for pedestrian pathways, bicycle pathways and public transit rights-of-ways as a condition of subdivision approval. [Amendment #150, March 20, 2018]


  1. The City will manage the supply of parking in areas with intensification requirements and other areas served by the Rapid Transit and Transit Priority Networks to achieve the following objectives:
    1. To produce short-term parking that supports the needs of local businesses, residents, institutions and tourism destinations;
    2. To limit the supply of long-term parking in a manner that balances transit ridership objectives with the needs of automobile users;
    3. To support intensification and minimize the amount of land devoted to parking through measures such as providing parking underground or in structures incorporating other uses and arrangements to share parking among land users;
    4. To continue to regulate both the minimum and maximum parking requirements for development within 800 metres walking distance of existing rapid transit stations and future rapid transit stations identified in an Environmental Assessment, or within 400 metres walking distance of the existing Transit Priority Network.  Regulations may vary and respond to the requirements of specific sites and areas. [Amendment #150, LPAT Decision October 22, 2018]
  2. In intensification areas, on-street parking will be pursued to facilitate local shopping and economic activity through such means as reducing the number, location and width of vehicle access routes and by combining access to parking and service areas from side streets or service lanes. [Amendment #150, LPAT Decision October 22, 2018]
  3. In establishing requirements for on-site parking, the City will have regard to the current provision of rapid transit and transit priority measures in the area and to the potential impacts on the use of nearby roads with respect to:
    1. Increases in demand for on-street parking and the adequacy of the supply;
    2. The need to facilitate local shopping and economic activity; and
    3. The ability to provide new cycling facilities as set out in the Ottawa Cycling Plan. [Amendment #150,  LPAT Decision October 22, 2018]
  4. In intensification target areas, the City will:
    1. Establish maximum requirements for on-site parking and reduce or eliminate minimum requirements;
    2. Pursue on-street parking through such means as reducing the number, location and width of vehicle access routes and by combining access to parking and service areas from side streets or rear service lanes. [Amendment #150, LPAT Decision October 22, 2018]
  5. Outside intensification target areas, the City may establish maximum requirements for on-site parking and reduce or eliminate minimum parking requirements:
    1. Within 800 metres walking distance of a rapid transit station or within 400 metres walking distance of the Transit Priority Network; or
    2. Within 400 metres walking distance of a Traditional Mainstreet where the requirement to provide parking, the small size, dimensions and other characteristics of existing lots preclude a change in use or small-scale intensification. [Amendment #150, LPAT Decision October 22, 2018]


Movement of Goods

  1. The City will minimize the impact of truck traffic on residential neighbourhoods caused by the presence of these vehicles and their noise, vibration and emissions by ensuring the availability of a comprehensive truck route network based on the arterial road system.
  2. The City will explore alternative means to accommodate interprovincial truck travel to minimize impacts on the Central Area, in particular along and in the vicinity of King Edward Avenue.  The City will, working with other levels of government, remove Rideau Street and King Edward Avenue from the City’s identified truck route system upon the completion of a new interprovincial corridor to accommodate trucks.  See also, policy 8 in Section 3.6.6 of Central Area [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, August 18, 2011]

Transportation Terminals

  1. The preferred location for any intercity passenger transportation terminal is at a rapid transit station. [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, August 18, 2011]
  2. The City will provide convenient road and transit access to all major inter-city passenger terminals (airport, train and bus stations).
  3. The City will support the establishment of multi-modal, inter-city passenger terminals like the existing co-location of the Fallowfield VIA Rail and transit stations.
  4. In industrial and commercial areas with rail access, the City will encourage the development of inter-modal terminals such as truck/rail transfer facilities that reduce the amount of freight transported by road.
  5. The City will preserve strategic locations with superior access to major highways, the airport, railroads and the arterial road network for distribution centres that intercept goods transported long distances by air, rail or truck and transfer them to smaller, more energy efficient vehicles for distribution within the city. The centres reduce the cost and increase the speed of deliveries within the city and divert heavy truck traffic from local roads. [Amendment #150, March 20, 2018]

2.3.2 – Water and Wastewater Services

Water treatment and distribution and sanitary wastewater collection and disposal services are important to the health of both the community and the environment. The City owns and operates two major water treatment facilities and one major wastewater treatment facility, along with the associated infrastructure (pipes, pumps, and storage facilities). These facilities make up the City’s central systems, which service areas within the designated urban boundary. At other locations, public water and/or wastewater services are provided by smaller-scale City facilities, including the Villages of Munster, Carp, Richmond, Manotick, Marionville, Carlsbad Springs, Notre-Dame-des-Champs and Vars, specific locations in the Greenbelt and a limited number of locations where services have been provided due to a unique circumstance, such as to remedy a specific health concern. Altogether, these constitute the Public Service Area. [Amendment #76, August 04, 2010]  [Amendment #150 December 21, 2017]

The Infrastructure Master Plan directs the management and extension of public works systems:

  • Water supply and treatment;
  • Wastewater collection and treatment;
  • Stormwater collection and treatment [Amendment #76, Ministerial Modification #7, August 04, 2010]

The Infrastructure Master Plan provides a comprehensive statement of the City’s public works policies. It also provides direction for new initiatives to minimize capital and operating costs, to ensure the reliability and level of service, and to mitigate environmental impacts of service provision.

In addition to the Infrastructure Master Plan, infrastructure planning is also directed to supporting documents and initiatives such as:

  • Operational reviews to provide feedback to ensure that the City’s policies are being achieved and that public works systems are being managed in a cost-effective and environmentally-sensitive manner;
  • Major facilities plans for the City’s two water treatment plants, the wastewater treatment plant, and stormwater management facilities;
  • Master Servicing Strategies that address provision of water, wastewater and stormwater management services throughout the entire Public Service Area; [Amendment #76, August 04, 2010]
  • Area infrastructure plans which identify the specific needs for infrastructure arising from projected growth, system management requirements and new initiatives. The plans identify the full capital and operating costs of infrastructure requirements; [Amendment #76, August 04, 2010]
  • Design guidelines, which provide specific means by which the City’s policies will be achieved in the construction of new or rehabilitated infrastructure.

The Infrastructure Master Plan also addresses the City’s role in managing private services.

Publicly-owned and managed systems serving large areas of compact development provide the highest value in terms of the City’s ability to protect public health and safety, minimize negative impacts on the natural environment and support the types of growth and development envisioned in the Official Plan. Value and efficiency are reduced as the scale of water and wastewater systems is reduced, the number of systems increases and the locations of the systems become scattered.

However, small stand-alone water or wastewater systems or significant linear extensions of the central systems to serve small areas may be the best available means by which to address public health or environmental problems, but may not provide the standards of service generally expected in a Public Service Area. The City does not support individual subdivision applications in the rural area proposing public water and/or wastewater systems designed only to service that subdivision.

Public Service Areas

Public Service Areas and the terms under which services are provided are generally defined in the Infrastructure Master Plan. However, in some cases the details regarding Public Service Areas and the terms under which services are provided are contained in agreements or by-laws.


  1. Development in Public Service Areas must be on the basis of both public water and wastewater services, except as provided for in Policies 10 and 11.  [Amendment #76, August 04, 2010]
  2. In order to provide sufficient water and wastewater system capacity to assist in meeting the City’s intensification targets inside the Greenbelt, the City will:
    1. Utilize both system design standards and results of direct monitoring of system demands in order to assess the potential for new development to adversely impact existing systems;
    2. Promote intensification and infill where sufficient water and sewer capacity is available or can be provided to support the magnitude of the resulting growth;
    3. Identify growth constraint areas where the risk of wet weather flow conditions could lead to greater occurrence of basement flooding;
    4. Undertake condition and network capacity assessments to support community design plans in areas of proposed urban intensification, to support the development of comprehensive upgrade and renewal plans for these areas; [Amendment #150, May 1, 2018]
    5. Permit intensification and infill to proceed in a phased manner consistent with the policies in Section 6, Managing Capacity to Support Intensification and Infill, of the Infrastructure Master Plan (IMP) in conjunction with other policies of the IMP and the target and phasing of policies of the Official Plan.

[Amendment #76, August 04, 2010]

3. The City has no obligation to provide service connections to every property in Public Service Areas. [Amendment #76, August 04, 2010]

4. The City will provide for the creation of new Public Service Areas to provide for the growth management strategies of the Plan for the urban area. [Amendment #76, August 04, 2010]

5. The City may provide for the creation of new Public Services Areas in the rural area where public services have been deemed to be the appropriate solution in the following circumstances:

a. To support growth in Villages based on a boundary change or intensification of use and the recommendations contained in a Village community design plan where:

i. The community design planning process has included a comprehensive servicing study which uses standardized criteria including costs and benefits to evaluate a range of servicing options and innovative technologies to deliver public water and/or wastewater services,

ii. The community design plan establishes a definition of a Public Service Area boundary and the terms of provision of service,

iii. The mechanisms for financing capital costs, operating costs and infrastructure replacement reserve costs are established to the satisfaction of City Council,

iv. The community design plan is adopted by amendment to this Plan and the boundaries of the Village or boundaries of the serviced area within the Village are amended on Schedule A;

[Amendment #76, August 04, 2010]

b. To remedy a public health or environmental problem in a privately serviced area where:

i. A definition of the Public Service Area boundary and the terms of provision of service are established

ii. The mechanisms for financing capital costs, operating costs and infrastructure replacement reserve costs are established to the satisfaction of City Council,

iii. The community design planning process has included a comprehensive servicing study which uses standardized criteria including costs and benefits to evaluate a range of servicing options and innovative technologies to deliver public water and/or wastewater services,

c. To support economic development in unique situations in the rural area, such as for the Carp Airport, where:

i. The community design planning process has included a comprehensive servicing study which uses standardized criteria including costs and benefits to evaluate a range of servicing options and innovative technologies to deliver public water and/or wastewater services,

ii. The mechanisms for financial capital costs, operating costs and infrastructure replacement reserve costs are established.

iii. The definition of the Public Service Area boundary and the terms of provision of service are established.

[Amendment #76, August 04, 2010]

6. Areas adjacent to public water and wastewater services but outside any defined Public Service Areas are not permitted to connect to public services. [Amendment #76, August 04, 2010]

7. The City will discourage future growth on the basis of partial services, particularly where City water is provided to resolve a groundwater contamination issue.  Growth may be considered where an Environmental Assessment, has addressed the potential for aquifer contamination by pollution from private septic system effluent, and has addressed the impact of indiscriminate water use.  [Amendment #76, August 04, 2010]


8. Notwithstanding the policies of Section 2.3.2, development on the properties known municipally as 800 and 848 Cedarview Road, and 4497 O’Keefe Court (legally defined as Part of Lots 22, 23, 24 and 25, Concession 4, Rideau Front, former City of Nepean), and Part of Lot 21, concession 4 Rideau Front, former City of Nepean, being Part 14 on Registered Plan 5R-13897 located outside the urban boundary, will be permitted to connect to the potable water service. [Amendment #57, November 28, 2007] [Amendment #76, August 04, 2010] [Amendment #202, February 27, 2018]

9. Notwithstanding the policies of Section 2.3.2, the properties known municipally as 2075, 2201, 2207, 2217, 2229, 2241, 2255, 2287, 2317, 2331, 2339, and 2347 Trim Road shall be connected to municipal services given the impacts to the private septic systems and wells by the widening of Trim Road.  In addition, as per the direction of the Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee on September 6, 2012, the following properties shall be connected:  5210, 5220, 5330 Innes Road and 2035 Trim Road. [Amendment #150 December 21, 2017]

10. Notwithstanding policy 7 above and the policies on Partial Services that follow, the severance of new residential lots and the construction of coach houses fronting the Carlsbad trickle-feed water supply system east of Hawthorn Road is permitted. Applications for new lots and coach houses must conform to the requirements elsewhere in this Plan and will be limited to one connection per coach house and one connection per primary dwelling. The City will monitor the number of connections granted and the residual capacity of the system to accommodate these additional units. Should regular system monitoring reveal issues with systems capacity to accommodate the existing commitments as well as proposed new lots the City will reserve the right to refuse consent for any new lots or minor variance or Site Plan Control application for any new coach house. [Amendment #152, June 11, 2015] [Amendment #197, November 8, 2017]

11. Notwithstanding Policy 7 above and the policies on partial services that follow, the extension of the Carlsbad PSA south from the Village of Carlsbad Springs and east of Thunder Road to service the existing 22 lots that front onto Boundary Road, and to service those rural industrial area east of Boundary Road. This will permit the subdivision and the creation of new lots for non-residential purposes.  Applications for the creation of new lots or a change of use requiring a zoning amendment must be accompanied by an assessment of the residual capacity of the whole system taking into consideration existing service commitments. The City will monitor the use and capacity of the system as part of the regular review of the Infrastructure Master Plan and reserve the right to approve or refuse the creation of new lots based upon the operation and capacity of the system.  [Amendment #153, OMB File #PL150790, May 5, 2016] 


Private Water and Wastewater Services

Outside of the water or wastewater Public Service Areas, water supply or wastewater treatment and disposal is on the basis of privately-owned services. Construction and maintenance of privately-owned services are the responsibility of the owner. The policies in this Plan provide for the continued use of private services where it is done in a safe and environmentally-appropriate manner.

