Back a few years ago when the Ontario Government announced it was going to transfer approval authority for subdivisions, condominiums and Official Plans to upper tier municipalities from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, it was generally accepted as a good idea — keeping decisions about local development local as it were.
And while there is much to be said for the idea, it is also clear that implementing such a plan hasn’t come overnight and that growing pains would be inevitable.
Essentially, at the County Level, Director of Planning and Economic Development Joe Gallivan is the guy that signs the yea-or-nay papers on such things, (as determined at the March 2016 County Council meeting) aided and advised by Council’s Community Development Advisory Committee (which consists of Coun. John McDougall and Ron Higgins as well as community representatives Chair Robert Clinton, Vice-Chair Betty Hunter, Darwyn Sproule, Wilma Kenny, Tracy John and Barrie Gilbert).
Now, North Frontenac, Central Frontenac and Frontenac Islands all use Gallivan’s planning department for their planning services. But South Frontenac has its own planning department, under Manager of Developmental Services Forbes Symon.
At last week’s regular South Frontenac Council meeting, Symon presented several reports on the subject including a report on the subdivision and condo approval process, a subdivision approval flow chart, Township draft plan guidelines, and who does what. There are also reports on monitoring conditions set out in the development agreement. (All reports are available on the South Frontenac website under the agenda for the Aug. 1 meeting.)
Of these reports, the approval flowchart is of particular interest, outlining the 21 steps required to get approval for a subdivision project.
The first two steps involve only Township personnel. In Step 3, County personnel join the consultation process along with Township personnel as well as Health Unit and Conservation Authority personnel.
Step 4 goes back to the Township where the proposal is introduced at a Committee of the Whole meeting and in Step 5, the developer receives feedback and decides whether to proceed.
In Step 6, the developer pays fees and submits an application to the County.
In Steps 7-11, there are a series of public meetings and consultations, mostly through the County.
In Steps 12 and 13, the Township hears the proposal and sets conditions for draft approval.
In Step 14, the County Planner presents a report to the County Planning Advisory Committee recommending conditions on draft approval and notes.
In Step 15, the County either approves or rejects the proposal and in Step 16, the County gives a notice of decision and there is an appeal period.
Then following this prescribed period, the developer fulfils draft conditions and provides clearance letters from agencies to the Township. The Township then prepares a condo or subdivision agreement and notifies the County of its clearance of specified conditions and recommends final approval (Steps 17-19). In Step 20, the County gives final approval and in Step 21, lawyers register the approved plan, agreement and easements etc on site of property at the County Registry Office.