Urban Design: summarize pertinent issues in the Urban Design Standards? this is the question and shall have a minimum of 1000 and a maximum of 1500 words supported
by diagrams and illustrations to a maximum of three letter size pages each.these two pdf, i want to summarize pertinent issues in the Urban Design Standards….Guelph Commercial Built
Form Standards
November 25, 2019
Contents
1.0 Introduction
1.1 Role of the Standards
1.2 How to Use This Document
1.2.1 Document Structure
1.3 Application of the Standards
Approvals Process
1
1
1
1
4
4
2.0 Key Drivers
5
3.0 Site Organization & Design
7
3.1 Sustainable Site Design
3.2 Parking, Access & Circulation
3.2.1 General Standards
3.2.2 Structured Parking
3.2.3 Surface Parking
3.2.4 Bicycle Parking
3.3 Landscaping
3.3.1 General Standards
3.3.2 Landscaped Buffer Strips
3.3.3 Tree Planting
3.4 Mid-Block Connections
3.5 Open Spaces & Urban Squares
3.6 Public Art
3.7 Site Signage, Display Areas & Wayfinding
3.8 Lighting
3.9 Gateways
3.10 Rooftop Mechanical & Mechanical Systems
3.11 Servicing & Loading
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4.0 General Standards for Commercial Buildings
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4.1 Building Massing, Scale & Transitions
4.2 Ground Floor & Street Edge Design
4.3 Articulation, Façade Design & Materials
4.4 Building Resiliency
ii
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36
5.0 Main Street Buildings
5.1 Building Massing, Scale & Transitions
5.2 Ground Floor & Street Edge Design
5.3 Articulation, Façade Design & Materials
6.0 Neighbourhood Scale Commercial Buildings
6.1 Building Massing, Scale & Transitions
6.2 Ground Floor & Street Edge Design
6.3 Articulation, Façade Design & Materials
7.0 Vehicle Oriented Uses
7.1 Building Massing, Scale & Transitions
7.2 Ground Floor & Street Edge Design
7.3 Articulation, Façade Design & Materials
7.4 Additional Standards for Service Stations
7.5 Additional Standards for Drive Through Facilities
7.6 Additional Standards for Car Dealerships
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8.0 Mixed Use Buildings
53
9.0 Large Commercial Sites
57
9.1 Site Organization & Design
9.2 Building Massing, Scale & Transitions
9.3 Ground Floor & Street Edge Design
9.4 Articulation, Façade Design & Materials
9.5 Site Evolution
10.0 Implementation
10.1 Zoning By-Law Updates
10.1.1 Definition Updates
10.1.2 Regulation Updates
10.2 Next Steps
10.2.1 Review and Consultation
10.2.2 Urban Design Awards
11.0 Glossary
Guelph Commercial Built Form Standards
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iii
1.0 Introduction
1.1 Role of the Standards
The Commercial Built Form Standards for the City of
Guelph provides clear directions and criteria for the
design of commercial development across the City, with
the exception of the Downtown, which is subject to the
Downtown Built Form Standards.
The Standards consider opportunities associated with
Main Street Buildings, Neighbourhood Scale Commercial
Buildings, Vehicular Oriented Uses, and Large
Commercial Sites, and provide recommendations related
to best practices in built form and public realm design.
They provide solutions to ensure that new development
is compatible with the local context. The Standards
have been tested and adapted through the creation
of demonstration plan concepts that are integrated
throughout this document.
The Standards aim to achieve high quality urban design
and built form on commercial and mixed-use sites within
the City of Guelph. They promote sustainable, vibrant
and accessible development that will enhance the
unique built form and natural character of Guelph.
1.2 How to Use This Document
The Commercial Built Form Standards provide clear
directions for urban designers, architects, landscape
architects, developers, City Staff and the public, and
will help in the evaluation of urban design briefs and
planning applications.
The Standards provide guidance and interpretation
to assist in implementing urban design policies in the
City’s Official Plan and recommendations for the City’s
Comprehensive Zoning By-Law Review (currently in
progress). In text references to relevant sections and/or
policies within the Official Plan (OP) are included where
relevant.
1
This document contains general guidance for site design
and building design for mixed-use buildings. Guidance
from the Built Form Standards for Mid-Rise Buildings and
Townhouses should also be followed where residential
uses are being proposed as part of the mixed-use
development.
1.2.1 Document Structure
The Commercial Built Form Standards contain the
following sections:
Section 1.0 Introduction contains a summary of the
purpose of the Commercial Built Form Standards,
identifies how to navigate the document, and identifies
how the Standards work within the City’s existing policy
and guideline framework.
Section 2.0 Key Drivers identifies the core issues that
have motivated the creation of the Commercial Built
Form Standards.
Section 3.0 Site Organization & Design contains urban
design standards related to the location and organization
of components on a site, including buildings, parking,
access, circulation, storage, loading, landscaping,
signage, and lighting. These standards are applicable to
all Commercial Buildings and sites.
Section 4.0 General Standards for Commercial
Buildings contains general built form standards that are
applicable to all Commercial and mixed-use buildings
and sites within the City of Guelph. Standards relate to
building massing, scale, and transition; ground floor
and street edge design; articulation, façade design, and
materials; and building resiliency. Guidelines for interior
building layout are also included.
Section 5.0 Main Street Buildings outlines built form
standards specific to the Main Street Buildings typology.
Left and Right: Existing commercial development within the City of Guelph, showing a mix of building massing and design and site design
conditions.
Section 6.0 Neighbourhood Scale Commercial
Buildings outlines built form standards specific to the
Neighbourhood Scale Commercial Buildings typology.
Section 7.0 Vehicle Oriented Uses identifies general
built form standards related to Vehicle Oriented Uses, and
includes further focused direction on Service Stations,
Drive Through Facilities, and Car Dealerships.
Section 10.0 Implementation contains next steps
for the implementation of the Commercial Built
Form Standards including recommendations for the
Comprehensive Zoning By-Law Review.
Section 11.0 Glossary contains definitions for key
concepts and terms identified in the Commercial Built
Form Standards.
Section 8.0 Mixed-Use Buildings defines these building
types and identifies where to receive further design
direction on mixed-use buildings and sites.
Section 9.0 Large Commercial Sites identifies site
design and built form standards related to Large
Commercial Sites, and includes direction on planning for
site evolution.
Guelph Commercial Built Form Standards
2
How to Use the Standards for a Specific Development
3
1.3 Application of the Standards
The Commercial Built Form Standards support the City’s
existing policies and guidelines, including the following:

The City of Guelph Official Plan (2018
Consolidation);

Built Form Standards for Mid-Rise Buildings and
Townhouses (2018);
Where a conflict exists, the direction contained in the
Official Plan, Secondary Area, or Zoning By-Law will
prevail over the Commercial Built Form Standards.
Where a conflict exists between the Standards in this
document and requirements of the Ontario Building
Code and related provincial codes, the codes will prevail
over the Commercial Built Form Standards.

Commercial Policy Review (2018);
Recommendations for zoning regulations are included
within the Commercial Built Form Standards.

Urban Design Action Plan (2017);
Approvals Process

Zoning By-Law (1995)-14864 (1995);

Development Engineering Manual (2019);

Tree Technical Manual (2019);

Guelph Noise Control Guidelines (2018);

Community Energy Initiative Update (2018);

Natural Heritage Action Plan (2018);

Active Transportation Network Study (2017);

Water Efficiency Strategy (2016);

Guelph Facility Accessibility Design Manual
(2015);

Water Supply Master Plan (2014);

Urban Forest Management Plan (2012); and

Stormwater Management Master Plan (2012).
Guelph Commercial Built Form Standards
Development applications for commercial and mixeduse development within the City of Guelph will be
reviewed by the City and relevant agencies as per
complete application submission requirements. There are
varying development types, each with their own unique
requirements for approvals, circulation and reviews
by the City and relevant agencies. All development
applications pertaining to commercial or mixeduse development should demonstrate how relevant
standards from the Commercial Built Form Standards
have been met or their ability to be met in subsequent
phases of design.
Adherence to the Commercial Built Form Standards will
be integrated into the approvals process.
Development applications should summarize deviations
from the Standards with justification, such as within an
Urban Design Brief, as part of a complete submission.
Acceptance of these deviations is at the discretion of the
City.
4
2.0 Key Drivers
Introduction
A number of key drivers have resulted in the need for
Commercial Built Form Standards in Guelph. These
include urban intensification, shifts in the commercial
and retail landscape, policy objectives, and clear design
expectations for commercial and mixed-use buildings.
Intensification
The City of Guelph is within the Greater Golden
Horseshoe, a growing region with an anticipated increase
of 4.5 million people and 1.8 million jobs between
2011 and 2041. As the number of residents and jobs in
Guelph continues to grow, managing intensification
in areas outside of the downtown requires a careful
balance between meeting the changing needs of a
larger population, and maintaining the qualities that
make Guelph a unique and special place to live, work,
and play. Development of commercial and mixed-use
buildings and sites provide retail, restaurant, office,
services, and mixed commercial and residential spaces
that are necessary to support Guelph’s strong economy.
Future commercial and mixed-use development will play
an instrumental role as Guelph works to meet provincial
intensification targets responsibly and sustainably. The
Commercial Built Form Standards acknowledge the City’s
forecasted growth and aim to address it by introducing a
framework for the design of commercial and mixed-use
buildings and sites within the City.
Shifts in the Commercial and Retail Landscape
The commercial and retail landscape is changing quickly.
As consumers take advantage of new technologies
in their shopping and daily activities, businesses are
adapting their service offerings and service delivery
models to remain competitive. This has resulted in
increased demand for smaller, flexible, adaptable
commercial spaces, as well as mixes of uses within a site
and within buildings. By recognizing and adapting to
shifting trends in the commercial and retail industries,
Guelph will remain competitive as a choice location for
businesses to grow and thrive.
5
Official Plan Implementation
The City’s Official Plan affects the development of
commercial sites and buildings, particularly in how
they address aspects of social equity and ecological
sustainability. Some examples from the Official Plan
include:

Objectives for sustainable urban design, active
transportation networks, natural heritage system
protection, universal accessibility, and pedestrian
connectivity;

Integration of public realm design into
commercial site development;

Promoting and implementing mixed-use
development to support changing needs over
time;

Celebration of Guelph’s unique character and
sense of place through private development; and