Areas serviced by private services can be subject to unique operational problems that can result in health and environmental concerns. Owners should understand the proper operation of their systems to protect both their own and their neighbours’ health and safety. The technologies available to ensure the safe operation of private individual systems have improved substantially over recent years. Modern technologies for water treatment and wastewater pre-treatment can ensure the safe operation of private systems under even the most severe circumstances.

The City is investigating means to implement more proactive inspection processes for well and septic systems, including better inspection procedures at the time of construction and on-going regular inspections for the life of the well or septic system. Properly constructed and operated private systems provide a cost-effective and safe means to service property. Private services include water supply or wastewater disposal systems serving development on one lot and under single ownership. These typically include single well and septic systems serving residential development, but also include larger well and septic systems serving commercial or institutional development. Some areas in the city are serviced by a combination of private and public services. Section 4.4 of the Plan contains more detailed policies related to private services and types of developments.


12. All development outside of Public Service Areas will be on the basis of private services.

Partial Services

The intention of this Plan is to ensure that where public services are provided, that this include both public water and public wastewater. However, some rare exceptions may occur.


13. Partial Services shall only be considered in the following circumstances:

a. Where they are necessary to address failed individual on-site sewage services and individual on-site water services in existing development; or

b. Within the urban area and in villages where development on partial services already exists and the proposal constitutes minor infill. [Amendment #76, August 04, 2010]

Private Services in Public Service Areas

At some locations in the city, pockets of development exist on private services within designated Public Service Areas and the City has no commitment to extend public services to these pockets. This situation has typically resulted as the expansion of the Public Service Areas has surrounded previously established areas.


14. Notwithstanding policy 1 above, where no provision for public services exists, the City may permit development on private services in defined Public Service Areas provided that it can be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the City that such development:

a. Is proposed in a circumstance where public services are not currently technically or financially feasible;  [Amendment #150 December 21, 2017]

b. Can adequately be serviced by private individual services in accordance with Section 4.4;

c. Is of a minor nature that consists of a single building comprising a commercial, institutional or public use; residential infilling within residential clusters; a farm severance as provided for in Section 3.7.3 of this Plan or other uses of similar nature and scale;

d. Will not compromise the longer-term development of the area on public services.

Public Service Area developments that are permitted on private services under this policy will be required to pay for connection to the public services as they become available.

2.3.3 – Drainage and Stormwater Management Services

Land-use change creates the need for drainage services to ensure safe, well-drained sites. The provision of storm sewers to efficiently convey frequent runoff is combined with overflow (or surface) routes that convey larger, less frequent flows that exceed storm sewer capacity. This “major/minor” system approach to drainage provides protection from flooding in new developments.

Uncontrolled stormwater runoff can also impair aquatic habitat, increase erosion threats and limit the recreational potential of local rivers and streams. Increased flooding and erosion can also impact municipal drains when development occurs adjacent to them. Beyond protecting life, property and infrastructure from flooding, stormwater management services are also required to mitigate the impacts of land-use change on receiving watercourses, including municipal drains.

The provision of appropriate drainage and stormwater management services requires coordination with land-use planning, and assessment of receiving watercourses (including municipal drains), environmental features and natural hazards, all of which is typically achieved through environmental management plans and subwatershed plans. Policies for these plans and stormwater site management plans are found

elsewhere in this Plan.

As noted above, the Infrastructure Master Plan provides a comprehensive statement of the City’s stormwater management policies. These policies cover established practices as well as identify new directions for stormwater management planning, in particular:

  • Planning for stormwater retrofit; and
  • Requiring increased efforts to reduce runoff volumes.

Stormwater retrofit planning is required to address the cumulative impacts of infill/ redevelopment in areas of the city that developed without stormwater management. Requiring increased efforts to reduce runoff volumes reflects the growing body of science that indicates conventional stormwater management efforts (peak flow controls) are not always sufficient to maintain the long-term health and stability of receiving watercourses.

Policies also exist in the Infrastructure Master Plan that require new development adjacent to municipal drains to implement appropriate stormwater management measures.

[Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, August 18, 2011]


  1. Development will be in accordance with the system capacity for drainage and will implement stormwater management and where relevant, will conform to stormwater site management plans, the Infrastructure Master Plan and community design plans practices necessary to protect, improve or restore the quality and quantity of water in the receiving watercourse. [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, August 18, 2011]
  2. In order to mitigate the impacts of intensification on receiving watercourses inside the Greenbelt, the City will”
    1. Fully integrate the assessment of receiving watercourses and required mitigating works with the development of community design plans and other planning studies for areas inside the Greenbelt;
    2. Develop a citywide stormwater management (SWM) retrofit plan to identify and prioritize SWM retrofit projects.
  3. Where approved Master Drainage Plans are in place but do not meet current receiving system standards or requirements for quality or quantity controls, as identified in consultation with appropriate Conservation Authority and municipal infrastructure staff, current standards may supersede the requirements of the Master Drainage Plan. The determination of the application of current standards will be subject to consultation between the City, appropriate Conservation Authority, affected landowners and other relevant stakeholders and will have regard to the planning, design and approval status of developments and infrastructure within the drainage area [Amendment #76, Ministerial Modification #9, OMB File #PL100206, August 18, 2011]
  4. Where an approved Master Drainage Plan exists but the supporting facilities are not yet in place or are not being implemented, interim or alternative measures must meet quality and quantity standard for the received water body identified in consultation with appropriate Conservation Authority and municipal infrastructures staff. [Amendment #76, Ministerial Modification #9OMB File #PL100206, August 18, 2011]
  5. Alternative mitigation measures proposed in Stormwater Management Plans for rural subdivisions will include provisions that have monitoring components and mitigation requirements to ensure that the implemented plans are meeting quality and quantity objectives. [Amendment #76, Ministerial Modification #9, OMB File #PL100206, August 18, 2011]

2.4 - Maintaining Environmental Integrity

The environment is the collection of support systems that makes the lives of humans and other species possible. It is the air we breathe, the ground beneath our feet, the water we drink, and the energy that heats our homes and powers our society. The environment is not only the tangible elements of earth, air, water and energy, but also the processes that maintain these elements and the interactions that occur among them. These processes and interactions can be local or global in nature. The challenge in planning for the environment is to anticipate how these processes and interactions are affected by human activity and to act so that their integrity can be preserved under changing conditions.

Typically, change occurs through small steps, each one of which may have little impact on the environment but that – taken together – may have large and unplanned cumulative effects. Thus environmentally-sensitive planning occurs at two levels: policies that govern land development can anticipate and address effects at the individual site level, while large-scale plans covering whole ecosystems (such as watershed plans) can assess cumulative impacts and overall ecological health. This Plan contains both types of planning.

Natural features, groundwater and surface water systems cross municipal boundaries. The City will undertake environmental studies in partnership with the Conservation Authorities and neighbouring municipalities, recognizing that the municipalities share the same natural systems, and impacts on those systems. Arising from their historic and continuing use and knowledge of the rivers within the city, the Algonquins of Ontario have a fundamental interest in matters relating to the protection and utilization of historic waterways (e.g. Ottawa River, Rideau River, Mississippi River, Jock River, and Carp River) throughout the City of Ottawa. Hence, the City will engage the Algonquins in discussions concerning the preparation of environmental studies affecting natural features, groundwater and surface water associated with these waterways. [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, July 21, 2011]

The Official Plan is one of several municipal plans that contribute to environmental quality within the city:

  • The Transportation Master Plan, with its mandate to support walking, cycling and transit, has a pivotal role in reducing the city’s energy consumption, improving air quality, and minimizing the overall demand for land and other resources.
  • The Infrastructure Master Plan, with its mandate to support growth through the provision of safe and sustainable water, wastewater and stormwater services, plays an important role in the protection of the city’s rivers and streams.
  • The City’s Corporate Plan guides the actions the City can take as a corporation to support environmental sustainability.
  • The Environmental Strategy sets a broad framework for the environment, including energy use; air, soil and water quality; climate change; land use and management; biodiversity; and waste generation and management.

The Official Plan protects and enhances the quality of the environment in the city by:

  • Improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Identifying and protecting natural features and prime agriculture land and ensuring mineral resources are used carefully;
  • Planning on the basis of the natural systems defined by watersheds;
  • Managing groundwater resources;
  • Planning for forests and other greenspaces.

The City also adopts policies outside these plans to support human health and the health of the environment. In 2004 the City adopted a corporate policy prohibiting the cosmetic use of chemical pesticides on City outdoor property. [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, July 21, 2011]

2.4.1 – Air Quality and Climate Change

Good air quality is critical to maintaining environmental and human health. Air quality concerns in Ottawa relate primarily to particulate matter, resulting largely from transportation sector emissions.

Air quality and climate change are related issues, in that they share some common causes and solutions in the context of land-use planning. Climate change is one of the critical environmental challenges facing the world and measures to both reduce GHG emissions (mitigation) and prepare for the impacts of climate change (adaptation) need to be incorporated into all levels of City decision-making including the Official Plan and related Master Plans.

The City has made a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in both corporate operations and at the community level. Emissions are monitored and targets set and revised through the Environmental Strategy and the Air Quality and Climate Change Management Plan.

The Official Plan makes a significant contribution to reducing emissions and adapting to climate change through its support for sustainable growth management and transportation policies, support for measures such as renewable energy which reduce the impact of the built environment, and support for energy efficient and green design measures.

[Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, July 21, 2011]


1. The City will reduce GHG emissions in the development and building sector by:

a. Promoting compact urban form and an energy efficient pattern and mix of land uses through the strategic direction for managing growth and related intensification targets and community design plans.

b. Encouraging energy efficient and sustainable site and building design through subdivision and site plan approval.

c. Facilitating and encouraging use of renewable sources in development, and allowing for appropriate renewable energy utility and accessory use installations.

[Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, July 21, 2011]

2. The City will reduce air emissions and GHG emissions resulting from the transportation sector by:

a. Providing opportunities for the use of energy efficient transportation modes in order to minimize individual motor vehicle travel in favour of walking, cycling and transit.

b. Establishing aggressive modal split targets and a transportation demand management program through the Transportation Master Plan and related policies.

c. Supporting the rapid transit Network within the Official Plan through targets and policies for intensification of Mixed-Use Centres at rapid transit stations.

[Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, July 21, 2011]

3. The City will take measures to adapt to the effects of climate change by:

a. Completing a climate change adaptation strategy

b. Considering the potential impact of climate change and adaptation strategies when completing environmental management and sub-watershed plans

c. Ensuring that development avoids potential natural hazards resulting from extreme weather events such as flooding and slope failure

d. Reducing the urban heat island effect through landscaping, tree planting, and encouragement of courtyards and innovative green spaces with permeable surfaces and trees and of green building measures such as the use of green roofs, living walls and light coloured building materials

[Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, Ministerial Modification # 10, July 21, 2011]

2.4.2 – Natural Features and Functions

The policies in this Plan address both natural features as well as natural functions. Natural features are defined here as physically tangible elements of the environment, including wetlands, forests, ravines, and rivers and valleylands, and associated wildlife habitat areas along the edge of, or which support significant ecological functions within, the natural feature. All natural features perform an array of natural functions, resulting from natural processes, products or services such as groundwater recharge, provision of wildlife habitat, temperature moderation, natural cleansing and filtration of surface water, and carbon sequestration (carbon sinks). These natural functions occur within a natural system, such as air or water, or as a result of the interactions between natural systems. While the visible natural feature can be identified and protected, the long-term health and viability of the natural functions is more difficult to assess. [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, April 26, 2012]

The province and municipalities have examined natural features in the past, on the basis of their size, species diversity, and other characteristics, to determine those that are the most significant and warrant protection through public ownership or through regulations concerning their development. In Ottawa, most of these significant woodlands and wildlife habitat are designated as Natural Environment Areas and Rural Natural Features and include wetlands that, while not provincially-significant, maintain the natural function of the area. These features, in addition to provincially-significant wetlands, comprise a natural heritage system linked by watercourses and valleylands that extends throughout the urban and rural area and into adjacent municipalities. [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, April 26, 2012]

The natural heritage system in Ottawa is identified and protected by watershed and other environmental plans, land-use designations, in Schedules A and B, the Natural Heritage System Overlay (Schedules L1, L2 and L3) and policies that govern how land is used to ensure that development does not result in negative impacts on natural features or their functions. In this regard, the diversity and connectivity of natural features and the long-term ecological function and biodiversity of the City's natural heritage systems shall be maintained, restored, or where possible, improved, recognizing linkages between and among natural heritage features and areas, surface water features and ground water features [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, Ministerial Modification # 11. April 26, 2012] [Amendment #109, November 29, 2012]


  1. The natural heritage system in Ottawa comprises the following significant features and the natural functions they perform:
    1. Provincially significant wetlands as identified by the Ministry of Natural Resources
    2. Significant habitat for endangered and threatened species, as approved by the Ministry of Natural Resources;
    3. Significant woodlands defined as the following:
      1. Any treed area meeting the definition of woodlands in the Forestry Act, R.S.O.1990. c F.26 or forest in the Ecological Land Classification for Southern Ontario; and
      2. In the Rural Area, meeting any one of the criteria in the Natural Heritage Reference Manual, as assessed in a subwatershed planning context and applied in accordance with Council- approved guidelines, where such guidelines exist; or
      3. In the urban area, any area 0.8 hectares in size or larger, supporting woodland 60 Years of age and older at the time of evaluation; [Amendment #179 LPAT, September 5, 2019]
    4. Wetlands found in association with significant woodlands;
    5. Significant valleylands defined as valleylands with slopes greater than 15% and a length of more than 50 m, with water present for some period of the year, excluding man-made features such as pits and quarries;
    6. Significant wildlife habitat found on escarpments with slopes exceeding 75% and heights greater than 3 m; or within significant woodlands, wetlands, and valleylands; or that may be identified through subwatershed studies or site investigation;
    7. Life Science Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest as identified by the Ministry of Natural Resources;
    8. Earth Science Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest as identified by the Ministry of Natural Resources designated on Schedule K;
    9. Urban Natural Features, consisting of remnant woodlands, wetlands and ravines within the urban area;
    10. Forest remnants and natural corridors such as floodplains that are identified through planning or environmental studies such as watershed or subwatershed plans, environmental management plans, community design plans, environmental impact statements or tree conservation reports as linkages between the significant features defined above, but may not meet the criteria for significance in their own right,
    11. Groundwater features, defined as water-related features in the earth’s subsurface, including recharge/discharge areas, water tables, aquifers and unsaturated zones that can be defined by surface and subsurface hydrogeologic investigations;
    12. Surface water features, defined as water-related features on the earth’s surface, including headwaters, rivers, stream channels, drains, inland lakes, seepage areas, recharge/discharge areas, springs, and associated riparian lands that can be defined by their soil moisture, soil type, vegetation or topographic characteristics, including fish habitat.

[Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, April 26, 2012]

2. The natural heritage system, as defined in policy 1, is protected by:

a. Establishing watershed and subwatershed plans as the basis for land-use planning in Ottawa through policies in Section 2 of this Plan.

b. Protecting the quality and quantity of groundwater through policies in Section 2;

c. Designating most significant features as Significant Wetlands, Natural Environment Areas, Urban Natural Features and Rural Natural Features on schedules within the Plan and setting policies in Section 3 to ensure they are preserved;  [Amendment #150 December 21, 2017]

d. Illustrating as much of the natural heritage system as can be accurately reflected at the scale of the Natural Heritage System Overlay depicted on Schedules L1, L2 and L3 in order to assist in identifying the requirement for an Environmental Impact Statement for development proposed in or adjacent to features described in Policy 1. [Amendment #109, November 29, 2012]

e. Ensuring that land is developed in a manner that is environmentally-sensitive through the development review process in keeping with policies in Section 4 regarding such matters as design with nature, erosion protection and protection of surface water, protection of significant habitat for endangered and threatened species and requirements for Environmental Impact Statements. [Amendment #109, November 29, 2012]

[Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, April 26, 2012]

3. Regardless of whether the features are designated in this Plan, an Environmental Impact Statement is required for development proposed within or adjacent to features described in policy 1 above, with the exception of surface and groundwater features. Development and site alteration within or adjacent to these features will not be permitted unless it is demonstrated through an Environmental Impact Statement that there will be no negative impact on the feature or its ecological functions. Where the proposed development or alteration is for the establishment or expansion of mineral aggregate operations within or adjacent to a significant woodland, the demonstration of no negative impact may take into consideration final rehabilitation of the mineral aggregate operation, including any on- or off-site compensation. Rehabilitation of the mineral aggregate operation would need to be planned to occur as soon as possible and be suited to the local natural environment. The policies regarding Environmental Impact Statements and the definition of terms are contained in Section 4.7.8. [Amendments #150 and #179, LPAT, September 5, 2019]

2.4.3 – Watershed and Subwatershed Plans

Watershed planning is an integrated, ecosystem approach to land-use planning based on the boundaries of a watershed. A watershed, also known as a catchment or basin, is the land drained by a river and its tributaries. It is separated from adjacent watersheds by a land ridge or divide. A subwatershed is usually a smaller area of land draining to a single tributary of a larger river. Watershed and subwatershed plans attempt to balance environmental protection, conservation and restoration with development and land-use practices to ensure the long-term health of the watershed. The relationship between Watershed plan and land use plans is demonstrated in Figure 2.6. Drawing on fieldwork and scientific analysis, these plans identify stressors on natural systems and propose measures to mitigate these stressors and enhance natural systems. Watershed and subwatershed plans address such matters as setbacks from water bodies, stormwater management requirements, protection of significant natural features and habitat linkages, and opportunities to rehabilitate degraded areas or otherwise enhance the environment. They are as important in the urban area as they are in the rural area. [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, April 26, 2012]

Watershed and subwatershed plans investigate the natural features and functions of the watershed, such as the river and stream system, groundwater resources and recharge areas, and woodland and wetland habitats in order to:

  • Document the existing condition of the natural heritage system within the watershed; [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, April 26, 2012]
  • Identify the significant woodlands, wetlands, wildlife habitat and other significant features and linkages within the watershed that need to be protected, along with surface and groundwater features; [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, Ministerial Modification # 12, April 26, 2012]
  • Assess the potential impacts of existing and future land-use activities; including cumulative impacts, and recommend measures to avoid or mitigate these; [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, April 26, 2012]
  • Identify opportunities to restore and enhance the natural system and promote compatible uses.

These plans are usually undertaken cooperatively by the City, the Conservation Authorities and other interested parties. Responsibility for implementing these plans is shared.


  1. The City, in consultation with Conservation Authorities in the Ottawa area, will prioritize areas for watershed planning, based on such factors as the environmental condition of the natural system, development pressure, changing land-use activities and community support.
  2. The City will request that the Conservation Authorities coordinate the preparation of watershed plans in accordance with the priorities established in policy 1. The plans will be prepared jointly by the Conservation Authorities and the City, with participation from other agencies, including the Ontario Ministries of Natural Resources, Environment, and Agriculture and Food; the National Capital Commission; Parks Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans; and other private and public interests as may be required by the circumstances within a specific watershed. Where a watershed boundary extends beyond the jurisdiction of the City, adjacent municipalities will be invited to participate. [Ministerial Modification 3, November 10, 2003]
  3. As a general guide, a watershed plan will contain the following components:
    1. Identification and assessment of the natural heritage system within the watershed including headwater area and other surface water and groundwater features; [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, April 26, 2012]
    2. Recommendations on management strategies, implementation and monitoring to address the preservation, enhancement and rehabilitation of those features, including direction on public access where appropriate;
    3. Definition of the boundaries of component subwatersheds and the identification of priorities for more detailed planning of subwatersheds;
    4. The general terms of reference for subwatershed plans.
  4. Once a watershed plan is approved by City Council, the City will implement the recommendations of the plan where it has the ability to do so through existing programs, the development review process, subwatershed plans, environmental management plans, and other mechanisms and will encourage other parties to do the same. Areas where watershed or subwatershed studies have been approved are shown in Annex 2. [Amendment 13, September 8, 2004]

Subwatershed Plans

5. The City will define the limits of subwatersheds through the watershed plan or, if there is no watershed plan available at the time the subwatershed study is scheduled to begin, in consultation with the appropriate Conservation Authority.

6. The City will coordinate the preparation of subwatershed plans unless all interested parties agree that coordination would best take place through another agency. In all cases, the subwatershed plans will be prepared in consultation with the appropriate Conservation Authority.

7. A subwatershed plan will be undertaken:

a. If a watershed plan indicates it is a priority;

b. If the environmental health and condition of the subwatershed area is degraded or at risk of degrading;

c. As a basis for City Council consideration of a community design plan or an application to amend the Official Plan which provides for new development areas or redevelopment areas, or applications to subdivide land in locations that are largely undeveloped. A subwatershed plan shall guide development patterns and therefore should be the first step in planning for land uses. It may proceed in concert with the land use plan. As a priority, the subwatershed plan will identify the natural heritage system areas that are worthy of protection and establish mechanisms to secure these areas and to ensure development has no negative impact on the system. Where the proposed development is deemed to be of limited extent and impact, based on consultation with the appropriate Conservation Authority and other relevant bodies, City Council may waive the requirement for the subwatershed plan. Where the requirement for the subwatershed plan is waived, the natural heritage system will be identified in keeping with the policies of this Plan along with measures to ensure development has no negative impact on the system. Natural areas that are worthy of protection will be identified and mechanisms to secure these lands will be established. [OMB decision #1582, June 17, 2005] [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, Ministerial Modification # 13, April 26, 2012]

8. The general terms of reference for a subwatershed plan will be defined in the appropriate watershed plan and will be reviewed at study initiation. Where no watershed plan exists, the detailed terms of reference will be determined based on subwatershed requirements but will generally address:

a. The natural features and their functions that comprise the natural heritage system as described in Section 2.4.2; [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, Ministerial Modification # 14, April 26, 2012]

b. Subwatershed objectives and recommendations regarding areas for development and preservation, protection of headwater areas, surface water and groundwater features, public access, and implementation; [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, April 26, 2012]

c. Guidelines for development, including stormwater management requirements;

d. The provision, operation and maintenance of stormwater management facilities;

e. Monitoring of all aspects of the plan.

9. Once a subwatershed plan is approved by City Council as a statement of City Council policy, the City will implement plan recommendations where it has the ability to do so, such as through existing programs, development review and approvals, environmental management plans, and other mechanisms. The City will encourage other parties to undertake whatever actions are within their jurisdiction to implement subwatershed plans.

Environmental Management Plan

10. Where implementation of a subwatershed plan requires further detail or coordination of environmental planning and stormwater management among several sites, the City will coordinate the preparation of an environmental management plan, in consultation with the Conservation Authorities.

