Thinking of Developing Land? Check With County

Renfrew County landowners don’t have to worry just yet about major changes to the rulebook governing land development. 

However, some new rules could be coming down the pipeline later this year, and they're advised to stay on top of things with the County's planning department.

The County of Renfrew is updating its Official Plan, which guides decisions on everything from land severance to development, zoning changes and wildlife protection, to make sure it falls in line with a new policy statement coming down from the provincial government on land development.

That statement is expected to be complete by this fall.

County planner Charles Cheeseman says the County has been discussing its concerns with provincial officials for several weeks now, and he believes they're making progress in convincing Queen's Park that the updated Official Plan needs to reflect the valley’s rural needs.

The County hasn't been specific about what changes could have been coming, but says they believe they've been able to move the needle in favour of a solution that involves more local input.

“There are still going to be some new policies that in the plan, but the plan will be more similar to what we’re used to now, than where it could’ve gone .. so business as usual is a good thing in this case”, Cheeseman told Star 96.7.

Landowners Urged To Check With County

In the meantime, any landowner thinking of development can check with the County before they laying any money out to plan their project, to see how the evolving “Official Plan” may affect them.

"Unfortunately, people's first exposure to the Official Plan is when they make an application", Cheeseman said.

"We have a general inquiry process for people who are thinking of doing things on their property, where people can submit a proposal to us, and we'll give them a flavour of what's in these planning documents before they put any money on the table", he said.

"They can kind of learn where they might go with their project without spending any money, and learn about the process that way", Cheeseman added.

The province will make a partial decision on the County's updated Official Plan by March 24th, and it's expected a final decision will come by fall when the province's new policy statement is approved.