Capital Project Thresholds
City Council has directed all Agencies and Divisions which conduct capital projects containing significant public realm impacts to include early consultation with the Design Review Panel as part of undertaking those projects.
With the understanding that design issues are not necessarily resolved at the pre-application stage and furthermore, that they often remain to be resolved once a formal application has been submitted, the following two-stage review process should be followed:
- Initial consultation with the Panel should take place early on in the process during the initial functional design stages, or during policy development (e.g. at the pre-application stage for development, and during the notice of commencement phase for EAs).
- A second consultation should occur during the detailed design finessing stage.
- New buildings or renovations to existing publicly-owned buildings which require Site Plan and/or Rezoning Approval (e.g. police stations, community centres, and transit buildings);
- Plans of Subdivision for new public streets and parks, including review of at least the first three buildings of the proposed development;
- Environmental Assessments for major infrastructure projects (e.g. prominent bridges, transportation hubs, new streets, light rail initiatives, pedestrianization schemes);
- Projects on lots contiguous with environmentally sensitive areas (e.g. ravines, waterfront);
- Development of new civic centres, or renovations/maintenance of existing centres, including projects that are proposed within publicly accessible interiors of these buildings;
- New parks and park renovations above $150,000 / acre;
- Streetscape rehabilitation/reconstruction projects when adjacent to public parks or buildings;
- Review of systems and standards for routine bridge work which has significant public realm implications (e.g. lighting, railings);
- New policies which contain public realm implications, such as urban design guidelines or other policies with City-wide implications, such as the street furniture program;
- Pumping station and water treatment plant renovations, and other Toronto Water projects which have significant visible above-ground components (including but not limited to the landscaping of grounds within a public setting);
- The design of storm-water retention ponds.
Thresholds within a “Design Review District” ***
- Special streetscape design proposals for arterial and collector roads (e.g. Yonge St, North York Centre).
- *** Design Review Districts: Fort York Neighbourhood, Humber Bay Shores, King-Parliament Neighbourhood, St. Lawrence Neighbourhood, Etobicoke Centre, North York Centre,Yonge-Eglinton Centre, King-Spadina and Scarborough City Centre.
Exclusions from the Design Review Process
Public capital projects subject to the following conditions are excluded from the Design Review Panel process:
- Maintenance and state of good repair projects with minimal visual and physical impact upon the public realm (e.g. road resurfacing, underground work or renovations which are not visible to the public);
- Two-stage design competitions or other municipal projects which already have a built-in process of high level design or peer review;
- Projects which fall within the realm of other recognized Design Review Panels within the City (e.g. Waterfront Toronto); and
- Projects subject to a Temporary-Use Zoning By-law and which do not have a long term impact on the public realm (e.g. less than 3 years).