Planning & Development Services>
The purpose of the Planning Division is to recommend the form of future development in Prescott, and to make recommendations to Council on private development applications. The Town is a single tier municipality and therefore designated as the one window approval authority by the Ministry.
Development proposals are brought before a Planning Advisory Committee, which reviews and decides upon recommendations and forwards them to Council for approval.
Prescott's Official Plan sets out detailed land use development policies and sets the framework for the provision of municipal services for the town. The town's Zoning By-law implements the official plan and sets out what parcels of land can be used for certain uses. The Zoning By-law regulates aspects such as maximum heights, parking and also protects neighbouring properties and environmentally sensitive areas.
Minor Variance FAQ's
A Minor Variance is a change or amendment to a By-Law passed under Section 34 of the Planning Act, including Zoning By-Laws, Fence By-Laws, Site Plan Control By-Laws and Signs By-Laws (by-laws that implement an Official Plan). A variance application can also include requests for changes or extensions to legal non-conforming uses, or other uses not specifically defined in the Zoning By-Law.
If you wish to construct a new building, make additions or alterations to an existing building, your proposal must comply with Prescott's Zoning By-Law. The same can be said for the erection of signs, or fences, in relation to their applicable By-Laws. If it doesn't, you may apply for a minor variance. However, if the change you wish to make is substantial, you must apply to the Town for an amendment to the Zoning By-Law (Planning Advisory Committee).
Typical requests for variances include: lot dimensions, building setbacks, parking requirements, sign size or height, fence height, minor changes in legal non-conforming uses etc.
Minor Variances in Prescott are approved by the Committee of Adjustment, under the delegated authority of Town Council. The Committee is formed by three (3) lay members of the community, and functions like an informal court or council.
You should speak to Municipal Planning Staff in order to receive applications, and to understand information which may be necessary for submission (i.e. sketches or plans, zoning information or other relevant By-Law requirements, Official Plan Policies, etc.)
The applicant or someone who requested notice of the decision can appeal a decision severance or it's conditions, within 20 days of the formal decision release. Appeals are sent to the Committee's Secretary Treasurer, who forwards the file contents to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT).
The Committee of Adjustment receives a recommendation report from Planning Staff. The committee must be assured that the variance:
a) is minor in nature (not such a large magnitude to warrant a re-zoning of the site, nor will it unduly affect neighbouring properties);
b) is suited to the appropriate development of the land, building structure;
c) maintains the general intent and purpose of the Town's Official Plan.
Each application is judged on its own merit, and is not precedent setting. In other words, a decision made on one property doesn't necessarily mean the same decision will be made on another.
Two weeks before the date of a hearing, all assessed owners of property within 60 metres, are sent outlining the minor variance proposal. In addition, a sign is posted on-site by the applicant.
At the public meeting, the committee will hear any additional information from the applicant, will listen to the Planning Staff report, and allows interested parties to speak on their proposal.
Typically, a decision is made that same day, or at a subsequent meeting if further information is necessary. Within 10 days of making its decision, the Committee must notify the applicant/owner and anyone else who has asked to be notified.
A rezoning application is a request to change the current Zoning By-law provisions as they apply to your property. It may be an application to change the land use, for example from a home to a business, or from an industrial to commercial use.
Before submitting an application, the owner/applicant must consult with staff and agencies in accordance with the Municipality’s pre-consultation procedure.
Rezoning application forms are available online or from the Planning Services Department. The completed application form must be accompanied by the proposed plans and/or drawings, the appropriate application fee and all other requirements included on the form and discussed during the pre-consultation meeting. The drawings should detail the changes applied for and possibly include: building locations or expansions, road widening, entrances, loading and parking areas, landscape areas, building setbacks and lot coverage.
Your application and will be reviewed and circulated to other departments and agencies for comments.
You will be given information on how to post a sign on the property advertising the rezoning application and the date of the scheduled Public Meeting.
The Municipality will mail notice of your proposal to all property owners within 120 metres (400 feet) of the property boundaries.
The Planning Advisory Committee will hold a Public Meeting to review your application. This is the opportunity for anyone who wants to speak in support of, or in opposition of the application to voice an opinion.
A Public Meeting report will be prepared by staff detailing the application and will be available as part of the agenda package before the public meeting.
Additional information about an application will be available by contacting the Clerks Department. Also, any comments on the application may be voiced or submitted in writing to the Clerks Department.
