The Rural Policy and Zoning Review is being undertaken to identify the changes that need to be made to the Town’s Official Plan, with regards to the Natural Heritage System, Agricultural System and mineral aggregate resources, in order to bring it into conformity with the Regional Official Plan (ROPA 38).
As part of these amendments, the Town will consider how to implement the new Regional Natural Heritage System, which affects a considerable amount of land in the Town and when applicable may have an impact on new development proposed on properties affected by these changes. Depending on the type and location of the proposed development an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) may be required as part of the development application process. More information is provided in the Q&A section below.
The Town is required by law to update our Official Plan and Zoning to conform to Regional Policies.
Mapping - Does this Study Affect Me?
The Study primarily affects the rural area of Halton Hills, as shown on the Study Area Map.
To determine if your property may be affected by the study, view the interactive map.If you have difficulty with the map, please contact Town staff at 905-873-2601 ext. 3605.
This mapping is to be used as a screening tool to determine if all or part of a property may be affected by the study. Follow the steps below, which will help you locate your property on the map and determine if your property is within the potentially affected area.
Click on the link below to open the mapping tool called MapLinks (Link to Map)
Type your civic address (rural emergency address) into the search bar on the top right hand corner of your screen (for example 12345 Sixth Line) and hit return on your keyboard.
Your address will appear on the left hand side of your screen under Search results.
Click on the civic address listed and the site will zoom into your property.
If there is green or blue on any part of your property, you may be affected by this study.
The Green Area represents properties within in the Halton Hills Rural Area, that are potentially affected by this study.
The Blue Area represents properties within the Niagara Escarpment Plan Area, that are potentially affected by this study.
If you determine that your property may be affected by the study, and would like more information on what this may mean, please contact Town staff at 905-873-2601 ext. 3605.
A team of consultants led by Meridian Planning has been working with the Town to undertake this project.
Council endorsed the Background Discussion Paper through a staff report in September 2017 and authorized the use of the Discussion Paper as the basis for developing draft Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendments. That concluded Phase 1 of the Study. Currently, the team is working on preparing the draft Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendments. A report providing an update on the project and an overview of next steps was presented to Council on June 26, 2018.
A public open house to present the draft Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendments is anticipated to occur in early 2019.
What is the Regional Natural Heritage System (RNHS)?
The RNHS are areas that have environmental features such as wetlands, flooded areas, watercourses, and 30 metre buffers around these features. Additional lands are also included in the RNHS that link natural features together and enhance the system. For this reason, some lands without any environmental features (such as some currently cultivated fields) may be included in the RNHS.
How do I know if the RNHS mapping affects my property?
Mapping is available on the project webpage. Enter your civic address (rural emergency address) to identify if any part of your property is within the area that may be affected. If you need assistance, please call a staff member at 905-873-2601 ext. 3605.
How does the RNHS mapping affect development on vacant parcels of land?
New development on vacant parcels of land may be affected by the RNHS, depending on the size of the building, the sensitivity of the environmental feature and the location of the building. The owners of vacant lots are encouraged to review the mapping very carefully to determine if the new mapping affects their property.
Can the Town exempt certain types of development from requiring an EIA?
It may be possible for the Town to exempt certain types of development from requiring an EIA, such as the construction of accessory buildings, decks, swimming pools and building additions, however this topic requires more discussion with the Region of Halton.
What is an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)?
An EIA is a study completed by a qualified professional that identifies the environmental features that may be affected by proposed development. It is used to confirm the location and boundaries of the feature and then assesses the impacts of the proposed development on that feature.
What is a holding provision?
A holding provision is placed on properties in the Town’s Zoning By-law and requires that a condition must be met before certain things can happen on a site. For example, the Town could place a holding provision on properties to determine if an EIA is required prior to building an addition or a new agricultural building. If it is determined that an EIA is required, the holding provision would be removed upon the successful completion of the EIA allowing the property owner to proceed with their plans. In order to have a holding provision lifted, staff must prepare a report for Council recommending the hold be lifted.
What is a minor variance?
A minor variance is an application that is submitted requesting that a proposed development be permitted to vary slightly from the requirements outlined in the zoning by-law. In this instance, any development within a certain distance of a key environmental feature would require a minor variance, which would trigger the requirement for preparation of an EIA. A minor variance is considered by the Committee of Adjustment, which is a committee of Council and the Committee of Adjustment meets once a month.
How does the new RNHS affect properties that are already the site of an existing house?
The house and all legally constructed accessory buildings would be recognized as existing uses. Any new uses or expansions to existing homes may be impacted by the new RNHS depending on what is proposed, its location in relation to the boundary of the RNHS and the sensitivity of the environmental feature that is on or near the property.
What are the impacts of the RNHS if my property is subject to the Niagara Escarpment Plan?
In cases such as these, the Niagara Escarpment Commission is the approval authority and is responsible for issuing development permits for development and site alteration. When considering development permit applications, the Niagara Escarpment Commission will take into account the RNHS policies established in the Region of Halton Official Plan.
If an EIA is required for new development on my property, what options will the Town consider in terms of the process to be followed?
There are a few options available under the Planning Act to determine if an EIA is required. The process may involve the lifting of a holding provision (refer to Q13), entering into a Site Plan Agreement (refer to Q14) or approval of a minor variance (refer to Q15). Further details on the types of processes being considered by the Town are found within the discussion paper on the Town’s website.
Why is the RNHS important?
The RNHS was developed to protect important environmental features within Halton Hills and throughout the Region of Halton.
What is a site plan?
A site plan is a drawing, or set of drawings that illustrate where things are on a property such as the location of buildings, driveways, parking areas, pedestrian sidewalks, landscaping, fences, etc. To determine if a site plan is required, a building permit must be submitted and then through the site plan process, it would be determined if an EIA would be required.
What are the implications of being within the RNHS?
The policies of the Regional Official Plan restrict certain types of development within the RNHS and in some cases, within a certain distance of the RNHS. The distance from the RNHS varies depending on the type of development. For some types of developments, the new policies require that a property owner prepare an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to demonstrate that the development will not negatively impact the RNHS. (See Question #5 for information on an EIA.)
Can the Town modify the RNHS mapping prepared by the Region?
The Regional Official Plan requires the Town to implement the RNHS mapping as presented. However, the Regional Official Plan does permit refinements to the mapping if an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is completed and/or the Region is provided with evidence that the RNHS mapping is inaccurate. Assessment (EIA) is completed and/or the Region is provided with evidence that the RNHS mapping is inaccurate.
What impact will the RNHS mapping have on agriculture?
All existing agricultural uses are permitted to continue. It is possible however, that new agricultural buildings proposed within the RNHS or within 120 metres of the RNHS may require an EIA. Determination of the need for an EIA depends on the size of the building, the sensitivity of the environmental feature and the location of the building.
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