City of Waterloo Council Summary June 24, 2024

Posted On Monday June 24, 2024

** The council summary below provides a snapshot of the major items presented at Monday’s council meeting. The council meeting webcast is available on the City of Waterloo YouTube page. Please refer to the minutes for an official record of the meeting.

Waterloo’s Official Plan review is an opportunity for residents to learn about and provide feedback on the future of land use planning in the city

The City of Waterloo’s Official Plan guides land use decision-making, providing city-wide direction on growth management, land use planning, and development related matters over the next 20 to 30 years. The Official Plan provides direction through land use and planning policy to achieve the City’s intended vison for growth and community, and must be reviewed and updated every 10 years. Staff shared several draft Official Plan policy updates with Council for information before the public consultation stage of the review begins.

The current Official Plan Review has been focused on three priority areas:

  • Facilitating Housing and Refining Urban Form, including a review of height and density policies, and updating policies to allow for Inclusionary Zoning.
  • Encouraging Compact and Complete Communities, including expanding the definition of Complete Communities to include 15-minute neighbourhoods (finding essential amenities and services within a short walk from home) and enhancing policies to encourage mixed-use, good urban design, and protection of the countryside line.
  • Streamlining and Clarifying Policies, including updating policy language and references, and merging or deleting unnecessary policy sections.

A version of Waterloo’s Official Plan (with all draft policy updates and modifications) is posted online for review at As a next step, staff will host a series of opportunities for the public to learn more about how the Official Plan impacts land use planning in neighbourhoods across the city, as they discuss the draft updates and solicit feedback.

Proposed initiative to bring more missing middle housing to Sugarbush South

City of Waterloo staff presented the Corridor Expansion Study and Plan initiative, to encourage missing middle housing options (such as stacked townhouses and mid-rise apartment buildings of four to eight storeys) in the Sugarbush South neighbourhood.  

City rental licence data indicates that approximately 65 per cent of the properties in the Sugarbush South neighbourhood currently have an active and/or pending rental licence. This area, north of Columbia Street West, between Albert Street and Spruce Street, is providing an important supply of rental units to the community, and is similar to the makeup of the Northdale neighbourhood before the 2012 Northdale Land Use Study Plan. The goal is a comprehensive plan to shape and manage growth in Sugarbush South with a focus on missing middle housing (four to eight storeys) similar to the interior of Northdale.

As next steps, staff will consult specifically with the Sugarbush South neighbourhood to inform residents of the proposed planning framework and gather feedback. A map of the Sugarbush South area and more information can be found at

The City of Waterloo has been awarded $22 million in funding from the federal government’s Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF) to address housing affordability and supply, and this project is the third initiative in the City of Waterloo’s HAF Action Plan.

Affordable housing to be required in new developments near ION transit stops

City of Waterloo Council approved Official Plan and Zoning By-law amendments to introduce inclusionary zoning within major transit station areas. This will require new private developments along the ION route to include affordable rental housing units, and contribute to complete, vibrant mixed income communities near rapid transit stops.

Inclusionary Zoning is a planning tool that requires a certain percentage of affordable housing units in new private developments. It is the only tool available that allows the City to require affordable housing in private development, rather than just incentivizing it. Inclusionary zoning captures some of the increased value from high density development and directs it towards affordable housing. Kitchener, Cambridge, Waterloo and Regional staff have developed a consistent approach to inclusionary zoning implementation that reflects market differences across the region.

Residential and mixed-use developments of 50 or more units in the transit station areas will need to set aside 0-2% of the gross residential floor area for affordable units starting in 2025, increasing to 5% by 2031 or before. Rents in these units will be regulated for 25 years, with a longer duration possible if they transition to non-profit or co-operative ownership. The program is expected to create a small but growing number of affordable rental units per year, estimated to increase to approximately 37 affordable rental units per year in the City of Waterloo by 2031, (of approximately 144 units region-wide).

City staff will monitor local market conditions and engage with the community and the development industry, reporting back to Council regularly with recommendations on whether Inclusionary Zoning requirements should continue to be advanced or modified.

Council extends the Property Tax Exemption Program for Affordable Housing

Council voted unanimously to support the Property Tax Exemption Program for Affordable Housing passed by the Region of Waterloo, extending it to also provide an exemption on the City of Waterloo portion of property taxes.

In March 2024, the Region of Waterloo created a Property Tax Exemption for Affordable Housing Program. The program exempts affordable housing providers that meet the guidelines of the program from regional and educational property taxes. Eligible participants will also be exempt from the City of Waterloo lower tier portion of property taxes, encouraging the development and preservation of affordable housing.



Media contact:

Cari Van Niekerk
Director, Corporate Communications