“OPA 2016” a.k.a OPA 180

On November 12, 2016, staff made its report available regarding what it then called “OPA 2016” but which soon officially became OPA 180.   The report has 12 supporting documents, including the draft amendment in a somewhat easier-to-read format, the growth projections and an addendum, an employment lands review update, Volumes 1 and 2 of the LEAR report and a LEAR Implementation report, a letter from the Ministry of Agriculture, a summary of changes to the OP and a list of sections of OPAs 140 and 150 that are to be repealed. (Some of these documents have already been posted here, here and here.)

For a full set of documents, please go to the November 22 agenda of Planning Committee here (click on Agenda item 2).  The report also went to Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee, on November 24.

Planning Committee passed several amendments and heard from 16 delegations. For several, the Chair tasked the ARAC Chair with meeting with the supplicant to resolve the request.  Many more written comments had poured in.  In the end, staff was tasked with compiling a document responding to each of the requested changes and providing a rationale for adopting it or not.  This 50-page document was provided to Councillors on December 9, in anticipation of the Council meeting of December 14.  The document responded to a total of 99 submissions; it was not tabled but obtained by the GA on request. A second document contained 13 motions which Council was asked to approve.

At Council, a total of 18 amendments were adopted, of which six involved a change of what would have become Agricultural Resource back to General Rural Area; one additional proposed ARA designation was held in abeyance pending further studies.  Go to item 29 of Council’s Minutes for the full set.

The final motion was something different: It asserted that Council’s decisions were lawful:


The Council of the City of Ottawa declares that the official plan amendment set forth through Planning Committee Report 36A, Item 2, as modified,

(i)  Has regard to the matters of provincial interest listed in the Planning Act, section 2;

(ii)  Is consistent with the Provincial Policy Statement; and

(iii)  Does not conflict with any provincial plan as no provincial plan is in force with respect to the City of Ottawa

Good to know!  The Amendment now awaits Ministry approval and will then, along with any appeals, be presented to the Ontario Municipal Board to be joined to the pending appeals of OPA 150, 140 and 141.  The City hopes to see a pre-hearing conference later this year and hearings in 2018.  With any luck, a decision could be out by the end of that year, five years after Council’s December 2013 passage of OPA 150.

As an aside, I queried the City’s Solicitor how the City interprets section 26 (1.2) of the Planning Act which would seem to require the next comprehensive review of the official plan to be due in 5 years from December 2013 because the clause says that the 5-year clock starts ticking “even if there are outstanding appeals relating to those parts of the plan that propose to specifically designate land uses.”  In reply, Mr. O’Connor clarified that this only refers to appeals of changes to the OP’s Schedules A and B.  The clock starts ticking when the OP’s amended text comes “into effect.”  What this means if some but not all the text comes into force remains unclear.  If some of the OPA 150 amendments come into force after the expected pre-hearing conference later this year, then the next Comprehensive OPA is not due before 2022; arguably it could be later, if one starts counting after all the appeals (except possibly Schedule A and B changes) are disposed of.

Erwin – 7 Feb 2017

UPDATE – 9 Feb 2017

Today an undated Notice was received, informing the public that on January 25 Council adopted the by-law, i.e., formally passed OPA 180.

“A complete copy of Official Plan Amendment 180 is available for inspection at the offices of the Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development Department, City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue West, during regular business hours (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday) or on the City of Ottawa’s website www.ottawa.ca/officialplan and follow the link to Official Plan Amendment 180.”

The unusual 6-week delay between Council’s decision and passing of the by-law likely is related to the multitude of amendments which had to be incorporated into the final document.

The OPA now goes to the Ministry which has up to 180 days to approve or amend it.

UPDATE – July 12, 2017

Council today considered Planning Committee’s Confidential Report 47A out of a meeting of June 27, recommending acceptance of a settlement with Taggart Group of Companies.  Taggart is one of four parties that had appealed OPA 150 in their entirety.  It could not reach a settlement with the other Parties (Walton, Trinity and Phoenix).  These settlement discussions were at the direction of Council last December when OPA 180 was approved.  In return for what appear to be benign modifications, Taggart would agree to drop the balance of their appeals of OPA 150, 140 and 141 and not appeal OPA 180.  Council accepted the settlement.

UPDATE – August 8, 2017

Today the Ministry approved OPA 180, with 11 modifications.  Here are the Notice Letter, the Notice, and the Decision.  All but one of the Ministerial amendments relate to rural matters, most significantly to section 3.7.3 of the Official Plan (Agricultural Resources).  One amendment clarifies that an Agricultural Resource Area designation can be removed only through a comprehensive review.

This Decision came over the signature of Allan Scott, Regional Director, Municipal Services Office-Eastern, MMAH.

A 2-day Pre-hearing conference is scheduled for October.

At its meeting of 11 July, Planning Committee had before it a report from staff and the Minister’s draft Decision. Staff agreed with all but one of the Minister’s proposed modifications.  That item (a Schedule change) was dropped from the final Decision.  On a motion by Councillor Tierney, Planning Committee voted to change the wording of one modification.  The change would weaken the restriction on removal of agricultural land by stating that “The removal of land from an ARA designation to another rural designation may be considered outside of a comprehensive review where it is demonstrated that another rural designation is more appropriate.”  Council (on July 12) agreed but the Minister did not adopt the requested change.