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Planning, Property & Development

Development Application Notification Review

Update August 2018 - An administrative report outlining changes to the development application notification process was developed with your input, the cross-jurisdictional scan results, and input from City staff. The administrative report will be reviewed by the Standing Policy Committee on Property and Development, Heritage, and Downtown Development on Tuesday, September 4, 2018. The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. The administrative report and public engagement summary are available in the documents tab.

The Development Application Notification Review is looking at ways to improve public notification of land development so processes are as open and transparent as possible. The review will do this through investigating best practices with advertising, signage, and content and collecting input through public engagement. Land development includes variances, conditional uses, rezoning, and subdividing of land. The public is currently notified of land development through newspaper advertisements and on-site postings, depending on the type.

Notifying the public of land development applications gives residents the opportunity to provide input as part of development processes that shape the future of their communities. Members of Council, the public, and the Public Service recognize the importance of updating our public notification processes to reflect changes in residents' expectations and changes in communications technology.

Go to Public Engagement Projects Listing.

Engage

Update August 2018: A public engagement summary outlining what we learned through public consultation is now available on the ‘Documents’ tab, and will be presented to  the Standing Policy Committee on Property and Development, Heritage, and Downtown Development along with an administrative report on Tuesday, September 4. If you would like to appear as a delegation, please contact City Clerk's.

The administrative report makes recommendations including updating existing notification methods and adding new notification methods to ensure more members of the public are informed about land development applications and the opportunities to participate in the process. The proposed updated notification methods reflect and recognize the different ways to reach the public to ensure residents are aware of the opportunities to provide input in land development applications that shape the future of their communities.

The table below outlines the recommended changes, and the timeline for implementation.

Method

Recommended changes

Steps to completion

Timeline

Website

Centralize and reorganization of existing and new land development information.
Easily accessible information, depending on service needs (resident or applicant).

Coordination and web development

2019

Plain language

Plain language on all notifications with reference to full legal information contained on the website. A plain language reference guide will be developed to ensure consistency and clarity.

Develop plain language guidance in consultation with Legal Services.
Implement plain language on all notification documents (on site signage, postcard, online, emails).

2019

On site signage

Easy-to-understand language and details.
Improved visuals (a sketch and site map).
Information on how residents can give input online or in person.
Please see draft signage for discussion and further input in Appendix C.

Develop an implementation plan for improved on site signage, including policy for when, why, what size, and how on site signage will be used. (Amendment to the Development Procedures By-law)

2020

Mandatory postcard notification

Implement mandatory postcard notification for certain types of development applications. Postcards will be designed in consistency with on site signage.

Develop an implementation plan for postcards, including policy for when, why, and how postcard notification will be used. (Amendment to the Development Procedures By-law)

2020

Online map

Enhance the existing online map to include major applications and other filter functions to help refine searches.

Complete testing of major applications in AMANDA software.

2019

Online listing

Create online development application list. The listing provides a mechanism to communicate with Council and the public when a development application has been submitted to the City.
Once the application is finalized, files are uploaded to the listing so the public can access application information.

Complete testing of major applications in AMANDA software.
Develop listing using open data.
Link list to online map.

2019

Email notification

Implement email notification “sign-up” for land development applications based on type and geographic location.

Complete testing of major applications in AMANDA software.
Develop email sign up mechanism.
Test email notification.
Promote sign up.

2019

Social media

Posting notices of major applications to the City’s social media feeds.

Develop policy for when, why, and how social media will be used.

2019

Engagement

Stakeholders in land development such as residents groups, developers, and community members have expressed an interest in a predictable and consistent process, and this review will make recommendations to work towards that goal.

We have heard from you in response to land development and other processes (such as the Residential Infill Strategy and the OurWinnipeg Review) that the land development application notification process requires improvements.

What is on the table for input? What is not on the table for input?

Notification of land development applications:

  • On-site Postings (like this)
  • Notification through social media, in the mail, email, newspapers
  • Online information

Guidelines for notification/engagement and participating in processes:

  • Updating existing guidelines (like this)
  • Creating new guidelines and information
  • Public engagement guidelines
  • Land development applications (the Public Service was directed to look at the notification  process, rather than applications)
  • The City of Winnipeg Charter Act (this is Provincially controlled)
  • The Planning Act (this is Provincially controlled)

In May 2018, stakeholders from residents groups and land developers were invited to a workshop to discuss notification for land development applications. This workshop provided an opportunity for different stakeholders with different perspectives to discuss their common values and areas for improvement and provided valuable input for the review.

Thank you to the stakeholders who participated in our workshop and to the over 300 participants who completed the online survey. We are currently analyzing the input we received to prepare recommendations for Council review.

For inquiries, please call 204-986-4243 or email .

If you would like to stay updated on City of Winnipeg public engagement events, follow the City on Facebook and Twitter, or sign up for the City of Winnipeg public engagement newsletter.

Project Timeline

Timeline

Timeline

Background

Land Development
Land development can take many forms. It could be the conversion of a greenfield or infill land into construction-ready housing, multi-family development, a commercial project, or an industrial building site. Sometimes, developers and builders seek to modify their zoning rights on the land or to change their zoning districts to build their proposed project.

