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The current Official Plan for the City of Kingston came into effect on January 27, 2010. In 2015, the City initiated a five-year review of the Official Plan. Official Plan Amendment Number 50, being a comprehensive update of the Official Plan, was approved by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and the Ministry of Housing on August 8, 2017, with modifications, and came into effect on August 29, 2017, with the exception of matters appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board.

The Official Plan recognizes that the City is made up of a wide variety of urban, suburban, agricultural and rural land uses as well as a number of defining environmental features. It serves as the blueprint for how the City will grow over the next 20 years and will assist in making Kingston Canada's most sustainable city.

The updated Official Plan is the result of a five-year comprehensive review of the document, as required under the Planning Act. In addition to the Planning Act requirements, the review of Official Plan focused on the integration of key recommendations from City-led background studies, policy changes from the 2014 Provincial Policy Statement, updates to the Planning Act, and the consideration of technical issues and policy refinements identified by Ontario Ministries, City staff, prescribed persons and public bodies, and other community stakeholders.

The August 29, 2017 consolidated version of the Official Plan includes all approvals and modifications made to the Plan after January 27, 2010 up to and including August 29, 2017. Amendments under appeal are shown as tracked-changes in the context of the original policies. Anyone reading and relying on this version should review the relevant Official Plan documents and schedules to determine how the policies in the document(s) and schedule(s) relate to any proposed development and/or site.

This consolidation has been prepared for convenience. For precise reference to any policies or map schedules contained within the Plan, please consult the Planning Division at 613-546-4291, extension 3180.

Accessibility information: This publication is available in accessible formats upon request. Please contact the city at: 613-546-0000 or contactus@cityofkingston.ca.
Development applications submitted pursuant to the Planning Act will be reviewed against the Official Plan policies and schedules that were in effect at the time a complete application was received by the City. View the previous Official Plan consolidation or schedules. Note: the May 15, 2015 consolidation does not include amendments made to the Plan between May 1, 2015 and August 28, 2017, inclusive.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please select a heading from the following menu for further information:

What is an Official Plan?

The Official Plan is the document in which the City of Kingston sets out its land use planning goals and policies that guide:

  • physical development and redevelopment,
  • protection of natural and cultural heritage,
  • resource management, and
  • necessary supporting infrastructure.

This Official Plan repeals and replaces the former City of Kingston Official Plan, and the Township of Kingston and Pittsburgh Township Official Plans, except for specified secondary plans.

The Planning Act requires that municipalities in Ontario adopt an Official Plan that is consistent with the Provincial Policy Statement.  It is intended to guide development in Kingston until 2036, but will be reviewed every five years in accordance with the requirements of the Planning Act and may be amended by the City to reflect changing circumstances or new priorities for resource protection, growth or redevelopment.

What is contained within an Official Plan?

The Official Plan consists of both written policy and attached maps. It is organized into 10 main sections.

  • Overview;
  • Strategic Policy Direction;
  • Land Use Designations and Policy;
  • Infrastructure and Transportation;
  • Protection of Health and Safety;
  • The Environment and Energy;
  • Cultural Heritage and Archaeology;
  • Urban Design;
  • Administration and Implementation; and
  • Specific Policy Area and Secondary Plans.

The Plan is organized to move from fundamental and broadly-based planning principles, and strategic policy approaches of the City to the more specific land use policies, resource and utility policies, implementation tools, and then to secondary plans and specific policy areas, which are more detailed provisions for specific geographic areas of the City.

Why should the City have an Official Plan?

The Official Plan is the main tool for ensuring that future development and redevelopment are properly managed and directed to appropriate locations within the municipality.  Without an Official Plan, the municipality could experience haphazard development, resulting in higher service costs and increased property taxes.  In addition, many day-to-day problems would result from conflicting land uses that could create unacceptable living and working conditions.

Does the Official Plan affect you?

Yes, the Official Plan affects every City of Kingston resident. The Plan determines where new houses, stores, industries, schools, parks, and other land uses will be built; protects our natural environment; and directs the construction of new services such as sewers, watermains and roads.

What is an Official Plan amendment?

Sometimes due to new conditions in the community or a proposed development, an Official Plan may need to be changed or 'amended'. An Official Plan amendment is a Bylaw passed by City Council. An amendment may seek to change the land use designation of a property and/or apply new policies to that property as part of a proposed development or expansion to an existing use that is not allowed under the existing Official Plan. An Official Plan amendment may also require other approvals before the development can take place such as a Zoning Bylaw amendment. Although Official Plans must be approved by the Provincial Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, City Council has been granted authority to approve Official Plan amendments. With Official Plan amendments, the applicant must be able to show City Council that the proposed development meets the City's long-term plans for the area and is compatible with surrounding land uses.

How is an Official Plan amended?