11. An environmental management plan will address such matters as:

a. Delineation of setbacks from surface water features; [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, April 26, 2012]

b. Specific mitigation measures to protect significant features, identified for preservation at the subwatershed level; [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, April 26, 2012]

c. Conceptual and functional design of stormwater management facilities and creek corridor restoration and enhancement.

12. Recommendations from environmental management plans will be implemented largely through development approval conditions and stormwater site management plans.

2.4.4 – Groundwater Management

Protecting, improving and restoring the quality and quantity of groundwater is an environmental and public health issue. Groundwater contributes to the base flows of streams as well as to the quantity and quality of potable water drawn from wells. As more is learned about the groundwater system in Ottawa, use of the resource can be managed better to ensure that flows within natural systems are maintained and that new development can be accommodated within the system without affecting supplies available to other users.

Groundwater management is a shared responsibility in Ontario. Groundwater is considered a resource by the Province and there are a number of Ministries with interest and responsibilities including: the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Natural Resources, Agriculture and Food and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. The local Conservation Authorities are concerned about groundwater as a resource within their watershed areas and they are leading the development of Source Water Protection Plans under the Clean Water Act. Source Water Protection Plan will address: groundwater recharge areas; wellhead protection areas and other vulnerable sources of groundwater such as wetlands. Ministerial approval of these Plans is expected in 2013-14 with implementation to follow. [Amendment #150 December 21, 2017]

The City is responsible for the regulation of land use and development that impacts groundwater resources; the operation of public drinking water systems including public communal wells and the delivery of public health programs and educational materials. The City is also responsible for helping to find a remedy when groundwater-based drinking water sources are contaminated. Therefore the City has a major responsibility and interest in the protection of groundwater and surface water from contamination.

The protection of groundwater quality and quantity, and surface water quality and quantity as it relates to groundwater, is a priority to Council in recognition of the dependence of the rural population on these resources for drinking water and food production

In 2003, the City adopted a Groundwater Management Strategy with a two-phased approach to safeguard the integrity of our groundwater resources. In Phase One, the City has been concentrating on the development and preparation of groundwater characterization studies and public education programs. In Phase Two, the City will develop a framework in which to more clearly identify, prioritize, and complete the groundwater management activities outlined in its Groundwater Management Strategy.

[Amendment #76, August 04, 2010]


  1. Where monitoring and characterization of the groundwater resource has indicated degradation of the resource function, the zoning by-law will restrict uses to prevent further impacts on that function.
  2. Where monitoring and characterization of the groundwater resource has indicated that a significant resource function exists, the zoning by-law will restrict uses to protect that function.

3. The City will:

  1. Investigate, identify, record and analyse the extent and characteristics of the groundwater resources;
  2. Identify and evaluate potential sources of groundwater contamination which arise from a variety of land-use practices and industrial activities;
  3. Develop and maintain a database, which will provide ready access to, and manipulation of, groundwater data, including geological, hydro-geological, and water quality information and make database information available to the public;
  4. Ensure that there are current best management practices, protection policies and regulations to guide development so that reliable use and functions of groundwater resources can be maintained;
  5. Use the information gained through investigation and analysis when reviewing development and building applications under the Planning Act;
  6. Ensure that programs to inform the community about best practices related to groundwater resource issues are developed and that the community is involved in collective decision-making regarding the protection, preservation and stewardship of groundwater resources and in making wise individual decisions regarding private well and septic matters.

[Amendment #76, August 04, 2010]

2.4.5 – Greenspaces

Ottawa’s greenspaces assume many forms: sensitive wetlands and forests in urban and rural areas, playing fields and playgrounds, landscaped parkways, and the casually tended grass around stormwater management ponds. Greenspace is defined here to include the natural features designated in the Plan in the urban and rural area, as well as the large park and leisure areas designated as Major Open Space or the smaller areas zoned for park and leisure but not shown in the Plan. Greenspaces such as the Rideau Canal, Beechwood Cemetery, the Central Experimental Farm and other cultural heritage landscapes are also included, as well as the creek and river corridors and recreational pathways that connect greenspaces. Many of the islands and greenspaces in an adjacent to the major waterways have high potential as archaeological sites.

The values ascribed to different areas within a greenspace system range along a continuum as shown in Figure 2.7 [Amendment #76, Ministerial Modification #15, August 18, 2011]. Large forests and wetlands in the rural area have been identified as the most significant in the city in terms of maintaining natural functions and diversity in plant and animal communities. While greenspaces and woodlands in Villages and in the urban area may serve natural functions, they are also valued for serving more human needs: a green retreat, a living classroom and laboratory, and a place for outdoor recreation. Greenspaces and woodlands in urban areas and Villages also help create a sense of place and provide physical boundaries, features and buffers within and between communities. They moderate climate and provide a place to grow food in community gardens. As historical settings, cultural heritage landscapes provide information about the past.

The Ottawa forest grows throughout the city’s greenspaces, as individual trees in downtown neighbourhoods, as protected woodlots in new communities, and as forests in the rural area. Trees improve the quality of the air and water around them, provide shelter for humans and wildlife, and give pleasure to those who view them. In the urban area, large mature trees are especially valued: trees that large will not grow again along urban roads or in other areas until the presence of road salt and other pollutants is reduced. Altogether, about 28 per cent of the city is forested.

Ottawa residents value their greenspaces and recognize the contribution greenspace makes to the high quality of living here. As the population of the city grows to 2031, the challenge will be to maintain these high standards as new communities are added and existing neighbourhoods accommodate infill and redevelopment. Through amalgamation in 2001, the city has never been better positioned to meet this challenge, with a single level of government now in place to provide leadership and pursue a single vision for all forms of greenspace in partnership with other levels of government, the private sector and the community. [Amendment #150 December 21, 2017]

Council has adopted the Greenspace Master Plan - Strategies for Ottawa’s Urban Greenspaces to express Council’s objectives for urban greenspace: an adequate supply of greenspace, readily accessible to residents as a connected network of high-quality spaces planned and maintained on a sustainable basis. A major accomplishment of the Plan is the mapping and evaluation of all greenspaces within the urban area, the legacy of former municipal governments, the National Capital Commission, and others. The backbone of the master plan is an Urban Greenspace Network, a continuum of natural lands and open space and leisure lands that in time could connect every neighbourhood in Ottawa to a larger network that connects to the Greenbelt and spans the city. Planning greenspaces in relationship to a network:  [Amendment #150 December 21, 2017]

  • Increases accessibility to greenspace throughout the city;
  • Helps identify priorities for filling gaps and extending the network;
  • Creates a context for planning neighbourhoods and larger communities that include connections to the network;
  • Supports sustainability of natural lands within the network.

Lands off the Urban Greenspace Network are also important, particularly the remaining natural lands within the urban boundary on Schedule A. In 2006, an evaluation of the remaining natural areas, both on and off the urban network, was completed through the Council-approved Urban Natural Areas Environmental Evaluation Study (March 2005) and Addendum Report (March 2006). Priority lands to secure for their environmental value through acquisition or other means were identified in the Urban Natural Areas Features Strategy, approved by Council in May 2007.

The Greenspace Master Plan - Strategies for Ottawa’s Urban Greenspaces includes various strategies to achieve Council’s greenspace objectives, including a commitment to extend the multi-use, city-wide pathway system, the preparation of plans needed to fill gaps in the network, and development of design guidelines for “Green Streets” and parks. In addition to specific strategies, the master plan will also be implemented through the day-to-day conduct of municipal business.  Through its planning and development review responsibilities, through public works and through management of its own lands, the City can realize its greenspace vision.  The Master Plan is implemented in part through actions outside the Official Plan, and in part through policies in this and other sections.  [Amendment 45, September 27, 2006] [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, August 18, 2011]  [Amendment #150 December 21, 2017]


  1. The City has adopted a Greenspace Master Plan - Strategies for Ottawa’s Urban Greenspaces to express Council’s objectives for greenspace within the urban area and will implement this Plan through the following measures:
    1. Designating greenspaces, including municipal parks or groupings of municipal parks of 7.0 ha or more, in the Official Plan in a manner that reflects their function and ensuring that their boundaries are accurately presented in the zoning by-law;
    2. Encouraging a high quality of urban design, consistent with the objectives and principles of Section 2.5.1, where natural lands and open space and leisure areas are used as integral elements in the design;
    3. Pursuing greenspace opportunities when undertaking public works, for example by enhancing vegetation and natural functions or providing open space and leisure areas as an integral part of plans for new public works;
    4. Considering the greenspace function of any municipal lands considered surplus before any decision on disposal is made. The City will consult with the community before considering disposal of any public park and where a park is sold, the proceeds will be only be used for park acquisition or improvement. [Amendment 45, September 27, 2006]
  2. The City will acquire land in the urban area where public ownership is required to secure land for greenspace purposes, in keeping with the acquisition policies in Section 5.2.1. In addition, community design plans for Developing Communities may refine priorities for the acquisition of land for specific greenspace purposes. [Amendment 45, September 27, 2006]
  3. The City will seek opportunities to build the Urban Greenspace Network through:
    1. The review of development applications, to seek opportunities at various scales to fill gaps in the network, provide connections to the Urban Greenspace Network, and extend it to new urban communities wherever possible;
    2. The design of transportation corridors, infrastructure and other municipal facilities to fill in gaps in the network and extend its reach in new and established urban communities;
    3. Implementing priority sections of the city-wide multi-use pathway system;
    4. Partnerships with public and private partners to provide access to greenspaces. [Amendment 45, September 27, 2006]-
  4. Privately-owned open spaces such as marinas, campgrounds and golf courses contribute to greenspaces in Ottawa. When reviewing an application to amend a zoning by-law in these locations, the City will consider opportunities to maintain the Greenspace Network through the area and otherwise reduce the impact of the loss and may consider acquisition of the land in accordance with Section 5.2.1 policy 6 of this Plan. [Amendment 45, September 27, 2006]
  5. Council will pursue the target for total greenspace, in the form of open space and leisure lands, across large areas of the urban area, to fulfill objectives expressed in the Greenspace Master Plan - Strategies for Ottawa’s Urban Greenspaces. A target of 4.0 hectares per 1000 population, or approximately 16 per cent to 20 per cent of gross land area, will be pursued. These open space and leisure lands are land that is in public ownership and is generally accessible to the public, such as: parks, major recreational pathways, land designated as Urban Natural Features or Major Open Space, flood plains and other hazard lands, and stormwater management facilities. Open space and leisure land where access is restricted, such as school grounds, private golf courses or other facilities, and land that is temporarily available for open space, such as land reserved for major transportation corridors and infrastructure will not be included in the target. [Amendment 45, September 27, 2006]
  6. Greenspaces identified in this Plan are major assets that enhance the quality of life in the community and the environmental integrity of the city. Development on land adjacent to lands designated Major Open Space, Urban Natural Features or land within the National Capital Greenbelt, can benefit from and have a significant impact on the quality of these greenspaces. It is the City’s objective to ensure, to the extent possible, that the design and character of private development and public works adjacent to these greenspaces enhances the visibility and accessibility of these public lands and contributes to their connection to the Urban Greenspace Network. This policy does not imply that public access through the private property or even private access from private property to the greenspace is required or permitted. In addition, where these public lands are in federal ownership access will be subject to federal review and approval. [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, August 18, 2011]
  7. Pending completion of a Forest Strategy, the City will maintain a target for forest cover for the entire city of 30 per cent. The City will increase forest cover in urban and rural areas through the planning and development review process by:
    1. Identifying and protecting environmental areas designated in the Plan, including provisions for environmental assessments for adjacent lands;
    2. Emphasizing tree preservation and planting in the requirements for private development and public works, including road corridors, parks and municipal buildings;
    3. Developing guidelines for tree preservation and planting in the development review process, including a policy on compensation for loss of forest as a result of development. This policy, to be developed in consultation with the development industry and the community, will consider various forms of compensation, including planting on other sites owned by the applicant or the City. [Amendment 45, September 27, 2006]
  8. Through the Greenspace Master Plan - Strategies for Ottawa’s Urban Greenspaces, Council supports a target of providing the open space and leisure land that is referred to in policy 5, within 400 metres of all homes in primarily residential areas in the urban area. This target is to ensure that greenspace is readily accessible to all residents. More specific targets for accessibility may be developed in community design plans and other plans, where appropriate. For example, targets for a reduced distance between residences and greenspace may be appropriate where residential densities are higher and less private greenspace is provided, such as in Mixed Use Centres, or in residential neighbourhoods where seniors or young children would benefit from a shorter distance. [Amendment 45, September 27, 2006]
  9. The City will work with Conservation Authorities, rural landowners, community groups, organizations working with urban forestry or private land forestry, and other interested parties on a strategy to manage and protect forests in the rural and urban area. This work will include:
    1. Developing a by-law under the Municipal Act to regulate tree-cutting and preserve woodlands;
    2. Developing current management plans for forests owned by the City;
    3. Implementing best management practices for City-owned street trees and forests and taking a leadership role in urban forestry programs nationwide;
    4. Continuing to naturalize City-owned greenspaces.
  10. The City will work with the Conservation Authorities and other interested stakeholders to develop a by-law under the Municipal Act to regulate the removal of top soil, grade alteration, and placement of fill. [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, August 18, 2011]
  11. In cooperation with the Conservation Authorities, the City will support the stewardship of private lands through such means as:
    1. Developing incentives such as the rural clean water program and rural reforestation program;
    2. Encouraging publicly-funded programs to focus on actions that enhance natural environment systems, such as increasing vegetative cover on steep slopes or adjacent to watercourses or improving connections between wildlife habitat areas;
    3. Providing information to rural landowners on land stewardship.

