Chapter 4: Municipal Planning

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Practitioners most commonly encounter planning at a municipal level when inquiring about zoning restrictions, permitted land uses, minor variances, building permits and related topics.

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Chapter 4: Questions Students should know! Describe the division of responsibilities and jurisdictional controls regarding planning and development in Ontario. Discuss the purpose and structure of the Planning Act, as the focal legislative framework for planning within the province. Detail the role of provincial interests, upper and lower-tier municipalities, provincial policy statements and one window planner service in the planning process. Discuss the scope of duties performed by the Ontario Municipal Board. Identify and describe the role of municipalities including their spheres of influence and the impact of such spheres on listing and selling activities. Outline the purpose underlying an official plan and the approval process including official plan amendments. Describe the operation of a committee of adjustment with particular reference to minor variances and non-conforming uses. Identify major steps involved in land division applications for both land severances and plans of subdivision. PLANNING FUNDAMENTALS:Answers to certain questions requires a working knowledge of planning responsibilities, operational basics within the province, the names and functions of government organizations involved in planning and the scope of decisions made by such organizations.Levels of AuthorityFederal Government-selective involvement primary concerning airport facilities/land and ocean/fisheries (including Great Lakes and federal canal/waterways.Provincial Government-overall planning establishes planning policies while delegating many responsibilities to municipalities.Municipal Government-Responsibilties are set out in the Municipal Act 2001. Increasing authority has been granted to municipalities over the past decade.  Land planning governed by legislation at Fed/Prov/Mun levels Provincial government delegates various powers to municipalities under the Planning Act particularly regarding official plans & land use controls Municipal Act 2001-outlines Municipal responsibilities Provincial & Municipal Perspective The Planning Act provides statutory framework for orderly land development through Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing through the Provincial Policy Statement  The Planning Act also sets out specific Provincial Interest-specific premises & objectives set out under the Planning Act to guide various authorities in carrying out the planning process The Act permits selected agencies to make decisions on various matters such as patterns of land use, road networks, schools, recreational facilities and water supply Municipalities, empowered to enact local planning, are classified as either upper tier or lower tier, each having specific rights and responsibilities in the process Upper Tier Municipality-A regional, county, or district involved in planning-related activities Lower Tier-involved in planning Committee of Adjustments-granting minor variances to planning to grant consent and to control the continuance of non-conforming uses (a use that existed prior to the current zoning by laws) Ontario Municipal Board-involved in appeals of planning decisions & provides a public forum for resolving planning related disagreements Act permits selected agencies to make decisions on various matters including patterns of land use, road networks, schools, recreational facilities & water supply The Planning Act(Legislation)Includes various regulations, establishes the framework for an orderly planning system throughout Ontario & understands the Provincial & local planning rolesPart 1  Provincial AdministrationPart 2  Local Planning AdministrationPart 3  Official PlansPart 4  Community ImprovementsPart 5  Land Use Controls & Related AdminPart 6  Subdivision of LandPart 7  GeneralAdministration: Planning Act gives general administrative control to the Minister of Municipal Affairs & HousingThe Ministry also supports the objectives of the Planning Act by the extension of municipal planning throughout the province and the ongoing improvement of its quality. Activities involve aiding municipal governments in their planning procedures, the provision of research and technical advice, grants, training and education, and publication of manuals and planning information.The Planning Act also authorizes the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to issue policy statements on matters relating to municipal planning, mineral aggregate resources, flood plains, housing and wetlandsLocal PlanningPlanning Act: creation of local planning advisory committees, planning areas & the development of official plans. Planning involves two tier structure for municipalities1) Upper Tier: preparation, adoption and revision of the official plan & the process of dividing and developing land (region, County or district)2) Lower Tier: (municipality) preparation, adoption & revision of the official plan & the adoption of zoning by laws interim control by-laws and other by laws-Land/use matters handledProvincial InterestThe Planning Act sets out provincial interest in matters that the Minister, municipalities, local planning boards and OMB must be consistent with when carrying out their responsibilities. Section 2 of the Act highlights the following areas: Protection of the ecological system Conservation/management of natural resources Supply energy and conservation of energy/water  Provision/efficient use of communication, transportation, sewage and water services & waste management  Min waste & protection of public health & safety etc PROVINCIAL PERSPECTIVEProvincial Policy Statement: issued by the Minister of Municipal Affairs & Housing concerns land use planning issues of province wide interest contains major policy areas concerning the management of change, promotion of efficient, cost effective development and land use patterns that stimulate economic growth, while protecting the environment and public healthOfficials and approval bodies engage in the planning process must be consistent with provincial policy statement-they must align with specific policy provisions when planning responsibilitySection 