Official Plan Review

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What is an Official Plan?

An Official Plan describes the Town’s policies on how land in our community should be used. It provides the goals and objectives for the Municipality. It is prepared with input from community members and helps to ensure that future planning and development needs of the Town will be met. The Official Plan helps the Town decide:

  • where new housing, industry, offices and shops will be located;
  • what services such as roads, transportation, utilities, parks and schools will be needed;
  • when, and in what order, parts of the community will grow;
  • how to develop community improvement initiatives; and,
  • where to establish areas of cultural heritage and areas of natural heritage such as parks, greenspaces and trails.

The Official Plan contains policies that promote the building of healthy, complete and sustainable communities which further the growth and economic development of the community, help protect farmland, and protect environmentally-sensitive areas of the Town. The policies developed in the Official Plan ensure that the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville is able to support coordinated growth.


Statutory Official Plan Review

The Planning Act is provincial legislation that sets out the ground rules for land use planning in Ontario. It describes how land uses may be controlled and who may control them.

Under the Planning Act, the Town is required to undertake a review and update of the Official Plan every 5 years to conform to current provincial policies. The provincial policy framework includes – The Planning Act, Provincial Policy Statement (2014), Greenbelt Plan (2017), Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan (2017), and Growth Plan for the Greater Horseshoe (2019).

The Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville is undertaking an Official Plan Review to update the policy framework of the Official Plan. The Review will ensure that the Town's Official Plan reflects conformity with Provincial Plans and the Regional Official Plan.

This review process will develop policies to reflect the growing and diversifying community of the Town.


History of the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville Official Plan

The Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville Official Plan was adopted by the Town on October 14, 1980 and approved by the Province of Ontario on August 18, 1982. The Official Plan has been subject to 145 amendments since its original approval. The last comprehensive review of the Official Plan was conducted by the Town was in 2000.

The Provincial Plans were recently updated and the provincial government is currently reviewing key provincial planning policy documents. The Town is required to update the Official Plan to reflect these changes. The Town will also be required to conform to the new Regional Official Plan following the completion of the Municipal Comprehensive Review – which is currently underway by the Region of York.

As the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville continues to grow, updated policies are needed to reflect the changing community. Additionally, master plans that have been approved by Council such as the Transportation Master Plan (2017) and Leisure and Community Services Plan (2018) need to be reflected in the Town’s Official Plan.


Official Plan Review Outline

The Official Plan Review is undertaken through a comprehensive review of key theme areas according to issues currently being addressed as a community. The framework for this official plan review includes:

  • Vision and guiding principles
  • Planning for growth management: intensification, employment, retail, transportation, infrastructure, heritage and built environment
  • Planning for the natural environment: agriculture, rural policy, natural heritage, mineral aggregates, archaeology, source water protection and watersheds
  • Planning for a healthy community: housing, sustainability, energy and climate change
  • General technical/housekeeping updates

The final approved Official Plan will focus on the future growth of our diverse community and will be used to guide master plans and studies developed by the Town in the future.

The Official Plan Review will be conducted in 5 Phases:

  • Phase 1: Visioning and Consultation
  • Phase 2: Background Studies and Discussion Papers
  • Phase 3: Policy Development
  • Phase 4: Official Plan Amendment(s)
  • Phase 5: Secondary Plans


Provincially Significant Employment Zones

The Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville has been working to promote the Town’s economic development objectives and has requested the Province to identify three Provincially Significant Employment Zones (PSEZs) along the Highway 404 Corridor, under the Province’s Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe. The Town’s submission to the Province is available here. It is anticipated that the Province will be issuing updated mapping in early 2020.

The Town’s submission was further informed through a Landowner’s Meeting held on July 18, 2019 and landowner correspondence expressing support and employment development interests within the Town’s proposed PSEZs.


Proposed Employment Area Expansion and Greenbelt Enhancement

The Town is undertaking a Study to evaluate the most appropriate “Whitebelt” areas in the Town for expanding and enhancing the Greenbelt Area, to facilitate a settlement area boundary adjustment to include the proposed south Gormley Employment Expansion Area. The Whitebelt areas include predominately agricultural lands that are located outside of the Province’s Greenbelt Area. Further information is available in Staff Report DS-052-19, October 22, 2019.

A Public Open House was held on January 23, 2020 to discuss the study and preliminary recommendations for expanding the Greenbelt Area. A copy of the display material is available here.

A Public Meeting will be held on February 18, 2020 before Council, to receive comments on potential adjustments to the Greenbelt Area boundary. Further information is available in Staff Report DS-006-20, February 18, 2020.


Get Involved: Official Plan Review

The public is invited to participate in the Official Plan Review process by attending Public Information Centres (PICs), viewing pop-up booths at Town events and information displays at the library and community centres. You will also be able to participate through social media by sending comments and questions to staff by email, and by completing online surveys as they are posted throughout the different project phases.

Additionally, you can stay in touch and read updates about the Official Plan Review through the On The Road Magazine, local newspaper and through posters, flyers and info-sheets sent through direct mail.

This Official Plan Review webpage will be regularly updated with information on the status of the Official Plan Review, surveys to complete, updates on public consultation sessions and, additional information and fact-sheets.


