In conjunction with the release of the updated Growth Plan, the Province published the final version of a revised Land Needs Assessment (LNA) Methodology that upper-tier and single-tier municipalities are required to use in determining future land needs. The objective of the work will be to determine how much future growth can be accommodated within the existing settlement areas and then to identify how much additional land will be needed to accommodate the remaining amount of growth. Close coordination with local municipalities, who will be providing key information on the feasibility and most appropriate location for settlement boundary expansion, is a must.
Developing the new LNA is a key element of Simcoe's Municipal Comprehensive Review (MCR) process and, in keeping with the Province's new Methodology, will be organized according to two broad land use categories: land for community needs, mainly focused around housing, and land for employment uses.
The Growth Management and Land Needs Assessment will be an important technical background study for other elements of the MCR. In particular, the Employment Land Strategy will be closely integrated with the LNA work.
A number of relevant policies and targets that affect land budgeting have changed as a result of the recent Growth Plan amendments:
- The time horizon for growth planning has been extended from 2041 to 2051.
- The Growth Plan now requires that the County use the newly prescribed Provincial Land Needs Assessment Methodology for the Greater Golden Horseshoe. Of great importance to the County MCR is that the new Methodology requires that land needs be assessed with reference to “market demand" in Simcoe.
- Schedule 7 to the previous Growth Plan, which established population and employment forecasts to 2031 for lower-tier municipalities, has been removed from the current Plan.