The Regional Municipality Of York

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Municipal Comprehensive Review

In response to the COVID-19 situation, York Region has declared a State of Emergency. A number of services have been impacted including the public consultation for our Municipal Comprehensive Review. To keep you involved, we will continue to engage digitally until further notice. For the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 in York Region, visit york.ca/covid19


Have your say on your community

York Region is expected to grow to approximately 1.8 million people and 900,000 jobs by 2041. In order to plan for and accommodate this growth, York Region is reviewing and updating its Official Plan. York Region is seeking input from the public through a process called the Municipal Comprehensive Review (MCR). Our goal is to help ensure we are building communities that are healthy and complete, where residents of all abilities and ages can live work and play.

Using Public Consultation to Plan York Region’s Future

A number of consultation techniques have been used to date. These include; mapping, online surveys, walking tours, focus groups and community agency forums. Information gathered through a variety of public consultations and events across York Region to date were used to identify key themes from our public.

What we heard:

  • Transit is the top Regional service that residents indicate they will rely on most in the future and York Region should continue to invest in public transit
  • Residents want compact, walkable communities that offer employment opportunities, community facilities, local services, stores and places for social connection
  • Affordable housing is one of the most important components of building complete communities, however, many of us are facing housing market challenges
  • Residents want our communities to reduce emissions and are aware of the impacts of climate change in York Region
  • Residents want to protect our forests, parks, trails, agricultural lands and green spaces
  • Residents want a variety of Employment Opportunities within their community

Did we get it right?

For more information or if you have any questions, email futureyork@york.ca


Want to Get Involved?

Community consultation provides an opportunity for residents to identify the kind of place they want York Region to be. Residents are invited to participate in shaping the Region’s planned community structure through consultation activities and events. In response to the COVID-19 situation, York Region has declared a State of Emergency. A number of services have been impacted including the public consultation for our MCR. To keep you involved, we will continue to engage digitally while we re-evaluate public consultation avenues. To stay apprised of future consultation opportunities, sign up for the Region’s MCR newsletter.

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Sign Up and Stay Informed

Sign up for news, reports and events related to York Region's Municipal Comprehensive Review

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Live or Work Near Major Transit?

Drop a comment pin on the interactive map to share your opinion and help make our long-term plans match your vision of the future.


Municipal Comprehensive Review Work Plan

The Municipal Comprehensive Review helps the Region plan for growth and ensures infrastructure to support growth is in place, now and in the future. Different methods are used to collect public input on various topics from housing to transportation and that feedback is shared with Council through a reporting structure.

Due to COVID-19, the scheduling of reports identified through the Municipal Comprehensive Review targeted work plan may be impacted and need to be updated.

There are several ways residents and business owners can provide feedback. If you would like to get involved, or receive communications for upcoming reports and consultation events related to the Municipal Comprehensive Review please sign up here.

Tell us the Kind of Place You Want York Region To Be

Why is York Region consulting with the public?

York Region is undertaking a review of the York Region Official Plan as a component of a broader Municipal Comprehensive Review. An updated Regional Official Plan, following this review, will guide the Region’s population and employment growth in accordance with the Provincial Policy Statement (2020) and updated Provincial Plans:Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (2019), Greenbelt Plan (2017) and Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan (2017).

We want the public to participate in shaping York Region’s planned community structure. In response to the COVID-19 situation, York Region has declared a State of Emergency. A number of services have been impacted including the public consultation for our MCR. To keep you involved, we will continue to engage digitally while we re-evaluate public consultation avenues. To stay apprised of future consultation opportunities, sign up for the Region’s MCR newsletter.

How the Built Environment Affects Your Health

Did you know that the way communities are planned and built have an impact on the physical, mental and social health of its residents. To learn more, visit Healthy Built Environment. Have your say and get involved in planning for your community through contacting your local and regional government. Stay informed on the Municipal Comprehensive Review by emailing futureyork@york.ca

Creating Strong, Caring and Safe Communities

York Region is continuing to create Strong, Caring and Safe communities with opportunities for you to provide input along the way. The Regional Official Plan update and Municipal Comprehensive Review (MCR) include growth management work and will also assess the Vision for York Region’s future. A report to Council in  January 2018 outlined the contents of the consultation plan in detail. At this time, the contents remain applicable however, the referenced dates may have changed.