What is an Official Plan?

An Official Plan describes the Town’s policies on how land in our community should be used. It provides the goals and objectives for the Municipality. It is prepared with input from community members and helps to ensure that future planning and development needs of the Town will be met. The Official Plan helps the Town decide:

  • where new housing, industry, offices and shops will be located;
  • what services such as roads, transportation, utilities, parks and schools will be needed;
  • when, and in what order, parts of the community will grow;
  • how to develop community improvement initiatives; and,
  • where to establish areas of cultural heritage and areas of natural heritage such as parks, greenspaces and trails.

The Official Plan contains policies that promote the building of healthy, complete and sustainable communities which further the growth and economic development of the community, help protect farmland, and protect environmentally-sensitive areas of the Town. The policies developed in the Official Plan ensure that the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville is able to support coordinated growth.


Statutory Official Plan Review

The Planning Act is provincial legislation that sets out the ground rules for land use planning in Ontario. It describes how land uses may be controlled and who may control them.

Under the Planning Act, the Town is required to undertake a review and update of the Official Plan every 5 years to conform to current provincial policies. The provincial policy framework includes – The Planning Act, Provincial Policy Statement (2014), Greenbelt Plan (2017), Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan (2017), and Growth Plan for the Greater Horseshoe (2019).

The Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville is undertaking an Official Plan Review to update the policy framework of the Official Plan. The Review will ensure that the Town's Official Plan reflects conformity with Provincial Plans and the Regional Official Plan.

This review process will develop policies to reflect the growing and diversifying community of the Town.


History of the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville Official Plan

The Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville Official Plan was adopted by the Town on October 14, 1980 and approved by the Province of Ontario on August 18, 1982. The Official Plan has been subject to 145 amendments since its original approval. The last comprehensive review of the Official Plan was conducted by the Town was in 2000.

The Provincial Plans were recently updated and the provincial government is currently reviewing key provincial planning policy documents. The Town is required to update the Official Plan to reflect these changes. The Town will also be required to conform to the new Regional Official Plan following the completion of the Municipal Comprehensive Review – which is currently underway by the Region of York.

As the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville continues to grow, updated policies are needed to reflect the changing community. Additionally, master plans that have been approved by Council such as the Transportation Master Plan (2017) and Leisure and Community Services Plan (2018) need to be reflected in the Town’s Official Plan.


Official Plan Review Outline

The Official Plan Review is undertaken through a comprehensive review of key theme areas according to issues currently being addressed as a community. The framework for this official plan review includes:

  • Vision and guiding principles
  • Planning for growth management: intensification, employment, retail, transportation, infrastructure, heritage and built environment
  • Planning for the natural environment: agriculture, rural policy, natural heritage, mineral aggregates, archaeology, source water protection and watersheds
  • Planning for a healthy community: housing, sustainability, energy and climate change
  • General technical/housekeeping updates

The final approved Official Plan will focus on the future growth of our diverse community and will be used to guide master plans and studies developed by the Town in the future.

The Official Plan Review will be conducted in 5 Phases:

  • Phase 1: Visioning and Consultation
  • Phase 2: Background Studies and Discussion Papers
  • Phase 3: Policy Development
  • Phase 4: Official Plan Amendment(s)
  • Phase 5: Secondary Plans


Provincially Significant Employment Zones

The Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville has been working to promote the Town’s economic development objectives and has requested the Province to identify three Provincially Significant Employment Zones (PSEZs) along the Highway 404 Corridor, under the Province’s Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe. The Town’s submission to the Province is available here. It is anticipated that the Province will be issuing updated mapping in early 2020.

The Town’s submission was further informed through a Landowner’s Meeting held on July 18, 2019 and landowner correspondence expressing support and employment development interests within the Town’s proposed PSEZs.


Proposed Employment Area Expansion and Greenbelt Enhancement

The Town is undertaking a Study to evaluate the most appropriate “Whitebelt” areas in the Town for expanding and enhancing the Greenbelt Area, to facilitate a settlement area boundary adjustment to include the proposed south Gormley Employment Expansion Area. The Whitebelt areas include predominately agricultural lands that are located outside of the Province’s Greenbelt Area. Further information is available in Staff Report DS-052-19, October 22, 2019.

A Public Open House was held on January 23, 2020 to discuss the study and preliminary recommendations for expanding the Greenbelt Area. A copy of the display material is available here.

A Public Meeting will be held on February 18, 2020 before Council, to receive comments on potential adjustments to the Greenbelt Area boundary. Further information is available in Staff Report DS-006-20, February 18, 2020.


Get Involved: Official Plan Review

The public is invited to participate in the Official Plan Review process by attending Public Information Centres (PICs), viewing pop-up booths at Town events and information displays at the library and community centres. You will also be able to participate through social media by sending comments and questions to staff by email, and by completing online surveys as they are posted throughout the different project phases.

Additionally, you can stay in touch and read updates about the Official Plan Review through the On The Road Magazine, local newspaper and through posters, flyers and info-sheets sent through direct mail.

This Official Plan Review webpage will be regularly updated with information on the status of the Official Plan Review, surveys to complete, updates on public consultation sessions and, additional information and fact-sheets.


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