Community Improvement Policy Paper

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Download the Community Improvement Policy Paper.

Background

In many Ontario municipalities, there are neighbourhoods and areas which require additional support to kick-start revitalization and redevelopment. Community Improvement Plans (CIPs) and policies are tools that municipalities can use to plan and finance development activities which reuse, revitalize, and restore lands, buildings, and infrastructure.

Section 106 of the Municipal Act typically prohibits municipalities from assisting businesses in development or redevelopment projects through restrictions on: lending money or property, guaranteeing borrowing, leasing/selling municipal property below market value, or granting partial or total exemptions from levies/fees; however, the Municipal Act provides an exception in section 106 so municipalities can exercise powers under section 28 of the Planning Act, as long as their official plan contains policies enabling this.

Section 28 of the Planning Act enables municipalities to designate a Community Improvement Project Area (CIPA) and prepare a CIP. Affordable housing is considered to fit within the definition of community improvement. When a municipality passes a by-law to designate a CIPA under subsection 2, council may provide for the preparation of the CIP. The township may acquire land within the CIPA, hold land acquired within the CIPA, and clear, grade, or otherwise prepare the land for community improvement. In carrying out a CIP, the township may construct, repair, rehabilitate, or improve buildings on lands it holds in the CIPA; it may also consider providing grants or incentives to property owners in the CIPA to cover eligible costs under the CIP.

CIPs can be used in innovative ways to enable intensification, community revitalization, brownfield remediation, energy-efficient/net-zero development, and age-friendly planning. CIPs can provide a combination of municipally-driven actions (e.g. municipal property acquisition, streetscape improvements) and incentive-based programs (e.g., commercial façade improvement grants, property tax assistance) to achieve community development goals.

Proposed Objectives

The following objectives are those which are being considered for the new Township of Adjala-Tosorontio Official Plan. They have been developed through an examination of existing Official Plan objectives and principles, review of the Adjala-Tosorontio Community-Based Strategic Plan, OPA 15 (Everett Secondary Plan) and input received from council, the public, agencies, and Tonwship staff.

To enable the Township to designate, by by-law, a Community Improvement Project Area, and to provide for the subsequent preparation of a Community Improvement Plan pursuant to section 28 of the Planning Act

To safeguard the health, well-being, and social cohesion of Township residents and visitors by improving public service facilities, public spaces, recreation, parks, trails, open space, and active transportation facilities and services

To improve the Township’s built form by encouraging and/or participating in programs which rehabilitate or improve municipally owned infrastructure and facilities and by encouraging private property owners to upgrade the condition, attractiveness, and water/energy efficiency of their land and buildings (Township Official Plan 7.1.1)

To protect and improve the economic well-being of the Township and its residents by encouraging and/or participating in programs that will promote new jobs and new capital investment in the Township and the surrounding area (Township Official Plan 7.1.1)

To encourage the remediation and redevelopment of brownfields, greyfields or underutilized properties and/or buildings

To encourage the use of green development/design standards and support water conservation, energy conservation, air quality protection, integrated waste management, cultural heritage conservation, and sustainable soil management

Proposed Policies

The following policies are those which are being considered for the new Township of Adjala-Tosorontio Official Plan. They have been developed through:

  • Reviewing existing Official Plan policies and updating them to comply with new provincial and county policy requirements
  • Input received from council, the public, agencies, and Tonwship staff

The Provincial Policy Statement, provincial plans, and County of Simcoe Official Plan do not provide any direction or requirements for community improvement policies in lower-tier official plans. The community improvement policies being considered for the draft Township Official Plan are derived from the Planning Act and build upon existing Township policies.

