What is Parkland Dedication?
As part of the municipal approval process for land development, redevelopment, subdivision, consent and site plan applications, the Planning Act permits municipalities to require developers to either:
- Contribute land to the City of Markham for parks purposes; and/or
- Provide cash-in-lieu of parkland in instances where there may be limited opportunity within a development to provide land for parkland, and instead a sum is paid to the City to be used towards park development elsewhere in Markham.
- Current Parkland Dedication By-law
- Existing Markham By-law 195-90 [PDF] respecting parkland dedication is still in effect.
Effective July 1, 2016, the Planning Act has been amended permitting a lesser maximum amount of parkland dedication when dedicated in the form of "cash-in-lieu". That rate is 1 ha per 500 units.
Parkland Dedication By-law Study
Markham is quickly transitioning from a suburban centre to an urban centre, and the current parkland dedication policies may no longer be supportive of the evolving higher density built form. In November 2011, Markham retained The Planning Partnership to review its existing policies and prepare a new parkland dedication by-law and policy. The consultant has prepared a Final Draft Report (May 2013) and an Addendum (December 2013) based on case study review, consultation with various stakeholder groups including Advisory Committees, Markham staff, Council and BILD.
The purpose of this study is to review the existing Parkland Dedication policies as they relate to the direction currently being developed for Markham’s new Official Plan, and to prepare new policies and a supporting by-law to ensure that the growing population continues to be well served by municipal parkland.
Consultants’ Final Report – Key Recommendations
The Final Report provides a number of recommendations respecting parkland dedication in Markham; some of the key recommendations are highlighted below:
Markham continue its current practice of parkland dedication assessment based on population, rather than number of dwelling units proposed. This approach is unique in the GTA and is considered to be an equitable way of determining parkland dedication, for both the development industry and Markham.
Markham continue its current parkland dedication cap for medium and high density development of 1.2 ha/1000 persons. At higher densities, this calculation results in a reduced contribution of approximately 30% below the Planning Act requirement of 1 ha/300 dwelling units. Detached and semi-detached forms of development should be rated at the Planning Act standard of 1 ha/300 units, with a minimum contribution of 5% of the land area.
Implement a graduated scale of parkland dedication for apartments with a floor space index of 3.0 or greater, within Intensification Areas as identified in the new Draft Official Plan.
Council may consider reductions or exemptions from parkland dedication for certain types of development including public uses, affordable housing, nursing homes, not-for-profit organization developments, and development within Heritage Conservation Districts.
Proposes a new Parkland Classification that reflects the current urban/suburban mix of Markham development.
Council Referral of Matter Back to Staff – June 2013
On June 17, 2013, Council considered recommendations respecting the matter of Parkland Dedication, based on the Staff Report of June 10, 2013. At that Council meeting, Council referred the matter back to Development Services Committee, and requested Staff and the consultant to review an alternative parkland dedication scenario for high-density residential development, and report back to DSC.
Current Status of Study
As its' meeting of March 5, 2014, Markham Council deferred adoption of the Draft Parkland Dedication By-law, pending the Province of Ontario's current review of the Land Use Planning and Appeal System. Currently, a Parks and Open Space Acquisition, Design and Improvement Plan is underway, which includes a further review of Parkland Dedication rates. This study is expected to be completed by Q1 2018, at which time it will be presented to Council for review.
For information on calculation of parkland dedication rates for development of property in Markham, please contact:
Planning & Urban Design Department