Official Plan Amendment Application
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 Official Plan 2010 (VOP 2010), which was adopted by City of Vaughan Council on September 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.
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 and received an exemption, in which case Vaughan Council makes the final decision.
A Development Application Form is required to amend the Official Plan in accordance with the Development Application Submission Process. Information related to OPA Applications can be obtained by calling 905-832-2281 or by emailing DevelopmentPlanning@vaughan.ca.
Before submitting an Development Application to amend the Official Plan, the landowner must arrange a Pre-Application Consultation (PAC) 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.
To arrange a PAC Meeting, please contact the Development Planning Department at 905-832-2281 or by emailing DevelopmentPlanning@vaughan.ca.
Submitting an OPA Application
When an OPA Application is submitted, the landowner must pay a processing fee in accordance with the Fees and Charges By-law.
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 identified at the PAC meeting 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 7 days of Vaughan Council making a final decision in accordance with the City's Notice Signs Procedures and Protocols (PDF).
An OPA Application is required to be processed in accordance with the statutory timelines prescribed in the Planning Act. 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.
Upon receipt of a complete OPA Application, a Public Meeting will be scheduled. A notice of the Public Meeting will be circulated by the City to residents within 150 metres of the area of the application at a minimum of 20 days in advance of the Public Meeting. The landowner or Agent acting on behalf of the landowner must attend this meeting to make a brief presentation of the proposal before Vaughan Council and to respond to any questions from Vaughan Council or the public.
Committee of the Whole
After the Public Meeting, at least 8 to 12 weeks is required to assess the OPA 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 OPA application is approved, a by-law implementing the OPA is prepared by the Development Planning Department and forwarded to Vaughan Council for enactment. 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. If the OPA application is refused, the landowner may appeal Vaughan Council's decision to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) within 20 days of the Notice of Decision being issued by the Office of the City Clerk.
After enactment of the OPA by-law by Council, 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 Council enacted the implementing OPA by-law.
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.
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.