• Due to a Provincial review, Stouffville postponed the adoption of its Draft New Official Plan late last October.
  • Official Plans dictate how land can be used in a municipality or region, guiding future development and growth.
  • Provincial changes resulted in Stouffville’s remaining Whitebelt lands being added to the Town’s urban boundaries; however, a number of requested employment land additions and desired use of some protected agricultural lands for public service facilities were not accommodated.
  • The map above, which shows the results of their review, can be found here.
  • Stouffville’s Third Draft New Official Plan, which we covered last year, is expected to see other minor changes prior to Council adoption on May 1.
  • One likely adjustment pertains to maximum building heights along Main Street between Ninth Line and Sandiford, which is expected to be reduced from 20 to 12 storeys.


Land use planning is layered, with different aspects of what’s permissible determined by the Provincial, Regional, and Stouffville governments. Stouffville’s Official Plan (OP) guides the location of new housing and employment centres, as well as the types of development permitted throughout the municipality. It is required to fall in line with Provincial and Regional planning policies.

While the Town was prepared to adopt its key planning document last year, Ontario’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing initiated a review of York Region’s Official Plan (YROP). As changes to the YROP would likely impact local planning in Stouffville, the Town postponed adoption of its own OP to ensure compliance with the final YROP. During the review process, Stouffville was granted an opportunity to provide input into potential alterations being made by the Province.

With Ontario’s review complete and legislation being passed finalizing YROP changes, Council was provided with a report at their meeting on March 20, 2024 detailing decisions made by the Province.

As desired by the Town, Whitebelt lands along the municipality’s southern border will be added to Stouffville’s Settlement Area to help meet growth into 2051. The Town also wished for a small portion of western Whitebelt lands to be designated as an Employment Area instead of a Community Area; however, the Province did not accommodate the request.

The long-sought South Gormley Employment Area and future strategic employment lands along Highway 404, which would require controversial Provincial rezoning of protected Greenbelt and Oak Ridges Moraine (ORM) lands, were also not approved by the Province. This is just the latest related refusal from the Ontario government, again frustrating a municipality eager to facilitate greater employment within its borders.

“The designation of additional employment lands in the Town has and will continue to be critical to support forecasted population and housing growth, foster the development of complete communities, and achieve a more balanced tax assessment,” the Staff report explains.

While no new Stouffville employment lands were included within the YROP, Staff noted that some employment uses could still be created in the newly added Community Areas through future planning processes at the municipal level.

Finally, a last-minute addendum seeking the use of some prime agricultural land within the ORM for public service facilities in the area of Stouffville’s MZO parcels was also rejected. Staff have committed to continuing their pursuit of such permissions through an upcoming Provincial review of the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan.

Staff do not expect further Provincial changes to the YROP and are now planning on presenting Stouffville’s Final Draft New Official Plan to Council at their May 1, 2024, meeting. They noted that “some relatively minor modifications” will be included in their final version.

During Mayor Iain Lovatt’s recent Town Hall events, he has noted a likely reduction in maximum building heights along Main Street, specifically between Sandiford and Ninth Line. The Western Approach lands were slotted for a maximum height of 20 storeys but may be lowered to 12 storeys.

Further information and maps regarding Stouffville’s 3rd Draft New Official Plan can be found in our earlier piece, and additional modifications will be highlighted in a Staff report prior to Council adoption.