Planning Services

Planning Services

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I get involved in the Planning process?

The planning process in Ontario makes room for public opinion and input.  In fact, municipalities in Ontario are required to seek public input before making important planning decisions. This is accomplished by notifying members of the public about development proposals, holding public meetings and having staff available for direct discussions with the public. If you are interested in participating, concerned about a particular planning issue or just wish to know more about the planning for your community, contact your local municipal office.

How do I find out the Zoning for my property?

Both Planning Services and Building Services will assist the public in determining the zoning requirements for a specific property by:

  • Providing a copy of the applicable Zoning By-law for the public's review
  • Assisting the public in determining which zoning map applies to the property in question;
  • Identifying if a site specific amendment has been passed by Town Council for the property identified by the public;
  • Briefly identifying the sections and schedules of the Zoning By-law that may be applicable to the property in question; and
  • Providing extracts of requested portions of the zoning by-law (NOTE: a fee may apply).

Staff cannot provide verbal comments with respect to Zoning By-law compliance or conduct an in-depth review of a "walk-in" request.  General zoning information assistance provided by staff should not be construed as being conclusive.  It is the public's responsibility to satisfy themselves if a property, or a proposal for a property, is in compliance with the applicable Zoning by-law.  Any and all assistance and/or information provided by Staff is solely for the individual's convenience and should not be used in any decision-making involving that individual's affairs.

For detailed Zoning By-law information or application, a written request for information along with the requisite fee (see Request For Information Form) will need to be submitted to the Town.  It should be noted that the Town's customary turnaround time for written responses for information is (5) five business days.

How are development applications approved?

All applications submitted to Planning Services are reviewed within a standardized framework.  An application is circulated to various agencies and reviewed by municipal planners and engineers, public and separate school boards and other agencies to ensure conformity to the Official Plan and Provincial Guidelines and Policies.  Local utility companies, such as natural gas and electric companies also review it.  Planning Staff prepares a report, which contains all the information related to the project and the feedback/input from other agencies.  The staff report includes a recommendation for approval/denial, which is submitted to the Planning & Building Services Committee, before proceeding to Council for decision.

What is an Official Plan Amendment?

Sometimes it is necessary to amend the Official Plan to provide more desirable policies or a land use designation for certain lands, which was not anticipated when the Plan was prepared.  The owner of a property, or the person authorized by the owner to act on his or her behalf, can make an application to amend the Official Plan.  Official Plan Amendments may be complicated and the changes proposed may affect the Town's future policies and directions.  In some cases the Plan requires that specific studies and assessments be made before Council considers adopting the changes and submitting the Official Plan Amendment to the County of Grey for approval.  Before making an application, all applicants shall pre-consult with Planning Services Staff to determine what information is required.

What is an amendment to the Zoning By-law?

An amendment to the Zoning By-law is known as rezoning.  The main reason for rezoning is that the existing zone does not permit a specific use on the property.  Planners in Planning Services can discuss with you your proposal.  An application to change the use of the land is made to the Planning & Building Department and is brought forward to the Planning & Building Services for consideration of the rezoning application with a recommendation to Council.  The decision to approve or reject an application is made by Council after considering the recommendations of Planning Services and opinions expressed by the public.  Formal zoning approval is granted by a specific amendment to the Zoning By-law.

What is Site Plan Control?

Site Plan Control is a type of development control in addition to zoning that is utilized for development in the Town.  Council or their delegated Planning Official approves site plans and elevation drawings for the development prior to the issuance of a building permit.  It allows the municipality to control development details.  A Site Plan Control agreement ensures that the development is built and maintained as approved, new developments meet certain standards of quality and appearance, there is safe and easy access for pedestrians and vehicles, there is adequate landscaping, parking and drainage, and nearby properties are protected from nuisances and lose of amenity.  Prior to filing an application, applicants are required to meet with both Planning Services and Building Services Staff to discuss the Site Plan Control process, details of the development proposal, and standards, requirements/conditions of site plan approval.

Why is there an "H" before the zoning code of my property?

The "H" is commonly known as a holding provision, which allows future uses for the property but delays development until specific conditions have been completed by the landowner.  These conditions may include completion of municipal services, such as roads and sewers.  When development is ready to occur and all conditions for removal of the "H" are satisfied, the holding symbol "H" can be removed by an amending by-law adopted by Council.

How to remove the "H" symbol?

The applicant for "H" symbol removal is responsible for ensuring that all the necessary conditions for removal of the "H' symbol have been satisfied prior to completing and submitting an application form to the Planning & Building Services.  It is also the responsibility of the applicant to provide all the needed information and documentation, such as, an accurate legal description of the subject property, a copy of the deed for the lands in question, and, if required, a plan of survey.  Staff will consult with the relevant agencies/departments and Staff to ensure that the reason the holding provisions were established has been achieved or no longer applies.

How much can I expect to pay in application fees?

The fee schedules are reviewed on an annual basis and approved by Council.  The current fee schedules are available online and are subject to change.  It is recommended that you confirm application fees prior to submission of the application.

What if I don't agree with the Council decision?

Under the Planning Act, you can appeal a decision to the Ontario Municipal Board.  The Planning Act stipulates that you must set out land use planning grounds for the appeal, make an oral submission at the public meeting or make a written submission before the decision was made, and pay the Board's processing fee.

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