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Planning

Planning DocumentsCartoon image of man reading zoning book

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The Planning Department is responsible for the development of the land use planning documents that guide growth and development within the Township. 

The Department is also responsible for the provision of information on the permitted uses for your property and the processing of planning applications submitted to the Township or development of properties within the Township.

Planning Related Forms:


 

Pre-consultation Mandatory for all Planning Act Applications

Selwyn Township Council passed By-law Number 2016-041 being a by-law to require mandatory pre-consultation with the Township of Selwyn before submitting applications for zoning by-law amendments and site plan approval.

What is Pre-consultation?

Prior to making an application for a Zoning By-law Amendment, or Site Plan Approval, a pre-consultation meeting with staff is mandatory.

Pre-consultation prior to the submission of a formal application can help ensure a complete application and provide opportunities for early feedback on the proposed development plan. 

It ensures that all relevant planning policies are identified early in the process, as well as ensuring that all the relevant agencies (i.e. ORCA, TSW, PCCHU) are at the table at the beginning of the development process.

It provides the Township with an opportunity to describe the development process and provide the potential applicant with a general idea of the costs and timelines associated with the application(s).  


The Township Official Plan

An Official Plan sets policies for guiding proper land use and development in the community. 

The Official Plan outlines where residential, industrial and commercial areas are contemplated.  Council undertakes the preparation of the Official Plan with input from the public, ministries and other agencies. 

When preparing the Official Plan, Council shall be consistent with the Provincial Policy Statement and the Peterborough County Official Plan.  

Official Plan Amendment No. 3 to the County of Peterborough Official Plan received Ministerial consent on October 22, 2008.  With the approval of OPA No. 3, the County Official Plan now functions as the lower tier Official Plan for the Township.  

Official Plan and Schedules:

Includes the following:

  • Official Plan Document
  • Township of Selwyn Land Use Plan (Rural)
  • Village of Lakefield Land Use Plan
  • Village of Bridgenorth Land Use Plan
  • Smith Ennismore Roads Plan (Rural)
  • Village of Lakefield Roads Plan
  • Village of Bridgenorth Roads Plan

Official Plan Amendments

If you want to use your property or develop it in a way that does not conform to the Official Plan, then an Official Plan Amendment may be necessary.

As the County of Peterboorugh functions as the lower tier Official Plan for the Township, an application for an Official Plan Amendment is submitted to the County of Peterborough.

For further information regarding the procedures for an Official Plan Amendment and a copy of an application, please refer to the County of Peterborough website.

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The Township Comprehensive Zoning By-law

A Zoning By-law is a legal document that regulates the use of land within the Township. The By-law determines among other things:

  • What each parcel of land can be used for.
  • Where and what types of buildings or structures may be located on the land.
  • The requirements of lot sizes, parking lots, building heights and setbacks.

The Zoning By-law must conform to the Official Plan of the Township. A copy is available for viewing in the documents below and at the Municipal Office.

Comprehensive Zoning By-law 2009-021, as amended 

Zoning By-law Amendments

The Official Plan outlines in a broad manner the land use and development guidelines within the Township. A Zoning By-law, on the other hand, outlines how a specific parcel of land may be used. Zoning By-laws also regulate lot size, parking requirements, building height and other site-specific factors.

If an applicant wishes to develop a property in a manner that deviates from the current zoning provisions, they must apply for a Zoning By-law Amendment; also referred to as a rezoning. For example, a change of use from residential to commercial would require a Zoning By-law Amendment. Township Council must approve any amendment to the Zoning By-law, which is subject to an appeal process.

Sometimes a property owner only wants to make a minor deviation to the Zoning By-law provision such as a building setback or height restriction requirements. Owners who want to have minor changes to the use of their property that differ only slightly from Zoning By-law provisions can instead apply to the Committee of Adjustment for what is known as a minor variance.  For example, a property owner planning an addition on to their house determines that with the addition there will only be a 6.5 meter rear yard. The Zoning By-law requires a rear yard depth of 7.5 meters. This is a minor deviation, and the owner could apply to the Committee of Adjustment for a minor variance that if approved would relax the rear yard requirement under the Zoning By-law and allow for the addition to proceed.

How to apply for a Zoning By-law Amendment? 

Before making an application, you should discuss your proposal with staff. 

The application should be submitted to the Bulding & Planning Department; together with the required fee and any other information that may be required to support the application (usually determined through pre-consultion with Tomwnship Staff). 

What Happens Next?

The application will be processed by staff who will circulate it to the required public bodies for comments, as well as to all property owners within 120 metres of the subject site. A sign will be installed on the property briefly describing the proposal.

Once all comments have been received, the Township will hold a Public Meeting as per the requirements of the Ontario Planning Act.  The Township Planner will prepare a report to Township Council with a recommendation to approve or refuse the rezoning application. You are encouraged to attend the Public Meeting to present your view.

If Council approves the proposed amendment, it will pass a by-law which will be circulated to give interested parties the chance to appeal. A 20-day appeal period is provided for, once notice of Adoption of the By-law has been given. If no appeals are received by the end of the appeal period, the amendment is in full force and effect.

