August 04, 2011
Two primary local documents govern how land use activities and growth occur within a community. These documents are a municipality’s Official Plan and its Comprehensive Zoning By-Law. An Official Plan sets outs a Town’s vision for the growth of the community, but the Zoning By-Law then puts the plan into effect and provides for its day-to-day administration.
The Zoning By-Law does this because it actually controls the use of land within a community. It contains provisions that regulate how land may be used, where buildings and structures can be located, the types of buildings that are permitted and the lot sizes and dimensions, parking requirements, building heights and setbacks from the street.
Livable Oakville (see related article)
The new Official Plan for the Town of Oakville, Livable Oakville, was approved on May 10, 2011 by the Ontario Municipal Board. The Ontario Planning Act requires Oakville to amend its zoning by-laws to ensure conformity with an Official Plan.
With the approval of Livable Oakville, the Town of Oakville will now be preparing a new Comprehensive Zoning By-Law that will implement the policies and community visioning outlined in Livable Oakville.
The first stages of the new Comprehensive Zoning By-Law process have commenced. This new Zoning By-Law will apply only to all lands south of Dundas. A Comprehensive Zoning By-Law is currently in place for North Oakville.
Livable Oakville and the new Comprehensive Zoning By-Law
The new Official plan for Oakville will result in a number of changes being made to the land use zoning applied to lands within Oakville. We anticipate that the new Comprehensive Zoning By-Law may make the significant changes to the land use zoning within Oakville including, for example:
Legal Non-Conforming Uses
Additionally, we anticipate that a significant result of the policies in Livable Oakville may be the creation of additional “legal non-conforming uses” within Oakville.
A legal non-conforming use occurs when the zoning of a parcel changes, due to the revision or updating of a municipality’s Zoning By-Law, but the use was legally established prior to the change and it continues uninterrupted. The original land use is, therefore, “grandfathered” or no longer recognized as a lawful use in the new Zoning By-Law. The policies of the Livable Oakville plan encourage such uses to be discontinued.
This means that while the current use may continue on the lands, it becomes a legal non-conforming use under the new zoning by-law, prohibiting as of right alterations, such as building expansions, to occur on the lands in the future without the approval from the Town of Oakville. The intent is that such a legal non-conforming use should be replaced by a use that conforms to the Zoning By-Law and Official Plan.
The Interests of Land Owners
All property owners in Oakville should participate in, or at least monitor, the new Comprehensive Zoning By-Law process to ensure that there are no adverse impacts on their property.
In particular, all property owners who experienced a change in their land use designation under Livable Oakville will definitely want to monitor any changes in the zoning of their lands within the new Comprehensive Zoning By-Law for Oakville to ensure they are able to continue to use their lands and/or operate their businesses in the same manner into the future.
If you would like further information regarding the application of the policies found in the new approved Livable Oakville Plan, or of the subsequent related land use planning issues that may arise in the future, such as the upcoming process for the new Oakville Comprehensive Zoning By-law, please contact our Municipal team at our offices.