The timely processing of applications requires co-operation from and coordination with numerous internal and external stakeholders, including the applicant. Generally, the development review process includes the following main steps:
Step 1 - Pre-Consultation
Pre-consultation is a meeting with Planning Services staff to talk about what you would like to do on your property. It is a valuable first step for all types of planning applications.
This meeting is a mandatory part of the development review process for applications for Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw Amendments, Site Plan Control, and Draft Plans of Subdivisions and Condominiums. While not mandatory, pre-consultation is also encouraged for Consent and Minor Variance Applications as well.
To schedule a pre-consultation meeting, call 519-360-1998 and ask for Planning Services.
What happens at a pre-consultation meeting?
You will meet with a planner and start by describing your proposal. Together you will review zoning, servicing (road access, water, sewer/septic and drainage) and unique site characteristics like watercourses, past uses and existing nearby uses. The planner will describe the steps in going through a planning application and answer your questions about the process. You will get a preliminary idea of whether or not any studies or reports might be required to include with your application. You can also go through the application form and ask questions about things that are unclear to you. It's a great opportunity to meet the planner and establish a starting point for questions you might have as the application process progresses.
How should I prepare for the meeting?
- Call Planning Services and make an appointment so that the Planner can do some homework before the meeting and be more prepared to talk about your specific property.
- Have a clear idea of what you'd like to do on your property:
Bring a sketch or a picture of the property and how you want to lay things out (hand-drawn is fine at this stage).
- What do you want to use the property for?
- Will there be other uses too?
- Will you need to change the buildings, build new ones or remove some that are there?
- What are the uses on the properties around it?
Why should I do a pre-consultation?
- You will learn things about your property that are important for your proposal.
- You will determine what other agencies or consultants you might need to talk to.
- Your application will be more complete when you submit it, which saves time on any revisions as well as with the review.
- You will get feedback early in the process so that you can refine your application.
- You will learn about the application process and timelines.
Step 2 - Technical Advisory Committee (TAC)
Planning Services staff review the proposed application with the Municipality's TAC resulting in a list of the complete application requirements that are specific to the site. A record of this list will be provided to the applicant.
Step 3 - Consult Other Agencies
The application process can involve consultation with a number of outside agencies. In some cases, you may be required to consult with one or more of those agencies prior to the submission of the application to determine what, if any, additional items will be required. Fees associated with those consultations are not covered by the application fee paid to the Municipality.
Step 4 - Prepare the Application
The applicant has sole responsibility for submitting a complete application and may need to commission drawings or studies depending on feedback from the pre-consultation, TAC and consultation with other agencies. The need for drawings and studies will depend on the nature of the proposed application and the characteristics and circumstances of the subject property. The complete application including supporting material, declarations and the appropriate fees is to be submitted to Planning Services by mail or in person. To see a list of applications and fees, visit our Planning Applications and Fees page.
Step 5 - Application Completeness Review
Every application is reviewed for completeness before it is accepted by the Municipality. During the review of an application, the need for further information or studies may be identified. It is the applicant's responsibility to submit these items once they have been identified. A notice will be provided to the applicant regarding the status of completeness. When your application has been reviewed and it is confirmed that your submission includes all the required information, a Letter of Complete Application will be provided to you.
If the application is not complete, a Letter of Incomplete Application will be provided to you outlining the additional supporting information, reports or studies that are required. If you disagree with the Municipality's assessment of the completeness of the application you should contact Planning Services to discuss this. If an agreement is not reached, the Planning Act provides 30 days for the applicant to make a motion to the Ontario Municipal Board for a determination on the matter and the Board's decision is final. When all required information has been submitted, a Letter of Complete Application will be issued.
The Municipality is required to provide a Notice of Complete Application within 15 days after the Letter of Complete Application has been issued for Official Plan, Zoning Amendments and Plans of Subdivision. Whenever possible, the Municipality will combine the Public Notice of Complete Application and the Public Meeting Notice, provided that the notice requirements for both can be met. If that is not possible, then the Notice of Complete Application will be given separately in order to meet the legislative requirements, and the Notice of the Public Meeting will be given later. Any timelines mandated by the Planning Act for a decision on your application(s) start once an application has been deemed complete.
