Slide 1

Hello- Welcome to the information session on the Natural Heritage System, Parks, Open Space and other zones. My name is Abby Watts and I am the Project Manager of the CZBR. I’m here today with Joan Jylanne and Andrew Sandor. 


We will be recording today’s session to post on the virtual open house webpage for those who are unable to attend the live sessions.  

I will provide a 15-minute presentation that gives an overview of these zones and other regulations that impact these properties.  

The rest of the time today will be reserved for your questions and comments. Once the presentation is over, Andrew will provide instructions for how to ask a question. You can also type a question in the chat box at any time during the presentation. 

Slide 2

For the agenda today:

  • We will go over the project timeline
  • We will take a step back to review what a zoning bylaw is.
  • I will provide an overview of the NHS, Parks, and Open Space zones
  • And the rest of the time will be dedicated to questions and comments from attendees. 

Slide 3

  • The zoning bylaw review consists of 5 phases as shown on this slide
  • We are currently at the end of Phase 3, which includes the preparation, presentation, and community consultation of the draft zoning bylaw
  • The last part of phase 3 is community consultation which will take place from now until December 20. Council is not making a decision on the bylaw at this point.
  • Phase 4 of the project includes a statutory public meeting and a decision meeting at Council which is anticipated to be completed in 2022

Slide 4

What is a zoning bylaw?

A zoning bylaw is a set of rules that tell us:

  • How land can be used
  • Where buildings, structures and parking can be located
  • The size of buildings, structures, and lots, and, 
  • How much parking is required for a use

Slide 5

  • In Ontario we have a planning hierarchy
  • We need to comply with the Ontario Planning Act and Provincial Policy 
  • On a local level we have our Official Plan which consists of a number of policies that represent the City’s vision for growth and development in the city
  • And then there’s the Zoning Bylaw which is a set of rules that implements our Official Plan policies and Provincial Policy
  • Our Zoning Bylaw must conform to these documents.
  • This means that some aspects of the Zoning bylaw are not up for debate. For example, we cannot zone a property commercial that is designated residential in the Official Plan. 


  • The proposed ZBL implements the current Official Plan. 

Slide 6

The draft zoning bylaw is divided into 6 parts and 19 sections. The parts include:

  • Administration and interpretation- this is the legal component that sets up how the bylaw works
  • Definitions
  • General provisions and parking
  • The Land use zones
  • Site-specific provisions and zones, and the
  • Zoning schedules- which is the maps and overlays

Slide 7

  • The draft new zoning bylaw makes clear connections between the new zones and Official Plan designations. 
  • One zone has been created that would apply to the entirety of the city’s natural heritage system. This zone would permit conservation uses and legally existing uses, consistent with the uses permitted in the Official Plan. 
  • Conservation use has been defined to include the preservation, maintenance, sustainable utilization, restoration, and/or enhancement of the natural environment. Conservation may also include accessory low impact scientific and educational activities and passive recreation activities that have no negative impact on the conservation use
  • Urban agriculture is not permitted within the natural heritage system
  • Legally existing uses, such as houses or gardens can continue as legal non-conforming uses but any new use would be required to meet the new NHS regulations

Slide 8

  • Here is Schedule 2 of the Official Plan, which is the Land Use Plan. This is the easiest way to show the extent of the NHS system (this is the dark green areas shown on the map)
  • NHS areas within the Clair-Maltby Secondary Plan and the Guelph Innovation District Secondary Plan, Block Plan areas have not been zoned NHS. These areas have been zoned urban reserve which allows existing uses and conservation uses. A site-specific zoning bylaw amendment would be required prior to any development which would require the submission of an Environmental Impact Study.  

When mapping the natural heritage system, we used the:

  • Official Plan maps as a base map
  • Incorporated updated mapping from GRCA
  • Incorporated updated mapping from development applications
  • Included buffer within the limit of the zone (same as the OP mapping)

Slide 9

  • The proposed open space zone applies to lands that are designated open space in the Official Plan and are not city parks or designated within the natural heritage system. This zone permits conservation uses, a storm water management facility and trails. 
  • The proposed golf course zone applies to existing golf courses within the city. This zone permits a golf course, recreation facility, trail, accessory and occasional uses. 
  • We have proposed 4 new park zones within the draft zoning bylaw to align with the City Parks Department hierarchy. Park zones include urban squares, neighbourhood park, community park and regional park. City parks are considered public uses and are provided extra flexibility to ensure they can be programmed without the zoning bylaw creating unnecessary obstacles. 
  • The 4 park zones relate to the size of the park and the permitted uses. Community parks and regional parks are larger parks that also permit community centres and recreation centres.  

Slide 10

  • The draft zoning bylaw includes other zones, such as major utility and urban reserve 1 and 2.
  • The purpose of the major utility zone is to recognize utility uses that are operated by the City or under agreement with the city and serve a city-wide function. Permitted uses include:
  • Electrical transformer station
  • Municipal works yard
  • Waste management facility
  • Water and wastewater treatment facility
  • Two urban reserve zones have been created. UR.1 has been applied to lands that are subject to some form of development constraint or may require further study. The purpose of this zone is to protect the natural heritage system and limit development until a further study has been completed. Permitted uses in this zone include conservation uses and legally existing uses. This zone also allows for minor additions to existing buildings and accessory buildings or structures. 
  • UR.2 has been applied to lands with some form of development constraint related to infrastructure. No new development is permitted on these lands. Generally, this zone has been applied to areas along the Hanlon Expressway that are within the transportation corridor. 

Slide 11

  • Each land use section includes a permitted use table. 
  • The table shows the zones within that section along the top row and a list of permitted uses in the first column. The letter “P” indicates what uses are permitted in each zone. 
  • Sometimes there is a number in brackets next to the “P”. That means that there is an additional regulation associated with the use permission. 
  • This is an example of the permitted use table for open space, golf course and park zones. 

Slide 12

  • Each zone contains a number of regulations for how a property can be developed.
  • Defined terms throughout the bylaw are bolded and definitions can be found in the definitions section.

Slide 13

Slide 14

The draft zoning bylaw includes 12 overlays. Many of these overlays are carried forward from the existing zoning bylaw, including:

1. Floodplain Overlay

  • Includes the floodway and the flood fringe 
  • This overlay implements Schedule 3 of the Official Plan

2. Special Policy Area Floodplain Overlay (applies to lands within the downtown). This overlay has been carried forward from the existing zoning bylaw and no changes are proposed. 

  • Overlays established based on Schedule 3 of the Official Plan and updated GRCA mapping. 
  • Both overlays require a permit from GRCA prior to any development
  • Some uses are prohibited in these overlays, for example:
  • Hospitals, nursing homes, pre-schools, school nurseries, child care centres, schools
  • Fire, police and ambulance substations
  • Manufacturing, storage of hazardous substances
  • Each of these overlay areas are subject to regulations in addition to the parent zone. 

3. The Natural Areas Overlay is a new overlay that implements the “Natural Areas Overlay” designation in the Official Plan. This overlay restricts development of a property until an environmental study is completed that assesses the property to determine if it meets the criteria for protection as part of the city’s natural heritage system. 

Slide 15

Interactive online mapping is available. I would encourage everyone to take the time to look up your zone to see if your zone is changing. 

The online map includes a swipe feature that allows you to compare the proposed zone to the existing zone on the same map. You can use the search bar to look up a property by address. The overlays are also available to be turned on and off through the layers feature. 

We’ve created a story board to walk the public through the map features and how to look up a property. This story board also links directly to the draft bylaw.

Slide 16

I’ll pass the presentation over to Andrew now to provide instructions for asking questions.