- Planning, Building & By-Law Enforcement
- 24 November 2014
- Super User
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Official Plans are municipalities' primary strategic documents for guiding land use and development.
Official Plans contain the goals and objectives of the community and establish policies to direct the form, location, nature and rate of growth and change over a set period of time – typically a 20 year planning horizon.
Official Plans have legal status, deriving their authority from the Planning Act of Ontario, and all municipal public works and by-laws must conform to the Plan.
An Official Plan is made up of text and maps.
The text portion of the Plan describes the goals, objectives and policies for various land uses (e.g. residential, commercial, industrial, institutional, environmental protection). The text also includes general development policies which relate to matters such as provision of water and sewer, transportation, heritage resources and the requirements for subdivision of land.
The maps identify the location and extent of the various land-use designations, environmental constraints, and other features such as the Niagara Escarpment Planning Area.
An Official Plan guides all of a Municipality's planning decisions.
- It's policies aim to achieve orderly growth and development
- It outlines a common vision for the future of the Municipality
- It provides direction in day-to-day decision making
- It establishes priorities on major issues
- It lets the public know what they can do with their property
- It helps to determine where infrastructure and services will go
- It provides a framework for other policies and regulations, such as Zoning By-laws.
The Official Plan provides general policy direction. Implementation of these policies is carried out by municipal by-laws, including the Municipal Zoning By-law, subdivision and site plan control; and, the Municipal Budget.
Official Plan Document & Schedules
Amending the Official Plan:
In some cases, an amendment to the Official Plan may be required or appropriate.
The Official Plan should only be amended when the policies of the Plan have been found not to address issues or alternatively, issues have been raised with respect to site specific proposals that must be addressed in a comprehensive manner.
A common reason for amending the plan is that the general nature of the Plan's policies may not recognize the potential, or limitations, of a particular property.
In reviewing an application to amend the Official Plan, Council will consider things like:
- The rational or basis for the change
- The direction provided by the Provincial Policy Statement
- The goals and objectives of the Official Plan
- The desirability and appropriateness of changing the plan
- The impacts the proposed change will have on the character of the area
- Conformity to the County of Grey Official Plan