2.5 - Building Liveable Communities

The basics of a liveable community are straight-forward. In the urban area, a liveable community has appropriate housing at a price people can afford. It is built around greenspaces and has places to shop, socialize and play nearby. Residents know where to find the local library, health services, schools and other community facilities. Many of these are within walking or cycling distance, and form a core for the community. Good transit provides connections to other destinations outside the community. Familiar views and landmarks tell residents where they are and heritage buildings tell them where they have come from. Most workplaces outside the community are within a reasonable commute. In the Rural Area, a liveable community has many of the features found in liveable urban neighbourhoods. Liveable Villages have a strong sense of community and draw in their dispersed country neighbours for shopping and services.

Many Ottawa communities provide most of the basics of a liveable community, but there are wide variations. It is these variations that provide communities with their unique sense of place. However, Ottawa’s communities are changing. Population growth, economic development, finite resources, environmental concern, and financial limitations are triggering a re-evaluation about how we live and how we plan our communities.

This Plan proposes that Ottawa’s communities be built on the basics: good housing, employment, ample greenspace, a sense of history and culture. But it also proposes to create more liveable communities by focusing more on community design and by engaging in collaborative community building, particularly in and around the Mixed Use Centres and Mainstreets that have a great potential for growth. A focus on community design draws attention to how buildings and the spaces around them look and function in their setting. Since the best urban design is informed by a solid appreciation of the place being built, the people in it, and the community around it, this approach opens the door to creativity and dialogue. [Amendment 28, July 13, 2005]

2.5.1 – Designing Ottawa

Community design generally deals with patterns and locations of land use, relative densities, street networks, and the allocation of community services and facilities. Urban design is more concerned with the details relating to how buildings, landscapes and adjacent public spaces look and function together. As the City grows and changes over time, design of these elements should work together to complement or enhance the unique aspects of a community’s history, landscape and its culture. Encouraging good urban design and quality and innovative architecture can also stimulate the creation of lively community places with distinctive character that will attract people and investment to the City. The components of our communities where urban design plays a key role, include:

  • Built form, including buildings, structures, bridges, signs, fences, fountains, statues and anything else that has been constructed, added or created on a piece of land;
  • Open spaces, including streets, parks, plazas, courtyards, front yards, woodlots, natural areas and any other natural or green open areas that relate to the structure of the city;
  • Infrastructure, including, sidewalks, bike paths, transit corridors, hydro lines, streetlights, parking lots or any other above- or below-grade infrastructure that impacts upon the design of the public realm.

Together, these building blocks create lasting impressions, where streetscapes and neighbourhoods contribute to a community identity that is more than the sum of its parts. It is the successful interplay between the built and natural environment, and how people use it, that has given us special places like the ByWard Market, Manotick and Westboro; streets like Elgin Street and Centrum Boulevard; and open spaces such as the Rideau Canal.

Introducing new development and higher densities into existing areas that have developed over a long period of time requires a sensitive approach and a respect for a community’s established characteristics. Development of large areas of undeveloped land or redevelopment of brownfield sites provides opportunity to create new communities.  This Plan provides guidance on measures that will mitigate differences between existing and proposed development and help achieve compatibility of form and function.   Allowing for some flexibility and variation that complements the character of existing communities is central to successful intensification. [Amendment #150, LPAT July 18, 2019]

In general terms, compatible development means development that, although it is not necessarily the same as or similar to existing buildings in the vicinity, can enhances an established community through good design and innovation and coexists with existing development without causing undue adverse impact on surrounding properties.  It ‘fits well’ within its physical context and ‘works well’ with the existing and planned function.  Generally speaking, the more a new development can incorporate the common characteristics of its setting in the design, the more compatible it will be.  Nevertheless, a development can be designed to fit and work well in a certain existing context without being ‘the same as’ the existing development.  Planned function refers to a vision for an area which is established through a community design plan or other similar Council-approved planning exercise, or the Zoning By-law. The planned function may permit development that differs from what currently physically exists; addressing compatibility will permit development to evolve toward the achievement of that vision while respecting overall community character.  [Amendment #150, LPAT 18 July, 2019]

Objective criteria can be used to evaluate compatibility and these are set out in Section 4.11. Development applications and proposals for public works will be evaluated in the context of this section, as well as Section 4.11.

Tools for Implementing Urban Design and Achieving Compatibility

To contribute to the achievement of this Plan’s objectives, the City will use a combination of legislative and administrative tools to pursue a comprehensive urban design strategy. This Strategy is multi-faceted in its approach and will include initiatives such as the following: [Amendment #150, LPAT July 18, 2019]

Figure 2.8:  Implementing Urban Design and Compatibility

Implementing Urban Design and Compatibility

Design Objectives

The Design Objectives of this Plan listed below are qualitative statements of how the City wants to influence the built environment as the city matures and evolves. These Design Objectives are broadly applicable, to plans and development in all land use designations, and from a city-wide to a site-specific basis.

  1. To enhance the sense of community by creating and maintaining places with their own distinct identity.
  2. To define quality public and private spaces through development
  3. To create places that are safe, accessible and are easy to get to, and move through.
  4. To ensure that new development respects the character of existing areas.
  5. To consider adaptability and diversity by creating places that can adapt and evolve easily over time and that are characterized by variety and choice. 
  6. ​To understand and respect natural processes and features in development design.
  7. ​To maximize energy-efficiency and promote sustainable design to reduce the resource consumption, energy use, and carbon footprint of the built environment.

Proponents are free to respond in creative ways to the Design Objectives and are not limited only to those approaches as suggested in this Plan. [ Amendment #150, LPAT July 18, 2019]


  1. In the preparation of community design plans, the review of development applications, studies, other plans and public works undertaken by the City, the Design Objectives set out above will apply, as applicable. Proponents of new development or redevelopment will also be required to demonstrate how their proposal addresses the Design Objectives. [Amendment #150, LPAT July 18, 2019]


Design Priority Areas

The objectives of this Plan are to direct growth and intensification to identified rapid transit and transit priority locations and to develop those areas with a mix of uses and a greater focus on active transportation. Good urban design is critical in making these places enjoyable places to live, work and socialize. Many of these areas contain existing communities.  New development must enhance the existing character and the way they function. In order to ensure that urban design is not overlooked, as these areas develop and change, the City has identified many as design priority areas.

In design priority areas, all public projects, private developments, and community partnerships within and adjacent to the public realm will be reviewed for their contribution to an enhanced pedestrian environment and their response to the distinct character and unique opportunities of the area. [Amendment #150, LPAT July 18, 2019]


  1. The City recognizes the following lands as Design Priority Areas
    1. Downtown Precincts as defined by the Downtown Ottawa Urban Design Strategy (DOUDS);
    2. Traditional and Arterial Mainstreets as identified on Schedule B of this Plan;
    3. Mixed Use Centres as identified on Schedule B of this Plan;
    4. Village core areas identified in Volume 2C of this Plan;
    5. Community core areas identified in community design plans or secondary plans approved by City Council; [Amendment #113, July 30, 2013]
    6. Other areas identified from time to time by City Council. [Amendment #113, July 30, 2013]
  2. The City recognizes that, though not part of the formal list of design priority areas provided in Section 2.5.1, High-Rise Buildings, Major Urban Facilities, and that the portion of Ottawa’s downtown bounded by the Rideau River, Queensway and O-Train, are types of development and are areas that will be subject to evaluation using the policies of Section 4.11. [Amendment #150, LPAT July 18, 2019]
  3. The Ottawa Urban Design Review Panel will   participate in   the enhanced review of the urban design elements of development applications and capital projects within design priority areas. [Amendment #150, LPAT July 18, 2019]
Public Realm:

The public realm refers to all of those private and publicly-owned spaces and places which are freely available to the public to see and use.  Policies in this section regarding the public realm are applicable only to capital projects. Policies dealing with private development within the public realm are found in Section 4.11. [Amendment #150, LPAT July 18, 2019]


  1. As the owner of many public places, infrastructure, buildings, and facilities the City will:
    1. Integrate site-specific public art into municipal buildings, natural places, public spaces and structures in adherence to the City’s Public Art Policy;
    2. Provide leadership in urban design through public infrastructure design standards and the quality of public works;
    3. Ensure that capital projects exemplify urban design excellence in design priority areas, through the strategic application of urban design details and enhanced standards, landscape details, public art, surface treatments, decorative lighting, and the general coordination of fixtures, furniture and finishes within these important areas;
    4. Partner with development proponents to achieve those elements as identified in item c) above through means such as the coordination and development of capital improvements within the public realm as development and redevelopment activities on adjacent properties proceed. [Amendment #150, LPAT July 18, 2019]


2.5.2 – Affordable Housing

Affordable and appropriate housing for all residents is the fundamental building block of a healthy, liveable community. It is also the stepping-stone to individual success at school, in the workplace and in the community. Official Plan policies contribute to improving the supply of affordable housing in concert with other City initiatives to support the construction of affordable units.

The shortage of affordable rental housing is one of the most compelling problems today in Ottawa. People now on long waiting lists for subsidized housing are being squeezed by low vacancy rates and rental costs that are steadily rising further beyond their means. Even families with moderate incomes have difficulty finding affordable ownership or rental housing.

One-third of Ottawa’s households rent their housing (2011 National Household Survey), yet less than 20 per cent of the housing constructed between 2006 and 2011 was purpose built as rental units and this includes units built with senior government financing.  The conversion of units from rental to ownership has the potential to tighten up this undersupplied rental market.  All housing is potentially threatened by aging and lack of repair and senior government contributions toward residential rehabilitation programs are on the decline.  Demolition of affordable housing when new development occurs is also an emerging issue.  All housing is potentially threatened by aging and lack of repair. [Amendment #150 December 21, 2017]

The need to accommodate social diversity is a cornerstone of a liveable community. Diversity in the housing supply is achieved through a mix of multiple and single-detached housing, provision of ownership and rental housing, housing affordable to low- and moderate-income groups, and housing appropriate to households with special needs. Policies in this Plan ensure that all forms of housing are permitted wherever residential uses are generally permitted, subject to regulations contained in the zoning by-law. These land uses are outlined in Section 3.1. They include secondary dwelling units, rooming houses, group homes, shelter accommodation, retirement homes and garden suites.

