The City of Hamilton is undergoing a Municipal Comprehensive Review (MCR) to fulfil the requirements of the Provincial Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2017 (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.
View Schedule E-1 of the Urban Hamilton Official Plan to see which lands are designated “Employment Land” in the City.
Policies and criteria for conversion
The Growth Plan provides a policy framework that protects Employment Lands and ensures that there is an adequate supply of land within Employment Areas to accommodate growth and economic prosperity in the Greater Golden Horseshoe. Therefore, the policies of the Growth Plan only permit conversion of Employment Land to non-employment uses through a municipal comprehensive review. Special evaluation criteria are also used to determine if a conversion is appropriate.
Provincial Growth Plan
Policy 126.96.36.199 of the Growth Plan states that:
The conversion of lands within employment areas or prime employment areas to non-employment uses may be permitted only through a municipal comprehensive review where it is demonstrated that:
a. There is a need for the conversion;
b. The lands are not required over the horizon of this Plan for the employment purposes for which they are designated;
c. The municipality will maintain sufficient employment lands to accommodate forecasted employment growth to the horizon of this Plan;
d. The proposed uses would not adversely affect the overall viability of the employment area or prime employment area or the achievement of the minimum intensification and density targets in this Plan, as well as the other policies of this Plan; and
e. There are existing or planned infrastructure and public service facilities to accommodate the proposed uses.
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); and,
- Conversion of the site(s) will result in a more logical land use boundary for an employment area.
- Public requests for conversion: In addition to an internal review, the City opened the Employment Land Review process to members of the public to allow individual land owners to submit requests for conversion of their land to a non-employment land use. The submission period for public requests occurred between June and September, 2017. The submission period has now closed and submissions are currently under review.
- Public meetings: Additional opportunities for public engagement will occur at the Public Information Centres for GRIDS 2, which are tentatively scheduled for May, 2018 and November, 2018.
The City is commencing work on other components of the MCR, including the Employment Strategy and the Land Needs Assessment. Information from these studies is required prior to any decisions being made on the Employment Land Review. Opportunities for public engagement on the Land Needs Assessment will occur at the November, 2018 Public Information Centre.
Should there be any sites identified as suitable for conversion to non-employment uses, these sites will be included in a Recommendation Report to Planning Committee and Council in 2019. Any recommended conversions are subject to Council Approval. However, an implementing Official Plan Amendment to convert the lands to an appropriate non-employment designation will not be brought forward until the conclusion of the MCR process, which is anticipated to be completed in 2021. The Official Plan Amendment requires Provincial approval.
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