The Township has an expansive rural area, and its residents value the rural character and amenities it provides. The viability of rural areas should be supported through planning and development decisions.
Provincial & County Policy
The Provincial Policy Statement and the County of Simcoe Official Plan Policies provide direction on specific issues. The Township Official Plan policies must conform to the PPS and County Official Plan, which set out the following policies:
Rural Settlement Areas
The Province recognizes the diversity of settlement areas, including cities, towns, villages, and hamlets. Rural settlement areas are the focus of growth, development, and intensification in the Township. Settlement areas may be expanded only at the time of a comprehensive review.
Viable Rural Areas
Healthy rural areas should be supported by building upon rural character, promoting regeneration, promoting diversification of the economic base, providing opportunities for sustainable tourism, and conserving biodiversity.
Permitted Uses on Rural Lands
Permitted uses on rural lands include: management or use of resources, resource-based recreational uses (including recreational dwellings), limited residential development, home occupations/home industries, cemeteries, and other rural uses. Development that is compatible with the rural landscape and can be supported by rural service levels should be supported.
Existing Policy & Legislation
- Provincial Policy Statement 2014
- County of Simcoe Official Plan Policies
Current Township Policies
The preservation and promotion of the agricultural and rural character of the Township, and maintenance of agricultural lands and the open countryside, are basic principles applicable to all development in the Rural designation. The Rural Residential designation applies to lands previously developed for residential purposes and lands previously approved for residential development.
Section 4.4 of the Current Official Plan contains Rural policies, and Section 4.5 provides Rural Residential policies. Current Official Plan policies require that:
- Agricultural uses are recognized and protected as a major land use in the Rural designation.
- The dominant consideration in addressing development proposals will be the impact on the rural character of the Township and surrounding agricultural operations.
- Single industrial uses are not permitted in the Rural designation without an Official Plan Amendment, and the proposal must meet the outlined criteria in Section 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52. Small-scale developments, such as home occupations and home industries, may occur.
- Development policies in the Rural designation and Rural Residential designation focus on maintaining rural character and outlining criteria for appropriate lot creation, including maximum number of lots severed and retained, lot frontages, and Minimum Distance Separation Formula requirements.
New and revised Official Plan policies will aim to promote the rural character of the Township that residents cherish and ensure that new development is compatible with the existing rural areas.
Your ideas and vision are important!
What changes would you like to see?
- What does rural character mean to you?
- Do you think that the current Official Plan policies supporting rural character are working?
- What changes might be required to the policies continue to support rural character?
- Please provide any other comments you may have for consideration in the development of new policies.