EcoVue spoke with Township of Ramara Council on June 26, 2017 in regards to the initiation of the Official Plan Update. The presentation overviewed relevant sections of the Planning Act, the planning process, proposed work plan of the update, key issues identified thus far, and ways to get involved with the project. A PDF of the presentation is available for download.
Please download the PDF below for details.
Statutory Public Meeting
It has been some time since we discussed the steps involved in the development approvals process. To refresh your memory, here are the first two steps. As you may recall, pre-consultation involves meeting with municipal staff and any external agencies (i.e. conservation authority, health unit), as required, to discuss a proposed development and the requirements involved to submit a complete application. After pre-consultation and all necessary supporting documents to be submitted with the application are finalized, a Planning Act application must be completed and submitted to the municipality. The municipality then reviews the application to ensure compliance with all applicable policies and regulations that govern the municipality. This now takes us to the third step in the development approval process: ‘Statutory Public Meeting’.
Cottage season is upon us again! Do you live or have a cottage in the Kawartha Lakes or the Southern Muskokas? Are you looking to do some shoreline work this season? If your property abuts any of the lakes or rivers on the Trent-Severn Waterway system, you must obtain a permit for such common shoreline structures as a dock, boathouse, shorewall, launch ramp or even a water intake pipe or heat pump loop.
Thinking of buying a property on a private road? What does it mean?
Within smaller municipalities in more remote areas of Ontario, many properties are accessed by private roads. Private roads are owned and maintained by one or more land owner and used to access private property. Roads owned by a municipality are referred to as municipally maintained roads, or public roads. Public roads are maintained to a higher standard and are used by the public at large. Private roads are maintained at the standard that is feasible for the owner or owners who live on that road.
Before buying a property, it is important to investigate whether the property you are interested in is on a private road and what implications may be involved. This post will highlight the main differences between living on a private road and a municipally maintained road.
Purchasing Property? Do Your Research!
As we’ve touched on in other blog entries, people that are resistant to any type of development taking place near their home are referred to as NIMBYs (Not in my backyard). While the NIMBY moniker is certainly a pejorative term, some NIMBYs tend to embrace this stance if it means the protection of the value of their home or the area surrounding it. They may use the argument that the price of their home will plummet if the proposed development becomes a reality. And if argued in a succinct and eloquent manner, these people may be able to convince the leaders of their community that they are not simply trumpeting a selfish agenda, but rather arguing for the rights of landowners everywhere – that their plight is symbolic of a greater symptom of the infringement of property rights. After all, on the surface it seems pretty unfair. No development seems practical or worthwhile if surrounding landowners end up losing thousands of dollars on the value of their homes.
Quality graphics and maps are a key component of many planning applications and are very important when it comes to involving members of the public in the planning process. When the public views an application, they may not fully understand what the application entails. Therefore, plans and drawings are a valuable communicative tool within the realm of the planning process.
A skilled map/graphics designer can create plans and drawings that clearly reflect what is intended to be proposed. And when the message is clear, questions are more easily answered and doubts laid to rest.
For the village of Minden, the spring of 2013 will long be remembered as the spring when the Gull River rose up over its banks, flooding homes and businesses. The devastation that the flood waters bring is very real, both in the short term and the longer term. It is one of the few examples illustrating the power of the natural environment that still manages to render us almost powerless. Short of piling sandbags, there is little we can do except join together to support each other in our time of collective need.
Having said that, there are lessons to learn about how to avoid this level of devastation and despair in the future, through effective Official Plan policies and zoning by-law provisions.
“We don’t want to go to the Board”.
That’s what most planners and lawyers will tell you. However, the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) may be your last chance to get your development approved. Or, conversely, you may be going before the Board to defend your development. While the OMB is nothing to be afraid of, it can certainly be a difficult and nerve-racking experience, especially considering the stakes. Given the scrutiny of the Board, it is important to be prepared and to understand the procedures involved.
The Waiting Game
A few weeks ago we discussed pre-consultation, the first step of the development approval process. Step Two of the approval process is application submission, circulation and review. At this point, you have submitted your development application to the municipality for review. The municipality has 30 days to determine if the application is complete. As mentioned in the previous blog, a complete application means all required items have been included in your application submission. This includes all the items identified on the application form and everything addressed at the pre-consultation meeting (i.e., fees, concept plan or site plan, and technical studies/reports, etc).
The purpose of application circulation and review is to ensure compliance with all applicable policies and regulations that govern the municipality, thereby ensuring responsible planning and development in the interest of the public. However, the method by which it is conducted is onerous, and long delays can occur as municipalities often operate at their own pace. For this step in the process, patience is key.
A recently common trend throughout Canada has been poor voter turnout for municipal elections. It seems obvious on the surface – municipal politics doesn’t receive anything close to the coverage dedicated to national or provincial politics (alleged crack-smoking mayors aside). However, for all intents and purposes, municipally elected officials directly impact our lives on a day-to-day basis more than any other level of government. No more is this evident than when you open your tax bill, run over that pot-hole on your street, or attempt to build an extension on your house. And when it comes to development and getting your shovels in the ground, municipally elected officials hold the key to the garden shed.