Achieving appropriate transitions between
adjacent land uses.
Clear Design Expectations
As commercial and mixed-use sites in Guelph develop,
grow, adapt and redevelop over time, it is necessary that
residents, developers, designers, and business owners
understand the design expectations for these types of
development. The creation of Commercial Built Form
Standards can help to provide a cohesive framework
against which future development proposals can be
evaluated, achieving certainty and shared expectations
that elevate the standard of design quality in Guelph.
Mixed-use development with high quality landscaping.
Guelph Commercial Built Form Standards
6
3.0 Site Organization & Design
Demonstration Plan: Large Commercial Site with Grade Changes
Site Section of Commercial Site with elevation change (Not to Scale)
7
The preceding diagram demonstrates an example
site plan that achieves the intent of the urban design
standards for a large commercial site with changes
in natural grade. In this case, the grade changes are
reconciled through both the stepping of multi-storey
buildings, and the stepping of parking areas. This ensures
that all building entrances are located at equal grade
with the adjacent pedestrian walkway.
Guelph Commercial Built Form Standards
8
Introduction
3.1 Sustainable Site Design
Site organization relates to the location and organization
of components on a site, including buildings, parking,
access and circulation, storage and loading, and
landscaping. Site organization contributes to the
overall function of the site and its integration with the
surrounding community, while considering impacts on
the environment and stormwater systems.
Objective: Site design and building development should
support energy efficiency and water conservation (OP,
8.1). Sustainable site design can also assist in planning
for resilience in extreme weather events. All designs must
be in accordance with the City of Guelph’s sustainability
objectives, including those outlined in the Stormwater
Management Master Plan (2012), Water Efficiency
Strategy (2016), Natural Heritage Action Plan (2018) and
Community Energy Initiative Update (2018).
High quality site organization and design should be
informed by:

Best practices in sustainable site design and
landscape design;

A positive relationship between buildings and
adjacent public and private streets;

A balanced approach to the siting and
organization of built form and open space;

A minimized visual impact of parking, loading,
storage and servicing on the public realm;

Priority to people arriving by foot, bicycle, or
transit;

Thoughtful integration of accessible site design,
to ensure ease of access to commercial and
mixed-use buildings; and

