Elgin County's Official Plan
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.
What is planning?
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 Planning Act
- Official Plans
- Zoning By-Laws
- Land Severances
- Ontario Municipal Board
- Northern Ontario
- Building Permits
- The Plan Review and Approval Process
- Making Mediation Work for You
Provincial Planning Documents
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 13- 10)
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