GRIDS 2 and Municipal Comprehensive Review
Completion of Phase 1: Conformity Review - Urban
PROJECT UPDATE (Jan. 10, 2023): The Urban Hamilton Official Plan (UHOP) and Rural Hamilton Official Plan (RHOP) have been updated to reflect the Amendments contained in OPA 167 (Urban) and OPA 34 (Rural) as well as the modifications provided by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing to the respective Official Plan Amendments.
PROJECT UPDATE (Nov. 4, 2022): The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) issued decisions to the City of Hamilton on November 4, 2022 in response to the Council-adopted Official Plan Amendments (OPA) to the Urban Hamilton Official Plan (OPA 167) and Rural Hamilton Official Plan (OPA 34) which represented Phase 1 of the City’s Official Plan Review and the GRIDS 2 / Municipal Comprehensive Review processes.
The decision issued by MMAH includes these notable changes to the Council-adopted OPAs:
- Expansion of the urban boundary by 2,200 gross hectares
- Development in the new expansion areas cannot proceed until Secondary Planning work is completed
- Removal of City-wide intensification and density targets (new targets to be added through a future OPA)
- Amendment to the height and density permissions in the City’s Community Nodes, including the Ancaster Community Node, to allow up to 6 storeys as-of-right, and up to 8 storeys subject to certain design policies, without amendment to the Plan
- Removal of the proposed 30 storey City-wide height limit
- Further expansions to the Urban Area of 40 hectares or less without needing a MCR
The complete MMAH approved Official Plan Amendments can be viewed through the Environmental Registry of Ontario webpage:
Planning Staff are reviewing the details of the Province’s modifications and will be reporting to Council on November 29, 2022 to provide details about implementation.
View the Communication Update to the Mayor and members of City Council regarding the MMAH decision for OPA 167 and OPA 34
The City of Hamilton is updating its Growth Management Strategy, known as GRIDS 2. The City will also be completing a Municipal Comprehensive Review concurrently with GRIDS 2.
What is GRIDS?
In 2006, City Council approved the first Growth Related Integrated Development Strategy (GRIDS). GRIDS was an integrated planning process that identified a broad land use structure, associated infrastructure, economic development strategy and financial implications for growth options to serve Hamilton for 30 years. GRIDS planned for growth up to 2031.
GRIDS needs to be updated to plan for the City’s population and job growth to 2051. This update is known as GRIDS 2.
The Province of Ontario provides population and employment growth forecasts for Hamilton through the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe.
Between the years 2021 and 2051, Hamilton is expected to grow by 236,000 people and 122,000 jobs.
Disclaimer: This video explains the GRIDS2 and MCR process but references growth forecasts to the year 2041, whereas Amendment 1 to the Growth Plan 2019 provides growth forecasts to 2051.
What is the Municipal Comprehensive Review?
A municipal comprehensive review (MCR) is a requirement of the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe and the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) at the time of the City’s 5-year Official Plan review. The MCR is the process by which the City brings its Official Plans into conformity with updated policies of the various Provincial plans which apply to Hamilton (PPS, Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, Niagara Escarpment Plan, Greenbelt Plan). The population and job forecasts of the Growth Plan to 2051 need to be planned for and accommodated through the MCR.
Many of the studies that are required as part of the MCR are also required as part of GRIDS 2. Therefore, the City has determined that it is appropriate to combine GRIDS 2 and the MCR into one integrated process, resulting in a transparent and straightforward process in which to involve stakeholders and citizens.
One component of the MCR is the Employment Land Review which is currently underway.
For more information on the conformity exercise and other Official Plan Policy changes, visit Official Plan Review.
GRIDS 2 is being guided by the GRIDS 2 10 Directions to Guide Development, endorsed by Council in December 2020. This will provide a tool to guide and evaluate decisions related to growth.
- Plan for climate change mitigation and adaptation, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Encourage a compatible mix of uses in neighbourhoods, including a range of housing types and affordabilities, that provide opportunities to live, work, learn, shop and play, promoting a healthy, safe and complete community.
- Concentrate new development and infrastructure within existing built-up areas and within the urban boundary through intensification and adaptive re-use.
- Protect rural areas for a viable rural economy, agricultural resources, environmentally sensitive recreation and the enjoyment of the rural landscape.
- Design neighbourhoods to improve access to community life for all, regardless of age, ethnicity, race, gender, ability, income and spirituality.
- Retain and intensify existing employment land, attract jobs in Hamilton’s strength areas and targeted new sectors, and support access to education and training for all residents.
- Expand transportation options through the development of complete streets that encourage travel by foot, bike and transit, and enhance efficient inter-regional transportation connections.
- Maximize the use of existing buildings, infrastructure, and vacant or abandoned land.
- Protect ecological systems and the natural environment, reduce waste, improve air, land and water quality, and encourage the use of green infrastructure.
- Maintain and create attractive public and private spaces and respect the unique character of existing buildings, neighbourhoods and communities, protect cultural heritage resources, and support arts and culture as an important part of community identity.