Town’s Official Plan provides direction for managing growth

The Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville initiated its Official Plan Review back in mid-2019 and last month was released for public comment.

The purpose of the Official Plan: Re- Imagine Stouffville is to provide direction and a policy framework for managing growth, land use, infrastructure decisions, and the effects on the social, economic, and natural environment within the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville through to the year 2051.

Since the launch of the review, extensive consultation with the public and stakeholders has been undertaken, which has resulted in a new vision and guiding principles to give direction to the new Official Plan.

“The public engagement aspect of the Official Plan process, to me, is the most critical component,” Mayor Iain Lovatt said. “Understanding what residents and local user groups want to see for the future vision of Stouffville is of paramount importance for Council and Staff as we work to realize this shared vision.”

The Official Plan Review process is being informed by a number of studies which provide targeted direction for specific policy areas, including: Housing Strategy, Commercial Policy Study, Main Street Urban Design Guidelines, Natural Heritage Resources Study, Highway 48 Study, Heritage Conservation District Study and the Lincolnville (Now Old Elm) Land Use Study.

The new Official Plan, once complete, will

  • balance the urban potential for development and intensification with the rural/agricultural and environmental features of the community;
  • reflect the optimization of existing infrastructure and services with the needs of the community for new amenities and facilities;
  • work towards creating more opportunities for jobs by attracting a diverse labour force and creating more retail closer to home for our residents;
  • focus on providing more opportunities for active engagement outdoors;
  • give direction related to climate change, sustainability and

Whitchurch-Stouffville’s population base is forecast to steadily increase between 2021 and 2051, consistent with broader York Region growth trends. By 2051, the town’s draft population base is forecast to grow to approximately 91,600, an increase of approximately 40,200 persons between 2021 and 2051.

Based on this expected growth, a strategic approach to growth management aligning land use, financial sustainability, infrastructure, and phasing has been integrated into this Official Plan to sustainably manage this magnitude of growth.

In addition to these draft growth projections prepared by York Region, the local employment base is also expected to increase, reaching 34,900 jobs by 2051.

“This is a time of great promise, and great opportunity for Stouffville,” Lovatt said. “We are growing, and our new official plan will reflect how and where we will grow as well as layout the tremendous opportunity to invest in Stouffville. With growth in population we will also attract more urban amenities but I firmly believe that we will remain a community where our small town charm shines and strangers quickly become friends.”

Town staff will continue to revise the draft Official Plan based on the remaining studies that are wrapping up and comments received from the public, stakeholders, and agencies. A revised draft is targeted to go forward to council for adoption this fall.

 

Photo: “Understanding what residents and local user groups want to see for the future vision of Stouffville is of paramount importance for Council and Staff as we work to realize this shared vision,” says Mayor Iain Lovatt.

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