  • An update on Public Consultation for the Municipal Comprehensive Review and Regional Official Plan update went to Council in October 2019
  • The Consultation Plan consists of five phases which align with the key deliverables associated with the Municipal Comprehensive Review and Regional Official Plan update
  • York Region is well positioned to address conformity with Provincial Plan policies as the foundation of an urban structure was introduced in the original 1994 York Region Official Plan
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Intensification

Intensification directs residential growth to existing built-up areas

Intensification rates reflect the amount of new residential growth directed to existing built-up areas. Directing a significant amount of new residential growth to existing built-up areas makes the best use of infrastructure, including transit, water and wastewater. It also minimizes outward growth into York Region’s agricultural areas. The Growth Plan 2019 requires the Region to plan for an intensification target of 50 percent. Staff are undertaking an analysis of lands best suited for intensification and will recommend to Council how our population should be distributed among our nine local municipalities in order to meet the Growth Plan intensification target.

Did you Know?

York Region is planned to grow by almost 600,000 residents by 2041, with a large share of this growth to be directed to existing built up areas.


Resources

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Density

Density targets help to concentrate residential and employment growth to create transit supportive and complete communities

The Provincial Growth Plan sets density targets, measured as the number of ‘residents and jobs per hectare’. They apply to areas around major transit stations, urban growth centres and to areas known as Designated Greenfield Areas (DGA) located outside the existing built-up area. Designated Greenfield Areas include recently developed areas, or vacant lands with an urban designation that will have future development. These are areas where opportunities exist to strive for more transit supportive, compact and complete communities and consider the importance of efficient use of land, infrastructure and community amenities in our growing Region.

The Growth Plan 2019 requires the Region to plan for a minimum density target of 50 residents and jobs per hectare across the entire Designated Greenfield Area. Municipalities are encouraged to go beyond this minimum target, where appropriate, and many recently built communities in York Region have densities that are above this minimum target. Through the Municipal Comprehensive Review, the appropriate minimum density target for the Designated Greenfield Areas in York Region is being assessed. In addition to the Designated Greenfield Area density target, the Region also needs to plan to achieve minimum density targets ranging from 150 to 200 residents and jobs per hectare for areas around major transit stations.

Did you Know?

York Region is focusing growth in our four urban growth centres of Markham Centre, Newmarket Centre, Richmond Hill Centre/Langstaff Gateway and Vaughan Metropolitan Centre


Resources

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Planning for Employment

York Region is anticipated to experience significant employment and population growth to 2041. To plan for and accommodate this growth, York Region is reviewing and updating employment policies in the Official Plan.

York Region is well positioned to continue to attract employment growth. Transit investment in the Region’s Centres and Corridors such as the extension of the Spadina subway, Bus Rapid Transit, Go service improvements and the planned future extension of the Yonge Subway will support growth in knowledge based and creative industries and be critical in the attraction and retention of talent. Regional Centres and Corridors are planned to achieve the highest population and employment densities in the Region and are therefore the prime location for mixed-use economic hubs that support a range of live-work opportunities for York Region residents.

Employment areas are vital to the Regional economy and will be in high demand moving forward, particularly for land extensive distribution and warehouse facilities as the role of ecommerce continues to expand, as well as smaller office and multi-unit industrial uses to support service sectors and knowledge based jobs. Employment areas are essential locations for many businesses in the Region offering sites at lower costs than elsewhere in the Region situated close to highways and other goods movement corridors. Employment areas also offer separation from uses such as residential that may be incompatible with business operations.

The Region’s community and residential areas will continue to support local retail and personal services jobs to allow residents, workers and visitors to purchase goods and services locally.


What is an Employment Area?

Employment areas are “areas designated in an official plan for clusters of business and economic activities including, but not limited to, manufacturing, warehousing, offices and associated retail and ancillary facilities”. Non-employment uses, such as residential uses, are prohibited and/or restricted within employment areas.


Why are Employment Areas important?