3-Planning Act-sets out broad principles concerning the interplay of economic, environmental and social factors that come into play in the development of land Specific policies (P.S. overall principles) regarding efficient cost effective development of land, agriculture, mineral resources, natural heritage, water quality and quantity, cultural/archaeolgical resources and public health & safety  The currently Policy Statement Section 3 of Planning Act, March 1, 2005 doc includes 5 parts Provincial Policy StatementPart 1 PreamblePart 2 Legislative AuthorityPart 3 How to Read Provincial Policy StatementPart 4 Vision of Ontario's Land Use PlanningPart 5 PoliciesNew PRS includes-supporting long term planning for alternative and renewable energy sources including Wind Power-discourages urban sprawl across Ontario by supporting intensification in appropriate areas & efficient use of land and resources-Protection of Ontario's environment through enhance policy including protection of water resources consistent with recommendation of Walkerton Enquiry in advance of upcoming source water protection-development of affordable housing-Protect rural areasOne Window Planning Service Landowners encounter one window planning service when seeking approval for land use planning application being reviewed MMAH-Ministry is the approval body and provides single point of contact for Planning activities involving municipalities, planning boards, developers , builders and land owners decrease duplication-shorter approval times and better serve municipality  ONTARIO MUNICIPAL BOARD (APPEAL) municipal tribunal that operates like court of law  rules governed-natural justice & requirements as set out in the statutory powers procedures Act addresses concerns of inds, public organizations and corporations that object to decisions of various public authority  operates under the Ontario Municipal Board Act Scope of Duties: OMB hears applications & appeals on: Land use planning under the Planning Act & other legislatoin Financial issues related to development charges, land expropriation, municipal finances & other legislated financial areas Municipal issues as legislated under OMB Act Other issues assigned under OMB by provincial statute  Real Estate Purpose-relevant OMB activity focuses on objective to decisions made by local or regional councils, committee of adjustments & land division committeesSuch matters involve land use and planning issues ie.official plans, zoning by laws, minor variances subdivision plans and land severancesOMB Reform: Provincial government passed legislation to reform Ont's land use planning system & clarify the role of the OMB relating to such matters making board accessible and user friendly.  Legislation seeks to return OMB to its original function as an appeal body on local planning matters giving greater weight to local councils during appeal processMUNICIPAL PERSPECTIVESphere of Influence-10-municipal government have authority subject to certain limitations Public Utilities Waste Management Highways (public roads) transportation systems culture, parks, recreation & hertiage animals economic development parking structures (including fences & signs) Drainage & flooding control Official Plan is a planning document approved by the Minister of Municipal Affairs & Housing pursuant to the Planning Act containing: 1) Goals, objectives & policies concerning the management and direction of physical change with due regard to the effects such change has on social, economic & natural environment (2) A description of measures & procedures to attain these objectives & a description of such measures & procedures to inform the public & obtain views regarding amendments to the plan the official plan for a municipality is designed to provide a framework for future decisions making and to respond in an organized fashion to trends and influences currently experience within municipality or anticipated for the development Part 3 of the Planning Act-detail procedures for the development approval & adoption of official plans as well as determining needs for revision to such plans Regulation 198/96-sets out procedures for public meetings, notices for proposed official plans or plan amendments-10-15 years based on growth projections and need of community Official Plans-describe local, county or regional councils policies on how land in the community should be used-where new housing or commerical development located, infrastructure (roads, sewers, watermains) will be and what particular areas forecast for growth in the futureApproval-MMAH provincial approvalOfficial Plan Amendment-formal doc alters current official plan usually due to new situations in municipalityCommittee of Adjustments-appointed granting minor variances in keeping with planning principles and zoning by laws Municipal council or planning authority has authority, under Planning Act to grant consent regarding land severance 3 Functions of Committee: grant minor variances from the provisions of zoning by laws Control of any alteration to uses that does not conform to existing zoning by-laws, including enlargement Usually empowered to grant consent to sever Minor Variances-small, insignificant variation concerning a particular property in relation to by-laws enforces within municipality, committee can authorize minor variancesNon-Conforming Use-powers of committee extend to non-conforming uses ie. enlargement/extension may be permitted to a non-conforming property provided that the use has continued from the passing of the by-law until the application to the committeeLand Division Application Two common land use applications made by landowners areas the subdividing of land Subdivision-the process of taking an ind. piece of land and separating it into parts regulated under subdivision control provisions of the Planning Act La Ontario-land divided applications 2 perspectives Land Severances (consent)-land divided by means of consent under Planning Act Subdivision Plans-a plan prepared in compliance with the PA to a local committee of adjustments councils of regions, counties, districts etc given limited power to grant consent over sever power of consent vested in committee of adjustments power is sometimes granted to a land division committee at the county or regional level MMHA-if neither exists-will grant consent  Registration involves 2 steps: drafting plan approval-inital step in subdivision process Final plan approval-final step Subdivision Control: Planning Act Compliance Authority to divide 200 acres in subdivision and part-lot controls section of the planning act-exercise control by preventing any transfer of a portion of land unless the owner has received permission Under Section 50 of the Act-a person is not allowed to sell land/lease to someone for more than 21 years unless Person conveying does not retain ownership abutting land Received consent to divide the land Land is within registered plan of subdivision Land sold/bought by crown, fed/prov/muni acquired for transmission under Ontario Energy Board Act Acquired to enforce flood plain control measures  Consent (Severance) Process land severance involves separation of land 2 adjoining properties PA provides appropriate authorities may give consent if satisfied that a plan of subdivision of land not necessary Drafting an Agreement of Purchase & Salea clause in the Purchase & Sale agreement OREA form 100 makes the entire agreement conditional upon the seller complying with the Planning Act and its provisions for subdivision control eg plans of subdivision and consentConsent Application-under the planning act sets out rules of procedures for consent applications-detailed info about the landApproval ProcessApproval Body-typically a committee of adjustments or a land division committee delegated by municipality  Notices concerning application must be made available-regulation 197/76, Part 1 under planning act. Notice must involve personal service or prepaid mail to land owners within area, posting signs clearly visible newspapers-must include a description of the proposal plan, a key map locating the property under proposal , additional info & statement concerning appeal and notification of a decision relating to the application Approval authority also requires that notices (including application) must be forwarded to various public bodies and other identified in the regulation  Approval authority publishes decisions and forwards documents to MMAH concerning consent Lapse of ConsentApproval authority exercises a time limit which consent can be exercised-2 years (LofC) from written notice unless stipulatedLand Division Committee-appointed by MMAH constituted by the council, county or a regional district municipality by way of by-laws for the purpose of granting consent, pursuant of the Planning Act These councils may delegate authority to a committee of the council, an appointed official, a land interest committee, or the council of lower tier municipality, which in turn can delegate to a committee of adjustments In everyday practices, most consents are reviewed and approval by either a land division committee or a committee of adjustments Upper and Lower Tier Perspective Upper Tier-may delegate consent authority granted by MMAH to a committee of council, an appointed official, a land division committee or to the council of a lower tier municipality Lower Tier Council-can, in turn deal with consent or can delegate the responsibility to a committee of that council, to an appointed official or to a committee of adjustments In practice, majority of consents in Ontario are granted by upper Tier Land Division Committee or LT. Committee of Adjustments most committees limit themselves to the creation of 2-3 parcels from the original land holding Plan of Subdivision Landowners seeking to divide land by way of a plan of subdivision require approval by appropriate authority Needs necessary application forms and associated documents provided by the applicable approval authority Subdivision-Draft Plans 1st official step by a developer in the planning process Developer creates a draft plan in consultation with engineers, solicitors, surveyors and planning consultants Content-planning act sets out requirements for a DP Boundaries wanting to subdivide Location, names of proposed highways or HW abutting the property Adjacent subdivisions and property in which the applicant has an %  Proposed use, dimensions and layouts of proposed lots and existing uses of adjoining lands Natural and artifical features (building) within or adjacent to the proposed subdivision Soil conditions and existing contours/elevations Existing or planned municipal services Nature & extent of restrictions affecting the land Approval Process typically upper tier municipality (region/district) te council of a city Owner applies to the approval body with a draft and plan  Notices concerning the application must be made public through personal services, prepaid mail to landowners within prescribed distance of land, posting signs, notice in newspapers, should include description of propsed plan a key map locating property, source of additional info. statements concerning an appeal and notification of decision Approval authority requires the notice forwarded to various public bodies and others identified in regulations A public meeting is required if proposal falls within municipality or in planning area of the planning board Upon completion of all requirements set out in he PA and regulations, the approval authority forwards its decision to the planning services branch of the MMAH  Legislation sets out appeals regarding the approval of the draft plan Subdivision-Final Draft Upon draft plan approval, person making application can proceed with the construction of roads, lots in accordance with the Surveys Act and Land Title Act conditions may be imposed that typically include requirement that land for park, roads and certain land abutting existing hwy's have been dedicated and require municipal agreements Final Plan increased-at that point, the plan of subdivision maybe tendered for registration in land office and must be registered at specific time period or else withdrawn Subdivision-Registered Plan final step-registration of plan-"registered plan of subdivision," not defined in PA but described as a plan prepared by an Ontario Land Surveyor showing lots, blocks or parcels of land intended to be dealt with separately and that such separation has been approved Plan must be registered at land registry office and compliance PA  Each plan is assigned a #-"M" subdivision A plan of Subdivision creates a new legal identity for the land  Must be identified by reference # or named units

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