Development planning is the process of creating and implementing a vision for the future of a community. It involves identifying the needs and aspirations of the residents, businesses, and stakeholders, and finding ways to meet them in a sustainable and equitable manner. In Lanark County, development planning is guided by the Official Plan, which sets out the goals, objectives, policies, and strategies for land use, transportation, infrastructure, environment, heritage, and social services. The Official Plan is reviewed and updated every five years to reflect changing conditions and priorities. The County also prepares other plans and studies to support the Official Plan, such as master plans, secondary plans, community improvement plans, and environmental assessments. 

Lanark County is composed of eight lower-tier municipalities. Each municipality has its own council and mayor, and they cooperate with the county council on regional issues such as land use, tourism and economic development, roads, waste management, social servicespublic health and emergency management. Our member municipalities have established their own Official Plans and Zoning by-law policies. 

Lanark County is the Approval Authority for the approval of consents (severances), plans of subdivisions and condominiums, condominium exemptions, part-lot control by-laws, local Official Plan Amendments and County Official Plan Amendments, and local Official Plan 5-Year Reviews

How does Development Planning Work in Ontario?

Planning is governed in Ontario by a combination of provincial legislation, policies, and plans, as well as municipal official plans, zoning by-laws, and other instruments. The Planning Act is the main law that sets out the rules and principles for land use planning in Ontario. It describes how land uses may be controlled, who may control them, and how the public can participate in the planning process.

The province issues provincial policy statements under the Planning Act to promote provincial interests, such as providing for a full range of housing options, including affordable housing, and protecting and managing natural resources. The Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) is a key document that provides policy direction on matters of provincial interest related to land use planning and development. The PPS supports a comprehensive, integrated and long-term approach to planning, and recognizes linkages among policy areas. All decisions affecting land use planning matters made on or after April 30, 2020 shall be consistent with the PPS.

The public has the right to be notified about planning proposals, to give their views to their municipal council or planning board, and to appeal decisions to the OLT where permitted. The Planning Act also encourages co-operation and coordination among various interests involved in land use planning.

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) has established an online guide that explains the basic principles and concepts of land use planning in Ontario. It provides information on how citizens can get involved and influence land use decisions in their communities. The guide is intended to help citizens understand and participate in land use planning processes that affect their quality of life.

Consents (Severances)

A land severance is the authorized separation of a piece of land to form a new lot or a new parcel of land. This is commonly known as a consent. It is required, if you want to sell, mortgage, charge or enter into any agreement (at least 21 years) for a portion of your land. View the forms & fees page for further information on the consent process within Lanark County.

You can apply for a consent for:

  • A new lot
  • Lot addition
  • Easement
  • Charge or lease
  • Correction of title

Subdivisions & Condominiums

If you are interested in creating new lots or units for residential or commercial purposes in Lanark County, you may need to apply for a subdivision or condominium development approval. A subdivision is a legal process that divides a parcel of land into two or more lots, while a condominium is a form of ownership that allows individual units to be sold within a larger property. Both types of development require planning and technical review by the County and other agencies, as well as public consultation and council approval. 

A pre-consultation is highly recommended for Subdivision & Condominium applications

Part-lot Control

Part lot control development applications are a type of planning approval that allow the creation of new lots or changes to existing lot boundaries without going through the subdivision process. In Lanark County, part lot control development applications are regulated by the Planning Act and the County Official Plan. Part lot control development applications are typically used for minor adjustments, such as correcting lot lines, enlarging lots, or creating easements. Part lot control development applications require the approval of the County Council and the registration of a reference plan at the Land Registry Office.

Lanark County's Sustainable Communities Official Plan (SCOP)

Lanark County adopted its first Sustainable Communities Official Plan (SCOP) in 2016 and combined an official plan under the Planning Act, with an Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP). The Lanark County SCOP is a document that guides the development and land use planning in the county. It sets out the vision, goals, objectives, policies, and maps for the county’s physical, social, and economic growth. It also provides a framework for coordinating and evaluating development applications, such as severances, subdivisions, and zoning amendments. The Lanark County Official Plan is approved by the county council and must conform to the provincial policy statement and the upper-tier official plan. The current official plan was adopted in 2016 and is under review every five years.

The SCOP provides for the implementation of land use policies through traditional tools, such as zoning and lot creation with a focus on the integration of sustainable practices regardless of political boundaries. The ICSP part of the plan identifies goals and objectives designed to enhance community sustainability.

To view the Official Plan on our online mapping system, select the "Official Plan A - Land Use" or "Official Plan B - Source Water Protection" in the legend.

Official Plan Document 

Official Plan Schedule "A"

Official Plan Schedule "B"

Sustainable Communities Official Plan (SCOP) Amendments

OPA#1– Remove “Licensed Aggregate Extraction Operation” designation and replace with “Rural “ designation – Pt. Lot 26 Conc. 2 geographic Township of Pakenham, now in the Municipality of Mississippi Mills.

OPA#2 – Remove “Licensed Aggregate Extraction Operation” designation and replace with “Rural” designation – Pt. Lot 9 Conc. 1 Township of Montague.

OPA#3 - Add policies relating to “Source Water Protection” and add Schedule ‘B' Source Water Protection areas.

OPA#4 - Redistribute the Municipal boundary of the Town of Perth to reflect its current municipal jurisdiction, and to redistribute the settlement area within the municipal boundary to reflect the 'Minutes of Settlement' agreed to by the Town, County and Province in respect to the Town's appeal of the SCOP to the Ontario Municipal Board.

OPA#5 - Re-designate ANSI designations in the Township of Mississippi Mills

OPA#6 - Re-designate "Aggregate Resource - Pit" to "Rural" in the Township of Mississippi Mills for a rehabilitation of a former Class B Pit (MM OPA#20)

OPA#8 - Update population projections for the County of Lanark and allocations to local municipalities to the year 2038

OPA#9 - Re-designate lands within the municipal boundary of the Town of Perth to “Settlement Areas” in order to accommodate the Town’s population allocation of 8,085 to the year 2038 (Perth OPA#16)

OPA#10 - Re-designate "Rural" to "Licensed Aggregate Extraction Operation" in the Township of Lanark Highlands (LH OPA#7)

OPA#11 - Expand the settlement area boundary of Almonte to accomodate the projected growth to year 2038.

OPA#12 - Designate Prime Agricultural Areas on Schedule “A” to the Community Official Plan (COP) for the Municipality using a Land Evaluation Area Review (LEAR)The effect of COPA 29 is to repeal and replace “Schedule “A” Rural Land Use” with a new Schedule “A” that includes an updated “Agriculture” designation based on the results of the LEAR and makes certain policy revisions to the COP that will be in force and effect on January 5, 2024. (MM COPA#29)

OPA#13 - Re-designate "Rural Area" to "Licensed Aggregate Extraction Operation" in the Township of Lanark Highlands 

OPA#14 - Re-designate "Rural Area" to expand the "Licensed Aggregate Extraction Operation" in the Township of Lanark Highlands


Current County Wide Studies

The County is currently undertaking the following studies as part of it's broader Official Plan Update. Additional materials will become available to the public as the study progresses:

  • Aggregate Mineral Study (2023 - Present)
  • Growth Management Study (2023 - Present)

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