A clear understanding of site constraints,
including the location of existing trees and
grading, existing and future utilities placement,
mitigating noise and odour impacts, and
adhering to engineering and other technical
requirements.
The following section outlines general urban
design standards related to site organization for the
development or redevelopment of commercial and
mixed-use sites within the City of Guelph.
9
Some site designs may qualify for a reduction in the
stormwater service fee. Visit the City’s website on
Stormwater Management for more details.
High quality, landscaped building frontage (Cheyenne West Edge).
Standards:
3.1.1.
3.1.2.
The design of site and building development will
support energy efficiency and water conservation
through the use of alternative energy systems or
renewable energy systems, building orientation,
sustainable building design, low impact
stormwater infiltration systems, drought-resistant
landscaping, water efficient fixtures and similar
measures (OP Policy 8.1.1).
The use of landscape-based stormwater
management planning and practices (also
referred to as Low Impact Development) is
encouraged including rainwater harvesting,
green roofs, blue roofs, bioretention, permeable
pavement, infiltration facilities and vegetated
swales in the design and construction of new
development, where site conditions and other
relevant technical considerations are suitable
(OP Policy 6.4.5). These systems should be placed
where limited runoff from salt and/or snow
storage may occur to reduce the impact to water
quality. For example, permeable pavement is
best suited for lower traffic areas like perimeter
parking lots. Infiltration of “clean water” from
roofs through bioswales, etc. is encouraged.
3.1.3.
Building location and orientation should
maximize exposure to natural light and consider
microclimate effects.
3.1.4.
Encourage the parceling of larger sites into
smaller drainage areas to enhance the ability to
implement Low Impact Development, to allow for
improved stormwater management, to improve
site accessibility, and to increase infiltration water
quality. This approach should incorporate tree
planting and pedestrian circulation.
Guelph Commercial Built Form Standards
3.1.5.
New development shall be integrated with the
existing topography where possible to maintain
the physical character of the area and minimize
the amount of grading and filling required (OP
Policy 8.1.2).
3.1.6.
Sites with significant grade changes should be
stepped to provide incremental grade changes
for ease of pedestrian access as well as assisting
with servicing and stormwater management.
3.1.7.
The use of green, blue, and white roofs to
reduce energy consumption is encouraged as
appropriate.
3.1.8.
Integrate indigenous plant species that are
drought and salt resistant as the predominant
type of landscaping (OP Policy 8.17.2).
3.1.9.
Site design should promote alternative modes
of transportation including walking, cycling and
public transit.
Did You Know?
A Blue Roof is: a low impact development roof design
strategy where stormwater is detained and then slowly
released over time through the use of flow control
devices or structures.
A Green Roof is: an extension of an above grade roof on
top of a building structure, which allows vegetation to
grow on top. Green Roofs may act as a Common Amenity
Area while also providing a stormwater function and
other environmental benefits.
A White Roof is: a roof painted with solar reflective white
coating to reflect sunlight. They minimize the amount of
heat that is absorbed through exposed roof surfaces of
buildings to reduce cooling costs and save energy.
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3.2 Parking, Access & Circulation
3.2.1.4.
Walkways should be provided directly from
parking areas and municipal sidewalks to the
main entrance(s) of the building(s). These
walkways should be well articulated, safe,
accessible and integrated with the overall
network of pedestrian linkages in the area to
create a comfortable walking environment.
Landscaping should enhance the walkway (OP
Policy 8.12.4).
3.2.1.5.
Pedestrian walkways should have a minimum
width of 2.0 metres.
3.2.1.6.
Cycle tracks at grade with pedestrian walkways
should have a minimum width of 3.0 metres.
3.2.1.7.
Building entrances should be aligned with the
grade of adjacent sidewalk or public walkways.
3.2.1.8.
The integration of separated, protected cycling
paths along or through sites is encouraged
when adjacent or in proximity to existing or
planned cycling infrastructure.
3.2.1.9.
Electrical Vehicle Charging Stations should be
provided on commercial and mixed-use sites.
Objective: The siting and organization of parking, access,
and circulation should be considered in relationship to
buildings and other site components (OP, 8.12 and 8.13).
Site organization should create barrier-free and efficient
circulation for people walking, cycling and driving, and
appropriate transitions between the public and private
realm. The appearance of parking should not dominate
the visible edges of a site.
3.2.1 General Standards
Standards:
3.2.1.1.
3.2.1.2.
3.2.1.3.
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Provide for alternative modes of transportation
on commercial and mixed-use sites, including
pedestrian pathways, and bicycle facilities;
the integration of transit on sites should be
considered as appropriate.
Shared driveways are encouraged to reduce
access points and reduce conflicts with
people travelling on foot or by bike (OP Policy
8.13.1). Consolidate vehicular site access
points (e.g. through shared access between
sites) to optimize curb cuts and minimize the
interruption of the boulevard for pedestrians,
landscaping, and furnishings.
Integrate clearly demarcated pedestrian
walkways into overall site design. Pedestrian
systems shall incorporate landscaping,
pedestrian scale lighting, and be defined by
distinct materials and/or raised walkways (OP
Policy 8.13.5).
3.2.1.10.
Underground or structured parking is
encouraged to reduce or eliminate the need
for surface parking (OP Policy 8.12.2).
3.2.1.11.
Underground parking is recommended for
mixed-use development where possible.
3.2.1.12.
Convenience retail parking should be located
at the rear or side of the development.
3.2.1.13.
Underground parking does not require a street
setback although it should not impede soil
volumes required for street tree planting (e.g.
medium trees).
Landscaped commercial surface parking lot featuring public
walkway, trees, and various plantings.
Retail building with outdoor patio seating, landscaping and
accessible ramp.
Surface parking lot with landscaped pedestrian walkway and
clearly marked pedestrian crossings.
Surface parking lot with landscaped pedestrian walkway and
pedestrian amenities.
Guelph Commercial Built Form Standards
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3.2.1.14.
3.2.1.15.
For underground and above-grade parking
structures, driveway access and ramp locations
shall be located to reduce conflicts with
people walking and cycling, and minimize
negative impacts on the streetscape (OP Policy
8.12.10).
Ensure that accessible ramps and pedestrian
walkways are provided for sites with significant
grade changes, from the public right-of-way to
building entrances, parking, and drop off areas.
3.2.1.16.
Parking for mixed-use buildings should
separate residential parking from parking
allocated to other uses.
3.2.1.17.
Accessible parking spaces shall be the closest
parking spaces, with minimal traffic flow
crossing, to the primary building entrances for
commercial and mixed-use sites.
3.2.1.18.
3.2.1.19.
3.2.1.20.
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Designating pick-up and drop-off zones or
short-term (15 minute) parking for ride hailing
and similar service providers is encouraged.
The design of Commercial Building sites shall
comply with the design standards outlined in
the Accessibility of Ontarians with Disabilities
Act (AODA), and the regulations in the Ontario
Building Code (OBC). Development is strongly
encouraged to meet the standards outlined in
the Guelph Facility Accessibility Design Manual
(FADM).
Areas for snow loading should not impede
general accessibility of people walking, cycling
or driving, and should not block sight lines.
3.2.2 Structured Parking
Standards:
3.2.2.1.
Vehicle entrances to structured parking should
be contained within the building mass or in an
enclosed pavilion, and should include garage
doors.
3.2.2.2.
Above-ground parking structures shall be
designed to provide well-articulated façades
facing streets. Street-related uses on the ground
level of a parking structure should be provided
where appropriate and feasible to contribute
to an active pedestrian realm and to screen the
parking structure (OP Policy 8.12.7).
3.2.2.3.
Above the second floor, parking structures
should be shielded from exterior view through
architectural screening or other methods.
3.2.3 Surface Parking
Standards:
3.2.3.1.
Building placement in combination with
landscaping shall be used to screen surface
parking areas (OP Policy 8.12.1).
3.2.3.2.
Surface parking areas should generally be
located at the rear or side of buildings and not
between the front of a building and the street.
Where permitted adjacent to the public realm,
surface parking areas shall be designed in a
manner that contributes to an attractive public
realm by providing screening and landscaping.
Generously sized landscape strips incorporating
combinations of landscaping and/or decorative
fencing or walls should be provided adjacent to
the street edge to provide aesthetically pleasing
views into the site while screening surface
parking areas (OP Policy 8.12.1).
3.2.3.3.
Do not locate surface parking along the front or
exterior side yard of a commercial or mixed-use
property.
3.2.3.4.
Surface parking located adjacent to arterial
roads should not exceed 25% of the length of
front and exterior lot lines.
3.2.3.5.
Surface parking areas shall not be permitted
immediately adjacent to the corners of an
intersection (OP Policy 8.12.3).
3.2.3.6.
Surface parking lots should be set back a
minimum of 3 metres from any adjacent lot line.
3.2.3.7.
Landscape buffer strips around surface parking
lots should be a minimum of 3 metres in width.
3.2.3.8.
Surface parking areas adjacent to groundrelated residential uses should be separated by
a landscape strip incorporating combinations of
landscaping and/or decorative fencing or walls
(OP Policy 8.12.8).
3.2.3.9.
Large surface parking areas should be divided
into smaller and defined sections through the
use of appropriately-sized landscaped strips,
islands and/or pedestrian walkways (OP Policy
8.12.5).
3.2.3.10. Surface parking areas are encouraged to be
designed to support redevelopment and
retrofitting, and to enable the transition to
structured or underground parking as site
development evolves (OP Policy 8.12.12).
Guelph Commercial Built Form Standards
Bicycle parking adjacent to accessible building entrance.
3.2.4 Bicycle Parking
Standards:
3.2.4.1.
Bicycle parking shall be provided and
conveniently located in close proximity to
building entrances. Sheltered bicycle parking
should be integrated into the built form (OP
Policy 8.12.6).
3.2.4.2.
Additional bicycle facilities (including cargobicycle parking, fix-it stations and tire changing
facilities) are encouraged for commercial and
mixed-use sites.
3.2.4.3.
The location of bicycle storage should not
impede pedestrian movement, accessibility or
snow clearing.
3.2.4.4.
Do not place bicycle parking in waste bin areas,
loading bay areas, or other back-of-house areas.
14
Left and Right: Hard and soft landscaping treatment of commercial building site, including plantings, trees, and special paving (Holst
Architecture).
3.3 Landscaping
3.3.1.2.
Objective: Landscaped open space includes a range
of hard and soft landscaping treatments that provide a
diversity of colour, texture and plant materials (OP, 8.17).
It should create visual interest, pedestrian comfort and a
sense of enclosure at street level.
a.
3.3.1 General Standards
c.
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Soft landscaping should consist of an open
area with enough soil volume that supports
the healthy growth of vegetation with little
irrigation. This may also include green roofs,
green walls, ground cover, and raised planters.
shall provide for diversity of species (OP Policy
8.17.2vi);
b. shall be appropriate to site conditions (OP Policy
8.17.2ii);
Standards:
3.3.1.1.
The selection of plant materials:
is encouraged to be of indigenous stock and
from locally grown sources (OP Policy 8.17.2iv);
and,
d. is encouraged to promote naturalization and
reduce the use of sod (OP Policy 8.17.2vii).
3.3.1.3.
Where new development is planned in
close proximity to Natural Heritage Systems,
exclusively use indigenous plant materials for
landscaping treatments.
3.3.1.4.
Green roofs and blue roofs are strongly
encouraged. A green roof, blue roof, or
combination of both may count towards a
maximum of 30% of the total landscaped
open space requirement. A green roof allows
vegetation to grow on top of a structure. Blue
roofs allow for the capture and slow release
of stormwater. Both provide environmental
benefits and stormwater management.
3.3.1.5.
Permeable paving does not count towards soft
landscaping requirements.
3.3.1.6.
Planting design should contribute to the
creation of a high quality public realm,
especially along building façades facing a public
street, and should include consideration for
quality of material, variety of species, year round
interest and aesthetic appeal of the surrounding
neighbourhood.
3.3.1.7.
Landscape design on commercial sites should
consider existing grade transitions and use
landscape elements to aid in creating a gradual
transition between elevations. Site grading,
including parking areas, should approximate
existing natural grade changes and meet
property boundaries at the adjacent natural
