Effective January 19, 2012, the Ontario Government amended the
Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2006, to
bring into effect a revised Amendment 1, which applies to the
County of Simcoe and the Cities of Barrie and Orillia. The
amendment is contained in Chapter 6 of the updated Growth Plan and was developed after
extensive public consultation and participation with Simcoe-area
municipalities and local developers involving the Provincial
Although policies related to growth forecasts and employment
areas remain largely unchanged from the original Proposed
Amendment, significant changes have been made providing greater
flexibility for approval of developments in settlement areas. Most
notably, the policies in Proposed Amendment 1 for land needs
analysis and delineation of an interim settlement area boundary
have been removed.
Primary Settlement Areas, formerly urban nodes, have
been expanded to now include Alcona. The policies in section 6 of
Amendment 1 direct a significant portion of growth to Primary
Settlement Areas in communities where development can most
effectively be serviced.
The Amendment provides that development may be approved in
settlement areas in excess of what is needed to accommodate the
forecasts in Schedule 7, provided the development is on lands
designated for urban uses as of January 19, 2012. In addition,
greater flexibility has been provided to the County to re-designate
additional agricultural or rural lands for urban uses in settlement
areas, up to a total amount of land across the County equivalent to
what is needed to accommodate 20,000 people. It should be noted
that a sunset clause applies to the re-designated land provision
which expires in five years (2017). In addition, the County and
lower-tier municipalities are directed to establish and implement a
phasing policy to ensure the orderly and timely progression of
development on lands designated for urban uses.
The policies in Proposed Amendment 1 relating to employment
lands remain unchanged however Amendment 1 now provides that Simcoe
sub-area municipalities may request the Minister consider a review
of location and boundaries, and the appropriate uses in a
strategic settlement employment area or economic employment
To address the transition, Regulation 311/06 has been
amended to provide that where a matter under the Planning
Act or Condominium Act, 1998 is in-process
and awaiting a decision as of January 19, 2012:
the Amendment applies to official plans, official plan
amendments, zoning by-law amendments, applications for plans of
subdivision, and applications for approval of, or exemption from
approval of, a condominium.
the Amendment does not apply to minor planning matters such as
site plan approval, minor variance, consent, or matters before the
Ontario Municipal Board where the hearing is complete but no
decision has been issued.
The Places to Grow Act, 2005 requires the official plan
of a municipality be brought into conformity with a growth plan
including any amendments. Accordingly, municipalities will have to
initiate compliance amendments within the next three years or such
date determined by the Minister.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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Russell v. Township of Georgian Bay provides a useful reminder of the fact that while municipal officials sometimes appear to hold all of the cards in disputes with home owners, that is not always the case.
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