The process for amending an Official Plan is made up of the following 11 steps:

Step 1 - Consult with Planning Staff

You should discuss your plans with City planning staff before you submit the application. A planner will:

  • Confirm whether an Official Plan amendment is necessary
  • Provide initial comments on your proposed development
  • Outline information that will be needed to support your application
  • Confirm whether other approvals will also be required

The planner may also suggest that other city departments such as the engineering department and/or Utilities Kingston be consulted before you submit the application to determine if there are any development issues or concerns.

Step 2 - Submit the Application

After you have consulted with city staff, you will need to submit the following to the planning department:

  • A completed application for Official Plan amendment through the City's DASH portal
  • A planning rationale that describes and justifies your proposed development. It is recommended that a professional planner be retained to prepare the planning rationale on your behalf.
  • Application fee

Applications will not be accepted if incomplete or inaccurate information is provided. Once the application has been received, you will be sent a letter advising you of the planner who will be responsible for your application.

Step 3 - Application Review

The planner will send out a notice to interested parties requesting to receive notification that your application has been received. The application will also be provided to other city departments and outside agencies for review and comment.

Step 4 - Public Meeting Report to the Planning Committee

Once the application review is completed, it will be considered by the planning committee, which is one of the standing committees of City Council. A public meeting report to the planning committee will be prepared by the planner. This report will include a description of the subject lands, a summary of the proposed development and an outline of the regulations and policies that relate to the application such as those in the Official Plan and the Provincial Policy Statement.

Step 5 - Notice of Public Meeting

Once the public meeting report has been prepared, a statutory public meeting at the planning committee needs to be scheduled to consider your application. This public meeting will also consider other development approval requirements for your application, such as Zoning Bylaw amendments, should they be required. A 'Notice of Public Meeting' will be posted on the City's website and published in the Kingston Whig Standard as well as mailed to all property owners within 120 metres of the subject lands and to other interested parties requesting to receive notification at least 20 days before the meeting date. In addition to these notices and depending on the nature of your application, you may also be required to install signage on the subject lands that notifies the public about this meeting.

Step 6 - Public Meeting

The planning committee typically meets on the first and third Thursday of every month. Public meetings generally start at 6:30 p.m. and are held prior to the regular meeting of the planning committee. At the public meeting, you or someone on your behalf will make a presentation describing your proposed development and the reasons for the Official Plan amendment. At this point any interested party may make written submissions to the planning committee or appear before the committee to comment on your application. Once all public input has been received, you will have an opportunity to respond to the comments. After this, the public meeting will be closed.

Step 7 - Comprehensive Report to the Planning Committee

The planner will collect all of the comments made at the public meeting and prepare a comprehensive report. This report will include an analysis of the proposed development, a discussion of the issues raised at the public meeting and a recommendation on whether your application should be approved or rejected. If the comprehensive report recommends approval of your application, a draft of the proposed Bylaw to amend the Official Plan will also be included.

Step 8 - Regular Meeting of the Planning Committee

Based on the planner's comprehensive report and the comments made at the public meeting, your application will be considered during a future regular meeting of the planning committee. The planning committee will then prepare its recommendation to City Council to approve your application with or without changes, reject your application or defer its decision until additional information is received.

Step 9 - City Council Meeting

During a City Council meeting, Council may adopt the planning committee's recommendation, amend it, reject it or refer it back to the planning committee for further information. If your application is approved by City Council, the bylaw to adopt the Official Plan amendment will be given three readings at that City Council meeting.

Step 10 - Notice of Adoption

After City Council approves an Official Plan amendment, a 'Notice of Adoption' will be sent by the City Clerk within 15 days of Council's decision pursuant to the requirements of the Planning Act. This notice will include information on the Bylaw to adopt the Official Plan amendment and will provide a 20 day period within which an appeal of the Bylaw may be made to the Ontario Municipal Board. Any person with an interest in the matter may appeal the decision of City Council to the Ontario Municipal Board.

Step 11 - Approval

If no appeals to the bylaw are received, the city clerk will issue a declaration that no appeals were filed and that the Official Plan amendment has come into effect. If the bylaw is appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board, the final decision regarding approval or rejection of your application will be made by the Board following a Municipal Board Hearing.

How long does it take to amend an Official Plan?

After your application has been submitted, it will normally take four to six months to process the application to the stage where a recommendation can be made by City Council. The approval process may be longer for applications that propose major developments, deal with complex supporting information or extensive public input or require additional development approvals such as a Zoning Bylaw Amendment (note that if a Zoning Bylaw Amendment is also required, there may be an opportunity for the City to deal with both the Official Plan Amendment and Zoning Bylaw Amendment applications at the same time). If an application is appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board, the Municipal Board Hearing process will add time to the approval procedure as well.