grade, where possible. Leveling of grade
across sites and the use of tall retaining walls is
discouraged.
Guelph Commercial Built Form Standards
3.3.1.8.
Landscaping treatments should contribute
towards stormwater management (OP Policy
8.1.1). The use of bioswales and low impact
development is encouraged. However, these
systems should be placed where limited runoff
from salt and/or snow storage may occur to
reduce the impact to water quality.
3.3.1.9.
Landscaping treatments should provide visual
interest at all times of the year through a mix of
trees, and plantings that flower, change colour
or lose leaves at different times.
3.3.2 Landscaped Buffer Strips
Standards:
3.3.2.1.
Where required, landscaped buffer strips shall
consist of plant material that will form a visual
barrier at maturity, in combination with other
strategies such as fencing (OP Policy 8.17.5).
3.3.2.2.
Landscaped buffer strips should be a minimum
of 3 metres wide where there is a transition
between land uses.
3.3.2.3.
Landscaped buffer strips around surface
parking lots should be integrated into site
design.
3.3.2.4.
Where landscaped buffer strips must meet
requirements for healthy and vibrant tree
growth and engineering functions (e.g.
bioswales, catch basins), they may be required
to be wider than the minimum 3 metres.
16
Tree planting and landscaping on a Commercial Building site (Bloor-Yorkville BIA).
3.3.3 Tree Planting
3.3.3.3.
Trees should be located in key areas, including
along walkways and within surface parking
areas. One tree should be planted for every 8
parking spaces within the parking field.
3.3.3.4.
Standards for minimum soil volumes can be
found in the City of Guelph’s Tree Technical
Manual (2019). Where trees share soil volume, a
lower volume may be considered.
3.3.3.5.
Trees may be grouped or evenly spaced
throughout surface parking areas. Groupings
of trees are preferred to ensure adequate
soil volumes and promote sustainable
irrigation practices, with a minimum soil
depth of 1000mm, or deeper as required to
accommodate larger root balls.
Standards:
3.3.3.1.
3.3.3.2.
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Development and redevelopment of
commercial and mixed-use sites are strongly
encouraged to preserve existing trees, as
well as associated soil profiles and existing
grading, in an effort to minimize impacts to
tree health. In situations where existing trees
cannot be retained, the development may be
subject to compensation (as per the Private Tree
Protection Bylaw).
Tree planting within continuous, open soil
trenches is preferred. Soil cells or other
technologies may be required to meet soil
volume requirements.
Well landscaped mid-block pedestrian connection through surface
parking lot (Map Architectes).
Mid-block connection adjacent to commercial building frontages
and landscaping.
3.4 Mid-Block Connections
3.4.4.
Mid-block connections should include lighting
features, landscaping, seating, and signage, as
appropriate to provide safe, year round use and
comfort.
3.4.5.
Mid-block connections should be designed
as barrier free connections and should not be
impacted by vehicles overhanging the sidewalk.
They should also be clear from furniture waste
bins, light standards, bike racks, or other urban
elements to ensure an adequate width to
navigate the space.
Objective: To ensure that mid-block connections
are created within sites to support connected and
comfortable mobility for people arriving by foot or
bicycle, and those using mobility aids.
Standards:
3.4.1.
Where appropriate, provide mid-block
connections to facilitate site permeability and
non-vehicular access, especially within Large
Commercial Sites.
3.4.2.
Mid-block connections used to facilitate both
cycling and walking should be a minimum of 3.0
metres in width.
3.4.3.
Mid-block connections should connect sites to a
public right-of-way.
Guelph Commercial Built Form Standards
18
Hardscaped urban square with special paving treatment, trees, and
grasses.
Hardscaped urban square with special paving, informal concrete
seating, and public art installation (Brook McIlroy).
3.5 Open Spaces & Urban Squares
3.5.4.
Open spaces and urban squares should be
designed for all-season use. Opportunities to
animate these spaces with seasonal events is
encouraged.
3.5.5.
Consider microclimate effects through the
orientation, location, and landscaping of open
spaces and urban squares. Provide a balance of
sun, shade, and protection from the wind.
3.5.6.
All seating and street furniture in open spaces
and urban squares should be barrier free and
should adhere to the requirements in the Facility
Accessibility Design Manual.
3.5.7.
Where street furniture (e.g. picnic tables) is
provided in publicly accessible areas, a minimum
of 20%, and not less than one, should be
accessible and adhere to the Facility Accessibility
Design Manual (FADM, 4.3.1.6).
3.5.8.
The incorporation of publicly accessible drinking
fountains in urban squares and open spaces is
encouraged where appropriate.
Objective: To encourage the development of open
spaces and urban squares to create a high-quality and
animated public and private realm.
Standards:
3.5.1.
3.5.2.
3.5.3.
19
Open spaces and urban squares will be framed
by buildings with ground-floor uses that provide
activity throughout the day (OP Policy 8.20.1).
Hard and soft landscape elements and features
within open spaces and urban squares shall be
designed to define and articulate activity areas,
circulation, entry points, seating and gathering
areas, as well as the relationship between
adjacent buildings and the streetscape (OP Policy,
8.20.3).
Open spaces and urban squares should have a
defined character and should include unique
paving, landscaping, seating, lighting, and shade
trees or structures.
Public art as the focal piece of a plaza, fronted by at-grade
commercial uses (Jeff Hitchcock).
Public art and seating installation along a main street area (Brook
McIlroy).
3.6 Public Art
3.6.4.
Public art may include functional and decorative
elements of a site, such as benches, bus shelters,
water features, light standards, or other open
space and streetscape amenities.
3.6.5.
Public art in public spaces should be visible and
accessible from the adjacent public right-of-way.
3.6.6.
The siting of public art should minimize driver
distractions and sight line obstructions.
3.6.7.
Public art should be durable and low
maintenance and should be incorporated with
the site’s landscape design where possible.
3.6.8.
Development that attracts significant pedestrian
traffic is strongly encouraged to include public
art in the design of the building and/or site (OP
Policy, 8.21.2).
Objective: Encourage the integration of public art
into the design of commercial and mixed-use sites to
contribute to community vitality.
Standards:
3.6.1.
Public art is encouraged to be sited in high use
areas including open spaces, urban squares,
public parks, plazas, curb extensions, and midblock connections.
3.6.2.
Public art is encouraged in privately owned open
spaces such as quads, courtyards, and forecourts.
3.6.3.
Public art can include temporary and permanent
installations and can consist of murals and
canopies. Public art should conform with the Sign
By-Law.
Guelph Commercial Built Form Standards
20
Pedestrian-scale commercial building signage and display areas
along a main street area.
Wayfinding and informational signage in commercial district
attached to building façade.
3.7 Site Signage, Display Areas &
Wayfinding
3.7.3.
Commercial signage should be displayed at
a consistent height on building façades such
as at the top of the ground floor. Signage
shall generally not be permitted on the top of
buildings or poles (OP Policy 8.14.4).
3.7.4.
Commercial building signage should be visible
from the public realm.
3.7.5.
Signs, display areas and lighting should
be compatible in scale and intensity to the
proposed activity and tailored to the size, type
and character of a development or the space to
be used (OP Policy 8.14.1). Signage should not
impede pedestrian circulation or vehicle sight
lines.
Objective: To ensure that the design and siting of site
signage, display areas and wayfinding contribute to a
high quality public realm.
Standards:
3.7.1.
Signage should be incorporated into the building
façade design of new commercial and mixed-use
development (OP Policy 8.14.3).
3.7.2.
Signage can include wayfinding and directional
signage, informational signage and commercial
signage. A coordinated approach to site signage
and wayfinding is encouraged to reduce visual
clutter and to ensure that signage is easy to
understand.
21
Pedestrian-scale outdoor display area.
Outdoor retail display area with fruit
3.7.6.
Where outdoor display areas are associated with
a large building, the use of landscape elements
such as plantings, decorative fencing and
architectural elements such as façade extensions
and canopies shall be incorporated for effective
integration with the overall development (OP
Policy 8.15.1).
3.7.8.
On sites where the outdoor sale and display of
large items in the front yard is permitted (e.g.
vehicles, hot tubs), outdoor sales and display
areas may be located within 21 metres of the
property line abutting the street, and the front
yard setback may be increased to a maximum of
21 metres.
3.7.7.
Well designed, pedestrian-scaled outdoor display
areas that contribute to a comfortable and
safe public realm may be permitted in areas of
high pedestrian traffic provided that safety and
accessibility are not compromised (OP Policy
8.15.2).
3.7.9.
Large commercial or mixed-use building sites
should integrate wayfinding as appropriate in key
areas, including parking areas and parks and open
spaces.
Guelph Commercial Built Form Standards
22
Pedestrian scale lighting adjacent to public walkway and building
edge.
Pedestrian scale lighting featured attached to a building wall.
3.8 Lighting
3.8.3.
Incorporate lighting along public walkways, along
building frontages, and in parking areas to ensure
pedestrian safety and comfort. Lighting along
public walkways should be pedestrian scaled.
All building and site lighting shall be oriented and
shielded to minimize the infringement of light
and the creation of glare on adjacent properties
or public roads. Outdoor lighting should
incorporate energy efficiencies such as sensors
and timers and direct light away from the night
sky (OP Policy 8.16.2).
3.8.4.
Lighting of buildings and sites shall be provided
at levels sufficient for building identification and
safety (OP Policy 8.16.1).
Adequate pedestrian-scaled lighting to accent
walkways, steps, ramps, transit stops and other
features should be provided (OP Policy 8.16.3).
3.8.5.
Use LED lighting with a colour temperature of
3000K or less. The use of bright, blue tone lights is
discouraged.
3.8.6.
Lighting Plans for all commercial buildings
submitted as part of a site plan approval are
to adhere to the City’s Lighting Guidelines for
Lighting Plans.
Objective: Lighting is to be provided at levels sufficient
for building identification and safety (OP, 8.16).
Standards:
3.8.1.
3.8.2.
23
Example of community entrance signage integrated into fencing.
Example of neighbourhood lighting and signage feature in a
landscaped area.
3.9 Gateways
3.9.4.
Minor gateways should include a smaller scale of
public realm enhancements, such as landscaping,
public art, lighting and appropriately-scaled
wayfinding cues.
3.9.5.
Where a commercial or mixed-use development
is located at the intersection of major streets, the
development or redevelopment of each corner
property are considered minor gateways and
development will incorporate neighbourhoodscale gateway features. Generally this shall be
accomplished through high-quality built form
and may include pedestrian linkages into the site
at the intersection (OP Policy, 8.4.7).
Objective: To create gateways as formal entrance ways
into key areas of the City and to create a strong sense of
place.
Standards:
3.9.1.
Major gateways will be located in visually
prominent sites located at major entry points into
the city (OP Policy 8.4.2).
3.9.2.
Minor gateways are to be located at prominent
intersections which are neighbourhood-scaled
gateways or at secondary entry points into the
city (OP Policy 8.4.3).
3.9.3.
Major gateways should include prominent
signage, enhanced lighting, intensive landscaping
(e.g. seasonal floral displays, tree planting),
public art and other types of public realm
enhancements. Adjacent redevelopment should
be designed to support the function of the
gateway.
Guelph Commercial Built Form Standards
24
1.5m
Rooftop mechanical equipment setback from the public realm.
Example of landscape screening of exterior storage areas.
3.10 Rooftop Mechanical &
Mechanical Systems
3.11 Servicing & Loading
Objective: To ensure that rooftop mechanical equipment
is incorporated appropriately into building design.
Standards:
3.10.1.
Rooftop mechanical equipment should be set
back a minimum of 1.5 metres from the building
mass and should fit within established angular
planes for the property to minimize their
visibility from the public realm.
3.10.2.
Buildings will be designed to completely screen
rooftop mechanical equipment from public view
(OP Policy 8.6.7).
25
Objective: To locate areas for servicing, storage and
loading efficiently, and minimize their impact on the
aesthetic quality and function of their sites.
Standards:
3.11.1.
Coordinate servicing, storage areas, and loading
with parking locations to ensure efficient
use of space, and to minimize the disruption
or removal of existing trees and valuable
landscaping.
3.11.2.
Loading bays, waste service areas and building
utilities/mechanical equipment should be
located within a building. If permitted outside a
building, they shall not be located immediately
adjacent to an intersection, will be directed away
from a public street, park, river, public open
space or residential area, or adequately screened
if this is not possible (OP Policy 8.13.6).
