The Policy Plan states long-term goals, principles, and policies for achieving Ontario’s Vision. It guides growth and development to achieve optimum results from the City’s physical, economic, environmental, and human resources. The Policy Plan serves as the City’s General Plan, which is mandated by state law. General Plans are required to include eight topics (Land Use, Housing, Circulation, Noise, Safety, Open Space and Conservation, and Environmental Justice). The organization of these eight topics, and any optional topics, are determined by the local jurisdiction. The General Plan is required to be comprehensive in nature and internally consistent.
Ontario’s General Plan is made up of nine elements: Land Use, Housing, Mobility, Safety (including Noise), Environmental Resources (including Conservation), Parks and Recreation (including Open Space), Community Economics, Community Design, and Social Resources. Environmental Justice is woven throughout the Policy Plan (see reference document below).
While State law requires Housing and Safety Elements to be updated every eight years, the State Office of Planning and Research recommends that local jurisdictions comprehensively update their General Plan every 10-15 years. Ontario’s last comprehensive General Plan update was adopted in 2010. The Housing Element was updated in 2022.
In addition to acting as to the City’s General Plan, The Policy Plan incorporates the goals and policies necessary for the City to achieve its full Vision beyond what state law mandates.
The Policy Plan is intended to be a long-term policy document. It includes abiding principles for each element, goals (what we want to achieve) and policies (how we accomplish these goals). The short-term actions needed to implement the Policy Plan are housed in a separate Implementation Plan. The portion of the Implementation Plan related to Housing, Environmental Justice, and Safety Element regulations are part of the Policy Plan as required by state law; all other portions of the Implementation Plan are not and do not require an amendment to the Policy Plan to be updated.
The Policy Plan:
- Takes a fresh look at the changing circumstances within the City and the region since the previous Policy Plan was adopted.
- Establishes a strong, yet flexible policy base that moves the City towards its Vision.
- Incorporates the current City Council Priorities (goals and objectives) into this policy document which will help guide future Council efforts when the plan is updated or revised.
- Complies with State requirements for local general plans.
- Imbeds the City’s governance approach into how it operates and makes decisions.