The Development Services Department is composed of two functional branches (the Planning and Development Branch and the Building Services Branch) with specific responsibilities in each area. The Planning and Building functions are important components in the overall development of our Municipality. Planning, through the Town’s Official Plan, provides a framework to guide future land use and physical development in our Municipality. This in turn provides an additional tax base, employment, economic development and infrastructure to our Town.
The Planning and Building functions for the Town have been combined into one Department since 1989. The primary purpose for this arrangement was to create a "one stop shopping" approach to development approvals, from initial contact through planning approvals, building approvals, completion and occupancy. The secondary benefit was a clearer reporting and accountability structure to Committee and Council. The Development Services Department is responsible for the review and administration of applications for planning approvals and building approvals.
One of the most important responsibilities municipalities have is land use planning. It gives people an opportunity to decide how they would like to see their community develop over the years ahead and to introduce regulations that can help to shape the development of the community. There are three main tools used by municipalities to control land use in Ontario. These are the official plan, the zoning by-law, and subdivision control. In Ontario, the provisions of the Planning Act apply to the use of these three tools.
The Planning Act provides the framework for municipalities to prepare official plans for their areas. Through an official plan, a municipally sets long term goals and objectives about how it wants to grow and develop. The official plan contains policies on how a municipality will deal with various land uses and servicing questions that arise. For example, how will it deal with preserving environmentally sensitive lands? How does the municipality want residential subdivisions in urban areas to be designed? Where should roads or transit be built? An official plan provides the “rules of the game” with respect to planning issues, so that developers, the public, and property owners know what to expect and everyone approaching the municipality for a land use planning decision can be treated consistently and fairly. An official plan, by itself, does not control how private land owners may use their land. Zoning by-laws implement the policies of the official plan by regulating and controlling specific land uses (and as such, must conform to the official plan.) As its name suggests, a zoning by-law divides a municipality into a number of zones and sets out the permitted uses of land, where buildings and structures can be located, the types of permitted buildings, and requirements for matters such as lot sizes and dimensions, parking, how far the building must be set back from the street, what side yard requirements there may be, and building heights in each zone. Common zones are called residential, commercial, industrial, institutional,and open space zones.
Through zoning, a municipality can guide and shape the pattern of development that occurs. The requirements in a zoning by-law help to determine the physical appearance of a community. A zoning bylawhas an important and positive role to play. The challenge is that of striking a reasonable balance between the interests of individual property owners and the interests of a community.
Municipalities are also involved in controlling land use through a process known as subdivision control. When someone wants to subdivide their property into individual parcels of land that can be sold separately, they require approval of a plan of subdivision – a formal, legal document that shows the dimensions and boundaries of lots, the streets to service the lots, and any public uses, such as school and park areas.
To provide a simpler way of creating only one of a few more lots, the Planning Act provides an alternative to the plan of subdivision. An application can be made to a local body often called a Committee of Adjustment for the granting of a severance or consent to create the new lot(s).
The Development Services Department serves the citizens of the Town of Bracebridge by ensuring that current and future development is compatible with the physical, environmental, and economic capacity of the Town of Bracebridge. Development Services also ensures that new construction is carried out with properly issued building permits and that all new construction meets the standards of the Ontario Building Code Act and Regulations.
The Province of Ontario, through the Ontario Building Code Act and the Ontario Building Code, is responsible for the development of building regulations. These documents outline specific regulations and requirements that are to be adhered to from the submission of an application, the plan review, and inspections. The purpose of the Code is to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public and building occupants. Each municipality is then responsible for the review, inspections and enforcement of the Code as laid out by the Province of Ontario for their specific area (Town of Bracebridge).
The Department carries out the following statutory functions:
The Planning Act:
The Building Act:
The Municipal Act:
Ontarians with Disabilities Act (ODA), 2001 / Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act
For all these functions, the Department is responsible for inquiries, preparation, review, maintenance, monitoring, updating and amendment, interpretation and compliance comments, inspection and enforcement.
Disclaimer / Privacy Statement
Town of Bracebridge 1000 Taylor Court, Bracebridge, ON P1L 1R6 Phone: (705) 645 5264
Web Design by The Managed Web