Planning Services

Plans Approval and Review

The department implements the statutory Regional Official Plan Amendment process and makes recommendations on the approval of Amendment applications.  This process includes mandatory pre-consultation with applicants, holding public meetings, coordinating the peer review of technical studies, analyzing the merits of applications, and formulating recommendations for the consideration of Planning Committee and Regional Council.

The department makes recommendations to Planning Committee and Regional Council on the approval of local official plans.  With Plans Approval Authority, the department has the responsibility, through the Commissioner, for approving certain local official plan amendments, certain plans of subdivision/condominium and part lot control exemption by-laws.  In addition, the department administers the legislated responsibility for the approval of consent applications, by supporting the activities of the Regional Land Division Committee.  

The department reviews and provides comments from a regional perspective, on development-related activities initiated by other levels of government.  These activities address: local official plan amendments; delegated plans of subdivision; zoning by-law amendments; consents; co-ordination of street naming; Ministry of the Environment Certificates of Approval; and aggregate licences.  This review function ensures that new development in the Region conforms to and implements the intent of the Regional Official Plan and other related Regional policies.  Quarterly reports are presented to Planning Committee and Council, on development activity, plan approval and review activities, through a development application tracking and monitoring system.

Through a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the department implements downloaded Provincial Plan Review responsibilities in reviewing, commenting, and/or approving all municipal and regional planning documents.  This necessitates maintaining provincial and other related data sets to undertake the review function.  The establishment and/or updating of procedures for natural heritage areas, brownfields, Minimum Distance Separation, groundwater, noise, and land use compatibility, are priorities.  Further, the department will continue to implement the Greenbelt Act and Plan through ongoing planning review activities.  In addition, the department ensures that planning decisions are consistent with the Provincial Policy Statement, the Growth Plan and with any new or updated Provincial plans, policies and legislation.

The department provides expert planning evidence in defence of Council’s position before the Ontario Municipal Board, other quasi-judicial tribunals and the courts on planning matters.

With Council’s adoption of Amendment No. 128 in 2009, to bring the Regional Official Plan into conformity with the Growth Plan, work will be undertaken in 2010 to assist the area municipalities to incorporate similar changes into their respective Official Plans.  The area municipal Growth Plan conformity amendments and/or plans will be forwarded to the Region for approval.  The department will be responsible for making recommendations to Council on the approval of these amendments and/or plans.