Provincial policies direct municipalities to build compact, mixed-used, complete communities. This includes protecting employment areas in appropriate locations for a variety of employment types. Protecting employment areas for the long term is fundamental to business and job growth. York Region’s employment areas support economic vitality by:

  • Strengthening economic resilience by supporting a diverse range of businesses and employment opportunities
  • Creating high-quality work opportunities for York Region residents
  • Providing affordable options for businesses to locate in a variety of strategic locations
  • Providing locations for businesses requiring separation from residential and other uses that are sensitive to noise, activity or odours
  • Helping to maintain a healthy tax base and generating revenue through new building construction
  • Fostering innovation and economic investment by supporting economic clusters and linkages between firms

The Planning for Employment Background report endorsed by Council in May 2019 provides background analysis on a proposed employment framework as part of the Municipal Comprehensive Review (MCR).


What is an Employment Area Conversion?

An employment area conversion is required to re-designate employment lands to accommodate non-employment uses such as residential or major retail. A careful and comprehensive assessment of conversion requests is an essential part of planning for employment as Regional Council decides where to deliver future jobs across the Region. Ensuring employment opportunities are available for the future is a key component of building complete communities.

Information regarding the York Region employment area conversion process, including proposed Regional Official Plan employment area mapping and staff recommendations on the 71 site specific conversion requests is contained within the Planning for Employment and Employment Conversions Report presented to Regional Council on March 12, 2020.


How to get involved

Regional staff will be engaging with the public to gather feedback on proposed employment area mapping. York Region is currently reevaluating public consultation avenues to determine how to best proceed with public consultation through the ongoing COVID-19 situation. To stay informed of future consultation opportunities, sign up for the Region’s MCR newsletter and updates.

Your feedback will help guide development of York Region’s employment policy framework. To provide comments and input on proposed employment area mapping and employment area conversion requests, members of the public are invited to make a written submission to futureyork@york.ca 

Did you Know?

Employment areas deliver over 50% of the Region’s total jobs and strengthen the Region’s economic resilience by supporting a diverse range of businesses.


Resources

The following links provide additional information related to Reports to Council on Planning for Employment in York Region.

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Housing

Housing, a cornerstone to building complete communities, has become a growing concern and challenge for York Region. Limited affordable options leave many residents and workers challenged to find suitable housing options.

Through the MCR, York Region is working to understand housing needs of current and future residents and create housing targets to address that need. York Region’s housing targets will work to identify a range and mix of housing options to contribute towards achieving complete communities.

The Growth Plan requires municipalities to develop housing targets for affordable ownership housing and rental housing. These targets are intended to support the achievement of intensification and density targets and identify a range and mix of housing, which includes affordable options to address the needs of current and future residents.

Did you Know?

According to York Region’s Affordable Housing Measuring and Monitoring report, only 11% of new housing built in 2018 was affordable based on Provincial standards


Resources

The following links provide additional information related to Regional housing initiatives including

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Agriculture and Natural Heritage Systems

Agriculture and Natural Heritage Systems will continue to be protected and enhanced

The Provincial Policy Statement, the Growth Plan, the Greenbelt Plan and the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan all have policies and mapping related to the protection and enhancement of the agricultural and natural heritage systems. 

A province-wide agricultural system has been introduced through updates to key provincial plans. These systems are implemented by York Region through the Official Plan. The province also released updated agricultural land base mapping that differs from the current Regional mapping. Additional areas in the Region’s Rural areas were proposed as Agriculture (prime agriculture) in the provincial mapping. Through the MCR the Region can refine this mapping. Forty-one refinement study areas identify where provincial proposed agricultural areas overlap with areas currently identified in the Official Plan as rural area. This information is contained within the following report and appendix, Region of York Agricultural Land Base Refinements.

The Growth Plan introduced Provincial Natural Heritage System mapping to be incorporated into Official Plans. The Region is reviewing this mapping alongside our Regional Greenlands System as outline on Map 2 of the Official Plan. Regional staff are assessing mapping and policy requirements and will release agriculture and natural heritage mapping for review later in 2020.

Did you Know?

In 2016, the Agricultural industry generated over $300 million in economic activity.


