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Urban planning instruments

The Act respecting Land Use Planning and Development sets out three main urban planning tools for Montréal:

  • The Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal's Metropolitan Land Use Planning and Development Plan, to be adopted in 2005, will describe the strategic vision for cultural, economic, environmental and social development and will determine the overall aims of land development policy, along with general policies on land use. Montréal's Plan and urban planning by-laws must comply with the Metropolitan Land Use Planning and Development Plan.
  • The Master Plan is a planning and management tool adopted by City Council. It includes the planning and development goals of the City, land use and building density designations and the nature as well as the location of projected transportation infrastructure. It includes a complementary document, as well as Special Planning Programs (SPP).
  • The urban planning by-laws set the rules for issuing building and alteration permits. They are adopted by borough councils and must conform to the Master Plan. The main regulatory tool is the zoning by-law.

  • The other urban planning by-laws are:
    • By-laws governing site planning and architectural integration programs (SPAIP), comprehensive development programs (CDP) and individual projects;
    • Subdivision and building by-laws;
    • By-laws governing permits, minor exemptions and conditional uses.

The structure of the document

The Master Plan is divided into three parts. The first part covers issues that affect the City as a whole. The second presents documents that are specific to each of the 27 boroughs. The third is the complementary document.

Part I

The Master Plan's planning approach presents a comprehensive vision that leads to seven development goals. The second chapter fleshes out these goals and sets the resultant development objectives and implementation measures. The third chapter deals with the Plan's implementation, including monitoring, regulatory guidelines, municipal investment strategy and partners. Finally, the fourth chapter discusses areas of the City that will require further detailed planning after the Master Plan is adopted.

Part II

The second part of the Plan presents, for each of the 27 boroughs:

  • An overview of City-wide objectives;
  • An enlargement of the land use designation map;
  • An enlargement of the building density map;
  • An enlargement of the parks and green spaces map;
  • An enlargement of the built heritage map;
  • A list of heritage buildings in the borough.

The Master Plan can be modified at the initiative of a borough to add the following elements:

  • Specific planning and development goals to respond to local issues;
  • Treatment of local Detailed Planning Areas;
  • Regulatory guidelines specific to the borough;
  • The local action plan.

Part III

The third part of the Master Plan is the complementary document. It establishes the rules and criteria for the boroughs' urban planning by-laws. These rules and criteria emerge from Parts I and II of the Plan.

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