[+] Is there an official plan for your area?
The County of Lanark, as well as the local municipalities, has an approved official plan. These documents contain specific policies and requirements for subdivision of land (both through the subdivision process and consent/severance process).
The Official Plan for Lanark County is a land use planning document adopted by the County and approved by the Province. Local Official Plans are adopted by the local municipality and approved by the County. These documents reflect provincial and local planning issues and, among other things, establish policies for lot creation.
[+] Is there a zoning order or zoning by-law for your area?
Each of the County's eight local municipalities has zoning by-laws setting out specific requirements for new development (eg. minimum lot size, frontage, acceptable access, etc.). Your proposal must conform to any zoning controls.
[+] What is a consent (land severance)?
A land severance is the authorized separation of a piece of land to form two new adjoining properties. This is commonly known as a consent. It is required if you want to sell, mortgage, charge or enter into any agreement for (at least 21 years) a portion of your land. If the two parts are split already, by a road or railway for example, consent is not needed.
If several severances are intended in the same area, a plan of subdivision may be more appropriate. The Land Division Committee will decide whether a consent is the best approach or if a plan of subdivision is necessary for the proper and orderly development of the municipality.
[+] What is the process for a severance application?
Before you apply for a land severance, you should consult with municipal staff in your local municipality and with the County Planning Department. They will be able to tell you how to apply, what supporting material you must submit (e.g. sketches, plans), if there are any special land severance requirements set out in the official plan and what other permits and approvals (e.g. a septic tank permit) may be required.
When applying for a land severance, you are required to pay a fee(s) for processing the application. As an applicant, you are required to fill out a consent application form provided by County Planning Department.
The application form contains both the information which is prescribed by provincial regulation as well as additional information which the Land Division Committee requires. The more information provided, the less likely delays will occur in the review.
If you do not provide all the information prescribed by provincial regulation, the Land Division Committee may refuse to accept or to further consider your application. Also, the 90-day time frame for making a decision does not begin until all the prescribed information is received. You are encouraged to contact the Planning Approvals Department if you need help in assessing what information is required.
The Land Division Committee must give notice of application before a decision is made. Notice of application is given at least 14 days in advance of a decision by the Committee, by posting a notice on the subject lands and by mail. Any person or public body may submit his or her views to the Land Division Committee. The Land Division Committee may consult with agencies, boards, authorities or commissions before making a decision.
When the Land Division Committee has decided on your application, it is required to send a notice of decision approving or refusing the application within 15 days of the decision being made, to any person or public body requesting to be notified. When a notice of decision is given, a 20-day appeal period follows.
[+] How is the severance application evaluated?
In considering each application for land severance, the Land Division Committee evaluates the merits of each proposal against criteria such as:
- conformity with the official plan and compatibility with adjacent uses of land
- compliance with local zoning by-laws
- suitability of the land for the proposed purpose, including the size and shape of the lot(s) being created
- adequacy of vehicular access, water supply, sewage disposal
- the need to ensure protection from potential flooding
The decisions of the Land Division Committee must be consistent with the Provincial Policy Statement. The Provincial Policy Statement contains clear, overall policy directions on matters of provincial interest related to land use planning and development. The "shall be consistent with" rule means that the Land Division Committee is obliged to apply the relevant policies of the PPS when carrying out its planning responsibility.