Planning

Land Use Planning

The purpose of land use planning is to manage our land and resources. As communities grow and develop, Planning Professionals work to ensure that communities are safe, functional, attractive, and economically sustainable. Land use planning considers and works to balance the broader interests of a community, from the rural outskirts to the urban downtown core. Land use planning is governed by the principles of good planning and by Provincial, upper-tier, and local policy. Land use planning processes are legislated by the Ontario Planning Act.

On a broad scale, the purpose of land use planning is to build complete communities with the social and physical infrastructure needed to support overall citizen health. More narrowly, planning regulates the siting and sizing of structures and land uses in order to achieve the larger goals of the community. Planning is aimed at building resilient, cohesive communities, while supporting the rights of landowners to mutual enjoyment of their properties.

Planning Act Applications

  • Minor Variance Application
  • Consent Application
  • Zoning By-Law Amendment Application
  • Site Plan Approval Application
  • Draft Plan of Subdivision/Condominium Application

Zoning

A Zoning By-law is a land use planning tool that regulates land uses within the Township. The current Zoning By-law was adopted by Township Council in 2015, and has had a number of housekeeping and site specific amendments since that time. The Zoning By-law sets out a number of general provisions and also establishes a series of zone categories that regulate permitted uses and site and building regulations. The Zoning By-law works to ensure mutual enjoyment of private property and to implement the land use vision of the County of Grey Official Plan.

Download the Township of Chatsworth Comprehensive Zoning By-law Text and Map Schedules

Committee of Adjustments

The Committee of Adjustment has a mandate to act as a quasi judicial body and hear applications for “Minor Variances” and “Consents”.

A Minor Variance occurs where a requirement of a Zoning By-law cannot be met (under Section 45 of the Planning Act). This includes applications, which deal with the enlargement or extension of a building or structure that is legally non-conforming, or for a change in non-conforming use.

A minor variance is a tool that can be used by landowners when the requirements of the Zoning By-law cannot be met for one reason or another. These reasons are an important part of what staff and Committee think about when reviewing an application. Minor variances are reviewed and decided upon by the Committee of Adjustment, a Committee appointed by Council for this purpose. An application may be approved, approved with conditions, or denied. Ultimately, all decisions are at the discretion of the Committee.

The Committee of Adjustment considers the merits of an application based on four tests:

  • That the variance conforms to the Township Official Plan;
  • That the variance conforms to the general intent and purpose of the Township Zoning By-law;
  • That the variance is minor in nature; and
  • That the variance is desirable for the appropriate development and use of the lands.

Each minor variance is considered on a site-by-site basis, and every application is unique. The process for a simple minor variance application typically take two to three months. This process includes a 20-day appeal period, which begins after the decision of Committee has been made. Like other Planning Act applications, minor variance decisions can be appealed to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal.

Consent is a term used to describe the municipal approval process required to subdivide land without the need for plan of subdivision. The creation of three new lots or less from any one parcel of land us typically done through a consent application. Consent applications considered through the Committee of Adjustment can deal with: new lot creation, easements, lot additions, transfers, leases, charges, and/or corrections of title.

Consents are reviewed and decided upon by the Committee of Adjustment. In the Township of Chatsworth, all of Council sits as the Committee. An application may be approved, approved with conditions, or denied. Ultimately, all decisions are at the discretion of the Committee. Each consent application (severance or lot line adjustment) is considered on a site-by-site basis, and every application is unique. The application and approvals process for a straightforward consent application typically take two to three months. This process includes a 20-day appeal period, which begins after notice of Committee’s decision has been given. Like other Planning Act applications, consent decisions can be appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board. If an application is approved, the applicant has one year to fulfill any conditions imposed by Committee.

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