Sustainable Land Use DecisionsPlanning Services is responsible for processing, reviewing and providing a recommendation to Council and the Committee of Adjustment regarding all development applications under the Planning Act.

The Development Review Process is established by provincial legislation known as the Planning Act. The Municipality has an obligation under this legislation to manage and process applications in a prescribed manner, as outlined briefly in this guide.

Under the Planning Act, the approval authority (Council, Committee of Adjustment or Director of Planning Services) is required make a decision on a “complete” Planning Act application before an applicant has the option to refer their application to the Ontario Municipal Board for a decision instead: 

 Application Type

Approval Authority

Days Prescribed Until Decision

 Official Plan Amendment

 Council

180 Days

 Plan of Subdivision/Condominium

 Council

 180 Days

 Zoning By-Law Amendment

 Council

 120 Days

 Holding Zone By-Law

 Council

 120 Days

 Site Plan > $2 Million in Construction Value

 Council

 30 Days

 Consent (Severance)

 Committee of Adjustment

 90 Days

 Minor Variance

 Committee of Adjustment

 30 Days

 Site Plan < $2 Million in Construction Value

 Director, Planning Services

 30 Days

While the process cannot be changed by the Municipality, in most cases a decision is made well in advance of these prescribed timelines and Planning Services will strive to process complete applications as expeditiously as possible, while still meeting the mandatory Planning Act requirements.  Timing is also often dependent on the nature and complexity of a particular application as well.

"Development" under the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) means "The creation of a new lot, a change in land use, or the construction of buildings or structures, requiring approval under the Planning Act. Individuals wanting to develop or change the use of land in Chatham-Kent must obtain approvals from the Municipality. The Planning Act, the Heritage Act, the Municipal Act and other certain pieces of legislation contain provisions governing the development review process; how land uses are to be controlled and who controls land development and uses.

The Official Plan “Action Toward Sustainability” is Chatham-Kent’s primary policy document and is a 20 year plan that is reviewed and monitored on an ongoing basis.  The main goals of the Official Plan are to:

  • Achieve a safe, healthy and sustainable Chatham-Kent.
  • Manage growth by ensuring efficient, cost effective development and land use patterns.
  • Protect and enhance natural features and cultural heritage features.
  • Address Chatham-Kent’s needs for community-level planning.

All planning decisions must conform with the Official Plan and be consistent with the PPS.

The Zoning By-law establishes and regulates the use of land by implementing the policies of the Official Plan. It provides the Municipality with legally enforceable means of regulating land use and the scale and intensity of development. The Zoning by-law also serves to protect areas by preventing incompatible uses, and establishes appropriate standards for development. It contains specific, legal regulations i.e. what uses are permitted, how high buildings can be constructed, the maximum number of residential units allowed and the amount of off-street parking required, etc. If a development proposal does not conform to the requirements of the Zoning By-law, a building permit cannot be issued.

Chatham-Kent has published a guide to Development Review which is intended to be a useful resource to land owners and developers. The guide can be downloaded here:

For more information or to book an appointment to discuss a development proposal please contact Planning Services at 519-360-1998 or email ckplanning@chatham-kent.ca.