Resources

The following links provide additional information related to Regional initiatives including


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Integrating Growth and Infrastructure

Integrating growth and infrastructure supports fiscally responsible transportation and water and wastewater infrastructure delivery to accommodate future growth

York Region is forecast to grow by approximately 600,000 people and 250,000 jobs between now and 2041. Supporting this growth will require significant investment in transportation and water and waste water infrastructure. Financially responsible planning for growth includes coordination with infrastructure planning. Reviewing and updating Regional Transportation and Water and Wastewater Master Plans as we plan to accommodate additional Growth to 2041 is of paramount importance.

Through the Municipal Comprehensive Review and in line with York Region’s Fiscal Strategy, there is emphasis on a collaborative approach to align population and employment growth with the timing of water, wastewater, and transportation (road and transit) infrastructure delivery, with a focus on financial responsibility. The timing of population and employment growth assigned to each local municipality should capitalize on infrastructure that is already available, and stage growth with the delivery of new infrastructure. Optimizing on existing infrastructure investments before triggering the need for new infrastructure results in a better return on investment.

Did you Know?

York Region has 35 km of dedicated lanes for Bus Rapid Transit either in service or under construction.


Resources

The following links provide additional information related to Growth and Infrastructure Alignment through the Municipal Comprehensive Review, Regional Master Plans, and a Centres and Corridors update:

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Climate Change

Climate change policies will help guide development of communities which reduce greenhouse gas emissions and are resilient

York Region recognizes the need to address climate change to ensure resilient communities. As prescribed by the Growth Plan, municipalities are required to develop policies and actions that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change adaptation goals. Through the Municipal Comprehensive Review, York Region will be reviewing and updating this approach. Additionally, York Region has released a draft Climate Change Action Plan and would like your input. Please provide any comments you have on the draft Climate Change Action Plan to futureyork@york.ca

Did you Know?

It is estimated that by 2050 the intensity of extreme storms will increase by 28% to 31%.


Resources

The following links provide additional information related to Climate Change including

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Transit Supportive Growth

What are Major Transit Station Areas?

Major Transit Station Areas, also known as MTSAs, are areas within approximately 500 to 800 metres (which represents roughly a 10-minute walk) of existing or planned VIVA, GO, and subway stops and stations. These areas are intended to accommodate a greater concentration of people and jobs over the next twenty-plus years.


Our communities are changing

Over 70 Major Transit Station Areas are proposed to accommodate a significant share of our community’s future growth. The long-term objective for these areas is to create well-designed, sustainable and complete communities that offer exciting opportunities to live, work and play.

Specific boundaries and density targets are being considered for each MTSA, based on local context and development potential. Once approved, the area within an MTSA could stimulate new development, resulting in more vibrant communities, and additional residents, jobs, pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users in the area.

For more information on MTSAs, read the Planning for Intensification Background Report (April 2019) and the Major Transit Station Areas Update Report (March 2020). These reports provide more information including detailed mapping for each MTSA, proposed density targets as well as an update on the consultation process to date.


What this means for residents and businesses

If you live, work or play in or near a proposed major transit station area, your community is anticipated to change over the long-term. Existing properties could be developed or redeveloped to accommodate growth. Directing future growth to major transit station areas creates more vibrant communities with additional residents, jobs, pedestrians, cyclists and transit users in the area.


Have your say!

Drop a comment pin on the interactive map to share your opinion and help make our long-term plans match your vision of the future. Specifically, we want to hear your comments on:

  1. Areas that could be redeveloped and areas you feel should stay as they are today
  2. Are the proposed boundaries appropriate? Using the interactive map, identify areas where you feel boundaries could be revised
  3. What buildings types should be located near major transit stations?
  4. Should the proposed minimum level of growth (density target) be adjusted? And if so, what do you think is appropriate?
  5. Other comments

Additional Information

Identifying and assigning targets to Major Transit Station Areas is a key component of the Region’s Municipal Comprehensive Review to update the Regional Official Plan. To stay up-to-date on the Municipal Comprehensive Review, sign-up for the e-newsletter. For more information, visit york.ca/mcrgetinvolved or email futureyork@york.ca

For accessible formats please contact York Region at futureyork@york.ca

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Updating the York Region Official Plan

Municipal Comprehensive Review background documents inform development of new or updated Regional Official Plan policies. It is expected that updated policies will be drafted throughout 2020 and early 2021, leading to release of a draft Official Plan in the first half of 2021.


Resources

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Related Resources


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