Urban Design Guidelines for Stable Residential Communities

A series of design documents tailored to identified districts and specific land-uses in the town. 

Livable by Design Manual - Part B

Design Guidelines for Stable Residential Communities was endorsed by Planning and Development Council on Monday, April 29, 2013.

The design document provides guidance for new development consisting of a new detached dwelling on a vacant or newly created lot, a new detached dwelling replacing an existing detached dwelling, and significant additions and/or alterations to an existing dwelling.

The design guidelines shall be applied to new residential dwellings and additions which are subject to site plan control and/or Committee of Adjustment approvals for variances and/or consents, as permitted under the Planning Act. Referencing the guidelines is strongly encouraged for new development that does not require a planning approval prior to building permit issuance.

Design Guidelines For Stable Residential Communities 

Low-Density Residential Development in Stable Neighbourhoods: Terms of Reference and Work Program

About this project

The objective of the project was to identify, understand and assess issues related to current development in Oakville’s stable residential neighbourhoods and to develop a design-based document to guide decision making related to assessing compatibility in these communities.

The scope of the design guidelines refers to the development of new dwellings and additions/significant modifications to existing residential buildings located in stable residential neighbourhoods (south of Dundas Street) in Oakville.


The Town of Oakville’s new Official Plan, the Livable Oakville Plan, presents a design-based framework for creating a livable community with guiding principles and comprehensive policy direction that balances preserving and enhancing residential neighbourhoods with focusing intensification to identified ‘growth area’ locations.

Section 11.1.9 of the Livable Oakville Plan advocates for the preservation, enhancement, and protection of the distinct character, cultural heritage, living environment and sense of community of neighbourhoods by establishing evaluation criteria for assessing development within all stable residential communities. To implement this section of the Plan, staff created a design guidance document to further illustrate how to apply the evaluation criteria to new development proposals that will assist in achieving compatibility within the existing neighbourhood context.

This project is a component part of the new urban design manual, Livable by Design, and the research has informed the inZone project, both of which are key initiatives of Vision 2057 strategic direction.


Consultation provided the opportunity for staff to provide information on the initial study findings, intended applicability, and desired outcomes, and to provide opportunities for various stakeholder groups to offer feedback on the content of the design document.

Staff offered opportunities to consult with the following stakeholder groups:

  • homebuilder association(s) and other independent builders which have completed projects in Oakville,
  • architects and consultants associated with low-density residential development which have completed projects in Oakville,
  • representatives from resident associations and other agencies, and
  • residential property owners and members of the public which have identified interest in the project

Draft design document materials were posted to the website for information purposes and to obtain feedback.