Report to: Development Services Committee                     Report Date: November 2, 2010



SUBJECT:                         Upper Unionville Community Design Plan

PREPARED BY:              Catherine Jay x2520





1)                  That the Upper Unionville Community Design Plan, dated September 24, 2010, be received and;


2)                  That the Upper Unionville Community Design Plan, dated September 24, 2010, be endorsed subject to the following revisions to the document:

a)         all references to a clock tower be replaced with a Public Art Piece appropriate to the proposed development.

b)        provide a guideline that provides for the “Commercial/Residential” buildings identified near the intersection of 16th Avenue and Kennedy Road to be designed to reflect the ability to have flexible zoning to allow live/work or  commercial uses in the future.

c)         to revise the streetscape plan to reflect the Town's approved tree species list.

d)        to revise the Sustainable Development guidelines to include Council’s interim sustainable guideline requirements, to address specific performance measures such as those contained in the Region of York’s Sustainable Home Incentive Program (S.H.I.P.), and to incorporate Sustainable Measures such as native drought tolerant vegetation, minimum top soil depth, and building design guidelines.

3)                  That the community design plan be used in the evaluation of development applications  within the Upper Unionville Neighbourhood;


4)                  That the community design plan be reflected in the conditions of draft plan approval and subdivision and site plan agreements within the Upper Unionville Neighbourhood as appropriate;


5)                  And that staff be authorized and directed to do all things necessary to give effect to this resolution.





1. Purpose                     2. Background                     3. Discussion                         4. Financial       


5. Others (HR, Strategic, Affected Units)                                   6. Attachment(s)


The purpose of this report is to endorse the Upper Unionville Community Design Plan (attached in Appendix A) and provide recommendations for the implementation of the guidelines.



Upper Unionville is a proposed neighborhood within the Berczy community.  The proposed neighborhood consists of approximately 82.9 hectares of land and completes the Berczy Community.  In August of 1996, the Berczy Village Secondary Plan was approved by the Town.  This Community Design Plan is a supplemental document to the requirements for Draft Plan approval and will be used to implement and develop the plan of subdivision.



Community Structure

The Community Design Plan highlights the heritage and desired character of Upper Unionville while generating a strong and distinct walkable neighbourhood.  The plan promotes a sustainable and healthy community with a desired urban form, street network, edges and gateways, streetscape, open space system, and built form.


Architecture and Site Planning

The proposed architecture for Upper Unionville will be influenced by the traditional styles of the Victorian, Georgian and Queen Anne eras. Architectural Design Guidelines will be prepared as a condition of draft plan approval and will provide a more detailed vision and guidelines related to the architecture.


Streetscape Design

Community character, theme and quality are conveyed through well designed and implemented streetscapes. Specific recommendations are provided for community character building for the streets such as 16th Avenue, Kennedy Road and local and collector roads.  While supporting a pedestrian friendly environment, the streetscape design for this development is envisioned to enhance the overall identity and character.  Various elements to be coordinated within the streetscape include street lights, pedestrian scale lights, street furniture, and street trees. 


Open Space System

The proposed open space system is consistent with the general principles of connectivity, accessibility, and sustainability that are common to the Town of Markham’s Parks, Recreation, Culture and Library Master Plan. The Upper Unionville Community Design Plan provides for parks to be within a 5 minute walk of all residents.


The planned open space for this neighbourhood consists of a neighbourhood park, four parkettes, and two school sites.


Links to the existing Berczy Community will be through streets, sidewalks, and view corridors.   





Sustainable Development

Upper Unionville incorporates planning, development and design measures that work to achieve a realistic and implementable balance of sustainable principles.  The sustainability of this neighbourhood is developed based on:


Pedestrian Connectivity

Community Amenities

Live-Work and neighbourhood commercial uses

Preservation and Enhancement of Heritage Systems

Safe Community

Sustainable Neighbourhood Development Principles


The objective of a sustainable development is to balance environmental, social and economic needs, within a long term integrated approach to achieving healthy communities.  This document provides some guidance for this development to occur over time as a sustainable neighbourhood in the Berczy community.


The “Berczy Village Square” and adjacent future live-work and neighbourhood commercial uses will provide a walkable focal point for the community.  Although these uses are not currently permitted under the Secondary Plan, the area has been identified as a future “special study area” in the Community Design Plan.


Staff has requested that the developers of “Upper Unionville” consider the recommendations of the “Sustainable Home Incentive Program” (S.H.I.P.) developed by the Region of York.  The program is a voluntary “Green Building” incentive program that encourages the construction of sustainable grade related housing and offers Regional servicing allocation incentives.  Markham Council will be required to endorse this program in order for builders or developers to participate.  The sustainable development section of the Community Design Plan will be revised to address specific performance measures such as those contained in S.H.I.P. recommendations. However, implementation would need to occur at the subdivision agreement stage, subject to Town and Regional policies applicable at the time, and agreed upon list of sustainability measures to be implemented by the developer and builder.


A number of innovative stormwater management techniques will be used for this community including a municipally maintained bioswale/greenspace.



Not Applicable at this time



Not Applicable



Growth Management

The Upper Unionville Neighbourhood incorporates links to schools, provides open space, recreation opportunities, and proximity to future commercial and retail opportunities for both employment and services.



This compact, walkable development has connections where residents can walk or cycle within the neighbourhoods to parks, schools, future retail and commercial services.  The continuous street grid provides many pedestrian links to Bur Oak Avenue, 16th Avenue and Kennedy Road for easy access to transit and other forms of active transportation. The inclusion of roundabouts within the street network provides for traffic calming and visual interest.



The Town has committed to develop strategies to maintain healthier and greener communities. Part of this commitment is to include more bike paths, and walking trails.  This development provides for the development of a green pedestrian link and on-street bike paths throughout the community.  As well, a co-coordinated strategy for a sustainable community includes a strong and healthy approach to the overall environment.  As part of the commitment to the environment and in the spirit of the Trees for Tomorrow program, a tree nursery is planned to be developed at the corner of Kennedy Road and 16th Avenue.  The intent is to provide trees for the future development to establish early.  The trees will be used in parks and streetscapes throughout the development. 


Parks, Recreation, Culture and Library Master Plan/Public Safety

Health and wellness are important components of a liveable community.  This development works towards enhancing the community with the addition of parks, open space and a greenway connection.  Upper Unionville will create a well connected community that encourages the use of parks and open spaces. The development provides for a 2-3 minute walk to parkettes and a 5 minute walk to recreation facilities and neighbourhood parks. 



Internal and external departments have been involved throughout the development of this document and will continue to be involved as required.  Planning, Engineering, Transportation and York Region comments have been incorporated into the document.





BY: ________________________                             ________________________

       Ronji Borooah                                                      Jim Baird, M.C.I.P., R.P.P.

       Town Architect                                                    Commissioner of Development Services





Appendix A – Upper Unionville Community Design Plan