Municipality: Vaughan Implementation: 2009-02-01
Policy Name: Sustainable Development Through LEED Program Contact: Tony Iacobelli
Department: Policy Planning Title: Senior Environmental Planner
Focus:
Community profile:

The City of Vaughan is one of Canada’s fastest growing cities.  Located in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Vaughan is 275 square kilometres in area with over 305,000 residents.  The population is expected to grow to 416,600 people and 266,100 jobs by 2031.  

Vaughan includes portions of the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan and Greenbelt Plan areas.  The Humber River and Don River, including their headwaters, are defining environmental features.

More than 9,000 businesses are located in Vaughan.  Manufacturing, construction and wholesale are the largest economic sectors, while small businesses of twenty or less employees account for the majority of business activity in Vaughan.

The Toronto York Spadina Subway Extension project, bringing the subway to Vaughan’s new downtown (Vaughan Metropolitan Centre) is planned for 2015.  York Region has planned $1.2 billion of infrastructure improvements for rapid transit.  Highways 407, 400 and 427 cross through the City.

The value of building permits in 2011 was over $1 billion, with 60% of that in the residential sector.  The number of building permits issued over the last 10 years has ranged from 3,800 to over 8,000 per year.

 

Short Description:

York Region conservation initiative that provides developers of proposed high density residential green buildings the opportunity to earn additional servicing capacity allocation credits.

Background:

This is a sustainable development voluntary incentive program aiming to encourage the construction of more energy and water efficient residential developments throughout York Region; and further reduce water consumption across the Region beyond what is achieved through existing water conservation programs. By offering incentives, in the form of servicing allocation credits, this program encourages the development industry to implement innovative green building practices in their new residential projects.  

In order to implement the Sustainable Development Through LEED program in Vaughan, staff were consulted in bringing forward a Report to Council by the Policy Planning team describing the program operation and staff responsibilities.  A subsequent Report to Council was brought forward by the Commissioners of Engineering & Public Works and Planning to recognize the Sustainable Development Through LEED program in the annual update of the servicing allocation strategy.  

The Sustainable Development through LEED Program helps to implement aspects of Green Direction Vaughan, the City’s Community Sustainability and Environmental Master Plan.

Step by Step Process:

DEVELOPMENT

York Region prepared a staff report to the Planning and Economic Development Committee for March 5, 2008, which was adopted by York Region Council on March 27, 2008.  

City of Vaughan staff from Engineering and Public Works, Building Standards, Development Planning  and Policy Planning commented on the initiative in February 2008.   City of Vaughan and York Region staff organized a workshop on June 26, 2008 on the Sustainable Development Through LEEDTM program.  The workshop was attended by 16 City of Vaughan staff representing four departments (Building Standards, Development Planning, Development/Transportation Engineering and Policy Planning).  While a wide range of items were discussed regarding program implementation, two major issues emerged requiring clarification: 

1) Distributing water allocation credits;

2) Earned servicing allocation credits for residential dwelling units.

It was determined that the issue of water allocation credits could be addressed through servicing capacity according to the City’s current Servicing Capacity Allocation Distribution Protocol.  The issue of impact of earned servicing allocation credits on the development form was clarified. The Program is not intended to result in larger buildings, but allow developments to move forward as anticipated by the Official Plan when full allocation is not currently available.  In order to encourage uptake of the Program, applicants need to be approached early enough in the planning process to identify possible cases of official plan amendments as well as changes to the design of the building(s) to satisfy LEEDTM requirements. 

Two reports were subsequently brought forward to Council.  It was recommended that the City of Vaughan participate in the Sustainable Development Through LEEDTM program in a Report to Council (Item No. 3, Report No. 5, to the Committee of the Whole - Working Session) on February 2nd, 2009.  The Servicing Capacity Allocation Distribution Protocol was amended to incorporate the Region’s Sustainable Development Through LEEDTM program in a Report to Council (Item No. 16, Report No. 18, to the Committee of the Whole - Working Session) on March 31st, 2009.

IMPLEMENTATION

A Procedural Document was prepared as an attachment to the February 2009 Report to Council to provide City staff a guideline to implement the Sustainable Development Through LEEDTM program.  The Procedural Document is based on the implementation flow chart prepared by York Region.

Primary Drivers:

York Region developed the program and provided most of the preparation to implement the program at the local municipal level.

Secondary Drivers:

The Sustainable Development Through LEED Program helps to implement aspects of Green Directions Vaughan, the City’s Community Sustainability and Environmental Master Plan.

 

Enablers:

York Region as the upper-tier municipality.

Champions:

The initiative was directed by the Director of Policy Planning and supported by an Environmental Committee of Council at the time.

Obstacles:

Concern for additional work load is always a challenge in municipal governments with scarce resources.

Opportunities:

The Sustainable Development through LEED Program was used as an opportunity for education among staff about sustainable building.

Outcome:

No development project has taken advantage of the project and there are few private sector developments built to LEED standards in the City of Vaughan.  

Lessons Learned:

It is important to understand the role of incentive programs, which may be more important for education and to showcase projects than for substantial sustainability gains.  Hence, it is important to place the incentive program within a continuum of strategies for green building transformation.

Applicability Across Ontario:

  • use constraints in servicing as a municipal advantage;
  • consider other incentives such as fast-tracking application or fee reductions to achieve similar outcomes.

Similar Tools Used by Other Municipalities:

Sustainable Development Through LEED – Implementation Strategy.  Report No. 3 of the Planning and Economic Development Committee, Regional Council Meeting of March 27, 2008.

Further Information:

http://www.city.vaughan.on.ca/vaughan/council/minutes_agendas/committee_2009/pdf/CW(WS)A0202_3.pdf

http://www.city.vaughan.on.ca/vaughan/council/minutes_agendas/committee_2009/pdf/CWA0331_16.pdf

 

Report to Council (Item No. 3, Report No. 5, to the Committee of the Whole - Working Session), February 2nd, 2009.  

Report to Council (Item No. 16, Report No. 18, to the Committee of the Whole - Working Session), March 31st, 2009.

Policy Document: Allocation Protocol Item 16 Rep 18 April 2009.pdf