An Official Plan is a blueprint for tomorrow that directs long term growth and development within a municipality. It outlines the goals, objectives and policies to manage that growth, including the social, economic, built and natural environment priorities of the Town of Aurora.

The Town's current Official Plan was approved in September 2010.

See the Town of Aurora Official Plan

The Province requires that a municipality’s Official Plan be updated every 5 years to conform to current provincial policies. Regular updating of the Plan ensures that the guidelines, objectives, and vision for Town planning stays responsive to current issues and conditions. 

About the Official Plan

 Why do we need an Official Plan?
  • To conform to Provincial and Regional policies;
  • To direct growth and development to 2041, while considering important social, economic and environmental priorities and objectives.
  • To implement the Town’s master plans and studies.
 Official Plan Purpose
The Official Plan is one of the Town of Aurora’s primary tools to direct the actions of local government, shape development decisions and manage growth in the short and long-term. This Plan establishes the vision, corresponding principles and supporting policies to guide the Town’s evolution and development to the year 2031, for all lands in the Town of Aurora.

This Plan is written to direct change in accordance with Provincial and York Region policy, with a new emphasis on the development of a complete community, environmental responsibility, support for transit and the efficient use of infrastructure. This Plan is also written to guide the process of evaluating the suitability of land use and/or built form change through its policies and the subsequent planning approval process.

When land use and/or built form change is proposed, this Plan is intended to provide clear direction to Council, both in general terms related to the long-term vision, as well as through specific policies through which to evaluate the appropriateness of change and the degree to which proposed changes are considered compatible development and are in the public interest.

How the Plan Was Developed

Council has a responsibility and desire to involve and consult residents, businesses, landowners and other stakeholders as it makes planning and development decisions. Undertaken in accordance with the Planning Act’s five-year Official Plan Review requirement, the process to review and update this Plan was comprehensive and benefited from the participation of many local stakeholder groups, local business owners and residents.

The preparation of this Plan was led by a Council-appointed Steering Committee, chaired by Mayor Phyllis Morris and three other members of Council, Councillor Gallo, Councillor Gaertner and Councillor MacEachern, and supported by Planning Department Staff and The Planning Partnership. The Steering Committee ensured that openness and transparency were the cornerstones of the Official Plan Review process.

This Plan has been prepared in recognition of the array of Provincial and Regional policy directives that have and will The Town of Aurora Official Plan September 27, 2010 2 continue to influence local planning decisions in the Town of Aurora. This Plan is intended to conform to all applicable Provincial and Regional legislation and policy directives in a way that reflects local circumstances and the direction of Council.

This Plan is a direct extension of the stakeholder consultation process that was undertaken to define the Town’s vision and identify underlying principles. As a result, the policies within this Plan reflect the collective aim and aspiration of the people of Aurora. This Plan is one tool through which the Town’s unique character and quality of life can be preserved while remaining competitive in the larger region.

 The Official Plan Vision

The long-term vision guiding this Plan is to develop the Town of Aurora into a healthy, strong and complete community that provides a range of places and opportunities to live, work, shop, be educated and play, in a manner that promotes sustainability in all its forms and protects the Town’s natural environment and historic character.

A healthy, strong and complete community is designed for all stages of life and includes an array of jobs and investment opportunities, a full range of community services and amenities, opportunities for active and public transportation, and a broad mix of building and housing types. It also includes places to meet and build social connections and supports active and healthy lifestyle choices, while ensuring accessibility to all residents.

Fundamental Principles of the Plan

Principles are statements of intent that will guide the implementation of the policies of this Plan. They are considered crucial to the achievement of the long-term vision for Aurora. As such, this Plan is based on the following fundamental and interconnected principles:

