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Planning Act - Section 37
Height & Density Bonus

The City is proposing amendments to its Official Plan to consider using a portion of the funds generated from an application of Section 37 – Height and Density Bonusing under the Planning Act as a mechanism to fund the Community Facility Improvement Reserve, a proposed Affordable Housing Reserve and Ward-specific community benefits.

Public Meeting

The General Committee of the Council of the Corporation of the City of Barrie will hold a public meeting on Monday, May 6, 2019, at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of City Hall, 70 Collier Street, to review municipally initiated amendment to the City of Barrie Official Plan. 

Purpose of the Proposed Amendments

Section 37 of the Planning Act authorizes municipalities with appropriate Official Plan provisions to secure community benefits if and when Council is considering the passing of a zoning by-law which would increase the maximum height and density as a result of a development application above what would otherwise be permitted by the current zoning. The community benefit must be set out in the site specific zoning by-law amendment and must be secured in an agreement registered on title. The manner in which the community benefit is to be spent is the focus of the proposed amendments.

Current Policy

In 2015 the City established Section 6.8 of the Official Plan: Height and Density Bonusing that allowed the City to secure community benefits for an amendment to the Zoning by-law where a development proposed increased height and or density over and above what is permitted in the Zoning By-law after it has been determined that the proposal:

  • Represents good planning and is consistent with Official Plan policies
  • The Community benefit bears a reasonable planning relationship to the increase in height and density and has an appropriate geographic relationship to the proposed development
  • Adequate infrastructure exists or will be provided to support the development
Currently community benefits may include:
  • Provision of affordable housing units
  • Community facilities / services
  • Arts and Cultural facilities
  • Public Art
  • Parks facilities and equipment
  • Protection of cultural heritage resources
  • Public access to facilities
  • Streetscape improvements on the public boulevard not abutting the site
  • Local improvements to transit facilities including pedestrian connections to transit facilities
  • Amenities for active transportation such as pedestrian or cycling facilities
  • Land for other municipal purposes
  • Preservation and enhancement of the Natural Heritage System
  • Enhanced on-site tree planting or landscaping
  • Public parking facilities (at grade and / or structures)
  • Local improvement identified through Community Improvement Plans
  • Sustainable energy works and facilities
  • Any public work, initiative or matter in compliance with the Official Plan

After a rezoning application has been through the review process and the resulting recommendation will increase the permitted height and / or density Section 37 will apply. The applicant is then requested to submit a property appraisal to identify the uplift in property value from the existing zoning to the proposed zoning as supported by Planning Staff. The City has established the value of the community benefit to be 25% of the uplift value or difference in the value of the land from the existing zoning to the proposed zoning.

For example, if a property is currently valued at $1 million and after the rezoning the value will be $2 million, at 25% of the difference the community benefit would amount to $250,000. This is not proposing to change through this amendment.   

Nature of the Proposed Amendments

The proposed amendment includes text changes to the Official Plan that are summarized below:
1. A minimum of 10% of all funds collected from the application of Section 37 be deposited in the Community Improvement Facility Reserve. In December 2018, City Council established a Community Improvement Facility Reserve for provide capital funding to local not-for profit organizations that would allow these organizations to secure matching capital funding. This reserve is to be capped at $300,000 at any given time and will be distributed through a semi-annual grant program. The amendment proposes to place 10% of all funds collected into this reserve. Since 2015 if a minimum of 10% of Section 37 funds were placed in this reserve the amount would total $108,750.

2. A minimum of 70% of all funds collected from the application of Section 37 be deposited in an Affordable Housing Reserve. City Council has not yet but would in the future establish an Affordable Housing Reserve for the purposes of providing funding to local affordable housing initiatives. The amendment proposes to place 70% of all funds collected into this reserve. Since 2015 if a minimum of 70% of Section 37 funds were placed in such a reserve the amount would total $761,250.

3. A minimum of 20% of all funds collected from the application of Section 37 to be allocated to Ward specific community priorities, as established annually by the Ward Councillor in accordance with the Implementation Guidelines. It is proposed that annually each Ward Councillor establish ward specific community priorities for 20% of all funds collected for development projects within each ward. The community benefits for each ward are unique and establishing these priorities with the community and Ward Councillor meets the purpose and intent of community benefits.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens at the Public Meeting?

There will be a presentation made by City Staff. The meeting will be open to members of the public to express any comments or feedback on the proposed amendment. Members of Council will be able to ask questions of clarification to City Staff. No decision is made at the Public Meeting.

What happens after the Public Meeting?

City Staff will take all of the comments received at the Public Meeting in addition to comments received before the public meeting and will make a recommendation to Council at a later date.

Where can I find more information?

Additional information can be obtained by contacting the staff member listed above or by visiting the Department of Planning on the ground floor of City Hall (Monday-Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm)

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