For some applications, such as Site Plan Control, Consents and Minor Variance there is no requirement to issue a notice of complete application and the timelines mandated by the Planning Act for decision start upon receipt of the application and required information.
Step 6 - Planning Services Report
Planning Services reviews the application for conformity to the Official Plan, Zoning By-law, Provincial Policy Statement and the Planning Act. Comments from local agencies, provincial ministries and the public are taken into consideration and a report is prepared for Council or the Committee of Adjustment's review. During application review and report preparations, Planning Services may speak with applicants, neighbours, and staff from other departments and agencies to complete an assessment of the development proposal.
Step 7 - Notice of Public Meeting
The Planning Act requires that at least one public meeting be held for applications for Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw amendments, Draft Plans of Subdivision / Condominium and Committee of Adjustment applications (consents and minor variances). The Act sets out the notice procedures and the people that must be notified.
The Municipality provides formal notice of the public meeting to those prescribed by the Planning Act, by both first-class mail and the posting of a sign with application details on the subject lands. The applicant is responsible for posting the required sign along the frontage of their property, so that is easily viewable. When a planning matter affects a large area or the entire Municipality, notices will also be published in various local newspapers. Where applications are being processed concurrently, one consolidated public meeting will be held for all the applications. Notice of the public meeting must be given:
- At least 20 days in advance of the meeting for applications for Official Plan Amendment and Zoning By-Law Amendment;
- At least 14 days in advance of the meeting for applications of Subdivision / Condominium;
- At least 14 days in advance of the meeting for applications of Consent; and,
- At least 10 days in advance of the meeting for applications for Minor Variance.
There is no requirement to hold a public meeting or provide formal public notice for Site Plan Control applications, applications to Exempt Part Lot Control or Remove a Holding Symbol.
Step 8 - Public Meetings
Council is the decision-making authority with regard to Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw amendments, Draft Plans of Subdivision / Condominium and Site Plan Control applications with an estimated construction value greater than $2,000,000. Council will hold a public meeting to receive comments about the application. If required, Planning Staff will provide a presentation to Council on the application. This is also an opportunity for the applicant to provide any additional comments on their application. Council will review the application, the report and any comments received prior to issuing a decision on the application. Generally, Council will issue a decision at this same meeting but could defer a decision on an application to a future meeting should outstanding issues arise based on the Public Meeting. There is one Council Planning Meeting scheduled per month, which always occurs on Monday evenings.
The Committee of Adjustment is the delegated decision-making authority for Consents and Minor Variances. Similar to Council, the Committee will hold a public meeting to receive comments about the application. If required, Planning Staff will provide a presentation to the Committee on the application. This is also an opportunity for the applicant to provide any additional comments on their application. The Committee will review the application, the report and any comments received prior to issuing a decision on the application. Generally, the Committee will issue a decision at this same meeting but could defer a decision on an application to a future meeting should outstanding issues arise based on the Public Meeting. The Committee of Adjustment generally meets every three weeks on Thursday mornings.
The Director of Planning Services is the delegated approval authority for Site Plan Control applications with an estimated construction value under $2,000,000, but the Director has the option to refer any Site Plan application to Council for their approval if deemed necessary. There is no Public Meeting required.
Step 9 - Decision
Either Council or the Committee of Adjustment may approve, refuse or defer an application, and a written notice of approval or a refusal decision will be sent to the applicant and those who requested notice within 15 days of the decision.
Step 10 - Appeal Period
A 20 day appeal period begins the day the notice of the decision is given. Following the decision of Council or the Committee of Adjustment and subject to the conditions specified in the Planning Act, an appeal may be made to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) by filing a notice of appeal with the Clerk of the Municipality.
Only the applicant can appeal a decision on a Site Plan Control Application.
Step 11 - Enactment
If no appeals are submitted within the 20 day appeal period the decision is final and the application is enacted and brought into force, as of the date given in the Notice.
Consent applications are considered provisional approvals until all the specified conditions have been met to the satisfaction of the Municipality. Applicants have up to one year to satisfy the conditions. If the conditions are not satisfied within one year then the Consent approval will lapse.