Community Improvement

The Township shall attempt to use all possible means to implement community improvement, including:

(a) participation in federal and provincial community improvement programs,

(b) designation of community improvement project areas, preparation of community improvement plans, and acquisition and redevelopment of land in accordance with the Planning Act,

(c) cooperation with agencies, other levels of government, non-governmental organizations, businesses, and private landowners,

(d) encouragement of the rehabilitation of private buildings by advising private owners of government subsidies and programs and assisting, where possible, the private owners to obtain grants and loans

The Township will be satisfied that any community improvements or financial incentives are within the financial capability of the township

The Township will determine the priorities and phasing of: designation of community improvement project areas, preparation of community improvement plans within those areas, and carrying out community improvement plans. Consideration will be had for the following:

(a) Prioritising implementation of the improvements which will most substantially increase the safety, stability, and aesthetic quality of the community. (Township Official Plan 7.5.1.1), and

(b) Input received at advertised public meetings (Township Official Plan 7.5.1.2)

(c) Limiting disruption to the community, wherever possible (Township Official Plan 7.5.1.3)

(d) Attempting to maintain a sense of neighbourhood and the positive characteristics of residential areas where community improvement is being carried out (Township Official Plan 7.5.1.4)

Designation of Community Improvement Project Area

The Township may, by by-law, designate the whole or any part of an area of the township as a community improvement project area in accordance with section 28 of the Planning Act (Planning Act RSO 1990, c.P.13 s.28(2))

Community improvement project areas will be selected for designation on the basis of deficiencies related to one or more of the following criteria:

(a) The condition of buildings and property in selected community improvement project areas in relation to the Township’s Property Maintenance Standards by-law. (Township Official Plan 7.3.1.1)

(b) The condition and adequacy of municipal infrastructure, including but not limited to roads, sidewalks, water, sanitary sewers, storm sewers, street lighting, and public utilities (Township Official Plan 7.3.1.2)

(c) The condition and quality of streetscapes, including but not limited to curbs, sidewalks, street lighting, street trees, street furniture, street lighting, and active transportation facilities

(d) The condition and adequacy of public service facilities, public spaces, recreation, parks, trails, open space, and active transportation facilities and services (Township Official Plan 7.3.1.3)

(e) The condition and adequacy of housing, including the range and mix of housing types and densities, and affordable housing, and

(f) The energy efficiency or water efficiency of lands and/or buildings

The Township has identified the following areas for designation as Community Improvement Project Areas:

<<to be determined through public input>>

Main Street Everett

Community Improvement Plan

When a by-law has been passed to designate a community improvement project area, the council may provide for the preparation of a plan suitable for adoption as a community improvement plan for the community improvement project area in accordance with section 28 of the Planning Act (Planning Act RSO 1990, c.P.13 s.28(4))

Community Improvement Project Area: Main Street Mixed Use Area

i) Council may establish a Main Street Mixed Use Area as a Community Improvement Area.

ii) The Township may prepare a Community Improvement Plan under Section 28 of the Planning Act, RSO 1990, to encourage the development of a viable commercial core for the community and to encourage the rehabilitation and improvement of private lands and the upgrading of public infrastructure.

iii) In a Main Street Mixed Use Area, the following objectives shall apply:

  • Establish consistency in urban design and signage while recognizing the character of the existing built form;
  • create a well linked public space fronting to the street that presents an attractive image of Everett that reflects the heritage of the community;
  • create a core commercial area as a focus for the community;
  • nurture an active transportation/ pedestrian friendly and safe atmosphere; and,
  • facilitate the inclusion of small and medium food retailers, mobile healthy vendors, farmers markets, and other opportunities for promoting access to local foods (such as incubator kitchens).

iv) The Community Improvement Plan may provide for a variety of financial incentives to assist with implementation of the objectives, including, but not limited to: local infrastructure improvements, waiving of application fees, property tax increment grants, and other grants aimed at improving building facades and signage.

v) Future studies will provide additional details related to the “character” of development (including architectural design considerations, façade treatments, and preferred uses) and methods of encouraging businesses to develop.

Proposed Definitions

Community improvement: means the planning or replanning, design or redesign, resubdivision, clearance, development or redevelopment, construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation, improvement of energy efficiency, or any of them, of a community improvement project area, and the provision of such residential, commercial, industrial, public, recreational, institutional, religious, charitable or other uses, buildings, structures, works, improvements or facilities, or spaces therefor, as may be appropriate or necessary (Planning Act)

Community improvement plan: means a plan for the community improvement of a community improvement project area (Planning Act)

Community improvement project area: means a municipality or an area within a municipality, the community improvement of which in the opinion of the council is desirable because of age, dilapidation, overcrowding, faulty arrangement, unsuitability of buildings or for any other environmental, social or community economic development reason (Planning Act)

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