The decision made at the Committee will be ratified or denied by Council at the following meeting and is subject to a twenty-day appeal period which begins the day the decision is mailed out by the Municipal Clerk. If no appeal is filed, the decision is final and binding and the new amending by-law is then in effect.
Please refer to the fee schedule for the current fees.
If the Municipality fails to make a decision within a prescribed timeframe, or if an application is denied or conditionally approved, the applicant may appeal the decision of Council to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT). A landowner may also appeal an application if they have a valid reason for disagreeing with the decision of Council.
An appeal must include a completed OLT Appeal Form and be accompanied by a cheque made out the Minister of Finance (refer to Fee Schedule and form). All appeals and fees are submitted to the Municipal Clerk.
Despite receiving rezoning approval your application may be subject to other approvals or permits. Site plan approval, a building permit, Conservation Authority permit or Health Department permit may still be required before construction. The required permits and approvals will be discussed during the pre-consultation meeting.
Land Severance FAQ's
The Ontario Planning Act, provides that it is against the law to divide a piece of land into two (2) or more lots without official approval, called a Consent of Land Division or a Severance. A consent is also required if you wish to sell, mortgages or leases (for more than 21 years) abutting lands which have the same owner. You also need approval to create rights-of-way, easements and any change to the existing boundaries of a property.
Prescott's Official Plan contains specific policies and requirements for land severances.
If you want to divide your land into several parcels for development, you may have to follow the Plan of Sub-Division procedures, instead of the Consent Process.
Land Severances in Prescott are approved by the Committee of Adjustment, which is composed of three (3) Lay Members of the Community, and functions like an informal court or council.
You should speak to Municipal Building Staff in order to receive applications, and to understand information which may be necessary for submission (i.e. sketches or plans, lot size requirements, general zoning and official plan information, etc).
The Committee of Adjustment reviews a recommendation report from the Planning Staff. The approval body's concern includes the following:
a) provincial and municipal interests;
b) official plan policies and zoning regulations
c) compatibility with surroundings;
d) use, size and shape of the proposed lot(s); and
e) adequacy of road access, services, flood protection, etc.
Notice of the Committee considering the application is given to property owners in the area and a public meeting is then held to review the application. A decision is typically made that same day, or at a subsequent meeting if further information is necessary.
Within 15 days of making its decision, the Committee must notify the applicant/owner and anyone else who has asked to be notified.
Consent can sometimes include certain conditions which must be met prior to final approval. You must fulfill these conditions within one year of the decision.
Once a decision is final, and applicable conditions have been met, you will receive a Certificate. You then have two (2) years to transfer the property.
The applicant or someone who requested notice of the decision can appeal a decision of severance or it's conditions, within 20 days of the formal decision release. Appeals are sent to the Committee's Secretary-Treasurer, who forwards the file contents to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT).
Site Plan Approval FAQ's
The Town uses Site Plan Approval and these Guidelines to address and resolve design matters related to the proper development of any site.
Site Plan Approval works in conjunction with other approvals such as Zoning or Building Permit approval to provide for well designed and functional sites. The Town's general objectives for design are found in the Town's Official Plan. Site Plan Approval is a Site-specific type of development control authorized under Section 41 of the Planning Act. The Site Plan Control Area By-law of the Town of Prescott was approved by Council Sept 7, 1982 to establish Site Plan Control within the Town.
Please consult the Planning Department before submitting an application. Before an application will be considered as complete, it will be necessary for the applicant to submit all the following required documentation.
The basic Site Plan submission requirements include:
- Covering letter or brief résumé of project
- Completed Site Plan Application Form
- Owner's Authorization (if applicable)
- Application Fee
- Digital copies of the required plans in high-quality, vector PDF Format. Printed copies can be requested at the discretion of staff.
- Required Plans & Studies (To be confirmed during pre-consultation phase):
- A copy of an Ontario Land Survey (reference plan)
- Two printed copies of the approved, final plans and a digital copy in high-quality, vector PDF Format
Important note: The total processing time may vary depending on the complexity of the proposal and issues that may be encountered. Where applicable, development cannot proceed without an approved Site Plan Drawing(s), an executed Site Plan Agreement and until all financial requirements have been met.
The Site Plan Control By-law 06-2012 is a legal document that sets out whether development can proceed with or without site plan approval. The site plan control process allows the Town to influence land development so that it is safe, functional and orderly.