Land Use Planning & Regulations
Our planning services and regulation complement other CRCA resource management activities by:
- directing development to areas that are not hazardous
- maintaining natural features and ecological functions
- protecting water quality and quantity.
Much of the information collected through mapping, resource inventories, and surveys and studies is used by the CRCA planning and regulations staff. In reviewing development proposals, our staff are also guided by provincial government policies as well as the CRCA Planning Policy adopted by the CRCA Board in 2015.
Our staff provide written comments to municipalities on applications made under the Planning Act. These applications include:
- official plans and zoning by-law amendments
- plans of subdivision and condominium
- site plan control applications
- minor variances.
Each year, we review approximately 300 of these planning applications. Most applications require a property inspection to assess the many natural features we need to consider.
We also review and provide comments on municipal official plans and zoning by-laws, as well as other policies and by-laws that can affect the natural environment.
Our reviews identify potential natural hazards and natural resources such as floodplains, wetlands, fish and wildlife habitat, and shorelines. We strive to protect you from personal danger and property damage posed by natural hazards such as flooding and erosion, as well as conserving the area’s natural resources.
The CRCA requires a fee for this service in order to recover our costs. Be aware that a delay in paying this fee can delay finalizing your application.
Before formally submitting your application to your municipality, we recommend that you consult with a CRCA planner in order to make the process as smooth as possible.
The CRCA has in effect Development, Interference with Wetlands and Alterations to Shorelines and Watercourses Regulations (Ontario Regulation 148/06) made under the Conservation Authorities Act. This regulation prevents or restricts development and site alterations near water and wetlands to protect you and the public from flooding, erosion and other hazards.
You may require a permit from the CRCA if your project is:
- in the channel of a watercourse or drain, in a lake, pond or a wetland
- within 15 m of a floodplain
- within 50 m of the top of bank of a river, stream, lake or other watercourse
- within 120 m of a provincially significant wetland
- within 30 m of all other wetlands greater than 0.5 ha.
Activities requiring approval within regulated areas include:
- construction, reconstruction or placing a building or structure of any kind
- any change to a building or structure that changes its use, increases its size or increases the number of dwelling units
- grading of the site
- temporary or permanent placing, dumping or removal of material originating on site or elsewhere
- alteration to watercourses (including municipal drains); bridges, culverts and other infrastructure; and channel and shoreline alterations
- all works in the water, e.g. docks, boathouses, dredging, etc.
Filling, construction or alteration of floodplains, wetlands, shorelines and waterbodies can result in increased upstream or downstream flooding, reduced water quality, destruction of fish and wildlife habitat or other environmental problems. When considering whether to grant a permit under these regulations, the CRCA considers not only the individual application, but also the long-term impacts within the watershed.