Density Bonusing (Bonus Zoning) under Section 37 of Ontario’s Planning Act is a tool to exchange additional height and/or density in a development in return for community benefits such as affordable housing, public art, parkland development, or active transportation.
Density Bonusing enables the City to negotiate contributions towards community benefits for development applications that exceed a site’s zoned height and density. Unlike other municipal financing tools such as Development Charges and Parkland Contributions, Density Bonusing benefits are provided primarily in the local community within which the development is located. Density Bonusing also provides greater flexibility and precision than other tools, allowing secured benefits to be direct, tangible, and responsive to local community needs.
Brampton will pursue density bonusing until the earlier of September 18, 2022 or the establishment of a Community Benefits Charges By-law (as per the updated Section 37 of the Planning Act.)
Brampton's Density Bonusing Principles
One: The development must represent good planning.
- Amenities/features that are required in a development application are not considered to be eligible Density Bonusing community benefits, and should be provided by the developer anyways
- The City should not approve inappropriately high density or height increases for developments simply to get community benefits and any owner/developer should not obtain inappropriately high density or height increases by offering community benefits
Two: There should be a reasonable planning relationship between the secured community benefits and the contributing development.
- Location Priority: As Section 37 Density Bonusing is intended to address the needs created by growth, the Planning Act requires benefits to have a reasonable geographic relationship with a proposed development. Brampton will prioritise:
- In-kind contribution: On-site or in the vicinity of the site
- Cash contribution: May be used for City-wide capital projects
- Benefit Priority: To align with Housing Brampton, housing has been established as a priority by Council and City staff. Other benefits can be streetscape and park improvements, public art, etc.
- In-kind contribution: Affordable ownership and rental housing units
- Cash contribution: Housing Catalyst Capital Project
The following steps will generally be followed in the development review phase. At times, the City may initiate discussions on Density Bonusing after the Statutory Public Meeting phase.
- Statutory Public Meeting for the Zoning By-law Amendment Application
Information Report: Facts of the application presented including eligibility for S.37 Density Bonusing
- Technical Review
Will include an initial scan of identified benefits and any public input on local S.37 Density Bonusing benefits
- Real Estate Review of an Appraisal Report and valuation of uplift
- Development and Policy Planning will meet with Ward Councillors to discuss community benefits, followed by negotiations with the applicant
- Preparation of Draft Zoning By-Law
Will include wording on S.37 Density Bonusing against the regulations for height and/or density
- Recommendation Report at Planning & Development Committee
Will include a complete analysis and rationale supporting the recommendation; and a General range of benefits negotiated will be presented for Council approval
- Option of cash contribution payment
Prior to execution of Zoning By-law to avoid a S.37 agreement
- Execution of Zoning By-law at City Council meeting
- Execution of S.37 Agreement and Registration on title
Will detail exact S.37 Density Bonusing community benefits including any cash contribution commitments not already paid
- Completion of Requirements as per the S.37 Agreement
The City plans to pursue density bonusing
for all rezoning applications that propose an increase in density and/or heights
from the existing zoning permissions that are deemed complete applications after October 20, 2021. The applications will be those that
propose mid-high density residential developments (townhouses, apartments) across Brampton.
Applications proposing the development of affordable housing, seniors housing, supportive housing, emergency shelters, or purpose-built rental developments will be exempt from density bonusing.
Requests for increases in the height and/or density of development may be considered by Council in the context of rezoning applications and will be subject to compliance with the planning principles listed above. Once the City deems the proposed increase in building height and/or density to be acceptable, the provision of certain community benefits will be negotiated.
The City will secure community benefits in the
range of 20-60% of the uplift value resulting from an increase in height
and/or density. The owner/developer will retain the services of an appraiser,
from a City approved List of Preferred Appraisers, to determine the uplift value, based
on the City’s Terms of Reference for an Appraisal Report. The Appraisal Report will be reviewed by the City's Realty staff for a fee.
Planning staff will lead negotiations with owners/developers regarding the nature of Section 37 community benefits. Planning staff will also coordinate input from other departments on the appropriate provision and costing of community benefits. The Ward Councillors will be consulted by staff between the time of the Public Meeting and the preparation of the Recommendation Report to the Planning & Development Committee.
Following the enactment of the Zoning By-law Amendment, the owner/developer will execute the Section 37 Agreement securing the community benefits. In case a cash contribution is negotiated and deposited in full into a Section 37 Reserve in advance of the execution of the Zoning By-law Amendment, there may not be a need to execute a separate Section 37 Agreement.
Process Chart Final Version
Terms of Reference for Appraisal Report
List of Preferred Appraisers
Implementation of Density Bonusing: Recommendation Report (Oct 2021)
Implementation of Density Bonusing: Presentation (Oct 2021)
Council Workshop Presentation (June 2021)
Housing Brampton (Recommendation Report, May 2021)