Affordability and choice issues are addressed in the policies of this section and in Section 2.2.3 regarding apartment development, unit mix, and alternative development standards, and Section 4.5 regarding conversion of rental units. [Ministerial Modification 4, November 10, 2003]  [Amendment #150 December 21, 2017]

The ability of the City to address housing issues in the Official Plan is limited to the land-use policy and regulatory tools under the Planning Act. Due to the diverse nature of the housing issue, many factors, which influence its delivery, are beyond the municipality’s authority under the Planning Act. In recognition of this, City Council approved an Affordable Housing Strategy, which goes beyond land-use matters in addressing the key issues of increasing the supply of affordable housing and maintaining and protecting the existing affordable housing stock. A cornerstone of the strategy is the Action Ottawa Housing Initiative. Through this initiative, housing developers are offered municipal resources, such as surplus land, in exchange for providing long-term affordable housing.


  1. Affordable housing is defined as housing, either ownership or rental, for which a low or moderate income household pays no more than 30% of its gross annual income. Income levels and target rents and prices will be determined by the City on an annual basis. [Amendment 10, August 25, 2004]
  2. The City will encourage the production of affordable housing in new residential development and redevelopment to meet an annual target of:
    1. 25% of all new rental housing is to be affordable to households up to the 30th income percentile; and
    2. 25% of all new ownership housing is to be affordable to households up to the 40th income percentile. [Amendment 10, August 25, 2004]
  3. The City will encourage and promote the achievement of the targets by providing a toolkit of planning incentives and direct supports, including but not limited to: density bonusing; density transfer; deferral or waiving of fees and charges; alternative development standards; land; and more flexible zoning. Where the support includes municipal investment, it will be associated with mechanisms to ensure the long-term affordability of the units. [Amendment 10, August 25, 2004]
  4. The City’s Housing Strategy which will be updated every five years and monitored annually, to: [Amendment #76, Ministerial Modification #21, OMB File #PL100206, August 18, 2011]
    1. Establish targets for the distribution of affordable housing between low-income and moderate-income households;
    2. Establish targets for the distribution of affordable housing by tenure and size of unit;
    3. Ensure the distribution of a variety of affordable housing in all areas of Ottawa.
  5. Within the context of the City’s Housing Strategy the City will investigate means to increase the supply of affordable housing by: Engaging the private sector and non-profit and cooperative housing providers in meeting the affordable housing target for low-income and moderate-income households; [Amendment #76, Ministerial Modification #21, OMB File #PL100206, August 18, 2011]
    1. Developing strategies to build affordable housing, such as the use of municipal property, development of air rights at transit stations, and financial incentives such as grants, property tax relief, and exemption from development charges and fees;
    2. Proposing mechanisms to ensure that housing provided through such incentives remains affordable over the long term;
    3. Seeking the necessary legislative authority to require cash-in-lieu of affordable housing, when reviewing development applications.
  6. In accordance with the City’s surplus real property disposal policy, all land that is surplus to the City’s needs and suitable for residential development will be given priority for sale or lease for the development of affordable housing.
  7. The processing of development applications from non-profit housing corporations and housing cooperatives, for housing intended for persons of low- or moderate-incomes, will be given priority by the City.
  8. The City will further promote the development of affordable housing through such means as infill construction, conversions of non-residential space, and adaptive re-use of buildings.
  9. The City will implement alternative development standards for affordable housing development such as reduced parking standards in areas serviced by transit.
  10. Secondary dwelling units, Coach Houses in detached, semi-detached, townhouse, and duplex buildings (existing as of July 17, 2013) are permitted in the city in accordance with Section 3.1.  [Amendment 10, August 25, 2004] [Amendment #175, October 27, 2016]  [Amendment #150 December 21, 2017]

2.5.3 – Schools and Community Facilities

Communities in Ottawa are planned to accommodate a variety of land uses, including employment and institutional uses, retail and commercial services, as well as cultural, leisure, and entertainment facilities. The location of these uses within the city will be subject to regulations to secure compatibility with surrounding uses and ensure the liveability of Ottawa’s communities. In particular, requirements will be set through the development approval process described in Section 4 for the location of Major Urban Facilities, such as college campuses, large sports facilities, and major shopping centres. These facilities attract large numbers of people from across Ottawa and beyond, and must be located with good access to transit and arterial roads.

Through the Human Services Plan, the City is reviewing its physical infrastructure for recreation, arts, museums, libraries, community health and resource centres, childcare and long-term care facilities, as well as fire, police and emergency medical services, equipment and dispatch centres. Opportunities to locate facilities and services in the same location and to work with public and private partners are being explored.

Schools are a focus of community life in urban and rural areas. Besides their primary purpose as educational institutions, school facilities can be used for other purposes, such as daycares, indoor and outdoor recreational space, informal meeting places, and greenspaces within communities. The languages spoken in the schools – French, English, and an increasing number of other languages – reflects the cultural diversity of the school neighbourhood. Given these roles, the school is often the core of individual neighbourhoods, although many schools serve much larger communities. In the downtown, older suburbs and Villages, the presence of schools is critical in maintaining the number of family households and ensuring future population growth. In new suburban communities, new schools are needed to reduce crowding and the bussing of students.

The decision to operate a school is at the sole discretion of the school board, and is guided by the board’s policies and the requirements of the Ministry of Education. Although schools are outside the jurisdiction of the City of Ottawa, the City works with the school boards on many issues of mutual interest, including plans for new suburban neighbourhoods, to ensure that sites for new schools are identified. As the city continues to grow and change, the city’s school boards, school communities, and neighbourhoods need to address the issues that arise when schools are proposed for closure.


  1. The City will recognize that schools form part of the building blocks of any community, not only in providing education to children, but also amenity space and resources to the neighbourhood. The City will work in partnership with school boards and school communities to ensure that schools are provided in all communities. Where this is not possible and schools are identified by a school board as a candidate for closure, the City will work with the school boards, the community, the private sector and other interested parties to investigate means to retain the school building for public purposes and the school ground for open space, either in whole or in part.

2.5.4 – A Strategy for Parks

[Amendment #150, May 2, 2018]

Municipal parks are lands specifically dedicated or acquired as parkland by the City and designed for active and passive recreational uses.  They provide valuable recreational, social and environmental benefits for the community. In Ottawa there are also a number of federally and provincially-owned parks.

The City’s Park and Pathway Development Manual establishes the need for a hierarchy of parks that are strategically acquired and located based on the City’s approved parkland targets.  It ensures the characteristics of parkland adequately support the active and passive recreational needs of the residents and specifies typical amenities found in parks, for example: playgrounds, sportsfields, ice rinks, splash-pads, trails and unstructured open spaces.  Park community buildings and parking lots can be integral features.   Parks are one component of the Greenspace Network that provide people with their most frequent and immediate contact with greenspace.


  1. Parks and leisure areas will be linked to the Greenspace Network, identified in the Greenspace Master Plan, through such means as: [Ministerial Modification 5, November 10, 2003]
    1. Developing these areas in conjunction with other facilities such as schools and other institutions, stormwater management facilities, federal open spaces and other public lands, and private lands that permit public access;
    2. Planning and managing municipally-owned lands, including roads and rapid-transit corridors, to create new connections to the Greenspace Network;
    3. Other policies in this Plan concerning recreational pathways, Scenic Entry Routes, public access to waterways, and design of communities. [Amendment 45, September 27, 2006]
  2. Council will pursue targets for parks and leisure areas in the urban area in keeping with the objectives of the Greenspace Master Plan - Strategies for Ottawa’s Urban Greenspaces. A target of 2.0 hectares per 1000 population, or approximately 8 per cent to 10 per cent of developable land, will be pursued. The same target will be pursued in Villages. These lands will include:
    1. The parklands dedicated to the City under the Planning Act;
    2. Lands leased from or secured by agreement with other public agencies such as the National Capital Commission for park and leisure purposes;
    3. Large parks, such as Andrew Haydon Park, purchased by the City. [Amendment 45, September 27, 2006]
  3. When approving community design plans for the development of land and the provision of parks in areas involving a number of land owners, the City may require an agreement among all the landowners that ensures the timely conveyance of parkland in accordance with the approved community design plan or concept plan. [OMB Order #PL090370 issued on January 13, 2010]
  4. New Parks provided in urban areas and Villages will have the following characteristics:
    1. Contribute to the equitable distribution of these areas within the community;
    2. Be easily accessible by foot or by bicycle from homes and linked to other greenspaces;
    3. Are visible from many vantage points within the community;
    4. Have significant street frontage, in proportion to their size, often fronting on two or more streets depending on their shape and function.
    5. Designed to be engaging and useful spaces for people across a wide spectrum of age, socio-economic demographics and recreational interests. [Amendment 72, March 11, 2009]
  5. To ensure that sufficient land for parks if set aside when preparing a community design plan, a concept plan or other higher level planning exercise for an area or community, the City will determine the park requirements based upon the maximum potential for development anticipated by the community design plan, concept plan or planning exercise. [Amendment 72, March 11, 2009]

2.5.5 – Cultural Heritage Resources

Heritage is a crucial aspect of the City’s planning and infrastructure. It has the power to transform mundane daily experiences into a deeper understanding of where we have come from and enhances our quality of life by engendering an appreciation of local identity and shared community. Our cultural heritage, more than any other element of urban design, defines what is unique and distinct about Ottawa, and contributes to the liveability of our communities.

In recognition of the non-renewable nature of cultural heritage resources, and as the steward of these resources in Ottawa, the City will continue to preserve them in a manner that respects their heritage value, ensures their future viability as functional components of Ottawa's urban and rural environments, and allows them to continue their contribution to the character, civic pride, tourism potential, economic development, and historical appreciation of the community.

Cultural heritage resources generally fall into four categories:

Built heritage resources: means one or more significant buildings, structures, monuments, installations or remains associated with architectural, cultural, social, political, economic or military history and identified as being important to a community. These resources may be identified through designation or heritage conservation easement under the Ontario Heritage Act, or listed by local, provincial or federal jurisdictions.

Cultural heritage landscape: means a defined geographical area of heritage significance which has been modified by human activities and is valued by a community. It involves a grouping(s) of individual heritage features such as structures, spaces, archaeological sites and natural elements, which together form a significant type of heritage form, distinctive from that of its constituent elements or parts. Examples may include, but are not limited to, heritage conservation districts designated under the Ontario Heritage Act; and villages, parks, gardens, battlefields, farms, canals, mainstreets and neighbourhoods, cemeteries, trailways and industrial complexes of cultural heritage value

Archaeological resources include the physical remains and contextual setting of any structure, event activity, place, cultural feature or object which, because of the passage of time, is on or below the surface of the land or water, and is important to understanding the history of a people or place. Archaeological resources may also include significant Native and non-Native cemeteries or unmarked burials. Examples include individual artefacts or grouped features such as the remains of a pre-European aboriginal settlement. [Ministerial Modification 6, November 10, 2003]

Documentary and material heritage, such as archives, museums, and historical artefacts are addressed by the Arts and Heritage Plan, described in policy 17 below.

The Official Plan provides for the conservation of cultural heritage resources by:

  • Identifying cultural heritage resources and general policies for their protection in this section;
  • Requiring conservation of cultural heritage resources in the preparation of community design plans, described below in Section 2.5.6; [Amendment #76, Ministerial Modification #23, August 18, 2011]
  • Applying very specific requirements when reviewing development applications impacting on cultural heritage resources, described in Section 4.6.

[Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, August 18, 2011]


  1. The City will provide for the conservation of properties of cultural heritage value or interest for the benefit of the community and posterity. Cultural heritage resources include:
    1. Built heritage resources (Buildings, structures, sites):
    2. Cultural heritage landscapes;
    3. Archaeological resources.

[Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, August 18, 2011]

  1. Individual buildings, structures, sites and cultural heritage landscapes will be designated as properties of cultural heritage value under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act. Groups of buildings, cultural landscapes, and areas of the city will be designated as Heritage Conservation Districts under Part V the Ontario Heritage Act.

[Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, August 18, 2011] [Amendment #96, February 22, 2012]

  1. The City may recognize core areas of Villages, older residential neighbourhoods, cultural landscapes or other areas in both the urban and rural areas as Cultural Heritage Character Areas, where designation under the Ontario Heritage Act may or may not be appropriate. In these areas, the City will prepare design guidelines to help private and public landowners construct new buildings, or additions or renovations to existing buildings, to reflect the identified cultural heritage features of the community. [Amendment #96, February 22, 2012]
  2. The City will consider designating cemeteries of cultural heritage significance under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act, including vegetation and landscape of historic, aesthetic and contextual values to ensure effective protection and preservation. [Amendment #76 OMB File #PL100206, August 18, 2011] [Amendment #96, February 22, 2012]
  3. Guidelines for heritage cemetery preservation will be developed to assist in the design of appropriate fencing, signage and commemorative plaques. [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, August 18, 2011]
  4. The City will maintain a municipal heritage committee composed of citizens to advise and assist City Council on heritage matters under the Ontario Heritage Act and on other heritage matters associated with the built environment and cultural heritage landscapes.  [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, August 18, 2011] [Amendment #96, February 22, 2012] [Amendment #150 December 21, 2017]
  5. The City will also maintain an Arts, Culture and Heritage Advisory Committee to advise and assist City Council on any other heritage matter, excluding those related to the Ontario Heritage Act. [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, August 18, 2011] [Amendment #96, February 22, 2012]
  6. The City will give immediate consideration to the designation of any cultural heritage resources under the Ontario Heritage Act if that resource is threatened with demolition. [Amendment #96, February 22, 2012]
  7. The comprehensive zoning by-law will include heritage overlay provisions to ensure that the development of cultural heritage resources and the development of properties adjacent to cultural heritage resources achieve the objective of conserving our cultural heritage. Council may adopt zoning by-laws under Section 34 of the Planning Act in order to maintain the integrity of identified significant archaeological resources. [Ministerial Modification 7, November 10, 2003] [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, August 18, 2011]
  8. The City’s Archaeological Resource Potential Mapping Study (ARPMS) will form the basis for determining the archaeological potential of a site. In areas of resource potential, any application for development will be supported by an archaeological resource assessment to ensure that the City’s conservation objectives are met (see Section 4.6.2).
  9. The City will undertake a study to enhance its inventory of cultural heritage landscapes to be conserved through the policies of this Plan. [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, August 18, 2011]
  10. The City will maintain a current and publicly accessible database of cultural heritage resources by:
    1. Documenting and evaluating potential cultural heritage resources in accordance with accepted practices and City Council’s Handbook for Evaluating Heritage Buildings and Areas, as amended from time to time, and updating the inventory of cultural heritage resources known as the Heritage Reference List; [Amendment #76, Ministerial Modification #24, August 18, 2011]
    2. Maintaining and updating a map of existing Heritage Conservation Districts designated under the Ontario Heritage Act as shown on Annex 4. Annex 4 may be updated without an official plan amendment; [Amendment #96, February 22, 2012]
    3. Engaging a licensed archaeologist, at five-year intervals, to make a comprehensive review of all archaeological data in order to refine the ARPMS and to recommend any necessary changes to the Implementation Guidelines for the Protection of Archaeological Resources.

[Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, August 18, 2011]

  1. The City will maintain a heritage register according to the Ontario Heritage Act. [Amendment #96, February 22, 2012]
  2. The City will maintain a heritage grant program for owners of designated heritage properties, in accordance with City Council’s Guidelines for the Heritage Grant Program for Building Restoration, as amended from time to time and may participate in financial aid programs of other levels of government or of non-governmental organizations. [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, August 18, 2011]  [Amendment #150 December 21, 2017]
  3. 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.
  4. The City will enhance the environs of cultural heritage resources when undertaking its capital works and maintenance projects through such means as tree planting, landscaping, street improvements, underground wiring, and the provision of street furniture, lighting, signage and other streetscape components, consistent with the heritage character of the streetscape. [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, August 18, 2011]
  5. The City will utilize its maintenance and occupancy by-laws to facilitate the maintenance and conservation of cultural heritage resources, and to ensure that the application of these by-laws is not detrimental to their conservation. [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, August 18, 2011]
  6. The City will administer the Building Code and other related codes and regulations to permit maximum conservation and re-use of cultural heritage resources while still ensuring the health and safety of the public. [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, August 18, 2011]
  7. The City will prescribe minimum standards for the maintenance of the heritage attributes of a building designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act or located in a heritage conservation district or amend existing by-laws to the same effect. [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, August 18, 2011]
  8. 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]
  9. In addition to requiring specific assessments as described above, the City will support its objective to conserve cultural heritage resources and to promote the stewardship of those resources by:
    1. Endeavouring to identify and protect building interiors of significant heritage merit;
    2. Commemorating cultural heritage resources with heritage plaques, awards and other forms of interpretation;
    3. Entering into heritage easement agreements with owners of designated heritage properties or properties eligible for heritage designation;
    4. Entering into registered agreements with the owners of such properties if the City deems that financial securities are required from an owner to ensure the retention and conservation of heritage properties as part of a development approval. The amount of such financial securities will be determined by a qualified heritage architect, based on the cost of the development and the costs associated with the conservation of the heritage resource;
    5. Increasing its collaboration with the National Capital Commission and other federal departments and agencies, as well as the provincial government, to promote the conservation and enhancement of Ottawa’s cultural heritage resources.
    6. Publishing newsletters and updating the City’s web site as part of an ongoing public education campaign, alone and in collaboration with interested groups

[Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, August 18, 2011]

  1. As the owner of many cultural heritage resources, the City will protect, improve and manage its cultural heritage resources in a manner which furthers the heritage objectives of this Plan and sets an example of leadership for the community in the conservation of heritage resources, including:
    1. Designating its cultural heritage resources under the Ontario Heritage Act where appropriate and reviewing all conservation plans for their maintenance with the municipal heritage committee; and
    2. Registering a heritage easement on a property to ensure its on-going protection when ownership is transferred from the City to others.

[Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, August 18, 2011] [Amendment #96, February 22, 2012]

  1. The City will maintain an Arts and Heritage Plan:
    1. To identify a range of heritage strategies to complement its land-use planning initiatives; and
    2. For cultural heritage resources and heritage programming not directly related or associated with land use and the management of growth, to identify new initiatives and actions in the areas of heritage preservation, heritage facilities, heritage organizations and related projects that create a richer community life. [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, August 18, 2011]
  2. The City will recognize the cultural heritage policy infrastructure outlined by the preceding policies, and will allocate the necessary financial resources to ensure its maintenance and preservation, thereby ensuring that development occurs in harmony with, and respect for, unique and irreplaceable cultural heritage resources.

Rideau Canal UNESCO World Heritage Site

  1. In order to recognize and protect the cultural heritage resource significance of the Rideau Canal UNESCO World Heritage Site, the City will also participate in a study, the Rideau Corridor Landscape Strategy, along with representatives from First Nations, federal and provincial agencies, municipalities, non-governmental organizations, property owners and others. It is anticipated that this study will recommend planning management tools that the City may choose to implement that:
    1. identify and protect the cultural heritage landscapes, Algonquin history, and built heritage resources of the waterway;
    2. explore the introduction of design guidelines that can be implemented through the site plan control process, for new development along the waterway;
    3. identify measures to conserve the terrestrial and marine archaeological resources of the Rideau Canal.;
    4. recognise that the canal passes through existing and planned urban and village communities which are subject to growth and renewal over time[Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, August 18, 2011].
  2. Reference should also be made to Section 4.6.3 of this Plan with respect to development and infrastructure adjacent to or crossing the Rideau Canal.

[Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, August 18, 2011]

2.5.6 – Collaborative Community Building and Secondary Planning Processes

[Amendment #150, December 20, 2017]

Secondary planning processes are used to guide development of large redevelopment sites or whole communities in a manner that implements the policies of this Plan.  Secondary planning can yield a community design plan or transit-oriented development plan that addresses complex issues within a large area or it can result in a plan that provides direction to a smaller area and addresses only strategic issues within the planning area.  A community design plan may not be needed in situations where a plan is needed to:

  • Address a limited number of issues and provide for a few types of land uses;
  • Guide development in a small planning area such as a single site or a portion of a mainstreet;
  • Coordinate municipal infrastructure renewal projects with development of adjacent properties;
  • Create a flexible framework for the future development of the planning area, as would be the case around rapid-transit stations

In these situations, the secondary planning process may lead to a plan prepared by the City or property owners in keeping with a Terms of Reference for the project.  The requirements for a community design plan in Figure 2.9 will form the basis for all secondary planning processes, although Terms of Reference may be scoped to focus on the objectives of the plan.  In all situations the project will include collaboration with the surrounding community and consultation with other interested parties.

Secondary planning processes may yield different types of plans and studies for Council approval, including:

  • Community design plans
  • Transit-oriented development plans
  • Secondary plans adopted as an amendment to Volume 2 of this Plan
  • Changes to approved community design plan, transit-oriented development plans and secondary plans
  • Concept plans showing proposed land uses and landscaping
  • Zoning consistency study to ensure that the zoning of a property or group of properties is consistent with the direction of this Plan

Secondary planning processes that propose to reallocate density or set building heights that are different from the heights in this Plan require Council approval of a secondary plan adopted as an amendment to Volume 2 of this Plan.  An amendment to Volume 1 is always required to change a land-use schedule or to implement a policy that does not conform to this Plan.  An amendment to the secondary plan is also required for any change to that plan.

The City prepares community design plans as a priority for target areas for intensification: the Central Area, Town Centres, Mixed Use Centres and Mainstreets.  Additional growth will occur in Employment Areas and in greenfield areas designated as Developing Community, Urban Expansion Study Area and Developing Community (Expansion Area).  These areas are also priority areas for completing community design plans.  Once Council approves a plan, the plan becomes Council’s policy for public and private development in the planning area.

Community design plans for intensification target areas have different focus areas compared with plans for undeveloped areas.  Community design plans for intensification target areas, for example, are usually led by the City and focus on the density and height of new development and its compatibility with the surrounding area.  Community design plans for 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 plans for such undeveloped greenfields and plans for the redevelopment of large, privately-owned sites, in accordance with City requirements and in collaboration with City staff.  In addition to the policies in this section, Section 3 provides direction on planning for greenfields in Urban Expansion Study Areas and Developing Communities (Expansion Areas).

All community design plans represent a significant investment by the City, the community, property owners, provincial agencies and others with an interest in the plan.  Property owners and communities will be engaged early in the process to explore opportunities for new development that supports the planning area’s valued characteristics.  As a result of this collaboration, community design plans yield substantial comprehensive changes in the planning area and their implementation requires ongoing, coordinated action by many parties.

In anticipation of land development pressure in proximity to rapid-transit stations, Council has established priority areas for the creation of transit-oriented development plans.  These plans set the stage for future transit-supportive development by creating opportunities for additional land uses and increased densities.  These plans provide for an arrangement of density and mix of uses such that pedestrians and cyclists can readily access transit and the transit trip can serve multiple purposes, such employment and shopping.  The plans concentrate the greatest density close to the transit station and require close attention to the design of public areas.  The planning area is initially defined within a walking distance of rapid transit stations, and adjusted to include additional land suitable for intensification and to exclude areas that are not suitable.  Several transit-oriented development plans have been prepared around stations in Mixed Use Centres, but the boundary of the planning area may include several land-use designations, and does not always coincide with designation boundaries.

Community design plans and other plans determined through a secondary planning process will be implemented through a variety of measures, such as prioritization of public works in municipal budgets, design guidelines for specific locations, amendments to the Zoning By-law and requirements for subdivision and site plan applications.  A secondary plan adopted as an amendment to Volume 2 of this Plan is required in most situations to implement provisions for height, density, and in most other situations to implement land use and other elements.

