Watch the videos on this page to learn about how our community grows through planning and development.

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On this page:

  1. Introduction to planning and development
  2. Our vision for Kitchener
  3. Planning tools
  4. Roles and responsibilities
  5. Zoning bylaws and minor variances
  6. Site plan review
  7. Tiny homes
  8. Tall buildings
  9. Infill and redevelopment
  10. Cultural heritage
  11. Planning 101: introduction to city planning presentation

Introduction to planning and development

This introduction shows how your community is shaped, now and in the future. It gives an overview of the topics covered throughout our video explainer series.

Our vision for Kitchener

Kitchener is growing fast. We plan to use the opportunities created by this growth to make a great city. We’re building vibrant communities, fostering new experiences and creating a more compelling and dynamic city. The vision for land use and growth is set out in our Official Plan, a policy document that lays out the roadmap for how Kitchener will grow 20 years into the future.

Planning tools

There’s a lot to consider before shovels go into the ground. In this video, we explain the planning tools used in our planning process. Learn about how we plan for growth across Kitchener and in specific neighbourhoods that have unique considerations.

Roles and responsibilities

When a property owner wants to develop a new residential, commercial or industrial use for their land, they begin a process of working with our staff to help them understand the community’s vision for that property and how to best align their goals with that vision. Learn about the roles and responsibilities of a variety of stakeholders to get projects off the ground.

Zoning bylaws and minor variances

If you think of city planning as a puzzle for a complete community, you can imagine how many pieces there could be. Zoning bylaws are pieces of that puzzle. If the Official Plan is the finished puzzle, the vision for how Kitchener will grow and zoning bylaws are pieces of the puzzle that get us to the vision. If a property owner wants to change the zoning on their property, they can request a zoning bylaw amendment or a minor variance.

Site plan review

Site plan review is a process that looks at the design of a proposed development to make sure that city, regional and provincial guidelines are met prior to approval. It relies on experts to ensure that the final project is designed well and reflects our vision for the community.

Tiny homes

Thriving cities need a variety of housing options to meet the current and future needs of all residents. That’s where tiny homes come in! They’re the newest kind of dwelling to enter Kitchener’s mix of housing types, creating new opportunities in our established neighbourhoods.

Tall buildings

Kitchener is growing up. New tall buildings are being built in and around the downtown, near ION stations, along major roads and other strategic areas. These new buildings help us meet our growth targets while protecting our farmland from urban sprawl. It encourages public transit use and efficiently makes use of our existing infrastructure.

Infill and redevelopment

Two of the ways that Kitchener can grow are through infill projects and redevelopment. Infill is the process of developing vacant or underused lands in an existing urban neighbourhood. It can result in a greater mix of housing options, or new commercial properties. Redevelopment occurs when an existing building is converted or expanded into another use – offering housing or business opportunities that reflect the changing needs of the surrounding neighbourhood.

Cultural heritage

Good city planning involves honouring the old while welcoming the new. A building, piece of land or neighbourhood can be historically significant for a variety of reasons. It’s possible for these places to change somewhat while retaining a sense of place and history. We work to strike this balance – conserving our heritage while meeting the needs of a growing community.

Planning 101: introduction to city planning presentation

If you want to learn more about city planning, watch this staff-guided presentation and question and answer session. In this video, staff go over our three main planning processes:

  • zoning bylaw amendments
  • site plan applications
  • minor variance applications

This presentation was recorded live in late 2020.