Official Plan Amendment Approval Process
What is an Official Plan Amendment (OPA)?
If a landowner wishes to alter or develop a site in a way that does not conform with Vaughan’s Official Plan, they must apply for an OPA. An OPA is typically requested to change the land use designation (e.g., from low-rise residential to high-rise residential). York Region is the approval authority for all OPAs in the city of Vaughan, unless the landowner has applied for an exemption, in which case Vaughan Council makes the final decision.
Official Plan Amendment (OPA) Process
Applications to amend the Official Plan are available from the planning forms centre. Information related to OPA Applications can be obtained by calling 905-832-2281. Ask for the planner assigned to the file or community area.
What is an Official Plan?
An Official Plan describes Vaughan Council’s policies on how land in the city of Vaughan should be used. It is prepared with input from the public and helps ensure that future planning and development will meet the specific needs of the community. An Official Plan deals mainly with priorities such as:
- where new housing, industry, offices and retail will be located.
- what infrastructure, such as roads, parks, schools, watermains and sewers will be needed.
- when, how and in what order parts of the city will grow.
- what community improvement initiatives are required and when they will be needed.
The City's Official Plan is Vaughan's Official Plan 2010 (VOP 2010), which was adopted by City of Vaughan Council on Sept. 7, 2010, as partially approved by the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) (now the Ontario Land Tribunal). The VOP 2010 represents the City of Vaughan Council's comprehensive planning policy with respect to the future development of the City.
The VOP 2010 contains a vision for the future that stresses responsible governance, sustainable planning, economic leadership, transparency, accountability, and inclusivity. This vision has guided Vaughan’s growth and development over the past decade.
It is time for an update.
The City’s Official Plan is undergoing a review to better meet the needs of current and future citizens, workers and visitors. The updated Official Plan must conform with the new Provincial policies and plans, including the Provincial Policy Statement, Greenbelt Plan, Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe and 2051 growth targets for people and jobs. It must also conform with the York Region Official Plan currently being updated through the York Region Municipal Comprehensive Review.
The Official Plan Review will follow a principled approach rooted in environmental sustainability, social responsibility and economic development to plan for complete communities and guide the city’s growth for the next 30 years and beyond. Visit the City’s Official Plan Review at vaughan.ca/OPR for more information and learn how you can get involved in shaping the future of the city of Vaughan.
Before submitting an application to amend an Official Plan, the landowner must arrange a pre-application consultation (PDF) meeting with the Development Planning department. The purpose of this meeting is for the landowner to present a proposal and for City staff to identify, on a preliminary basis only, the required information for a complete submission of the Official Plan Amendment (OPA) Application.
Submitting an application
When an OPA Application is submitted, the landowner must pay a fee in accordance with the Tariff of Fees for Planning Applications By-law (PDF).
The planner assigned to the file will send an acknowledgment letter to the landowner advising the file number and setting out any additional requirements to be completed. In addition, the City is required to send a "Notice of Complete Application" within 30 days of receipt of the application, if all application requirements are satisfied. If all requirements are not satisfied, a "Notice of Incomplete Application" will be sent to the landowner and processing of the application will not commence until the application requirements are fully satisfied. The application will be circulated to all internal departments and external agencies as affected.
For Official Plan Amendments, Zoning By-law Amendments and Draft Plans of Subdivisions, a public notification sign must be erected on the property within 14 days of submitting the application and removed within seven days of Vaughan Council making a final decision in accordance with the City's Notice Sign: Procedures and Protocols (PDF).
Typically, an OPA Application requires approximately six to eight months to complete, depending on complexity. York Region is the approval authority for all OPAs in the city of Vaughan. If an OPA is approved by the City, it must be forwarded to York Region for approval. A landowner may request an exemption from York Region Approval, in which case the City of Vaughan would become the approval authority. The process period commences once a complete application is received. If the OPA is approved, an additional surcharge fee will be required in accordance with the applicable Tariff of Fees By-law for Planning Applications (PDF).
Committee of the Whole
Residents within 150 metres of the area of the application will be notified of the public meeting 20 days in advance of the meeting. After the public meeting, at least eight to 12 weeks is required to assess the application and to receive comments and conditions from circulated parties. The Development Planning department will prepare a Technical Report with a recommendation to the Committee of the Whole. The recommendation of the Committee of the Whole is then forwarded to the following Vaughan Council meeting for approval.
Official Plan Amendment (OPA) adoption/approval
If the application is approved, an OPA is prepared by the Development Planning department and forwarded to Vaughan Council for adoption. If the amendment has regional or provincial interest, the amendment is forwarded to York Region for approval, unless exempted from York Region Approval as described above.
After adoption, a notice of decision is mailed by the Office of the City Clerk to residents within 150 metres, as well as required agencies. This initiates a 20-day appeal period, within which anyone can appeal the Official Plan Amendment to the Ontario Land Tribunal. Once this period expires, if no appeals have been received, a final notice is mailed and the OPA is deemed to have come into effect on the day of approval.