The areas that are subject to secondary plans, community design plans and transit-oriented development plans are shown in the Annexes to this Plan. [Amendment #150, October 16, 2018]


  1. The City’s target areas for intensification in Figure 2.3 are priority areas for undertaking community design plans and other secondary planning processes.  Planning areas will be established in annual work programs based on the following criteria:
    1. The potential of the area to accommodate growth and intensification;
    2. The pressure for growth in the area;
    3. Opportunities to coordinate the plan with a municipal initiative such as replacement of water and wastewater infrastructure or the redesign of road rights-of-way; and
    4. Opportunities to capitalize on the City’s investment in transit or other infrastructure. [Amendment #150, October 16, 2018]
  2. Property owners may initiate a community design plan or other studies leading to secondary plans provided that the study and the plan conform to the policies of this section. [Amendment #150, October 16, 2018]
  3. Community Design Plans and other secondary planning processes will be undertaken jointly by City departments, local residents, property owners, businesses, and other interested parties in a collaborative and public process. The City will work with the property owners to resolve issues affecting the development of individual sites or larger parcels, and will provide opportunities for local community members and other interested parties to participate in the planning process. [Amendment #150, October 16, 2018]
  4. Community design plans and other area-specific plans will be prepared in accordance with the structure outlined in Figure 2.9.  This is a framework only and specific terms of reference will be developed for each plan. Among other matters, the terms of reference will define the boundary of the planning area, which will be adjusted to include large vacant or underutilized sites, publicly-owned lands, and other land suitable for intensification.  A schedule will be included to show the process and when the plan will be completed.  Community design plans will be targeted for completion within 12 to 18 months. [Amendment #150, October 16, 2018]
  5. Community design plans and other area-specific plans in developed areas will include the following:
    1. A plan of how the land will develop or re-develop over time, including land uses, open space, public rights-of-way for roads and transit, and connections for walking and cycling;
    2. Analysis of how the proposed development will achieve the minimum number of jobs and the density and mix of residential units required by policies in this Plan; where applicable, the density requirements in Figure 2.3 may be achieved overall by assigning different levels of density to individual sites;
    3. Identification of stable areas and areas suitable for intensification, based on proximity to transit and compatibility with the current or planned character of the surrounding area;
    4. Building heights and minimum densities for development parcels or areas within the planning area;
    5. Planning and design strategies to support walking and cycling and increased use of transit;
    6. Measures to improve the natural heritage system and reduce the impact of development on it;
    7. Requirements for public facilities such as parks, schools, cycling facilities and sidewalk improvements and measures to secure them;
    8. An assessment of water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure, including any planned upgrades or known constraints, and measures to address shortfalls; and
    9. A section indicating the circumstances under which changes to the plan would need approval of Council.
    10. A phasing plan, where it is proposed that development of a site will be phased and that residential and employment targets, identified in Section 2.2.2, may not be met at every phase but the proponent demonstrates how the targets will be achieved or exceeded at overall build out.[Amendment #150, LPAT Decision October 22, 2018]
  6. In addition to the requirements in policy 4 above, community design plans for large areas of vacant land in villages will also include:
    1. A Master Servicing Study that identifies: the location, timing and cost of on-site and off-site servicing systems (roads, public utilities, transit, storm and sanitary sewers, watermains, and where appropriate groundwater) required to serve the area and which addresses the proposed phasing of growth.  The first step of the Master Servicing Study will be an assessment of existing conditions and will inform the preparation of land-use strategies,  This phase must be completed prior to the determination of land use;
    2. A Financial Implementation Plan that shows how the proposed development of the area relates to the Development Charges By-law or other financial instruments;
    3. An evaluation of the adequacy of community facilities existing or planned for the area;
    4. A subwatershed plan or an environmental management plan, where more detail is required as described in Section 2.4.3, will identify the natural heritage system within the area, assess potential impacts of the proposed development on the system, and recommend measures to avoid these impacts and strengthen the area’s natural features and their functions.  It will also address stormwater management requirements.  The community design plan will implement the recommended measures through the proposed plan, the development review process, public investments, and other means;
    5. A phasing plan; [Amendment #150, October 16, 2018]
  7. Secondary Plans, community design plans and other secondary planning processes used to guide the development of a community, area or site should reference the design policies of this Plan and the City’s design guidelines and identify their applicability in terms of the community and area context [Amendment #150, LPAT Decision October 22, 2018]
  8. A secondary plan will be required where a community design plan or other secondary planning process proposes greater building heights than those permitted by the Official Plan. This approach will ensure that taller buildings are considered within the context of the Plan’s Objectives for the area over the long-term. [Amendment #150, LPAT Decision October 22, 2018]
  9. A secondary plan is not required where a community design plan or other secondary planning process, that conforms to the Official Plan, is undertaken to:
    1. direct changes to the Zoning By-law which is brought to City Council concurrently for approval; or
    2. The plan is prepared in keeping with the policies of either Sections 3.11 Urban Expansion Study Area or 3.12 Developing Communities (Expansion Area). [Amendment #150, LPAT Decision October 22, 2018]
  10. Secondary Plans existing prior to the formation of the new City of Ottawa are included in Volume 2.  Over time, Community Design Plans will replace many of these Secondary Plans.  Once City Council approves a Community Design Plan or other comprehensive policy plan, the approved plan will guide future development of the area. [Amendment #150, October 16, 2018]
  11. In all land use designations, with the exception of Developing Community and Urban Expansion Study Area, development may proceed in the absence of a community design plan or area-specific plan, in a manner consistent with the policies of the designation.  In the case of the Mixed Use Centre south of Innes Road and west of Mer Bleue Road, development will only be permitted after the adoption of a secondary plan by the City. [Amendment #150, October 16, 2018]
  12. Community design plans and other area-specific plans will be prepared and implemented by the City in partnership with property owners, the community, other levels of government and other parties, and guided by the strategies shown in Figure 2.9.  Each plan will include an action plan that identifies projects and priorities for all parties and that links proposed municipal actions to City work programs and budgets.  A Financial Plan will show the cost of capital investments and the source of funding. [Amendment #150, LPAT Decision October 22, 2018]
Provisions for High-Rise and High-Rise 31+ Buildings
  1. The City intends that the highest density of development, including High-rise buildings, locate where rapid transit is being provided. Secondary plans and community design plans should locate high-rise buildings proximate to rapid transit stations to support that objective. High-rise buildings are also a built form that requires detailed attention to urban design and their impacts on the existing communities into which they are located. Building design and appropriate transitions, such as those identified in Section 4.11, should be provided to reduce impacts on existing developed areas. [Amendment #150, LPAT Decision October 22, 2018]
  2. Where a secondary plan proposes High Rise 31+ storey buildings for a specific area the City will:
    1. Assess the impact of this type of development on the City’s Skyline and incorporate policies to identify and protect prominent views and vistas where they are determined to exist. Skyline refers to the complete or partial distant view of the city’s tallest buildings and structures against the background of the sky. This assessment will include:
      1. Identification of the existing skyline and determine the impact and appropriateness of any proposed buildings 31 storeys or more.
      2. Identification of any significant public view corridors by identifying significant landmarks to which views shall be protected (such as Parliament Buildings, Gatineau Park, and other important national, civic and local landmarks), and significant public vantage points; and
      3. Consideration of any existing studies on public views and skyline; and
  3. Consider the following:

    1. A prominent location or locations fronting on streets, lanes, public open space and other public land preferably and good transportation access;
    2. Avoiding or mitigating negative shadow or microclimate impacts such as the creation of excessive wind and providing insufficient sunlight in adjacent public spaces;
    3. The provision of a mix of uses within the building or the surrounding area to service residents or business tenants within the building and the broader community;
    4. Conservation, retention and renovation of designated heritage buildings and significant heritage resources.
    5. Building transition and the mitigation of impacts on adjacent low-rise neighbourhoods through building design, massing as per Section 4.11.
    6. The identification of priority community amenities or public institutional uses that may be required and the mechanisms by which they will be provided.
    7. Mechanisms to encourage architectural excellence and sustainable design.
    8. Any specific requirements identified during the secondary planning process. [Amendment #150, LPAT Decision October 22, 2018]

Figure 2.9: Structure of Community Design Plans

In this Figure, Community may mean Mainstreet, Town Centre, Mixed-Use Centre, Developing Community etc. It applies to the area subject to the planning process. In addition, many of these steps may occur simultaneously.

A. Plan Context

  1. Identify the community or boundaries, and the boundaries of the study area if different.
  2. Set a clear goal statement – why is the plan being initiated for this community?
  3. Situate the study area with its city-wide context. Include a description of its role within and relationship to the broader community. [Amendment #76, Ministerial Modification #25, OMB File #PL100206, August 18, 2011]
  4. Establish a common understanding and agreement on a collaborative community building process for this planning study. Create a consultation strategy.
  5. Consider the contribution of any previous planning studies or technical studies for the area.
  6. Investigate the feasibility of integrating the plan with other related City initiatives for the area.

B. Existing Conditions (Social, Economic and Environmental)  [Amendment #160, December 5, 2017]

These are qualities and resources in the community that may impact the spatial form of the community, that describe the character of the community that can positively affect the health and well-being of residents or that set some enduring components of the community.  They include but are not limited to:

  1. Natural resources, functions and values;
  2. Demographic, employment and housing profile;
  3. Pedestrian and cycling networks and linkages to adjacent communities;
  4. The remaining elements of valued historic development patterns;
  5. Views, vistas, landscapes, features, landmarks;
  6. Existing character of built form - design elements, heritage resources, visual cues;
  7. Boundaries of community, entryways;
  8. Existing community resources such as schools, community centres, parks; and other greenspace;
  9. Transportation and infrastructure capacities; conditions and alignments;
  10. Floodplains, unstable slopes, contamination, geotechnical and other constraints;
  11. Relationship to adjacent communities;
  12. Watershed or sub-watershed plans, hydrological resources, and ground water conditions.

C. Establish Vision, Objectives and Targets in Accordance with Official Plan

  1. These may be targets/objectives for such matters as a mix of housing types; housing affordability and special needs housing; the amount and distribution of greenspace; the protection of natural areas; on-site stormwater retention; protection of built heritage resources; transit ridership and so on. [Amendment 45, September 27, 2006]
  2. These could address issues arising out of unique circumstances of the area. Some issues may be in technical studies prepared to describe existing conditions.
  3. These must address Official Plan policies unique to that designation as set out in Section 3.
  4. Assessment of what is needed to take into account, enhance the sense of ‘place’.

D. Constraints and Opportunities

  1. Shortfalls/deficiencies in existing conditions relative to objectives/targets;
  2. Opportunities arising from a review of existing conditions;
  3. Impact assessment where required by this Plan to evaluate the impact of development on cultural heritage resources, natural resources, and impact assessments required to evaluate the potential impact on transportation or other infrastructure including private individual services.

E. Key Spatial Components of Plan

  1. The location of various land uses;
  2. Pedestrian and cycling facilities, transit routes, the location of collector and arterial roads and collector and local watermains, storm and sanitary sewers, public utilities other infrastructure;
  3. The location of greenspaces, and potential or actual connections to an identified Greenspace Network, natural features, views and vistas and other elements of the open space structure; [Amendment 45, September 27, 2006, in appeal period]
  4. Community focal points and centres of activity.

F. Key Policy Components of the Plan

  1. Policies and Strategies to explicitly address the requirements of the Official Plan, Volume 1.
  2. Policies and Strategies to address the unique or important objectives of the community as identified above.
  3. Guidelines for evaluating development applications in terms of whether they conform to the Community Design Plan;
  4. Measures to mitigate the impact of the proposed development on adjacent communities;
  5. An identification of required transportation, public utilities, sewer and water infrastructure and stormwater management and/or on-site retention facilities;
  6. Guidelines for determining when and how a plan may need to be modified with or without Council approval.

G. Implementation Strategy: (as appropriate, and not necessarily limited to)

  1. Phasing strategy;
  2. Design guidelines to apply to future development applications;
  3. Specific streetscape plans or revitalization plans;
  4. Traffic management plans (including parking) and infrastructure improvement plans;
  5. The use of Planning Act tools such as community improvement plans, zoning by-laws, site plan review and other development application review processes;
  6. City incentives, funding mechanisms, and capital investments such as infrastructure capacity improvements, greenspace management plans;
  7. An indication of prioritization and responsibilities for implementation- action, who is responsible, and timing;
  8. Community based initiatives such as community reforestation, community gardens, business improvement areas or cooperative housing projects.

[Amendment 28, July 13, 2005]

[Amendment #76,OMB File #PL100206, August 18, 2011]