Vancant Land Development - Documentation, Requirements and Agreements
AMENDING APPLICATION: DOCUMENTATION Municipalities typically require a pre-consultation meeting with the landowner/developer when considering an application to amend the official plan and/or zoning by-laws. The meeting with planning departments representatives ensures that any development proposal generally aligns with existing municipal planning priorities, ensures that all key issues are identified and verifies which supporting documents should accompany a particular application Documentation typically includes a fully completed application, appropriate drawings and the applicable fees. At minimum, drawings would consist of a survey, but usually an expanded preliminary site developments plan is necessary, including survey details plus: • All existing and planned access routes and internal roads (including those of abutting properties), road widening, and layout of all driveways and parking areas. • Physical details of existing natural or artificial features on or abutting the property, including planned changes to these, as well as existing and planned land contours (including proposed landscaping, berms, walkways, bike paths and other amenities). • Location of all proposed building and retained building, including setbacks. • Summary statistics/descriptive information including building uses, gross building floor areas, building coverage and density. As a point of clarifications, this discussion centres on the development agreement with the municipality as a distinct contractual arrangement. However, often a joint developments agreement (relating to preparation of the land) and site plan control agreement requirements concerning structures) are negotiated in readiness for issuance of permits and building construction. As such, the joint agreement would span both contractual matters with the municipality and statutory requirements under the Planning Act. REQUIREMENTS Applications must meet all relevant municipal requirements before being processed. Both current and proposed land uses and requested zoning by-law changes, must be fully described, along with a description of the exiting land use. Municipalities are particularly interest in whether an existing use (or previous use of the property) are particularly interested in whether an existing use (or previous use of the property) has or could give rise to land contamination. Proposed land use details are then fully detailed, along with technical information concerning sewage disposal, water supply, storm drainage, road access and any related environment considerations. Particular emphasis is placed on required studies by appropriate experts. STUDIES Sewage: Confirmation of sewage capacity in serviced areas or, alternatively, servicing options for communal or private septic systems is needed. In the latter case, a hydrogeological report would be needed to describe surface water features, evaluate source groundwater quality, document any evidence of surface water contamination, assess the condition of any existing on-site wells, determine the need for filtration and generally describe the hydrogeological setting on the subject site. Stormwater: a preliminary stormwater management plan at point of development. Proper stormwater management is a key component to ensure that lands are protected from flooding and adequate prior to discharge into the environment. Environment: and environmental assessment generally assesses the impact of proposed activities on the environment and sets out guidelines relating to the amending application Water: confirmation of service capacity in a serviced area or, alternatively, servicing options along with a hydrogeological report is needed. Municipal Engineering: technical analysis of exisiting municipal infrastructure and the impact of the land development project falls under close scrutiny. Studies may be required concerning roads (local, arterial, regional and provincial) and servicing (sewer extensions, watermains and pump stations). Acoustics: Road, rail and airport noise studies and associated abatement may be required depending on location and use. For example, heavy industrial proposal must assess the impact of site noise on adjacent areas. Conversely, housing developers must consider appropriate noise abatement techniques to lessen the impact of a nearby transportation corridor. Urban Design: Appropriate expertise is usually need to develop an effective streetscape including entry features, fencing, cul-de-sacs, turning circles, parkland and trails. Remediation: Existing sites may require detailed study to rectify former environmental problems, protect/improve wetlands, strengthen natural habitat, minimize future erosion and rechannel streams/watercourses. SIGNAGE The municipality will require one or more signs providing information about the filed application. The sign must include what is being proposed, details about the amendment, name of the owner and how to contact the municipality. OTHER SUBMISSIONS An amending application is circulated both within the municipality and ot the regional government (where applicable). Regions are responsible for co-ordinating and developing the regional position on developments within the lower –tier municipality. Further, other ministries, agencies and commissions may be involved depending on the specific property. AMENDING APPROVAL Once an amending application is deemed complete, the municipality will confer with internal departments, other levels of government, various agencies/commissions and the public. Based on this input, the municipality will make a decision to approve or refuse the application. If approved, conditions may be imposed. Any person or public body may also appeal the municipality’s decision to the Ontario Municipal Board. However, the OMB will only consider such an appeal If the individual or public body has made oral submissions at a public meeting, or written submissions to the municipality before the by-law is passed, regarding the amendment application. LAND DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT A land development agreement is normally required as a condition for an amending application approval and subsequent development of the property. The development agreement is not part of the rezoning process, but is negotiated between the parties before or coincident with it. To reiterate, such agreements between the municipality and the landowner are contractual in nature and should be differentiated from those that are statutory in nature. Typically, the municipality requires that the landowner agree to the land developments agreement terms prior to the rezoning approval. The agreement defines all obligations and duties of the landowner, with the main focus on the provision of required new servicing, maintenance of municipal standards, land dedications for municipal walkways and new public roads, transit rights-of-way, easements, garbage storage facilities, and parkland, greenbelt and buffer area contributions. The owner will also be responsible for carious charges/levies incurred by the municipality including engineering fees, planning services, selected plan approvals and legal fees. The scope and complexity of land development agreements vary based on the municipality, the size of the project and the conditions imposed in the approval process. The agreement not only sets out requirements detailed above, but also included financial payment arrangements and guarantees to ensure that services and other items are properly installed and fully paid. Landowners may also be required to pay local improvement and development charges that relate to the specific land in question.