Municipal Planning Development Planning Special Projects

Why Mapping Is Important

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It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Today’s digital mapping and Geographic Information System (GIS) technologies can be used to create high quality informative and adaptable map products.

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.

The following tables outline all the information necessary on plans and drawings to describe your proposal in detail based on the type of application. Please note that the requirements for the plans and drawings listed below are general. Since different municipalities may require further detail; it is important to check municipal sketch requirements prior to submitting an application.

Zoning By-law Amendment

Type of Planning Application

Plan and drawing requirements

Zoning By-law Amendment

“If you want to use or develop your property in a way that is not allowed by the zoning by-law, you may apply for a zoning change, also known as a zoning by-law amendment or a rezoning.”[1]

Almost all applications for a Zoning By-law Amendment require a sketch showing the layout of the subject property. This includes the boundaries and dimensions of the land, the location size and type of all existing and proposed buildings and structures, indicating their distance from the front lot line, rear lot line and side lot lines. As well as the approximate locations of all natural and artificial features (for example, buildings, railways, roads, watercourses, drainage ditches, banks of rivers or streams, wetlands, wooded areas, wells and septic tanks.)

 

Here is an example of an incomplete rezoning sketch:

  • It does not show the exact location, size and type of all existing and proposed buildings and structures on the subject land;
  • There is no indication of their distance from the front lot line, rear lot line and side lot lines;
  • It is not to scale.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Here is an example of a complete rezoning sketch:

    • Clear indication of lot sizes and dimensions;
    • Clear labeling of adjacent land uses, lots and concessions and built and natural features;
    • Accurate distances and scaling.     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Official Plan Amendment            

Type of Planning Application

Plan and drawing requirements

Official Plan Amendment

“If you want to use your property to develop it in a way that conflicts with the municipal official plan, an amendment to the plan would be needed.”[1]

Similar to an application for a zoning by-law amendment, a sketch is required for an application for an official plan amendment. The sketch submitted must show existing and proposed building(s) and structure(s) on the subject land, the location, including setbacks from lot lines, height and dimensions (or floor area) of the proposed buildings, and the location of all natural and artificial features on the property.

 

Here is an example of an incomplete official plan amendment sketch:

    • It does not show the exact location of the buildings (i.e. distance to shoreline);
    • There is no indication of what is being proposed (i.e., the type of buildings);
    • It does indicate the height and dimensions of the building;
    • There is no information of how the property is accessed;
    • It is not to scale.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Here is an example of a complete official plan amendment application sketch:

    • The boundary of the property is indicated;
    • The area to be redesignated is identified;
    • Access to the property is clearly identified;
    • Artificial and natural features are identified;
    • Accurate distances and scaling;
    • Clear labelling of proposed land uses;
    • Clear labelling of adjacent land uses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Consent to Sever                       

Type of Planning Application

Plan and drawing requirements

Land severance (consent)

A severance (or consent) is a land division process to create one or more new lots from an existing property.

All consent applications must be submitted with a consent sketch. A consent sketch is to include the following: the boundaries and dimensions of the subject land, i.e. the Severed lot and the Retained lot, the dimensions of the severed lot and the retained lot, the location and setbacks of all natural and artificial features on the subject land and the land that is adjacent to the subject lands (i.e. existing buildings, proposed building locations, septic areas, wells, roads, watercourses, drainage ditches, river or stream banks, wetlands, and wooded areas). The names of the owners of the adjacent lands and existing uses on the adjacent land.

In addition to the above, most municipalities require a consent sketch to identify the severed lot with coloured red stripes and the retained lot coloured with green stripes.

Here is an example of an incomplete consent sketch:

    • Other than the lot area, the dimensions of the severed and retained lots are not indicated;
    • Natural and artificial features have not been identified;
    • The intended use of the subject lands have not be identified;
    • Existing and proposed septic areas have not been identified.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Here is an example of a complete consent sketch:

    • The severed and retained lots are clearly labelled and identified in green and red;
    • The boundaries of the severed lot and retained lot are indicated;
    • The location and setbacks of all natural and artificial features are labelled;
    • The name of the owners of the adjacent lands and existing uses on the adjunct land are clearly labelled;
    • Existing and proposed septic areas are indicated;
    • Names of roads and right-of-ways are identified.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Site Plan                     

Type of Planning Application

Plan and drawing requirements

Site Plan

Some municipalities in Ontario have implemented site plan control. Site plan control is a form of development control provided to municipalities by Ontario’s Planning Act. In most cases, a municipality has deemed all land within its boundary subject to site plan control. In some cases, site plan control only applies to certain areas within the municipality. Where there is site plan control, no one can undertake development that is subject to site plan control unless the municipality has reviewed and approved plans.

Site plans are prepared and submitted illustrating the spatial (physical) arrangement of property elements, such as buildings, driveways, parking areas, pedestrian sidewalks, landscaping, natural features, fences, lighting, signs, drainage patterns, wells, septic systems or municipal services, etc.

 

Here is an example of a complete site plan:

The following details are clearly indicated and labelled:

    • Dimensions;
    • Buildings
    • Right-of-ways;
    • Utilities;
    • Natural features;
    • Parking/loading areas;
    • Driveways and ramps;
    • Fire access;
    • Signs;
    • Lighting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Plan of Subdivision/Condominium                  

Type of planning application

Plan and drawing requirements

Draft plan of subdivision or condominium

A plan of subdivision is generally required where an applicant wants to create five or more lots.

A condominium plan is like a plan of subdivision in that it is a way of dividing property. Condominiums are a form of property ownership in which title to a unit is held by an individual together with a share of the rest of the property, which is common to all owners.

A draft plan of subdivision or condominium generally shows topographic information (contours), drainage of the land, natural heritage features such as creeks and vegetation, the boundaries of the land proposed to be subdivided and certified by an Ontario land surveyor, and the locations, widths and names of the proposed streets within the proposed subdivision or condominium.

 

Here is an example of a complete plan of subdivision:

The following details are clearly indicated and labelled:

    • The boundaries of the land proposed to be subdivided;
    • The locations, widths and names of the proposed roads within the proposed subdivision
    • All of the land adjacent to the proposed subdivision;
    • The existing uses of all adjoining lands;
    • Natural and artificial features;
    • Existing contours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Who Benefits from Quality Mapping?

  1. The approval authority
  2. The public

It is often the Municipality who is the approval authority for each type of planning application outlined above. All the requirements that are to be included on plans and drawings and submitted with a planning application assist the approval authority in ensuring that:

  • The land is suitable for its proposed new use;
  • The proposal conforms to Municipal Official Plans and Provincial legislation and policy; and
  • The community is protected from development which is inappropriate or might put undue strains on Municipal services and/or finances.

Secondly, plans and drawings describe to your neighbours and the general public interested in your application what work you propose to carry out.

Clear and concise mapping is integral to obtaining approvals for the aforementioned applications. An application will move more quickly through the planning process if the accompanying plans or maps are accurate and effective.


[1] M.M.A.H., (2010). “Citizens’ Guide 2 – Official Plans” [Online]. Available: http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page1759.aspx


[1] M.M.A.H., (2010). “Citizens’ Guide 3 – Zoning By-laws” [Online]. Available: http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page1758.aspx

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