Background on 2005 decisions 

Many Uptown residents are concerned that the next 25 storey building is going to be built next door, as the sites are randomly rezoned. That is not the case. Here’s how zoning sets the rules on where large buildings can go.

Waterloo is a growing city. Cities can either sprawl on to farmland or grow upward. We have reached our borders and so we must intensify our land use, per provincial requirements.

Back around 2005, an in-depth community consultation was held, and the decision was made to provide for vertical growth in the future along “nodes and corridors”. Corridors are our most-travelled roads, and nodes are busy intersections and the new LRT station areas.

In 2005, those properties were identified to accommodate large buildings in the coming decades, so that our core residential streets could remain. This zoning was affirmed in the Official Plan of 2012.

Today, we are now seeing this development, in the areas that were identified. And residential neighbourhoods remain preserved.

A map of all zoning is available on the city website however, in general terms in your area:

  • Residential areas are still zoned for 10 metre homes (e.g. 2 storey home + roof peak)
  • Erb Street, Park Street, Weber Street are zoned for 20m (6 storeys)
  • Westmount Road and John Street are still residential (10m)
  • Erb and Westmount is future node with zoning up to 81m (25 storeys)
  • Regina Street, behind King Street uptown, is 81m (25 storeys)

Detailed map

So why 25 storeys? That decision was made in 2005, and it allowed the city to limit the amount of land that was needed for growth. Prior to 2005, there actually was no height limit.

If that decision allowed only 12 storeys, the city would need to rezone twice as much land.

If that decision allowed only 6 storeys, the city would need to rezone four times as much land. Such a decision would have had major encroachment in residential areas.

City Staff and Council review every application in-depth, and use the tools available to us under the provincial planning act, in considering each new building.