  • Promoting Responsible Growth Management - It is the intent of this Plan to ensure that Aurora’s growth is well planned and responsibly managed, consistent with Provincial and Regional growth management directives. Aurora must be planned to accommodate a significant amount of population and employment growth to the year 2031. Ultimately, the achievement of Aurora’s long-term vision will be dependent on directing this projected population and employment growth to appropriate locations. This requires a deliberate, but balanced shift from an emphasis on lower density greenfield development to increased promotion of higher density forms of development and intensification in appropriate areas. Developing policies for directing and accommodating this growth is a key principle of this Plan.
  • Ensuring Design Excellence - It is the intent of this Plan to ensure that Aurora promotes design excellence in all its land use and development decisions. High quality buildings, well-designed and functioning streetscapes, appropriate transitions between defined areas, integration between old and new development and connected open The Town of Aurora Official Plan September 27, 2010 4 spaces are the elements that define a place. This Plan emphasizes the important link between managing growth, high quality design and Aurora’s continued evolution as a memorable and beautiful place.
  • Building a Greener Community - It is the intent of this Plan to ensure that Aurora’s communities are designed to be sustainable by incorporating green building technologies and energy-efficient development approaches. With a growing collective awareness concerning environmental sustainability and its interrelationship with the way our communities develop and function, sustainability must be recognized as a key consideration in the way we plan, design and build our communities now and in the future. The policies of this Plan recognize that sustainability must be applied to all aspects of the built and natural environment to ensure that objectives for economic vitality, social vibrancy and the preservation and enhancement of the natural environment are integrated into all aspects of planning and design.
  • Providing a Range and Mix of Housing - It is the intent of this Plan to ensure that Aurora’s development includes a broad range of housing types, sizes, densities, designs, tenures and prices to meet the needs of the Town’s current and future residents. Providing a range and mix of housing is one of the essential elements required to support a diverse population and a complete community.
  • Providing Appropriate Community Facilities - It is the intent of this Plan to ensure the provision of appropriate community facilities and services. Community facilities serve as a community’s foundation, providing essential support to its successful operation, ongoing development and vibrancy. The policies of this Plan seek to ensure Aurora’s community services and facilities are developed to meet the needs of all residents and are consistent with the Town’s objectives for becoming a healthy, strong and complete community.
  • Protecting Stable Neighbourhoods - It is the intent of this Plan to ensure that Aurora’s stable neighbourhoods are protected. Aurora’s existing neighbourhoods, both older and newer, are not only a defining element of Aurora’s character and urban structure, but also a tremendous asset The Town of Aurora Official Plan September 27, 2010 5 and attractor for new residents and investment interests. This Plan seeks to ensure that the stability and vibrancy of these existing neighbourhoods is protected from the negative impacts of potential incompatible development and growth pressures. Any infill that occurs must be compatible with the established community character.
  • Developing Vibrant New Neighbourhoods - It is the intent of this Plan to create well-designed, attractive and sustainable residential neighbourhoods within the greenfield areas that are integrated with the existing community in a logical, compatible, efficient and cost-effective manner. With the need to accommodate a significant number of new residents to the year 2031, the development of new greenfield residential neighbourhoods in Aurora is essential.
  • Advancing the Economy - It is the intent of this Plan to ensure the continued advancement of Aurora’s economy. At a community level, economic development is a process that influences and shapes the growth of an economy and attempts to improve economic well-being through job creation, job retention, tax base enhancements and overall improvements to the quality of life of residents. This Plan seeks to promote economic development efforts to support a diversified economic base and well-defined commercial hierarchy, encourage a competitive business environment and ultimately advance and sustain Aurora’s long-term economic prosperity.
  • Building a Successful Downtown - It is the intent of this Plan to build a successful, functioning and vibrant ‘Aurora Promenade’ as a vital component of the Town’s economic health and identity. Successful downtowns function as civic and cultural amenities, tourist destinations, investment attractors and can contribute to the community’s overall prosperity. Downtowns that are distinct and beautiful can be a tremendous source of civic pride and can shape the image of a community.
  • Establishing a Linked Greenlands System - It is the intent of this Plan to protect and enhance the natural environment for current and future generations. Straddling the Oak Ridges Moraine and three large watersheds, Aurora’s character is intrinsically linked to its diverse natural features and systems. This Plan seeks to protect The Town of Aurora Official Plan September 27, 2010 6 the natural environment and promotes the creation of a comprehensive and linked Greenlands system.
  • Conserving Cultural Heritage Resources - It is the intent of this Plan to promote the conservation and enhancement of Aurora’s cultural heritage resources. Cultural heritage resources, whether they are buildings, monuments, landscapes, archaeological sites, or districts, tell the story of a community’s evolution and provide important visual reminders that can help to define a sense of place. This Plan seeks to ensure that Aurora’s cultural heritage resources are conserved and enhanced to the long-term benefit of the community.
  • Providing Sustainable Infrastructure - It is the intent of this Plan to ensure the provision of sustainable infrastructure. The Town’s infrastructure system, including its transportation and pedestrian networks, transit system, sewer, water and stormwater systems and utilities, serve an essential role in a community’s successful operation and ability to support development. The policies of this Plan seek to ensure Aurora’s physical infrastructure is developed to meet the needs of all residents and are consistent with the Town’s objectives for managed growth and sustainability.

It is an objective of the Town to ensure that all new development occurs in a manner that protects people and property and prevents social disruption from natural hazards such as flooding and erosion. The public cost or risk to the municipality and its residents resulting from natural hazards should be avoided and minimized.

The Town is currently undergoing an Official Plan Review. Learn more about this process and opportunities to be involved.


OPA No. 48