What is Envision St. John’s?

    Envision St. John’s is the City’s new Municipal Plan and Development Regulations, designed around 5 key themes: Environmental Systems, Healthy Neighbourhoods, Strong Economy, Urban Design, and Transportation & Infrastructure.

    What forms of residential development will Envision St. John's allow?

    As a way to encourage higher density development, which includes a mix of different forms that are affordable, Envision St. John's encourages the development of tiny homes and pocket neighbourhoods, micro-units, accessory dwelling units, fourplexes and small apartment buildings in multiple zones throughout the city. 

    What changes does Envision St. John's propose for Downtown?

    There will be several new zones for Envision St. John's to address building setbacks and design; light angles are removed; building facade stepbacks are added for upper storeys; additional height is permitted in the west end of downtown; limited additional height may be considered in the east end of downtown; and parking relief is enabled at the discretion of Council. 

    How does Envision St. John's support our aging population?

    Envision St. John's encourages aging in place by including personal care homes in more residential and apartment zones throughout the city.  This use has been removed from the Agricultural and Rural Zones due to limited municipal services (piped water and sewage services) and limited local amenities. Adult day centres have been added to several commercial and institutional zones and are discretionary in most residential and apartment zones. By enabling a mix of residential forms in many zones, Envision St. John's creates more affordable housing choices in most neighbourhoods.      

    What is happening with built heritage and Envision St. John's?

    Heritage regulations are removed from the new Envision Development Regulations and placed in a new Heritage By-Law. The By-Law is under public review and contains similar standards as the current Development Regulations. There will be no gap in heritage protection, as the new By-Law will be adopted on the same date Envision St. John's is approved.

    What have we done with the feedback for Envision St. John's so far?

    The feedback received from initial consultations has been reviewed and, where appropriate, incorporated into the draft Envision St. John's documents. We will consider all submissions leading to the commissioner's public hearing after Council adopts the Envision St. John's documents.    

    What are the next steps for Envision St. John's?

    The approval process for Envision St. John's is:

    1. Adoption-in-principle by Council – March 2019.
    2. Referral to Municipal Affairs for provincial review and release – 2019.
    3. Public review – completed. 
    4. Provincial release – received in late February 2021.
    5. Adoption by Council  – we are here.
    6. Commissioner’s public hearing - to be set.
    7. Approval by Council.
    8. Registration and gazetting, after which the new Plan and Regulations are legally in effect.

    Once the Envision Municipal Plan and Development Regulations are adopted by Council, they will be referred to a public hearing chaired by an independent commissioner, as required by the NL Urban and Rural Planning Act.  There will be an opportunity for additional public engagement leading up to and at the public hearing.

    What has been happening with Envision St. John's since Council adopted it in principle in 2019?

    Council adopted-in-principle Envision St. John's in March 2019, and it was sent to the Province for review and release, as required by the Urban and Rural Planning Act.  Provincial staff responded with a series of questions and comments, and there were meetings, emails and discussions.  The City sent a revised version, which was reviewed.  The provincial release was issued with a series of conditions in late February 2021.  City staff have responded to the conditions.  The versions that have gone to Council have all proposed changes highlighted in the documents, and the attachments explain all the proposed changes.  Now, staff are getting ready for the final phase of approval.

    Why is a commissioner’s public hearing required for Envision St. John's?

    In Newfoundland and Labrador, planning law is set out in the Urban and Rural Planning Act.  Whenever a municipal plan is amended, the Planning Act requires that Council set a public hearing and appoint an independent commissioner.  This will be done for Envision St. John's.

    The commissioner accepts written and verbal comments, leading up to, and at the hearing.  Then the commissioner has 30 days to prepare a report with recommendations.  While Council is not legally bound to accept the recommendations, Council does consider them seriously in its final decision on whether or not to make changes to Envision St. John's before voting on whether to approve it.