Employment Land Review
The City of Hamilton is currently updated its Growth Management Strategy, known as GRIDS 2, while also undergoing a Municipal Comprehensive Review (MCR) to fulfil the requirements of the Provincial Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2019 (Growth Plan). As a part of the MCR, the City is conducting a review of designated Employment Land to determine if any lands warrant conversion to a non-employment use.
Policies and criteria for conversion
The Growth Plan provides a policy framework that protects Employment Areas and ensures that there is an adequate supply of land within these areas to accommodate growth and economic prosperity in the Greater Golden Horseshoe. The policies of the Growth Plan permit conversion of Employment Areas which are identified as Provincially Significant Employment Zones (PSEZs) to non-employment uses through a MCR, subject to special evaluation criteria to determine if a conversion is appropriate.
In Hamilton, the Provincially Significant Employment Zones (PSEZs) are:
- Bayfront Industrial Area
- Stoney Creek Industrial Area
- Airport Employment Growth District (AEGD)
- Red Hill North and South Business Parks
Policy 220.127.116.11 of the Growth Plan states that:
- The conversion of lands within employment areas to non-employment uses may be permitted only through a municipal comprehensive review where it is demonstrated that:
- There is a need for the conversion.
- the lands are not required over the horizon of this Plan for the employment purposes for which they are designated.
- The municipality will maintain sufficient employment lands to accommodate forecasted employment growth to the horizon of this Plan.
- The proposed uses would not adversely affect the overall viability of the employment area or the achievement of the minimum intensification and density targets in this Plan, as well as the other policies of this Plan.
- There are existing or planned infrastructure and public service facilities to accommodate the proposed uses.
Policy 18.104.22.168 of the Growth Plan States that:
- Notwithstanding policy 22.214.171.124, until the next municipal comprehensive review, lands within existing employment areas may be converted to a designation that permits non-employment uses, provided the conversion would:
- satisfy the requirements of policy 126.96.36.199 a), d) and e)
- maintain a significant number of jobs on those lands through the establishment of development criteria
- not include any part of an employment area identified as a provincially significant employment zone, unless part of the employment area is located within a Major Transit Station Area
Upon completion of the City’s Municipal Comprehensive Review, all employment lands will be subject to the conversion criteria specified in Growth Plan Policy 188.8.131.52.
In accordance with the Growth Plan policy, the City has established additional criteria to be used in evaluating potential conversion lands:
- Site(s) are mixed use blocks and located along the edges of employment areas
- Conversion of the site(s) will not adversely affect the long-term viability and function of the employment areas
- Conversion of the site(s) will not compromise any other planning policy objectives of the City, including planned commercial functions
- Conversion of the site(s) will be beneficial to the community through its contribution to the overall intent and goals of the City’s policies and demands on servicing and infrastructure
- Conversion of the site(s) will not negatively affect the long-term viability of existing employment uses, including large, stand-alone facilities
- Conversion of the site(s) will not create incompatible land uses, including a consideration of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Land Use Planning guidelines (D-series guidelines)
- Conversion of the site(s) will result in a more logical land use boundary for an employment area
Final Employment Land Review & Deferred Conversion Requests
Next Steps? The City anticipates that the final recommendations for Employment Land conversion will be implemented through an Official Plan Amendment as part of the Municipal Comprehensive Review in early 2022.