Planning - Frequently Asked Questions
Visit the Planning Department section of our website for more information.
County land use planning responsibilities include: the administration and application of the policies of the "County of Simcoe Official Plan". As an "upper tier" level of government, County Council has been delegated the authority for the approval of local (lower tier) official plans and amendments to local official plans. The Director of Planning, Development and Tourism has been further delegated authority to approve, for some municipalities within the County that have not themselves acquired authority to approve, Plans of Subdivision/Condominium and Part Lot Control approval. Refusal of Plans of Subdivision/Condominium and Part Lot Control approval however remains the authority of County Council.
As a commenting agency, County planning staff comment on development applications such as "Minor Variance", "Consent", "Zoning By-law Amendment", "Local Official Plan Amendment", "Plans of Subdivision", "Condominiums" and “Site Plan Control”.
County planning staff comment on applications that may have impact or potential impact on County issues such as County Roads, County Forests, County Landfill sites, the County Greenlands and County of Simcoe Official Plan conformity.
Depending on the specific geography of the subject lands/property the following planning documents are considered:
- Lower Tier (Local) Municipal Official Plans
- County of Simcoe Official Plan
- Provincial Policy Statement
- Places to Grow Growth Plan
- Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan
- Greenbelt Plan
- Niagara Escarpment Plan
- MDS Guidelines
- Lake Simcoe Protection Plan
- Various legislated Acts, primarily the Planning Act
3. Who do I contact for the consents/severance, minor variance, zoning by-law amendment or local official plan amendment process and application? (fees, forms, etc.)
To initiate a development application process please contact your local municipality. However to discuss potential County interests on any development application please contact Bruce Hoppe, Manager of Development Planning to arrange a pre-consultation discussion.
Within the County of Simcoe, the County has an approved Official Plan setting the direction for future growth. The objectives and policies contained in the County Official Plan are further detailed through local municipal official plans, and are implemented through local municipal zoning by-laws. Regard should be had for all three documents (County Official Plan, local official plan, and zoning by-law) when contemplating a change in land use. For further information about local official plans or zoning by-laws, please contact your local municipal Planning Department.
The official plan is a document containing long term objectives and policies, and land use designations established primarily to provide guidance for the physical development of a municipality, while having regard to relevant social, economic and environmental matters.
The zoning by-law is a municipal by-law to regulate the use of land, by specifically stating what uses are currently permitted and how the land can be specifically developed. In essence, the zoning by-law implements the objectives of the official plan.
Please contact the County Forestry department for inquiries about permitted uses within County forests.
Please contact the By-law department regarding information for County road by-laws such as road set-backs, entrance permits and signage; County forest by-laws such as tree cutting; and Area Weed Inspection.
According to the County of Simcoe Official Plan Section 4.9, 'No development shall be permitted in assessment areas associated with active or inactive solid waste disposal sites unless it can be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the appropriate authority that there will be no adverse effects to persons and property from the solid waste disposal site. The following studies may be required to determine the potential for negative impacts: ground and surface water (hydrogeology and hydrology), noise, odour and dust, methane gas migration, traffic impact, land use compatibility, and other studies considered appropriate. Studies related to waste disposal sites shall be completed in accordance with Appendix 8 of this Plan, being the Ministry of the Environment Guideline D4 - Land Use On or Near Landfills and Dumps, or any subsequent replacement document.'
The requirement for the completion of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is a process that has become entrenched in current environmental planning processes throughout the Province of Ontario. The intent is that an individual proposing development must demonstrate that the development will not negatively impact the features and functions for which an area has been identified. Such studies must be completed by a consultant qualified to make such determinations and an explanation of these qualifications must be appended to any submitted study.
Based on County of Simcoe policy an EIS is required in the following circumstances:
is required for development proposed within the Greenlands Designation;
is required within an identified wetland area that has not been evaluated and classified by the Province of Ontario;
may be utilized to satisfy the General Subdivision and Development Policy, 3.3.5, that permits development within identified significant features provided there will be no negative impact.