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Neighbourhood Character Study

Amendment to the Official Plan and Zoning By-Law to implement the Neighbourhood Character Study – Approved July 6, 2020

On July 6, Council approved the proposed amendments to Clarington's Official Plan and Zoning By-84-63 in order to implement the Bowmanville Neighbourhood Character Study and to repeal Interim Control By-law 2018-083 once the implementing Zoning By-law amendment comes into effect.

Project Background

The Municipality of Clarington completed a Neighbourhood Character Study in Bowmanville in December 2019, with planning consultant MHBC. The study was conducted to better understand how the character of established residential neighbourhood areas may be affected by development and redevelopment. Clarington continues to grow, and it is important to consider whether changes to the Municipality’s zoning by-laws are needed to balance new development and intensification within existing neighbourhoods. 

The Neighbourhood Character Study is focused on three established residential areas in Bowmanville, while providing direction on development in other established areas within Clarington.

Neighbourhood Character Study Areas

To ensure that incompatible development does not move ahead before the completion of the study, Clarington Council passed Interim Control By-law 2018-083 to temporarily restrict development in these three neighbourhood areas while the study is being carried out. Interim Control By-law 2018-083 was amended through By-law 2019-054 to be extended for one additional year. The Interim Control By-law is now in effect until September 16, 2020.

Project timeline

Neighbourhood Character Study Timeline

Frequently Asked Questions

 What is a neighbourhood character study?
A neighbourhood character study is a study conducted by municipalities to assess the character of a neighbourhood and support the management of issues associated with development and redevelopment in the area. The goal of a neighbourhood character study is to develop a policy and regulation framework that will guide future growth and compatible development in the area.
 What is neighbourhood character?
Put simply, the “look and feel” of a neighbourhood can be referred to as its character. When you walk through a neighbourhood, the features you observe around you are generally comprised of built and natural elements which can include:
  • lot patterns and size
  • height, scale, massing and setbacks of buildings
  • use of yards
  • orientation of building entrances
  • age and materials of buildings
  • type and location of parking
  • landscapes
  • street network, sidewalks and trails
  • special features such as parks, community facilities and natural features
The combination of these elements make up a neighbourhood’s character.
Why is the Neighbourhood Character Study focusing on these specific areas in Bowmanville?

This Neighbourhood Character Study is needed to address concerns with redevelopment that have been raised by the community. These include new lots, new dwellings and additions to existing dwellings that are not compatible with the existing character of these neighbourhood areas.

The lands within these study areas are mainly zoned “Urban Residential Type One (R1)” and the existing zoning permits both single-detached dwellings and semi-detached dwellings, among other uses. The current regulations do not account for the character of the existing neighbourhoods when dealing with heights, setbacks, massing, attached garages and lot coverage. It is important to ensure the character of new development is compatible with the character of existing development.

What is an interim control by-law?
An interim control by-law is a common planning tool used by municipalities across Ontario to temporarily restrict development and re-development within a given area. Restricting development allows municipalities to review their policies and regulations for the area without it changing during studies. The Interim Control By-law can be put in place for up to one year, and may only be extended for up to a maximum of one additional year.
Can I still develop while the study is underway and the Interim Control By-law is in place?

Certain types of development will be permitted while the Interim Control By-law is in place. The Interim Control By-law includes a number of exemptions for buildings and structures that would not likely contribute to the issues affecting neighbourhood character, or to acknowledge recent approvals that have been granted.

If you want to develop something that does not fall within the list of exemptions in Interim Control By-law 2018-083, please contact the Planning Services Department to discuss your plans. It may be possible to apply for a minor variance if your project is close to meeting the regulations contained in the Interim Control By-law. To support the minor variance application, a character analysis for your project may be required.

Past public events

 Statutory Public Meeting - January 13, 2020
On January 13, 2020, the Statutory Public Meeting was held in Council Chambers where MHBC presented the findings of the Study and Clarington Planning Staff presented the draft Zoning By-law and Official Plan Amendments based on the Study. During the meeting, members of the public had an opportunity to share their feedback on the proposed amendments with Council. Written comments were also received prior to and following the Public Meeting.
 Public Workshop #2 - September 12, 2019
Study area residents and other interested community members received an update on the project and the results of early feedback on valued community character elements. This interactive and highly visual workshop gathered input on the potential zoning by-law changes being considered to guide future growth and compatible development in these established neighbourhood areas, as well as other options that may be available. The comments gathered at the workshop will inform the final recommendations of the Neighbourhood Character Study.
Self-Guided Walking Tour – May 11 to 31, 2019
Residents were encouraged to follow the routes of the study areas following the Self-Guided Walking Tour Maps (PDF) and provided feedback based on their observations.
Online Survey - May 11 to May 31, 2019
We provided the public with an opportunity to tell us what they value about the character of their neighbourhoods through an online survey from May 11 to May 31, 2019. The survey received close to 100 individual responses.
Public Workshop #1 - May 30, 2019

At this interactive workshop, study area residents and other interested community members learned more about the process of planning with neighbourhood character in mind, heard early project findings, and further explored what character elements and qualities of the study area are important to residents.

Walking Tours - May 11, 2019

A total of 50 participants took part in three different walking tours held throughout the neighbourhoods to help us better understand the study area character and qualities that are important to residents.

Project Information

 Interim Control By-Law
 Neighbourhood Character Study


Tracey Webster
Senior Planner, Development Review
T 905-623-3379 ext. 2415
Email Tracey Webster

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