• Q9 Planning + Design

New City of Ottawa Parkland Dedication By-law:

In December 2021, the City of Ottawa Recreation, Cultural and Facilities Services Department initiated a project to revise the City’s Parkland Dedication By-law, which follows the adoption of the Parks and Recreation Facilities Master Plan by Council on October 13, 2021. The new by-law will replace the existing Parkland Dedication By-law, which was passed in 2009. The City’s revision of the by-law was required as part of the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act. Under this act, the City must pass a new parkland dedication by-law by September 18, 2022.

Stakeholder consultation for the project began in December 2021 and concluded on January 17, 2022. Seven key stakeholder groups were consulted, including community associations, Federation of Citizens’ Associations, the Greater Ottawa Home Builders Association, the Building Owners and Managers Association of Ottawa, school boards, members of Council, and City Departments. Statutory public consultation will be held for the project during the Planning Committee hearing and online informational sessions have been held, with the most recent one held on June 16th, 2022.

Existing Parkland Dedication By-law:

The existing Parkland Dedication By-law requires conveyance of 2% of the site area for industrial and commercial property and 5% for everything else (including residential properties). This applies to developments with less than 18 dwelling units per net hectare. For developments with greater than 18 dwelling units per net hectare, alternative rates apply. If parkland is provided, 1 hectare per 300 dwelling units is required. If cash-in-lieu is provided, 1 hectare per 500 dwelling units is required. Conveyance for apartments is capped at 10% of the gross land area. Cash-in-lieu conveyance is capped at 10% of the value of the land for all residential development.

Under this current parkland dedication scheme, the City is currently falling short of its target to provide 2.0 hectares of parkland for every 1000 people. The new provisions are based on trying to reach this target. As part of developing these new provisions, the City studied what other municipalities in Canada were doing and modelled various policy strategies.

Proposed Parkland Dedication By-law:

The new provisions retain the same 2% requirement for industrial and commercial development. They also retain the same 5% requirement for all other uses, including residential uses with less than 18 du/net hectare. However, the new by-law differs from the current by-law in the alternate provisions. For residential development greater than 18 du/net hectare, 1 hectare/300 du is still required for parkland conveyance and 1 hectare/500 du is still required for cash-in-lieu.

However, rather than a flat 10% cap being applied to all residential development, the 10% cap applies only to semis, duplexes, (etc.), and low-rise apartments. A 15% cap applies to mid-rise (5-9 storey) apartments and a 25% cap applies to high-rise (10+ storeys) apartments. This means that higher density, taller buildings will bear the biggest brunt of the parkland dedication increases. They've based this on their modelling showing that high density developments have the lowest average parkland dedication cost per unit.

Additionally, the previous Parkland Dedication By-law applied only to planning applications (DPS, DPC, Consent, SPC). Now, the by-law will be applicable to all development, even those that only require a building permit. Previously exempt development will also be included, such as SDUs and coach houses, which will be charged $500 per unit. Ancillary uses in places of worship will also count. Non-profit housing on large lots (>/= 4000 m2) will also be required to provide parkland dedication unless it is waived at the discretion of the General Manager.

The new by-law will come into full effect either on September 1st, 2022 or the day it is passed by Council, whichever is later. As part of the transition provisions of the by-law, no previous written undertaking within an agreement between the City and a landowner or within a Secondary Plan is negated by the by-law. However, if a Plan of Subdivision, Part Lot Control, or Plan of Condominium has received draft approval, the new provisions would apply if an extension of the approval is sought.

In summary, applications submitted now would continue to be evaluated under the current by-law until September 1st or until council passes the by-law, whichever happens later. If an agreement for cash-in-lieu is already in place, that amount wouldn't change unless an extension of approval is sought.

The new Parkland Dedication By-law will be presented to Planning Committee on June 23rd, 2022. The staff report and agenda for this meeting can be found here. More information on the Parkland Dedication By-law can be found on City’s website.



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