Example of architectural screening of servicing, storage areas and
loading.
3.11.3.
Where outdoor storage is permitted, it shall not
be located between a building and a street edge,
or a building and the intersection of streets (OP
Policy 8.13.7).
3.11.4.
Ensure site design includes adequate space
for waste vehicles and containers, including
set out locations. Set out locations should not
block sidewalks, bicycle parking, fire routes, or
accessible parking.
3.11.5.
Ensure the safe design of circulatory routes
for servicing, storage areas and loading to
discourage backing in or out from a public road.
3.11.6.
Cluster and screen servicing areas including gas
metres and hydro. The appearance of these areas
should be minimized but should be accessible
and not visible from the public right-of-way.
Guelph Commercial Built Form Standards
26
4.0 General Standards for Commercial
Buildings
Introduction
Commercial uses can be incorporated in a variety of
building types and scales of development, through new
development and redevelopment of existing sites.
Commercial Buildings are intended to provide a range of
retail, office and commercial uses to meet daily needs in a
variety of building formats, including along main streets,
embedded within neighbourhoods, and within larger
site developments. The design and layout of Commercial
Building sites should encourage alternative modes of
transportation such as walking, cycling and the use of
public transit. They should contribute to a vibrant public
realm through active uses along the street.
High quality Commercial Buildings will be shaped by:
Building massing, scale and transitions: Massing and
scale relates to the bulk, height and shape of a building.
Transitions refer to the relationship of a building to
adjacent land uses to ensure appropriate access to light,
view and privacy. Commercial Buildings should provide
appropriate transitions to other buildings, low-rise
neighbourhoods, institutional uses, cultural and natural
heritage, parks and open spaces. This may be done
through considerations given to building orientation,
setbacks, stepbacks, angular plane, relationship to grade,
and land uses.
Ground floor and street edge design: The relationship
of building uses along the public street, should
contribute to a vibrant public realm through appropriate
ground floor uses and public amenities that are barrier
free and publicly accessible.
27
Building articulation, façade design and materials:
The design of the building façade or face contributes
to the character of communities. Specific elements of
façade design include the use of specific materials, colour
palettes and design elements such as doors, windows,
and canopies. Façade design should be compatible
with the local context and contribute to urban design
excellence.
Interior building layout: Interior building layouts for
commercial uses can contribute to a vibrant public realm
or make the achievement of the exterior building design
standards difficult to achieve. The design of the interior
building layouts should promote public safety and allow
for visibility and direct accessibility from the public realm
into interior commercial uses.
Planning for building resiliency: Planning buildings for
their long-term viability and maximizing their flexibility
of use over time to accommodate changes in use and
tenancy.
Guelph’s Commercial Buildings include the following
building typologies:
1. Main Street Buildings;
2. Neighbourhood Scale Commercial Buildings;
3. Vehicle Oriented Uses;
4. Mixed Use Buildings; and
5. Large Commercial Sites.
Low-rise mixed-use building with commercial uses at street level.
Low-rise commercial building adjacent to public sidewalk (GBL
Architects).
The following section outlines general built form
standards for the development or redevelopment of
Commercial Buildings within the City of Guelph. Built
form standards specific to the Commercial Building
typologies are identified in subsequent sections of this
document. The demonstration plans provided in these
sections demonstrate best practices in internal building
layout that facilitate high quality building and site design.
4.1 Building Massing, Scale &
Transitions
The design of mixed-use buildings should adhere to the
recommendations in this document as relevant; guidance
from the Built Form Standards for Mid-Rise Buildings and
Townhouses should also be followed where residential
uses are being proposed as part of the mixed-use
development.
Guelph Commercial Built Form Standards
Standards:
4.1.1.
New development should provide appropriate
transitions in height and massing to adjacent
lower rise built form where a change in
building use occurs, or when adjacent to
residential and institutional uses.
4.1.2.
The maximum building length of Commercial
Buildings should not exceed 75 metres where
buildings are located within 15 metres of the
front or exterior side lot lines, to encourage
pedestrian scale buildings and to reduce
shadowing impacts.
4.1.3.
Generally, a minimum building height of 2
storeys is encouraged to provide definition to
streets and open spaces (OP Policy 8.6.13).
28
4.1.4.
The creation of false upper buildings floors is
discouraged, but may be supported where the
design/engineering for the building allows the
upper floors to be inserted in the future.
4.1.5.
The front yard setback and/or exterior side
yard setback of a Commercial Building should
generally be a minimum of 3 metres from the
corresponding property line. The front yard
and/or exterior side yard setbacks should
respond to adjacent street typology and
function.
4.1.6.
29
When the City deems that additional space
for landscaping is required, the minimum
front yard setback and/or minimum exterior
side yard setback may be 6 metres from the
corresponding property line. The front yard
and/or exterior side yard setbacks should
respond to adjacent street typology and
function.
4.1.7.
Where a Commercial Building site abuts a
low density residential area, a transitional 45
degree angular plane should be applied at
the shared property line, to ensure that the
impacts of height, overlook and shadow are
mitigated.
4.1.8.
Where a Commercial Building site abuts a
medium density residential area, a transitional
45 degree angular plane should be applied
beginning 10.5 metres above average grade at
the required minimum setback, to ensure that
the impacts of height, overlook and shadow
are mitigated.
4.1.9.
Commercial Buildings and mixed-use buildings
above 4 storeys should incorporate a minimum
stepback of 1.5 metres between the fourth
and fifth floors to ensure the appropriate scale
and massing of the building and to secure
usable patio space. Stepbacks must relate to
the existing context, planned use of adjacent
properties, and must consider transitioning
uses.
4.1.10.
Commercial Buildings exceeding 6 storeys
in high-rise forms should have a massing
composed of a podium, middle, and top (OP
Policy 8.9.1i).
4.1.11.
Buildings should use the existing natural grade
and be designed to complement adjacent
developments where possible.
4.1.12.
For buildings within 15 metres of a property
line, and where buildings are located on a
site with variable topography, access to all
commercial units should be provided at the
established grade of the adjacent sidewalk
and street. Where a minor grade differential
exists between the sidewalk and the access
doorway, a single run accessible route should
be provided directly between the nearest
sidewalk and the access doorway with a slope
no steeper than 1:25 and a cross slope no
steeper than 1:50 (FADM, 4.1.4).
4.1.13.
Light wells are encouraged in the design of
Commercial Buildings to provide opportunities
for natural light.
E
E
AN LAN
PL
P
R
R
LA
LA
U
U
G
AN
SIDE OR
SIDE
REAR
OR REAR
LOT LINE
LOT LINE
G
AN
45°
Commercial Zone
Commercial Zone
45°
Minimum
Required
Setback
Minimum
(varies)
Required
Low Density
Residential Zone
Low Density
Residential Zone
Setback
(varies)
Recommended Angular Plane Transition when Commercial Building is adjacent to a Low Density Residential Zone
E
E
AN LAN
PL
P
R
R
LA
LA
U
U
G
AN
SIDE OR
SIDE
REAR
OR REAR
LOT LINE
LOT LINE
G
AN
45°
45°
10.5m
10.5m
Commercial Zone
Commercial Zone
Minimum
Required
Setback
Minimum
(varies)
Required
Setback
(varies)
Medium Density
Residential Zone
Medium Density
Residential Zone
Recommended Angular Plane Transition when Commercial Building is adjacent to a Medium Density Residential Zone
Guelph Commercial Built Form Standards
30
Well-defined and animated street edge along retail building frontages (Sasaki).
4.2 Ground Floor & Street Edge
Design
4.2.4.
Create a consistent building streetwall
height along public right-of-ways to create a
comfortable public realm.
4.2.5.
Windows and doors adjacent to public right-ofways should not incorporate vinyl coverings or
other signage treatments and adhere to the Sign
By-Law.
4.2.6.
Include transparent windows and/or active
entrances along the ground floor façades of
corner buildings that face a public street or urban
square. Do not use highly reflective or mirrored
glass.
4.2.7.
Where appropriate, a building’s first storey shall
generally be taller in height to accommodate
a range of non-residential uses (OP Policy
8.6.10). Ground floor heights of Commercial
Buildings should be a minimum of 4.5 metres to
accommodate a range of non-residential uses
over time. Where a continuous streetwall has
been established, new buildings should align
with the predominant streetwall height and
design.
Standards:
4.2.1.
The principal entrances of commercial and mixeduse buildings shall be oriented toward the street
and provide direct user entrances from adjacent
streets and walkways. Blank façades facing a
street, open space or park shall not be permitted
(OP Policy 8.6.2).
4.2.2.
Commercial Buildings should address a public
right-of-way and set the building back adequately
to provide landscaping and active uses at grade
where possible, including patios and spill over
retail. Commercial and mixed-use buildings
should be consistently located close to the street
edge and sidewalk (OP Policy 8.6.3).
4.2.3.
Corner buildings shall address both streets by
providing two articulated façades facing the
street (OP Policy 8.6.4).
31
Examples of varying building façade articulation and material use, including vertical articulation of the façade through colour and window
design (left), and red brick façade with arched windows (right).
4.3 Articulation, Façade Design &
Materials
4.3.4.
Long building façades that are visible along
a public street will incorporate recesses,
projections, windows or awnings, colonnades
and/or landscaping along the length of the
façade to reduce the mass of such façade (OP
Policy 8.6.8).
4.3.5.
Buildings adjacent to the street edge and at
sites with high public visibility shall be designed
to take into account their high public visibility
by incorporating elements such as increased
height, roof features, building articulation and
high quality finishes and windows (OP Policy
8.6.5).
4.3.6.
Large buildings will incorporate architectural
elements which will reduce the visual effects of
flat roof lines (OP Policy 8.6.11).
Standards:
4.3.1.
Infill Commercial Buildings in areas with a
strong, established street character should
complement the existing character through
façade design, material use, and building
articulation.
4.3.2.
Articulate the base of Commercial Buildings
through design elements such as front doors,
front canopies, overhangs, patios, and a rhythm
of shop fronts.
4.3.3.
Blank façades facing a street, open space or
park shall not be permitted (OP Policy 8.6.2)
and should be avoided through the design of
active façades with building entrances and
unobstructed transparent glazing at grade.
Guelph Commercial Built Form Standards
32
4.3.7.
The design of all Commercial Buildings and
storefronts shall be in keeping with the
character and identity of the community and its
immediate context. This may require alternative
or enhanced standard of corporate or franchise
design. Buildings shall reflect the community
and immediate context through features such as
façade articulation, massing, architectural style,
vertical windows, appropriate signage, building
materials and exterior finishes (OP Policy 8.6.9).
4.3.8.
A range of high-quality materials for façade
design are encouraged to promote visual
diversity in texture and colour, reflecting varied
built form materials used in Guelph, including
brick and stone.
4.3.9.
The use of large areas of vinyl and Exterior
Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS) are strongly
discouraged.
4.3.10.
All buildings should be finished with
prominently natural and durable materials such
as stone and brick. Generally, replica materials
such as pre-cast concrete panels made to look
like stone or brick are not recommended within
the first 3 storeys of a building, especially within
signature areas (e.g. along Gordon Street and
within the older built-up area).
4.3.11.
Primary building elevations (those that interact
with a main street frontage) should feature a
high-quality of design, and may include canopy
structures and arcades.
33
4.3.12.
Employ ‘bird-friendly’ design. Designs should
avoid the use of untreated reflective glass and
reduce light pollution in the night sky. The
use of visual markers on design surfaces (e.g.
fritted glass, fenestration patterns) is strongly
encouraged.
Interior Building Layout Guidelines
While internal layout plans are generally not required
to be submitted as part of the development approval
process, interior building layout has a connection with
the exterior building façade and the achievement of
other standards, such as building entrance locations and
clear glazing standards. To recognize this, this section is
entitled “Guidelines” rather than “Built Form Standards”
found in the balance of the document.
The following identify key internal layout guidelines
to consider in overall building design for Commercial
Buildings:
Guidelines:

Where possible, locate back-of-house uses,
including enclosed kitchens, storage, washrooms,
offices, and service spaces toward the centre of
the commercial unit and adjacent to demising
walls, in order to achieve maximum visibility into
the space from the perimeter and surrounding
public realm.

Locate pedestrian entrances adjacent to public
rights-of-way, at equal grade with the adjacent
sidewalk.

Where appropriate, expose certain back-of-house
uses such as commercial kitchens to increase
visual permeability through the space and to
provide visual animation to adjacent public
spaces.

Where possible, locate restaurant seating
adjacent to clear glazing at the perimeter of the
space.
Guelph Commercial Built Form Standards

Where commercial spaces can be accessed by
multiple pedestrian entrances, locate point-ofsale kiosks in a central area to allow inbound and
outbound pedestrian traffic from all entrance
points.

Take advantage of clear glazed frontages in retail
spaces by exposing and displaying retail goods at
the perimeter.

In mixed-use buildings, where appropriate,
locate active transportation amenities such as
stairwells and bike storage rooms at the building
perimeter, with generous clear glazing for visual
safety and daylighting.
34
Demonstration plan of commercial site identifying relationship between internal building layout and site and building design
35
4.4 Building Resiliency
Standards:
4.4.1.
Buildings should be designed to achieve
long-term viability and maximize flexibility in
use over time. This can be achieved through
the use of structural systems that allow
interior partitions and mechanical services to
be moved and rearranged to accommodate
changes in tenancy, and through the use
of generous floor-to-floor heights that
accommodate a range of uses and mechanical
systems above and below the occupied space.
4.4.2.
Buildings should be designed to allow
upgrading and replacing of components
and systems with shorter life cycles, without
requiring demolition of the core structure.
From shortest to longest life span, these
include interior finishes and furnishings;
interior partitions and space layouts; heating,
ventilation, air conditioning, and plumbing
services; and building envelope components.
4.4.3.
Site and building design should support
and facilitate future intensification and
redevelopment including strategies for
building expansions (e.g. ensuring that upper
storey volumes can be infilled to create
additional floor area) (OP Policy 8.6.14).
Guelph Commercial Built Form Standards
36
5.0 Main Street Buildings
Demonstration Plan: Main Street Area
37
The preceding diagram demonstrates an example
site plan that achieves the intent of the urban design
standards for a main street area. In this case, a continuous
street wall is achieved by locating buildings between 1.5
metres and 3.0 metres from the front property line. Wide
sidewalks, cycling infrastructure, and landscaping within
the right-of-way create a pedestrian-friendly urban
condition.
Guelph Commercial Built Form Standards
38
Main Street Area with pedestrian seating and street trees.
Introduction
Main Street Buildings are multi-storey buildings fronting
a street, and typically contain retail or service uses on
the ground floor. Office, service, or retail uses may be
located on upper building levels. Main Street Areas
should contribute to a safe and vibrant public realm (OP
Policy, 9.4.2.6) and should encourage active modes of
transportation, including walking, cycling and public
transportation (OP Policy 5.8.11). Main Streets have been
identified within the City’s Mixed-Use nodes through
Guelph’s Urban Design Concept Plans, which have been
endorsed by Council.
In addition to the specific built form standards identified
in this section, building design for Main Street Buildings
should follow guidance provided in the General
Standards for Commercial Buildings, as relevant.
39
Main Street Building with retail uses, street trees, and landscaping
adjacent to the sidewalk.
5.1 Building Massing, Scale &
Transitions
Standards:
5.1.1.
The front yard setback of Main Street Buildings
should be a minimum of 1.5 metres and a
maximum of 3 metres to create a streetoriented public realm. Up to 25% of the
building’s façade may be located at a setback
up to 6 metres to accommodate architectural
articulation, exterior patios and entrance
recesses.
5.2 Ground Floor & Street Edge
Design
Standards:
5.2.1.
Main Street Buildings are strongly encouraged
to include ground floor retail and service uses
(office uses should be limited and residential
uses should be provided primarily above
commercial uses) (OP Policy 9.4.2.6ii-iv). Spill
over retail, patios, seating, and other public
spaces at grade are encouraged, though may
be subject to an Encroachment Agreement.
5.2.2.
Include clear and transparent windows and/or
active entrances along ground floor façades.
Do not use highly reflective or mirrored glass.
5.2.3.
Create a rhythm and spacing of building
entrances and appropriately sized storefronts
to encourage pedestrian activity (OP Policy
9.4.2.6v).
Guelph Commercial Built Form Standards
5.2.4.
Encourage a consistent building streetwall
height along roads to create a comfortable
public realm.
5.2.5.
Ensure a rhythm and spacing of building
entrances and appropriately sized storefronts
to encourage pedestrian activity (OP Policy
9.4.2.6v). To achieve this, the maximum
distance between building entrances should
be 12 metres.
5.2.6.
Ensure surface parking areas are not located
between buildings and the street. On-street
parking spaces along the right-of-way may
be integrated for short to mid-term parking
where appropriate.
5.2.7.
Provide frequent spacing of bike racks in the
public right-of-way as part of the streetscape
design.
5.3 Articulation, Façade Design &
Materials
Standards:
5.3.1. Encourage the use of robust façade materials that
can accommodate higher levels of pedestrian
activity and use. Appropriate materials include
stone, brick, and clear, unobstructed glass.
40
6.0 Neighbourhood Scale Commercial
Buildings
Demonstration Plan: Neighbourhood Scale Commercial Site
41
The preceding diagram demonstrates an example
site plan that achieves the intent of the urban design
standards for a neighbourhood scale commercial site.
In this case, a multi-level residential building with
underground parking and ground-floor commercial uses
complements other retail and restaurant uses on the site.
Guelph Commercial Built Form Standards
42
Neighbourhood Scale Commercial Building with at-grade retail.
Introduction
Neighbourhood Scale Commercial Buildings provide
retail and service uses within a convenient walking
distance of residential areas. Uses within these buildings
should serve the daily needs of residents (OP, 9.4.4).
They are conducive to mixed use development with
commercial or retail uses on the ground floor. Sites
containing Neighbourhood Scale Commercial Buildings
should be designed to minimize the need to mitigate
noise to adjacent uses and should adhere to the City’s
Noise Control Guidelines (2018).
Building design for Neighbourhood Scale Commercial
Buildings should follow guidance provided in the General
Standards for Commercial Buildings, as relevant.
43
Neighbourhood Scale Commercial Building with at-grade retail,
street trees, shrubs, and walkways to the public sidewalk.
6.1 Building Massing, Scale &
Transitions
d. providing perimeter landscape buffering
incorporating a generously planted landscape
strip, berming and/or fencing to delineate
property boundaries and to screen the
commercial or employment use from the
adjacent use; and
Standards:
6.1.1.
Provide appropriate transitions between
Neighbourhood Scale Commercial Buildings and
adjacent residential, institutional and park uses
through architectural massing, landscaping, and
screening.
6.1.2.
Where a retrofit of a larger Neighbourhood Scale
Commercial Building site with large surface
parking lots is proposed, infill buildings facing the
street should be created where viable to create an
improved pedestrian realm.
6.1.3.
Where a commercial or mixed-use development
is located in proximity to residential and
institutional uses, the following urban
design strategies will be employed to ensure
compatibility:
a. using building massing and placement to
reduce the visual effects of flat roof lines, blank
façades or building height by means such
as appropriately stepping back, terracing or
setting back buildings;
b. appropriately locating noise-generating
activities within a building or structure and
away from sensitive receptors;
c. incorporating screening and noise attenuation
for roof-top mechanical equipment and other
noise generating activities situated in proximity
to sensitive receptors;
e. designing exterior lighting and signage to
prevent light spillage onto the adjacent
property (OP Policy 8.7.1). For further
information see the City’s Lighting Guidelines
for Lighting Plans.
6.2 Ground Floor & Street Edge
Design
Standards:
6.2.1.
Built form should address the public right-of-way.
6.2.2.
Active uses that will generate noise such as
restaurant patios should not be placed near
adjacent residential and institutional uses.
6.2.3.
The placement of patios to maximize their sun
exposure (e.g. south facing patios) and improve
pedestrian comfort is encouraged.
6.2.4.
Provide landscaping and trees along building and
site edges and throughout the site, as feasible.
6.3 Articulation, Façade Design &
Materials
Standards:
6.3.1
Guelph Commercial Built Form Standards
Building design should be compatible with the
architectural character of adjacent built areas (OP
Policy 9.4.4.10iii).
44
7.0 Vehicle Oriented Uses
Demonstration Plan: Vehicle Oriented Uses
45
The preceding diagram demonstrates an example
site plan that achieves the intent of the urban design
standards for a site with vehicle-oriented uses. In this
case, a drive-through restaurant, a car wash, and a retail
building attached to a fueling station are organized on a
site adjacent to both commercial and residential uses.
Guelph Commercial Built Form Standards
46
Examples of Vehicular Oriented Uses including a drive through (left, Foodtable Network) and a car wash (right, Fematics).
Introduction
Vehicle Oriented Uses facilitate the use and storage
of private automobiles (OP, 8.10), and include Service
Stations, Drive Through Facilities, and Car Dealerships.
In addition to the specific built form standards identified
below, the design of Vehicle Oriented Uses should
follow guidance provided in the General Standards for
Commercial Buildings, as relevant.
47
7.1 Building Massing, Scale &
Transitions
7.3 Articulation, Façade Design &
Materials
Standards:
Standards:
7.1.1.
7.3.1.
The façades of Vehicle Oriented Uses should
exhibit high quality design and materials and
complement the urban design and architectural
character of other buildings on the site and the
area.
7.3.2.
Where incorporated into mixed-use buildings
or a Large Commercial Site, the design of
Vehicle Oriented Uses should complement the
urban design and architectural character of the
predominant uses on the site.
7.3.3.
Signage for Vehicle Oriented Uses should be
integrated into the architectural and/or landscape
design of the site.
Provide appropriate transitions between
Vehicle Oriented Uses and adjacent residential,
institutional and park uses through architectural
massing, landscaping, and screening.
7.2 Ground Floor & Street Edge
Design
Standards:
7.2.1.
Ensure a clear separation of vehicular and
pedestrian traffic to ensure ease of use and safety
of movement for pedestrians (OP Policy 8.10.1iv).
7.2.2.
Buildings containing Vehicle Oriented Uses
should reinforce the street edge and contribute
to a high quality public realm and streetscape (OP
Policy 8.10.1.ii and iv).
7.2.3.
Ensure that pedestrian or active transportation
connections from public sidewalks to building
entrances do not cross drive-through facilities,
including stacking lanes.
7.2.4.
Where a pedestrian connection crosses a drivethrough facility within a site, the pedestrian
pathway should be clearly marked for drivers by
signage indicating a pedestrian crossing, and by
distinctive paving or treatment on the surface of
the pedestrian pathway in accordance with the
FADM.
7.2.5.
Ensure that Vehicle Oriented Uses do not impede
enjoyment of or access to adjacent outdoor
amenity areas, urban squares or open spaces.
Guelph Commercial Built Form Standards
48
Service Station fronted by landscaping treatment and with a direct
pedestrian connection from the public right-of-way (Google).
Service Station including commercial building and fueling area
covered by canopy (Summum Développement Immobilier).
7.4 Additional Standards for Service
Stations
7.4.4.
Lighting Plans will be required as part of a site
plan approval and should adhere to the City’s
Lighting Guidelines for Lighting Plans, including
specific guidelines for Service Stations.
7.4.5.
Service Stations shall be designed to:
A Service Station is a place related to the retail of
automotive fuel and other auto-related products. It does
not include automotive detailing and repair operation.
Standards:
7.4.1.
7.4.2.
7.4.3.
49
Minimize impacts of odour and noise by
establishing a minimum setback of 15 metres for
fuel station pump islands abutting residential,
institutional and park uses. In addition to the
minimum setback, further mitigation strategies
may be required to address these issues.
Weather protected canopies should be provided
over fueling areas of Service Stations.
The integration of the Service Station canopy
with the main building is encouraged.
a. reinforce the street edges by locating the
principal building at or near the street edge
with direct pedestrian access into the building
from the street edge;
b. ensure that the principal building does
not present a blank façade to the street by
appropriately incorporating elements such
as clear glazing, openings, and architectural
treatment, materials and detailing; and
c. address building massing, materials and scale
as well as issues specific to service station uses
including canopies, pumps and islands for gas
bars, ancillary buildings and structures, signage
and lighting (OP Policy 8.10.3ii,iii, and iv).
Landscaped buffer for stacking lane of Drive Through Facility (Cross 2 Design Group).
7.5 Additional Standards for Drive
Through Facilities
A Drive Through Facility dispenses products or services
through an attendant, a window, or an automated
machine to persons remaining in vehicles in a designated
stacking lane(s), which may or may not include an order
box and menu boards, but does not include a parking
facility. A Drive Through Facility includes the speaker
box, pick up window and corresponding stacking lane.
A more complete definition is included in Section 10.1.1
Implementation- Definition Updates. An automatic car
wash is a type of Drive Through Facility.
7.5.2.
A minimum setback of 15 metres is required
between Drive Through Facilities and residential,
institutional, and park uses, to minimize impacts
of noise, light and activity levels. In addition to the
minimum setback, further mitigation strategies
may be required to address these issues.
7.5.3.
A landscaping buffer of a minimum of 3 metres
in width should be provided between a stacking
lane and adjacent areas.
7.5.4.
Double stacking lanes are discouraged on
Commercial Building sites. Where unavoidable,
the combined double stacking lane should be
bordered by a high quality landscaping buffer
3 metres in width on both sides, as a separation
between the stacking lanes and adjacent areas.
7.5.5.
Ensure that accessible parking and circulatory
routes are not interrupted by Drive Through
Facility stacking lanes.
Standards:
7.5.1.
Locate stacking and drive-through lanes in rear or
side yards and away from intersections. Stacking
and drive-through lanes shall not be located
between the building and the fronting street to
minimize the impact on pedestrians (OP Policy
8.10.2i).
Guelph Commercial Built Form Standards
50
Car Dealership with landscaping and pedestrian walkway (Ciocca).
7.5.6.
7.5.7.
7.5.8.
51
Car washes should be set back a minimum
of 15 metres when adjacent to a residential,
institutional or park use. In addition to the
minimum setback, further mitigation strategies
may be required to address these issues.
Car wash stacking lanes should be set back
from public street frontages and intersections
to prevent conflicts between the circulation of
vehicles, and people walking or cycling.
Where a car wash is permitted as part of a service
station, the car wash building will be oriented
away from the street edge while still maintaining
appropriate setbacks, landscaping and allowing
for adequate automobile queuing (OP Policy
8.10.3v).
7.6 Additional Standards for Car
Dealerships
A Car Dealership is a retail establishment that sells
vehicles. The provision of automotive maintenance
services is often included in Car Dealerships.
Standards:
7.6.1.
Car Dealerships should incorporate landscaping
along the principal building entrance.
7.6.2.
Car Dealerships should provide barrier free access
into primary building entrances.
7.6.3.
The retail display of vehicles along the primary
building frontage is permitted between
landscaping buffer and the building face.
Street-related Car Dealership with significant façade glazing,
adjacent to street trees and public sidewalk (Google).
7.6.4.
Downward facing building and site lighting is
required for Car Dealerships to minimize light
pollution on adjacent properties. Lighting Plans
will be required as part of a site plan approval
are to adhere to the City’s Lighting Guidelines for
Lighting Plans including specific guidelines for
Car Dealerships.
7.6.5.
Automotive repair facilities associated with Car
Dealerships should be set back a minimum of 15
metres from adjacent residential, institutional,
and park uses to minimize odour and noise
impacts. In addition to the minimum setback,
further mitigation strategies may be required to
address these issues.
Guelph Commercial Built Form Standards
52
8.0 Mixed Use Buildings
Demonstration Plan: Mixed Use Buildings
53
The preceding diagram demonstrates an example
site plan that achieves the intent of the urban design
standards for a mixed-use site. In this case, a multi-level
residential building with underground parking and
ground-floor commercial uses complements other retail,
office, and restaurant uses on the site. A grade change
across the site is reconciled through a stepped ground
floor on the mixed-use building.
Site Section of Mixed Use site with elevation change (not to scale)
Guelph Commercial Built Form Standards
54
Mid-rise mixed-use building with commercial uses at grade
(Westbrook Properties).
Mid-rise mixed-use building with commercial uses at grade.
Introduction
The design of mixed-use buildings and sites should
follow general guidance provided in Site Organization
& Design and the General Standards for Commercial
Buildings, as relevant; guidance from the Built Form
Standards for Mid-Rise Buildings and Townhouses
should also be followed where residential uses are being
proposed as part of the development.
Mixed-use buildings contain more than one use and may
include retail, service, office and residential uses either
horizontally or vertically within one building. Mixed-use
buildings should contribute to pedestrian oriented and
transit supportive communities (OP, 9.4d).
55
Guelph Commercial Built Form Standards
56
9.0 Large Commercial Sites
Demonstration Plan: Large Commercial Site
57
The preceding diagram demonstrates an example
site plan that achieves the intent of the urban design
standards for a large commercial site. In this case, a
large grocery store is located at the rear of the site
with remaining buildings located at the street edge.
Pedestrian and cyclist access is prioritized through a
connected network of pathways.
Guelph Commercial Built Form Standards
58
Large Commercial Site with comprehensive internal street network,
landscaping, and complementary building massing and design
(City Centre).
An internal commercial street on a Large Commercial Site with
retail buildings, a pedestrian boulevard, and public realm amenities
(Arie Macherie).
Introduction
In addition to the specific built form and site design
standards identified below, the design of Large
Commercial Sites should follow the general guidance
provided in Site Organization & Design and General
Standards for Commercial Buildings, as relevant.
Large Commercial Sites face complex issues due to
considerations required for both site and building
design on a larger scale. These sites have to consider
the interface with the public street and its relationship
to internal site configuration. These sites should be
designed as a cohesive development, and consider
how site design, building design, landscaping and
connections work together on the site and how they fit
into the adjacent context.
Large Commercial Sites have the capacity to
accommodate more than one building on a site and
typically contain a mix of buildings fronting the public
right-of-way and/or internal roads. These sites may
be part of a new development or may involve the
redevelopment of existing lands. Large Commercial
Sites may also contain Main Streets as shown in the
Urban Design Concept Plans. The City will identify Large
Commercial Sites on a site by site basis to determine
whether the Standards for Large Commercial Sites are
applicable to a given site.
59
9.1 Site Organization & Design
9.1.3.
Private roads and internal driveways required
for site circulation shall be designed to be
comfortable for pedestrians, cyclists and
vehicles. They should be physically defined by
raised curbs and, where appropriate, landscaped
where they intersect with a parking area or
driveway. Internal driveways or roads will be
used to divide large sites into a grid of blocks
and roadways to facilitate safe pedestrian and
vehicular movement. Internal driveways will
be designed to interconnect with adjacent
properties to create an overall cohesive and
integrated circulation network (OP Policy 8.13.3).
9.1.4.
Shared driveways are encouraged to reduce
access points and reduce conflicts with
pedestrians (OP Policy 8.13.1). Consolidate
vehicular site access points to optimize curb cuts
and minimize the interruption of the boulevard
for pedestrians, cyclists, landscaping, and
furnishings.
9.1.5.
Well-articulated and distinct pedestrian
walkways should be placed along a building
street frontage and linked to public boulevards,
public sidewalks, transit stops, trail systems and
other pedestrian systems (OP Policy 8.13.4).
9.1.6.
Major driveway entrances to Large Commercial
Sites should be defined by landscaping on either
side of the driveway and/or by landscaped
medians (OP Policy 8.13.2).
Standards:
9.1.1.
9.1.2.
Site design for Large Commercial Sites should
consider how the siting of buildings, internal
roads and open spaces can be used to solve
grading issues and transitions across a site
and to the public right-of-way to ensure site
accessibility. Breaking down a large site into
smaller sections, particularly where there are
varied topographical changes on a site, will
minimize the need for elements like retaining
walls, and stairs, and contribute to overall site
accessibility.
Large Commercial Sites shall extend, establish
or reinforce a modified grid-like street network
that connects with the existing urban fabric of
streets, open spaces and developed areas; is
highly interconnected; and responds sensitively
to natural or other established features (OP
Policy 8.2.3i, ii, and iii). Utilities and other
services should be aligned with the established
block structure. A grid street network will
help facilitate further development and
redevelopment over time.
Guelph Commercial Built Form Standards
60
9.2 Building Massing, Scale &
Transitions
9.3.4.
When adjacent to a public street, buildings
should be oriented towards the street and
ground floors should contain active uses at
grade such as cafes, restaurants, boutiques,
offices and waiting areas.
9.3.5.
Primary building frontages should incorporate
pedestrian amenities including landscaping,
display windows, seating, and pedestrian-scaled
lighting.
9.3.6.
Use clear and transparent windows and/or
active entrances along ground floor façades to
promote visibility between indoor and outdoor
uses. Do not use highly reflective or mirrored
glass.
9.3.7.
Where multiple buildings on a site are proposed,
buildings adjacent to the public right-of-way
should create a consistent streetwall.
Standards:
9.2.1.
Large Commercial Sites should create
appropriate building transitions between
different buildings on a site, as well as transition
appropriately to adjacent uses.
9.3 Ground Floor & Street Edge
Design
Standards:
9.3.1.
Prioritize safe pedestrian and cyclist connections
from the public right-of-way to primary building
entrances, and throughout the site.
9.3.2.
New buildings on Large Commercial Sites
should have appropriate setbacks from the
front property line to define the street edge and
provide adequate space for pedestrians, cyclists
and boulevard landscaping.
9.3.3.
61
Intersections of major streets shall be
emphasized by placing buildings in close
proximity to the intersection and ensuring
that building entrances are visible from that
intersection (OP Policy 8.6.6). Corner sites may
include building setbacks at strategic locations
to provide outdoor seating and plaza areas for
pedestrians while keeping in mind sight line
safety requirements.
9.4 Articulation, Façade Design &
Materials
Standards:
9.4.1.
Where multiple buildings on a site are
proposed, complementary building design and
materials should be used to create a cohesive
development.
9.4.2.
Design building façades to express individual
businesses through building elevation, recesses
and projections, entrances, signs and canopies.
9.5 Site Evolution
Where Large Commercial Sites will be built out in distinct
phases over time, a Phasing Plan should also be included
as part of a complete planning application. A Phasing
Plan identifies each phase and its expected timeline
(if known), and illustrates how the overall site’s state,
at the completion of each phase, meets the guidelines
or objectives contained in this document. The Phasing
Plan should include the replacement of, or addition of,
buildings, road and pedestrian networks, parking, and
open spaces. The Phasing Plan should include 2D plans
and a written description of the changes as part of each
subsequent phase of development.
A Phasing Plan will be required to demonstrate the
following for each phase of development:

