Pre-Consultation and Consents
PRE-CONSULTATION AND CONSENT PROCESS AND INFORMATION
1. WHEN IS A SEVERANCE (CONSENT) REQUIRED?
A land severance is the authorized separation of a piece of land to form a new lot of a new parcel of land. This is commonly known as a consent. The Planning Act requires that a land severance, or consent, be obtained whenever you wish to sell, mortgage, charge or enter into any agreement (at least 1 year) a part of your lands. In addition to the division of land, establishing rights-of-way, easements and any changes to your existing property boundaries also require a severance. In the Town of Fort Erie, you must obtain the permission to sever land from the Town's Committee of Adjustment.
2. HOW DO I APPLY FOR A SEVERANCE (CONSENT)?
Before making your application, we recommend that you speak to a staff member in the Planning Department for their comments on your proposal and to review the pre-consultation process that the Applicant is required to conduct. Since the Planning Department provides the Committee of Adjustment with comments on applications, it is best to work with them to alleviate any potential problems that may arise.
All submission requirements and fees will be provided to you in your pre-consultation agreement.
3. WHAT IS PRE-CONSULTATION?
Pre-consultation is an informal process to allow applicants to review their development proposal with Town Staff and other key agencies as applicable when the proposal is preliminary. This provides for early identification of issues, constraints and opportunities. Pre-consultation involves the applicant providing conceptual, descriptive and sometimes technical information on a development proposal to Town Staff and key agencies if applicable to assist them in assessing the completeness of the application and the merits of a proposal.
Topics for discussion may include land use policies and guidelines, zoning information, public consultation, engineering requirements, development review and application fees. The Pre-consultation Process will provide the applicant with the following:
- Information on what applications are required to permit their development proposal
- Information on what studies and documentation will be required in support of the required applications
- The application processing fees associated with the proposal
- The estimated timeframe to process the application once a complete application is received
- Reasonable certainty as to whether the development proposal would be supported by Planning Staff (i.e. whether they would recommend approval or denial)
- Potential obstacles, challenges, road blacks that may impact the process
4. HOW DO I APPLY FOR PRE-CONSULTATION?
The pre-consultation application can be submitted online. Pre-consultation meetings are held the second and fourth Thursday of each month. Applications received will be placed on the next agenda as required to allow for a review period. Please be advised that staff do their best to place you on the next agenda, it may already have reached the maximum applications.
5. HOW DO I APPLY FOR CONSENT?
Once the pre-consultation process has been completed, you may submit your formal consent application (please contact the Secretary-Treasurer to review current fee’s and set up an appointment to submit your application), Submission requirements are noted in your pre-consultation agreement.
6. SEVERANCE /BOUNDARY ADJUSTMENT PROCESS
7. HOW IS THE LAND SEVERANCE APPLICATION EVALUATED?
In considering each application for land severance, the Committee of Adjustment evaluates the merits of each proposal against criteria such as:
- Conformity with the 2020 Provincial Policy Statement and 2019 Growth Plan;
- 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; and,
- Ensure protection from potential flooding
In considering a consent application, the Committee of Adjustment shall have a regard to the Provincial Policy Statement and the Growth Plan.
The Provincial Policy Statement and Growth Plan contain 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 Committee of Adjustment is obligated to consider the application of all relevant and specific policies when carrying out its planning responsibility.
8. WHY DO I NEED APPROVAL TO SEVER MY LAND?
The indiscriminate division of land without anyone's approval could have a long-term, negative impact on your community. For example, it could result in over-extension of municipal services, such as snow plowing, school busing and garbage collection. Or it might result in damage to the natural environment, because lots are too small to accommodate adequate sewage disposal systems.
Official approval is required to ensure that:
- Land severances are considered within an established community planning framework
- New lots and new land uses do not conflict with the overall future planning goals and policies of your community
- Consideration is given to the effects of the division of land on the site, on the neighbours and on the community as a whole
9. WHAT ABOUT CONDITIONS OF APPROVAL?
A severance approval may have certain conditions attached to it including requirements for road widening, parkland dedication, or a rezoning (or minor variance) to allow a new land use. In addition, the property owner may be required to enter into an agreement with the Town to provide future services or facilities.
The conditions of severance must be satisfied within one (1) year of the Committee's decision. If all conditions are not satisfied within this time period, the application is deemed to be refused and the approval will lapse.
Further information about application conditions will be provided but not limited to comments through pre-consultation and will be listed on the Notice of Decision provided to the applicant within 15 days of the hearing. Common conditions that are the responsibility of the applicant include:
- Cash in Lieu of Parkland provided by a certified appraisal
- A legal description and reference plan (PDF and DWG format)
- Lot grading plan
- Tree preservation plan provided by a certified arborist
- Archaeological Assessment
- Street Tree fee
- Street Light fee
- Road widening or daylight triangle
When the applicant has satisfied or fulfilled all the conditions, the Secretary of the Committee of Adjustment issues a certificate for the new lot and the severance goes into effect. Once the consent has been registered on title (with the Land Registry Office) the lot may be sold or a building permit submitted for review. The only exception is if the consent-granting authority has specified that this should not occur without further approval.
If the transaction originally applied for - scale of property, for example - is not carried out within two years of the date of the certificate, the severance is considered lapsed. The Committee of Adjustment can specify an earlier lapsing date at the time of the severance decision.
10. WHAT RIGHTS OF APPEAL DO YOU HAVE?
You can file an appeal to a higher authority - the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT). You have twenty (20) days following the date the Committee of Adjustment decision is made to file an appeal with the Secretary-Treasurer.
An appeal to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) must be accompanied by a fee of $300.00 payable to the Minister of Finance. If an appeal is received, the entire matter is taken out of the Committee’s jurisdiction, and the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) then arranges for a new hearing, which may take up to six (6) months or more to schedule. The decision of the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) is considered final. More information can be found at https://elto.gov.on.ca/tribunals/lpat/about-lpat/
Appeals to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) can be made in three (3) different ways:
The applicant may appeal if the Committee makes no decision within 90 days from the date of receipt of a completed application.
Any person or public body may appeal the Committee's decision and any condition within 20 days of the notice of decision being sent
Any person or public body may appeal any changed conditions imposed by the Committee within 20 days after the notice of the changed conditions being sent
Appeals must be filed with the Secretary of the Committee of Adjustment, accompanied by reasons for the appeal and the fee required by the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT). The OLT is an independent administrative tribunal responsible for hearing land use planning appeals.