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Neighbourhood Character Study


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

The Municipality of Clarington is conducting a Neighbourhood Character Study in Bowmanville. The study is being done to better understand how the character of established residential neighbourhood areas may be affected by development and redevelopment. As Clarington continues to grow, 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.

Tell us which neighbourhood characteristics you value. Take our three-question survey today. Survey closes May 31, 2019.

Take Survey

The Neighbourhood Character Study will focus 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 is in effect until September 17, 2019. If required, the Municipality can extend the interim control by-law for up to one year.

Project timeline

Neighbourhood Character Study Timeline

Project information

 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.

Coming events

Self-Guided Walking Tour – May 11 to 31, 2019
Follow the route of one, two, or all three of the study area walking tours (PDF) and complete this short three-question survey to tell us what neighbourhood characteristics you value. Survey closes May 31, 2019.

Public Workshop - May 30, 6:30 to 9 p.m.
Bowmanville Older Adult Centre - 26 Beech Avenue, Bowmanville 

Join us for an interactive workshop to obtain information on the project, including preliminary findings to date, and further explore what character elements and qualities of the study area are important to residents. Identify key issues of development and redevelopment that are a cause of concern.

View poster for more details. RSVP to or 905-623-3379 ext. 2404. Limited space available.  

Open House - (Date, time and location TBD)
The project team will be hosting a public open house in the latter stages of the study. This open house will inform the public of the study’s findings and recommendations, and will give the public an opportunity to discuss the study with project team members before a final recommendation is made to Council.

If you plan to attend a public event and have accessibility needs, contact the Accessibility Coordinator one week before the event date at 905-623-3379 ext. 2131 or

Past events

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.

Walking tour poster (PDF).
Walking tour handout (PDF).
Walking tour panels (PDF).

Feedback survey (closes May 31, 2019).


Stay informed

Send us questions or comments on the Neighbourhood Character Study.

Subscribe to this page using the button below to be added to the Neighbourhood Character Study and Interim Control By-law 2018-083 interested parties list and to receive more information as the study progresses and notifications of upcoming events.

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