Review of Planning Act Applications

Considering the natural environment is an important part of land use planning. Otonabee Conservation provides planning and technical advice to assist the municipalities in our watershed in fulfilling their land use planning responsibilities associated with natural hazard management, natural heritage and water resources (as outlined in the Provincial Policy Statement (2014)).

When we review individual applications for development made under the Planning Act, we look to ensure that natural hazards, natural heritage features and water features will not be negatively affected by the proposed development. At the same time, we work to ensure that a completed development project will not itself be negatively impacted by natural hazards, including flooding.

Natural hazards (Understanding Natural Hazards) include lands that are susceptible to flooding or erosion and areas of unstable soils or bedrock. Natural heritage (Understanding Natural Heritage) features include wetlands, significant woodlands, significant valleylands, fish habitat, significant habitat of endangered and threatened species, significant wildlife habitat and areas of significant Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSIs). Water resources include vulnerable or significant surface and ground water features as well as their hydrologic functions.

The kind of technical support and advice Otonabee Conservation provides to municipalities is outlined in Partnership Agreements between the Authority and the municipality. Conservation Authorities have also been delegated responsibilities from the Province to review and comment on planning issues for conformity with provincial policy direction related to natural hazards. The roles and responsibilities for this delegated authority are outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

What Types of Planning Act applications are sent to ORCA for review?

The municipal plan input and review service of Otonabee Conservation involves the review of municipal policy and planning documents (e.g., Official Plans, Secondary Plans, and Zoning By-laws) as well as site-specific planning applications for approval under the Planning Act. Planning applications typically circulated to Otonabee Conservation for review and comment include:

  • Official Plan Amendments
  • Zoning By-law Amendments
  • Plans of Subdivision and Plans of Condominium
  • Consents (severance)
  • Minor Variance; and
  • Site Plans.

If you are contemplating any development that will require an application under the Planning Act, we very much encourage you to take advantage of opportunities provided by municipalities for pre-consultation – that is, the review and preliminary discussion of your proposed development. Pre-consultation meetings offer an opportunity for applicants and their agents to meet with municipal and relevant agency staff (including Otonabee Conservation) to review a proposal and identify information requirements, studies and any additional approvals that may be required. If you wish to meet with our staff directly, we encourage you to schedule a meeting with one of our planning staff.