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  • What is an Official Plan?

    An Official Plan is a document that has status in law pursuant to the provisions of the Planning Act. It provides for a long-term comprehensive framework for land use decision-making in our community. It affects your everyday life through policies about where and how housing, employment and other land uses will be developed. It shapes how our neighbourhoods will look and feel in 20 years. Reviewed every 5 years, the Plan aims to create a better living environment within the City by taking into consideration important social, economic, cultural, and environmental factors.

    The aspect of the Plan that the citizens of Peterborough encounter most frequently is the Zoning By-Law. These by-laws regulate the structure of buildings, their uses, and their associated facilities (e.g. parking requirements). The Zoning By-Law implements the Official Plan and must conform to it. The Zoning By-Law will be amended after changes are made to the Official Plan. The City’s Zoning By-Law and current Official Plan can be viewed on the City’s website.

    • Why is the Official Plan being reviewed now?

      The authority for preparing and adopting an Official Plan is set out in provincial planning legislation known as the Planning Act. This Act requires the City to review its Official Plan at least every 5 years. Since the City’s Official Plan was last reviewed, the Province of Ontario has made significant changes to provincial land use planning legislation such as the Provincial Policy Statement in 2014 and new Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe in 2017. Also, studies recently completed by various City departments may or may not be reflected in the Official Plan. The City’s review of the Official Plan will serve the purpose of not only ensuring that the Plan continues to reflect the changing priorities and issues of the community, but also that it’s up-to-date and in compliance with the over-ruling Provincial planning legislation. The review will also have to take into account the June 2016 release of Shaping Land Use In the Greater Golden Horseshoe as well as provincial direction regarding Inclusionary Zoning. 

      • Why is the Official Plan important to me?

        Whether you live or work in the City, the Official Plan affects just about every aspect of your everyday life. The Plan determines where new houses, stores, industries, schools, cultural facilities, social services, parks, trails, and other land uses will be built; it protects our natural environment; and it directs the construction of new infrastructure such as sewers, water mains, transit and roads. It sets out the community’s vision for its future.

        • How can I participate in the development of the Official Plan Update?

          • Keep an eye on our Upcoming Events webpage for information on upcoming scheduled engagement sessions or pop-up events. 
          • Subscribe to our email notification list for updates.
          • Email us at with your comments/questions at any time.