What is Ontario’s Planning Act?
The Planning Act is a piece of legislation that establishes ground rules for land use planning in Ontario. The Planning Act seeks to promote sustainable economic development, while at the same time protecting and managing provincial interests (i.e. natural resources). This law also describes how land uses may be controlled and who may control them; it identifies the decision-making authority and the responsibility of municipal councils in regards to planning.
The Planning Act encourages fair planning processes by making them open, timely, efficient and inclusive of many interests.
Here are examples of what the Planning Act provides a foundation for:
- tools and plans to facilitate municipal planning for future development,
- regulating land uses by means of zoning by-laws,
- divvying land into separate lots, through a plan of subdivision or land severance,
- ensuring local citizens are informed in regards to planning proposals and are able to give their opinions to the municipal council requiring planning decisions to be consistent with the Provincial Policy Statement when decision-makers employ planning authority or give planning advice.
What role to Conservation Authorities Play in the Planning Act?
Conservation Authorities are a commenting agency for applications made under the Planning Act such as severances, site plans, subdivisions, zoning by-laws amendments, and minor variances. MVCA comments on the potential impact of development on natural heritage issues, (water quality, storm water management, wetlands, aquatic resources, etc.), natural hazards (flooding and erosion) and in some areas of the watershed, on-site servicing such as wells and sewage disposal systems). The Province has mandated that Conservation Authorities comment on natural hazards and MVCA has agreements with its member municipalities to assist in addressing natural heritage issues.