A cohesive urban design concept for the project;

Thoughtful building and site design that is
compatible with adjacent surroundings;

Connected existing and new private roads with
the public street grid;

Strategic design of private internal roads so they
may evolve into public rights-of-way;

Logical, safe and efficient connections for people
walking, cycling, driving through the site;

Direct connections from the site to adjacent
public transportation such as bus stops;

Coordination of high quality landscaping
treatments within and on the periphery of the
site in interim phases and the final phase; and

Coordination of site utilities.
Guelph Commercial Built Form Standards
The creation of a Phasing Plan will ensure a shared
vision is reached for the site at all phases of completion,
between the applicant, the City, and other relevant
parties during the development application process.
Standards:
9.5.1.
As the retail landscape continues to evolve,
some Large Commercial Sites currently
containing large format commercial retail
buildings or retail malls may become candidates
for intensification and redevelopment with the
introduction of new mixed-use buildings. Full
redevelopment of these sites may occur over
several decades and require multiple phases of
development. A Phasing Plan will be required
where existing Large Commercial Sites will
evolve in phases over an extended period of
time.
62
Demonstration Plan: Phased Evolution of a Large Commercial Site
The following diagrams demonstrate an example
site plan that achieves the intent of the urban design
guidelines for the phased evolution of a Large
Commercial Site. In this case, through three phases, a
large-format retail site is transformed into a walkable,
mixed-use complete community.
63

The single-use retail site is transformed over
time into a walkable, mixed-use complete
community with diverse housing, working,
shopping, recreation, and civic uses, and a
network of green open spaces

A regular street network grid and connected
pedestrian routes are established throughout
the site and connected to existing and
planned circulation routes

