The Township has a strong attachment to its rural character. In settlement areas, there are opportunities to promote well-designed built form. Efficient land use and development patterns can support strong, livable, healthy and safe communities, within settlement areas and in rural areas.
Provincial & County Policy
The Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) and the County of Simcoe Official Plan policies provide direction on specific issues. The Township Official Plan policies must conform to the PPS and County Official Plan, which set out the following policies:
Built Form & Sense of Place
Provincial policy encourages a sense of place by promoting well-designed built form, and conserving features that help define character. This includes protecting significant cultural heritage resources and promoting well-designed built form.
It is a goal of Provincial and County plans to provide for complete communities, which provide a range and mix of housing types, employment opportunities, accessible and safe community facilities, and recreational opportunities in a co-ordinated manner.
Active transportation facilities, parks, and streetscapes contribute to a positive sense of place. Site design and urban design standards should create attractive, vibrant places that support walking and cycling.
Mixed use settlements which minimize land consumption and promote compact form are encouraged. The County requires development proposals by plans of subdivision to incorporate design elements which support active transportation and age-friendly design elements.
Existing Policy & Legislation
Provincial Policy Statement, 2014
Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2017
County of Simcoe Official Plan, 2016
Current Township Policies
The Township does not currently have an overarching urban design/built environment design approach. Secondary Plans for Craighurst and Oro Centre provide urban design policies, including an overview of design components such as the public realm, safety, views and vistas, and gateways.
Section A2.5 of the Current Official Plan speaks to protection of rural character. Section C3 contains policies for Rural Settlement Areas, including a vision for Hawkestone. Sections C17 & C18 contain urban design policies for the Secondary Plan areas. Current Official Plan policies require that:
In Hawkestone, development should be consistent with a traditional small-town pattern, including a grid street pattern, a mixed use main street, and pedestrian-scale development.
In Oro Centre, interesting and innovative urban design is encouraged, wherever feasible and appropriate. Neighbouring developments should be compatible and respect existing conditions.
In Oro Centre, built form polices will be implemented through the Zoning Bylaw, such as building orientation and parking area siting.
In Craighurst, high quality design in the public realm shall be encouraged in the development of all public parks and open spaces, roads, buildings, and engineering projects. Personal safety shall be promoted. Preservation of significant views and vistas shall be encouraged. Specific urban design guidelines will be required in gateway areas.
In Craighurst, preparation of area-specific Urban Design Guidelines may be required as part of major development applications. For residential subdivision plans, the Township shall require preparation of Community Urban Design Guidelines and Architectural Control Guidelines.
New and revised Official Plan policies will promote community design that is supportive of the Township’s rural character while providing an accessible, connected, and attractive public realm.
What changes would you like to see?
The province has an interest in supporting built form which is compact and which promotes development of vibrant, complete, well-designed, communities with a sense of place. However, the province has not provided a clear legislative approach regarding built form and urban design, so there is some flexibility for the Township to consider its own approach for managing built form and design. Some municipalities have sections in their Official Plans dedicated to Urban Design, while others provide requirements for background studies to support development applications.
Do you think that the current policies are sufficiently supporting the rural character of the Township? Are the current policies in Craighurst and Oro Centre sufficient to ensure well-designed built form and high-quality urban design?
Are there any specific design elements that you think should be incorporated into the Official Plan (i.e. sidewalks, street furniture, lighting, landscaping, building facades, lot sizes)?
Should the Township consider new requirements for submission of an Urban Design Brief as part of applications for Official Plan Amendments, Zoning By-law Amendments, Plans of Subdivision/Condominium, and Site Plans?
Should the Township consider identifying and implementing attractive gateway features at Township boundaries along major highways? At the entrances of Settlement Areas?
Please provide any other comments you may have for consideration in the development of new policies.