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Site Plan Control

What is Site Plan Control?

Site plan control is a form of development control provided to municipalities by Ontario's Planning Act. No one can undertake any development which is subject to site plan control unless the Township has reviewed and approved certain plans.  Once the plans are approved, a site plan agreement is generally executed.  This agreement contractually binds the owner to develop and maintain a site in accordance with the approved plans and the terms of the agreement.

Building permits are not generally issued until site plan control requirements are addressed.

What is the purpose of Site Plan Control?

The Site Plan Control process allows Township staff to review and approve the following:

  • Building siting and site design;
  • Building massing;
  • The relationship of the proposal to surrounding land uses;
  • Driveways, curbing and traffic direction signs;
  • Loading and parking facilities;
  • Emergency vehicle routes;
  • All pedestrian accesses, such as walkways and ramps, and their proposed surfacing;
  • Landscaping for the site and for the protection of adjoining lands;
  • Refuse and other waste material storage and collection areas;
  • Grading and servicing; 
  • Exterior design of buildings, including character, scale, and appearance; and, if applicable,
  • Sustainable design elements within the adjoining right-of-way such as trees, landscaping, paving, street furniture, ramps, access ability, waste and recycling containers and bicycle parking facilities.

Further, Site Plan Control ensures that Township, County and other agency standards and requirements are met.

Pre-consultation with Township Planning Staff

Applicants are advised to request a pre-consultation with Township Planning staff, prior to the submission of the application, in order to gain a preliminary planning review and direction. Detailed information of the proposed development, lot characteristics, surrounding land uses and natural features are required at the pre-consultation stage. A failure to participate in pre-consultation may result in processing delays, as Planning staff may be unable to determine the accuracy and completeness of the application.

Staff is available to explain the process, indicate the feasibility of the proposed development and may be able to point out any special considerations for the property. Staff may also recommend the applicant consult with other Township staff, the County of Peterborough, the Otonabee Region Conservation Authority and/or any other Ministries and Agencies which may further assist the applicant.

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Minor Variance (Committee of Adjustment)

All development proposals must comply with the Township of Selwyn Comprehensive Zoning By-law, which establishes regulations specific to individual properties. These regulations deal with permitted uses, building setbacks, building height, pool and accessory structure requirements, etc.

Whenever changes are made to a particular site and any of the regulations are not complied with, a minor variance or an amendment to the Zoning By-law is required to legalize the situation. Potential applicants are encouraged to consult with appropriate Planning Staff prior to applying for a minor variance.

A minor variance is a minor deviation (variance) to the provisions of the Zoning Bylaw. The variances can relate to the land, building, or structure of the uses thereof.

The Committee of Adjustment is a committee, comprised of Council members, which deals with minor variances and meets once a month.The Committee of Adjustment is authorized to grant minor variances from the Township’s Zoning By-law, and to permit enlargements, extensions or changes to legal nonconforming uses.

The Committee of Adjustment have open public meetings and are livestreamed and recorded. Notices are sent to properties within 60 m of the subject lands. Affected residents routinely attend Committee meetings to ask questions and learn more about applications, including potential impacts. The Committee is tasked with approving or denying applications. The Committee regularly asks for condition(s) to be added to ensure that applications meet legislated requirements or to address the concerns of a neighbour or both. Conditions might include a drainage plan, an arborist’s report, a survey or an archeological assessment. All of these conditions have cost implications to the applicant, but the Committee asks for conditions not to be punitive but to meet its legislated requirements or to ensure that there aren’t adverse impacts to area residents.

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Archaeological Assessments

Applications for Minor Variances are regulated by the Ontario Planning Act. As a Minor Variance application is an application under the Planning Act, the Committee of Adjustment is compelled to make planning decisions that conform with the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS). As it relates to the Township's legislated responsibility related to the completion of an archaeological assessment, the Provincial Policy Statement provides direction:

2.6. Cultural Heritage and Archaeology

2.6.2 Development and site alteration shall not be permitted on lands containing archaeological resources or areas of archaeological potential unless significant archaeological resources have been conserved.

2.6.3 Planning authorities shall not permit development and site alteration on adjacent lands to protected heritage property except where the proposed development and site alteration has been evaluated and it has been demonstrated that the heritage attributes of the protected heritage property will be conserved.

2.6.5 Planning authorities shall consider the interests of Aboriginal communities in conserving cultural heritages and archaeological resources.

The specific requirements for when an archeological assessment is to be completed is governed through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport (MTCS).

The has been longstanding practice to require archeological assessments for larger developments (plans of subdivision and condominiums). Moving forward, to achieve compliance with the PPS and MTCS smaller developments, including applications for a minor variance must also consider the need for an archaeological study.

Each application for a minor variance is evaluated against the MTCS checklist to determine if an archeological assessment needs to be completed OR not.


Feel free to contact the Planning Department if you have any questions with respect to the zoning on your property and the permitted uses thereon; or if you need assistance with any Planning Applications.

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