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Application Forms and Fees

A Citizen's Guide to Official Plan Amendments

What is an Official Plan?

The Durham Regional Official Plan describes and illustrates Regional Council’s long-term vision for growth and development in the Region.  The Plan’s policies strive to balance growth, while conserving resources, such as prime agricultural lands, and protecting the environment.  The Official Plan ensures that development is co-ordinated in a manner that ensures the health, safety and well-being of the present and future residents of the Region.

What is an Official Plan Amendment application?

An Official Plan is not a static document.  It can be amended to permit a new development proposal or to include new policies to reflect changing trends.  An Official Plan Amendment (OPA) application is a proposal to change the policies and/or maps of the Official Plan. Changes can be initiated by Regional Council, a local municipal council, or requested by private landowners for the purpose of developing the land in a manner not permitted in the Official Plan.

Where do I go for a Regional Official Plan Amendment application?

An OPA Application (PDF) can be picked up at the Region’s Planning Department, located on the 4th Floor at 605 Rossland Rd. E., in Whitby. Our telephone number is 905-668-7711 and our fax number is 905-666-6208.  We also have a toll-free line 1-800-372-1102.  You'll need Acrobat Reader to read the OPA Application Acrobat file.

What is the process for an Official Plan Amendment application?

Before you apply for an application to amend the Regional Official Plan, you should obtain a copy of our Pre-Consultation Guidelines (PDF).

Pre-consultation with staff of the Planning Department, other Regional departments, the appropriate area municipality and public agencies is mandatory.  Staff will be able to tell you what supporting material you must submit, and what fees will be required.

Once you have applied, and your application has been deemed complete, your proposal will be presented to the public at a public meeting held by the Region’s Planning Committee. Your application will also be circulated to the local municipality, provincial and other public agencies to give them the opportunity to review it and provide comments.

Once a full technical review of the application has been completed, and once the affected area municipality has commented, Planning Committee will hold a second meeting where staff will present their recommendation.
Planning Committee will then make a recommendation to Regional Council, which makes the final decision.

Within 15 days of Council’s decision, a formal notice of decision will be sent to the applicant and to anyone else who has asked to be notified.

This flowchart (PDF) illustrates the steps involved in processing an Official Plan Amendment application.

What rights of appeal do I have?

You can appeal your OPA application to the Ontario Municipal Board for two reasons:

  • If the Region fails to render a decision within 180 days of the receipt of the completed application.
  • If you do not agree with Regional Council’s decision, within 20 days from the date of the notice of adoption.

However, if you do not participate in the process at an early stage, your appeal may be dismissed without a hearing before the OMB.

How can I find out more?

For further information related to Official Plan Amendment applications please contact the Durham Region Planning Division at 905-668-7711. Our toll-free line is 1-800-372-1102. Our fax number is 905-666-6208.