In 2010, Elgin County Council embarked on a program to develop the County’s first ever Official Plan, a policy document that sets out long-term goals and objectives for how a community wishes to grow and develop.
The Elgin County Official Plan was approved by the Province in October, 2013. This long-range document is based on a planning horizon for the next 20 years and address matters of County importance while acknowledging local planning authority and the need to provide a balanced approach to planning in the County. Elgin County consists of seven local municipalities.
This long range planning document is based on a planning horizon for the next 20 years (2011 to 2031). The Plan addresses matters of county importance while acknowledging local planning authority and the need to provide a balanced approach to planning in the County. Elgin County consists of seven local municipalities:
The City of St. Thomas is geographically located in Elgin County but is a separated City.
The purpose of an Official Plan is to establish general direction for planning and land use matters; that is, to create policies on how land in the County should be used. An Official Plan consists of goals, objectives and policies to guide development and meet the physical, social and economic needs of the community.
An Official Plan typically deals with a range of land uses and issues including housing; employment (retail, industry, office); services (roads, water, sewage); parks/open space/recreational areas; institutions (places of worship, schools, government, etc.); and resources (agriculture, environment/natural heritage, cultural heritage, mineral/aggregates). An Official Plan also includes criteria and guidelines for planning processes and implementation
The main purpose of an Official Plan at the County level is to provide general direction and guidance on a broad basis by establishing an upper tier policy framework that:
Each of the seven local municipalitiesin Elgin County have their own Official Plans that provide specific and more detailed strategies, policies and land use designations for land use planning in each community.
Only those natural heritage features and areas that are identified as Provincially Significant would be designated on the Elgin County OP Land Use Schedule (Map).
Those natural heritage features that are identified as ecologically important will be shown on a map in an appendix to the Official Plan for information purposes only.
One generally accepted definition of planning is the scientific, aesthetic, and orderly disposition of land, resources, facilities and services with a view to securing the physical, economic and social efficiency, health and well-being of urban and rural communities.
The Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing identifies land use planning as managing our land and resources. It helps each community to set goals about how it will grow and develop and to work out ways of reaching those goals while keeping important social, economic and environmental concerns in mind. It balances the interests of individual property owners with the wider interests and objectives of the whole community.
The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing has prepared the following Citizens Guides to Land Use Planning:
The Elgin County Planning Department advises County Council on all planning matters. In addition Planning staff provides resources and information to other County Departments and to local Municipalities. The Department is not engaged in local planning activities except as a commenting agency and as the Approval Authority for Official Plans and Plans of Subdivision/Condominium.
The County of Elgin is the Approval Authority for Official Plans, Official Plan Amendments and Plans of Subdivision/Condominium. Online application and approval forms are available as well as an Applicant’s Guide for Subdivision/Condominium. Elgin County is also a commenting agency for local applications such as zoning by-law amendments, consents, minor variances and site plans. (The application process is funded through user fees as set out in County of Elgin By-Law 20-18)
Who Should I Contact?
If you are considering making an application which requires planning approvals, it is recommended that you start by contacting the appropriate municipal office as follows:
|Plan of Subdivision||County of Elgin|
|Plan of Condominium||County of Elgin|
|County Official Plan Amendment||County of Elgin|
|Local Municipal Official Plan Amendment||Local Municipality|
|Zoning By-Law Amendment||Local Municipality|
|Building Permit||Local Municipality|
|Site Plan||Local Municipality|
|Minor Variance||Local Municipality|
|Consent (severance)||Local Municipality/ Elgin County|
Land Division Committee