Downtown Hamilton Tall Buildings Guidelines

Hamilton, Canada

City of Hamilton

2014 to 2016


As part of the on-going review of the Downtown Secondary Plan, Planning staff at the City of Hamilton have identified the need for guidelines surrounding the development of tall buildings within Hamilton’s Downtown. The current Secondary Plan includes height limits, but also permits exceptions where certain criteria (sun, shade or wind impacts on public spaces) are mitigated. The Downtown Hamilton Tall Buildings Guidelines establishes a planning framework that will guide where tall buildings are appropriate, provide clarity around how these mitigation strategies are to be evaluated, and include specific design guidance around height, fit and relationship to context.

The Downtown Hamilton Tall Buildings Guidelines will be developed in conjunction with the Secondary Plan review, and act as an input into the final update of the Secondary Plan. It will also exist as a ‘stand-alone’ reference document for landowners and developers proposing tall buildings within the downtown; as well for Planning staff evaluating applications. By clarifying expectations, identifying best practices and providing design guidance, the Study aims to shorten review times for planning applications, avoid appeals, and ensure that urban design policies within the Secondary Plan are implemented. Lastly, the Study will include a training and capacity building program that will familiarize Planning staff with the application of the guidelines.

The draft Guidelines and information on public consultation events can be found on the City of Hamilton’s Tall Buildings project page.

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We prepare detailed Design Guidelines for municipalities in order to advance the policies, goals and objectives of Official Plans and Official Community Plans, specifically those related to the design of streets, parks, open spaces and buildings. We apply our combined technical and design expertise to the creation of effective and comprehensive guidelines.