Most construction requires a Building Permit, but a Building Permit cannot be issued if other Planning approvals are first required.
Site Plan Control Approval
All non-residential development (i.e. commercial, industrial, institutional) of any kind requires Site Plan Control Approval. This includes additions or expansions to existing non-residential uses.
All development within 100 m (300 ft) of a waterbody that is over 30 square metres in size (320 sq ft) requires Site Plan Control Approval. Site Plan Control is a tool the Township uses to review elements of proposed developments which are difficult to regulate through the Zoning By-Law. Issues such as site access, drainage, stormwater management, traffic patterns, road upgrades, and environmental issues are reviewed as part of this process. The Planning Advisory Committee generally meets two times per month depending upon demand. Applications must be received at least 20 days prior to the meeting.
Any development that cannot meet the regulations dictated by the Zoning By-Law (setbacks, lot coverage, etc.) requires a Minor Variance. The Minor Variance process is intended to be a mechanism to provide relief from the Zoning By-Law under certain circumstances. The most common Minor Variance request in the Township is the reduction of the 30 metre (100′) waterfront setback. Minor Variances are reviewed by the Committee of Adjustment which is a committee appointed by Council. There are four general criteria used to determine whether a Minor Variance should be granted:
- Does it conform with the intent of the Official Plan and Zoning By-Law;
- Does it represent the minimum relief necessary from the By-Law;
- Does the application represent a reasonable use of the property; and
- Is the request minor in nature.
It is recommended that prior to submission of an actual application that a Township planner be contacted to review the application or do a site inspection. In most cases, the planner will be able to provide some direction to an applicant as to whether an application will be supported by Staff.
If both Site Plan Control and Minor Variance approvals are required there is a Combined Minor Variance and Site Plan Control Application.
Zoning By-Law Amendment
Any use proposed that is not permitted by the Zoning By-Law requires a Zoning By-Law Amendment Application. Minor Variances can be applied for if one is seeking a minor reduction or relief from a quantitative aspect of the Zoning By-Law (i.e. Reduce the front yard setback from 7.5 m to 5m) but Zoning By-Law Amendments are necessary to allow uses not permitted, alter other non-quantitative aspects of the Zoning By-Law, or request major reductions from quantitative aspects of the Zoning By-Law. Zoning By-Law Amendments are reviewed by the Planning Advisory Committee of Council and approved by Council following a public meeting.
Official Plan Amendment
An Official Plan Amendment is required if a proposed development is not permitted by the Official Plan. The Township’s Official Plan was approved by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs in April, 2004. The Official Plan contains policies which are intended to guide public and private interests in such a way as to ensure the best form of development under the most desirable conditions. In addition, the Official Plan sets out guidelines for the preparation of municipal regulations which implement the Plan, establishes policies to govern both the division and development of land, and finally, identifies public actions which need to be taken to support private development. The Township and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs approve all amendments to the Official Plan. The Official Plan is required by the Planning Act to be reviewed at least every five years.
Unopened Road Allowances/Road Closing
Unopened road allowances can be stopped up, closed, and conveyed to adjacent property owners at the discretion of Council. A Road Allowance Closure Guidelines & Application is made which is reviewed first by the Planning Advisory Committee. The closing of an unopened road allowance requires notification in a newspaper, notice to neighbouring property owners, and a By-Law to be passed. Since this is Township property, the closed portion of the road allowance is typically required to be purchased from the Township at market value.