Elgin County Official Plan
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.
Planning for the next 20 Years
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:
- Town of Aylmer
- Municipality of Bayham
- Municipality of Central Elgin
- Municipality of Dutton/Dunwich
- Township of Malahide
- Municipality of Southwold
- Municipality of West Elgin
The City of St. Thomas is geographically located in Elgin County but is a separated City.
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What is an Official Plan?
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:
- Provides guidance to the local municipalities in the preparation of local Official Plans and Zoning By-laws
- Facilitates coordination and cooperation amongst the local municipalities and the County on planning and development issues that transcend municipal boundaries
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.