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Municipal Planning

 

Planning in the municipal context deals with land use, social and community services, housing, cultural and heritage resources, economic development, finance, environment, transportation and infrastructure.
 

Municipal councils are responsible for making planning and land use decisions. This means that they can determine the plan designations for an area, the density of a neighbourhood and the size and dimensions of a lot. They prescribe the nature and level of servicing, as well as the protection of hazardous and sensitive environmental areas. They can determine what type, height and size of buildings will be permitted and they approve building and occupancy permits.
 

Municipalities have a range of planning tools available to assist them with this responsibility (i.e. community planning, development cost charges, social planning, environmental planning, heritage planning, zoning, Board of Variance, development variance permits and subdivision approval). The scope of these tools is related to the size and complexity of the community.
 

One of the most important planning documents is an Official Community Plan (OCP). This document is a statement of objectives and policies to guide decisions on planning and land use management respecting the purposes of the municipality. It is a guide for elected officials, the public and the development community in making decisions about development and services. Policy statements in an OCP might cover such things as the community’s social needs, or a regional context statement (if the plan area is in a regional growth strategy boundary).
 

Residents and other interested parties play an important role in deciding how their community will develop by making their views know to their municipality. The development of plans and bylaws usually provides opportunities for public consultation through public hearings or other means. In addition, municipal council’s can receive recommendations from residents and others about land use planning issues by creating an Advisory Planning Commission.
 

 

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