Downtown Hamilton from the Jolley Cut in August 2021 Credit: Joey Coleman

This morning, the Ontario government reversing Hamilton’s forced urban boundary expansion surprised everyone at City Hall.

Mayor Andrea Horwath was in a Council meeting and quickly rushed to meet with her key advisors to digest the news.

The news story about the announcement, and Mayor Horwath’s response is on TPR here: Ontario Government Reverses Hamilton Urban Boundary Expansion.

The forced expansion of Hamilton’s urban boundary was only one change among many to the Urban Hamilton Official Plan.

In planning-speak, the changes are known as Official Plan Amendment No. 167, OPA 167 for short.

OPA 167 was submitted to Ontario’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

In a 17-page decision, the Ministry imposed changes to UHOP beyond the urban boundary expansion, which include:

-removing “neighbourhood plans” from the City’s planning considerations, only permitting official Secondary Plans to be cited for neighbourhood-level planning.

– requiring the City to “encourage higher density development on all frequent transit corridors”;

– removing a lower-density target for Ancaster’s arterial roads. The City sought to impose “in the range of 50 persons and jobs per hectare.” The Province imposed the city-wide arterial policy in Ancaster, allowing density above 150 units per hectare and up to eight stories;

– removing adding a lower city-wide maximum height limit of the height of the Niagara Escarpment;

– adding detached secondary dwelling units as-of-right on single, semi-detached, and townhouse lots. [Where they meet criteria]

– removing a City created minimum density of 60 people and jobs per hectare for greenfield developments [within the existing urban boundary]

The province is reviewing all changes it made, which is why the 45-day public comment period is important.

TPR will post and update when the public comment notice is posted to the Government of Ontario’s website.

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Published: October 23, 2023
Last edited: October 23, 2023
Author: Joey Coleman
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