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Site Plan Approval

Many land uses and new development projects are subject to site plan approval by Council. Site plan approval requires the submission of an application and site plan to the Planning Department showing building, landscaping, parking areas and related facilities. The intention is to achieve the best functional and aesthetic fit within the streetscape and the neighbourhood where the maintenance of an overall functional balance or aesthetic character is deemed to be necessary.

Under Section 41 of the Ontario Planning Act, Council can designate all or part of the municipality as an area of site plan control, requiring site plan approval from Council for a new development or the expansion of an existing use or building.

With the assistance of other staff and agencies in building and development services, the Planning Department will evaluate the proposal within the context of good planning practices and conformity with the Official Plan and zoning by-law and subsequently make a recommendation to Council. Successful proponents will enter into a site plan control agreement to ensure that the development conforms to the plans approved by Council.

How to apply for site plan control approval

Site plan approval can apply to various land uses and to projects of varying scale. For a list of land uses and levels of development that are exempt from site plan control approval, and the uses that are not, consult subsection 9.13 of the Official Plan.

Prior to submitting a Site Plan Control Application, consultation with the Town Planner is required. During pre-consultation, the Planner will evaluate the site plan and building elevation drawings to determine, generally, how the project conforms with the applicable regulations of the zoning by-law, the development guidelines and policies of the Official Plan, and the guideline policies of a community strategic plan, heritage preservation plan, sustainability master plan and other mandates that may apply to the specific site.

Application processing and timing for approval

Upon receipt and acceptance of the application, the Town Planner will start the review process, which takes 2 to 6 weeks to complete. As part of this process, the Planner circulates the application to various internal departments and external agencies for comment and a meeting of the review committee is convened to identify key issues and construction requirements.

While public notice or the holding of a public meeting is not mandated, the Planning Department may determine that public notice is appropriate in special circumstances.

When the review process is completed, the Town Planner reports to Council with a recommendation and a list of development conditions that should be tied to the project.

Once approved by Council, a site plan control agreement between the Town and the project proponent is completed and a building permit can be obtained. The agreement will show the site plan and, if requested by Planning, the building elevations approved by Council. It will set out the conditions to be met as part of the issuance of a building permit.

While rarely exercised, an appeal process is available should the proponent not be satisfied with the conditions of approval. This is a complex and time-consuming process that should be discussed with the Town Planner at the time of application.