Development parcel dimensions are based
on walkable, pedestrian-scaled blocks

Higher density and higher intensity
developments including employment uses
are located in proximity to public transit
stops, usually along arterial roads
Guelph Commercial Built Form Standards
64
10.0 Implementation
Introduction
The implementation of the Commercial Built Form
Standards can be addressed through identifying changes
to technical requirements including the City’s Zoning
By-Law, and by creating a framework for the review of the
Standards that is coordinated with changes to relevant
municipal policies and guidelines and feedback from the
Community.
Proposed Definition: The definition for Drive Through
Facility should match that identified in the City of
Guelph’s Downtown Zoning By-Law (2017)-20187, which
states: “Drive Through Facility” means a Place Used
to provide or dispense products or services through
an attendant, a window, or an automated machine to
persons remaining in Vehicles in a designated stacking
lane(s), which may or may not include an order box and
menu boards, but does not include a Parking Facility.
10.1 Zoning By-Law Updates
2. Landscaped Open Space
The City of Guelph is currently undergoing a review
of the existing Zoning By-Law (1995)-14864 as
part of its Comprehensive Zoning By-Law Review.
Recommendations within the Commercial Built Form
Standards will inform changes to existing zoning, but
may be implemented incrementally after further studies
or after modifications to the review and approvals
process.
Current Definition in Zoning By-Law (1995)-14864:
“Landscaped Open Space” means the area of a Lot which
is at grade and Used for the growth and maintenance of
grass, flowers, trees, shrubbery, natural vegetation and
indigenous species and other landscaping and includes
any buffer strip, surfaced walk, surface patio, swimming
pool or similar area, but does not include any access
Driveway, ramp, Parking Area or any open space beneath,
above or within any Building or Structure.
The standards identified in this document do not
supersede the regulations of the existing or future
Zoning By-Law.
10.1.1 Definition Updates
The following definitions reflect terminology used to
inform the recommendations within the Commercial
Built Form Standards. The introduction of new
terminology and updates to existing terminology should
be considered as part of the City’s Comprehensive
Zoning By-Law Review.
1. Drive Through Facility
Current Definition in Zoning By-Law (1995)-14864:
There is currently no definition for Drive Through Facility
within Zoning By-Law (1995)-14864.
65
Proposed Definition: “Landscaped Open Space” means
the area of a Lot Used for the growth and maintenance
of grass, flowers, trees, shrubbery, natural vegetation
and native species and other landscaping and includes
any buffer strip, surfaced walk, surface patio, green roof,
swimming pool or similar area, but does not include any
access Driveway, ramp, Parking Area or any open space
beneath or within any Building or Structure. “Landscaped
Open Space” must contribute towards stormwater
management, tree canopy cover, and biodiversity.
3. Green Roof

Where buildings cannot be accommodated
adjacent to a street, a 3 metre landscape buffer
strip adjacent to the street line should be
required for all commercial zones where the
buildings are not located within 6 metres of the
street line.

No parking space should be permitted closer
than 3 metres to any lot line.

Identify a minimum width of 3 metres for the
required buffer strip between commercial uses
and residential, institutional, park, wetland or
urban reserve uses.

On sites where the outdoor sale and display of
large items in the front yard is permitted, outdoor
sales and display areas may be located within 21
metres of the property line abutting the street,
and the front yard setback may be increased to a
maximum of 21 metres.
Current Definition in Zoning By-Law (1995)-14864:
There is currently no definition for a Green Roof within
Zoning By-Law (1995)-14864.
Proposed Definition: A “Green Roof” means an extension
of an above grade roof on top of a building structure,
which allows vegetation to grow on top. Green Roofs may
act as a Common Amenity Area while also providing a
stormwater function and other environmental benefits.
10.1.2 Regulation Updates
Future changes to the City’s Zoning By-Law through
the Comprehensive Zoning By-Law Review should
incorporate relevant direction from the Commercial
Built Form Standards. The following recommendations
for commercial uses should be reviewed as part of the
review of Zoning By-Law (1995)-14864:
Site Design


Permit up to a maximum of 30% of the area
developed as a green roof, blue roof, or
combination of both, to be applied towards the
landscape open space requirements on each site.
Prohibit surface parking within 15 metres of the
corner lot line of all intersections in commercial
zones.

Limit surface parking to the side and rear yards in
commercial zones.

Limit surface parking to a maximum 25 percent
of the length of the exterior lot lines adjacent to
arterial roads for commercial zones.
Guelph Commercial Built Form Standards
Building Design

Restrict the ground floor area of mixed-use
buildings to non-residential uses, except for
lobbies and other similar residential uses that
must be located on the ground level.

Apply a 45 degree angular plane to all
commercial zones where the side or rear lot
lines are adjacent to low and medium density
residential designations. Where there is a
transition between medium density residential
and a Commercial Building, it is recommended
that the 45 degree angular plane be measured
from 10.5 metres above the average elevation at
the required minimum setback.
66

67
Limit Commercial Building lengths to 75 metres
for buildings that are located within 15 metres of
the front or exterior side lot lines. This will allow
for larger Commercial Buildings to be located on
the interior of the site.
Vehicle Oriented Uses

Where permitted, Drive Through Facilities should
be set back a minimum of 15 metres from lands
zoned to permit residential, institutional and park
uses.

Lanes of Drive Through Facilities should be
prohibited from locating in front or exterior side
yards.

Establish a minimum height of 7.5 metres for
buildings that are located within 15 metres of the
front or exterior side lot line adjacent to arterial
and collector roads and Main Streets.

Where commercial uses abut an arterial or
collector road, a minimum of 40% of the surface
area of the first Storey façade measured from
the Finished Grade up to a height of 4.5 metres,
should be comprised of a Transparent Window
and/or Active Entrances.

Drive Through Facility stacking lanes should
be prohibited from being located between a
building and the public right-of-way.

A setback of 15 metres should be required for
fuel station pump islands from properties zoned
to permit residential, institutional and park uses.

Establish a minimum front and exterior side yard
setback of 3 metres.


In certain locations (to be determined by staff ),
establish a minimum front and exterior side yard
setback of 6 metres to accommodate additional
landscaping.
Car washes should be set back 15 metres from
lands zoned to permit residential, institutional,
and park uses.

The minimum first storey height of a commercial
building should be 4.5 metres.
10.2 Next Steps
10.2.1 Review and Consultation
This document should be reviewed every five years and
updated in coordination with the City’s Official Plan
and Zoning By-Law. During this time, updates to the
Commercial Built Form Standards should be informed by
meaningful public consultation occurring throughout
several points in the review process.
The document should be subject to City review, and staff
should maintain an ongoing file that records deviations
from the Commercial Built Form Standards and Zoning
By-Law for proposed and approved development. This
information should be used to inform the five year
review.
10.2.2 Urban Design Awards
As recommended in the City’s Urban Design Action Plan,
the City should consider implementing city-wide urban
design awards that specifically recognize successful
commercial projects that uphold the key standards of
the Commercial Built Form Standards and Official Plan
policy. This will allow for increased public awareness
about the importance of the City’s policy framework, and
provide clear examples of how the standards should be
implemented.
In addition to the five year review, the City should
provide regular community updates (e.g. set at a three
year interval) to discuss the status of the Commercial
Built Form Standards, including successes and challenges
experienced since their implementation.
Guelph Commercial Built Form Standards
68
11.0 Glossary
Blue Roof: A low impact development roof design
strategy where stormwater is detained and then slowly
released over time through the use of flow control
devices or structures.1
Façade Articulation: The design of the building façade
or face which may include the use of specific materials,
colour palettes and design elements such as doors,
windows, and canopies.
Ground Floor Design: The relationship of building uses
along the public street. The relationship between built
form and the street should contribute to a vibrant public
realm through appropriate ground floor uses and public
amenities. Also called street edge design.
Large Commercial Site: A Large Commercial Site can
typically accommodate more than one building on a
site and a mix of buildings fronting the public right-ofway and/or internal streets. These sites may be part of a
new development or may involve the redevelopment of
existing lands.
Low-Rise Building: A building up to four storeys in
height.
Main Street Buildings: A type of multi-storey
Commercial Building fronting a street, which typically
contain retail or service uses on the ground floor. Office,
service, or residential uses may be located on upper
building levels. Main Street Buildings should contribute
to a safe and vibrant public realm and should encourage
alternative modes of transportation, including walking,
cycling and public transportation.
Massing: The combined effect of the bulk, height and
shape of a building.
1
Sustainable Technologies Evaluation Program, https://
sustainabletechnologies.ca/home/urban-runoff-greeninfrastructure/low-impact-development/blue-roofs/
69
Mid-Rise Building: A building between four and six
storeys in height.
Scale: Relative size of a building as perceived by
pedestrians, which is a product of multiple factors
including size, height, bulk, massing, material use and
context.
Servicing Area: A space provided within or outside of a
building for building-related services and utilities such
as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment,
electrical equipment, ducts, pipes, conduits, etc.
Site Organization: Relates to the location and
organization of components on a site, including
buildings, parking, access and circulation, storage and
loading, and landscaping. Site organization contributes
to the overall function of the site and its integration with
the surrounding community.
Streetwall: The streetwall is the condition of enclosure
along a street created by the fronts of buildings, and
enhanced by the continuity and height of the lower
façades. Upper levels, when set back, have less impact
on the streetwall. A consistent streetwall to maintains a
comfortable, pedestrian-scale enclosure in proportion to
the right-of-way width.
Tall Building: A building above six storeys in height.
Transitions: The relationship of a building to adjacent
land uses to ensure appropriate access to light, view and
privacy. This may be done through considerations given
to building orientation, setbacks, stepbacks, angular
plane, relationship to grade, and land uses.
Vehicle Oriented Uses: A type of Commercial
Building that facilitates the use and storage of private
automobiles, and include Service Stations, Drive Through
Facilities, and Car Dealerships.
White Roof: A roof painted with solar reflective white
coating to reflect sunlight. They minimize the amount of
heat that is absorbed through exposed roof surfaces of
buildings to reduce cooling costs and save energy.2
2
White Roof Project, http://www.whiteroofproject.org/faq
Guelph Commercial Built Form Standards
70
Built Form Standards for Mid-Rise
Buildings and Townhouses
April 2018
Contents
Built Form Standards for Mid-Rise Buildings and Townhouses:
1.0 Introduction
4
2.0 Background Review
7
3.0 Purpose of this Document
9
4.0 Context Considerations
11
4.1 Nodes and Corridors
11
4.2 Infill and Greenfield Sites
12
4.3 Planned Street Function and Design
13
5.0 Meeting the Standards
15
5.1 Approval Processes and Submission
Considerations
15
5.2 Large Site Development
17
6.0 Site Organization & Design
18
6.1 Sustainable Site Design
22
6.2 Parking, Access, Circulation and Loading
23
6.3 Common Amenity Area
28
6.4 Landscaped Open Space
31
6.5 Tree Planting
34
6.6 Mid-Block Connections
36
6.7 Lighting
37
6.8 Rooftop Mechanical and
Mechanical Systems
38
6.9 Utilities and Solid Waste
39
7.0 Mid-Rise Buildings
40
7.1 Building Massing, Scale and Transitions
41
7.2 Ground Floor and Street Edge Design
44
7.3 Articulation, Facade Design and Materials
46
8.0 Townhouses
47
8.1 Building Massing, Scale and Transitions
49
8.2 Ground Floor and Street Edge Design
51
8.3 Articulation, Facade Design and Materials
53
9.0 Implementation
54
9.1 Zoning By-Law Updates
54
9.2 Urban Design Briefs
60
9.3 Next Steps
60
Volume 3C | Built Form Standards for Mid-Rise Buildings and Townhouses
1.0 Introduction
These Built Form Standards…
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