The most common land development applications include:

  • Conditional Use: Application for a permit to allow the property owner use of his land in a way not otherwise permitted within the particular zoning district.
  • Rezoning: Application to change a zoning designation and regulations on a parcel of land.
  • Subdivision: Application to divide a lot, tract, or parcel of land into two or more lots, plots, sites, or other divisions of land for the purpose of creating new titles.
  • Variance: Application to request to modify those Zoning By-law standards as applied to a specific property.

Current approach to Public Engagement

  • Informal: Developer-led public engagement (usually an open house)
  • Formal: Public hearing

The type of informal public engagement carried out for a land development application is up to the discretion of the applicant. An open house allows the developer to inform citizens regarding the details of a project before a public hearing.

Where a developer led public engagement occurred, applicants are asked to provide a summary of the public engagement when submitting a formal application, including:

  • Number of people consulted as well as their addresses;
  • Copies of all letters and other written communications received;
  • If an event is held: a list of attendees, including names, addresses and phone numbers (where provided voluntarily);
  • If an event is held: how people were notified of the event (i.e. newspaper advertisement, flyer in mailbox, etc.);
  • A letter of response outlining how all the concerns and issues raised by the public were addressed.

Public hearings are a required part of the process for some types of applications. In those cases the applicant is required to pay fees for newspaper advertisements and signs on the site to inform the neighbourhood about the application and the upcoming public hearing.

Learn more about the public hearing process.
Learn more about Subdivisions, Rezonings and the Development Application Process.

Land use policies and development requirements are set out in a number of policy documents such as the City's development plan OurWinnipeg, Complete Communities and Local Area Plans that establish a vision and provide policy direction to guide how our city grows and develops over time. Zoning By-laws are regulatory tools that help implement these policy documents and contain specific provisions to regulate the use of land and dimensional regulations. The City of Winnipeg Charter Act is the provincial legislation that ensures all plans and decisions are aligned with the City's adopted plans, By-laws and policies.

Initiative
On December 5, 2016, the Standing Policy Committee on Property and Development, Heritage and Downtown Development (SPC) passed a motion directing the Winnipeg Public Service to do the following:

  1. A cross jurisdictional analysis in the view of finding best practices for the public posting and advertisement of development applications, specifically with a view to improving the quality, attractiveness & accessibility of on-site signage, media advertising, including but not limited to such features as visual representations of the proposed development, plain language description, and appropriate City of Winnipeg and Corporate branding.
  2. How the Planning, Property and Development Department, in collaboration with the Office of Public Engagement, can expand their required advertising toolkit to include social media, improve website advertisement of development applications and consider mandatory notification of development applications.
  3. A review of the public hearing process with respect to all communication once a public hearing has concluded, by all stakeholders, including what role the Integrity Commissioner will have on these matters.
  4. If and how any information with respect to public hearings can be made public prior to the 96 hour agenda publication requirement.
  5. A way to communicate with Council and the public when a development application has been submitted to the City.

Following the motion, the Public Service has been working on a cross jurisdictional scan to determine how other Canadian municipalities have updated their public notification processes associated with land development applications. Best practices from other jurisdictions include a broad range of notification tools and approaches to reach the public. The goal of these changes is to better inform residents about the public hearing process and how they can get more engaged in participating in a process that helps them shape the future of their communities.

Following the cross-jurisdictional scan, the project will also look more closely at improving the advertising toolkit to include social media, improve website advertisement of development applications and consider mandatory notification of development applications. Prioritization of improving the toolkit will be done through engagement with internal and external stakeholders and the public.

Documents

Document Name Date Type
Administrative Report 08-29-2018 Report
Public Engagement Summary 08-28-2018 Report
News Release 05-28-2018 News Release
Standing Policy Committee Minutes 12-05-2016 Minutes

Frequently Asked Questions

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Why is the City looking into public notification land development applications?

On December 5, 2016, the Standing Policy Committee on Property and Development, Heritage and Downtown Development (SPC) passed a motion directing the Public Service to conduct a scan of best practices with public notification of land development applications. The City would like to hear from residents about how the City of Winnipeg can improve how it communicates to residents regarding land development applications.

Date added: May 2018

Is this project going to influence the public hearing process?

This project will help improve how the City communicates to residents about opportunities to become involved in land development applications that require a public hearing.

Date added: May 2018

Is land development signage going to change as a result of this project?

Improvements to signage associated with land development applications is included in the recommended changes to improve notification.

Date added: May 2018

How can I get involved?

Public involvement in this project included on online survey. Over 300 participants provided input on notification that was considered as part of recommended improvements.

Date added: May 2018

How much is this project going to cost?

Cost estimates will be considered as part of the recommended changes and the new Development Procedures By-law that will be brought to Council for consideration under a separate report.

Date added: May 2018

Glossary of Terms of Terms

A Land Development Application is made to the City to change the regulations for how a particular area of land can be used or developed and may include one, or any combination of, a rezoning application, a conditional use application or a variance application.  The change is usually initiated by the property owner or a developer.

A Conditional Use is when a property owner is given permission to use land in a way not otherwise permitted within the particular zoning district.

A Variance is a modification of Zoning By-law standards as applied to a specific property.

A Subdivision is the process where a parcel of land is divided into two or more parcels in order to obtain separate legal titles for each parcel.

Rezoning is the process of changing the zone that applies to a specific area of land and requires approval through a City Council Public Hearing. Rezoning is required if you wish to develop your site in a manner that is not allowed by a Zoning By-law.

An Appeal is the review of a decision by a higher decision-making body.

Last update: August 30, 2018