Consent and Severance FAQs
CONSENT AND SEVERANCE FAQ's
1. WHEN IS A SEVERANCE (CONSENT) REQUIRED?
A land severance is the authorized separation of a piece of land to form a new lot of a new parcel of land. This is commonly known as a consent. The Planning Act requires that a land severance, or consent, be obtained whenever you wish to sell, mortgage, charge or enter into any agreement (at least 1 year) a part of your lands. In addition to the division of land, establishing rights-of-way, easements and any changes to your existing property boundaries also require a severance. In the Town of Fort Erie, you must obtain the permission to sever land from the Town's Committee of Adjustment.
2. HOW DO I APPLY FOR A SEVERANCE (CONSENT)?
Application forms are available in the Planning Department at Town Hall of a fillable PDF version is available here. Before making your application, we recommend that you speak to a staff member in the Planning Department for their comments on your proposal and to review the pre-consultation process that the Applicant is required to conduct. Since the Planning Department provides the Committee of Adjustment with comments on applications, it is best to work with them to alleviate any potential problems that may arise.
All requirement fees are listed in the application.
The Committee of Adjustment:
The function of the Committee of Adjustment is to review the application, staff and agency comments on applicable planning policies and regulations, information provided by the applicant, as well as the input of any neighbours. As part of their review of this information, the Committee must satisfy themselves that the consent constitutes good planning for the proper and orderly development of the municipality.
For this reason, it is not possible for any one person or agency to tell an applicant in advance if their application will be approved. The Applicant is required to conduct a pre-consultation with some of these agencies in advance of making a formal submission to determine some of the requirements. Please see the Procedures for Processing Applications for Consent for further information.
3. WHAT IS PRE-CONSULTATION?
Pre-consultation is an informal process to allow applicants to review their development proposal with Town Staff and other key agencies as applicable when the proposal is preliminary. This provides for early identification of issues, constraints and opportunities. Pre-consultation involves the applicant providing conceptual, descriptive and sometimes technical information on a development proposal to Town Staff and key agencies if applicable to assist them in assessing the completeness of the application and the merits of a proposal.
Topics for discussion may include land use policies and guidelines, zoning information, public consultation, engineering requirements, development review and application fees. The Pre-consultation Process will provide teh applicant with the following:
- Information on what applications are required to permit their deveopment proposal
- Information on what studies and documentation will be required in support of the required applications
- The application processing fees associated with the proposal
- THe estimated timeframe to process the application once a compete application is received
- Reasonable certainty as to whether the development proposal would be be supported by Planning Staff (i.e. whether they would recommend approval or denial)
- Potential obstacles, challenges, road blacks that may impact the process
4. PRE-CONSULTATION PROCESS
5. HOW DO I APPLY FOR PRE-CONSULTATION?
The pre-consultation information can be found here.
6. IS PRE-CONSULTATION REQUIRED FOR A SEVERANCE (CONSENT) APPLICATION?
Yes, as it helps applicants understand what is needed for the application.
7. HOW IS THE LAND SEVERANCE APPLICATION EVALUATED?
In considering each application for land severance, the Committee of Adjustment evaluates the merits of each proposal against criteria such as:
- Conformity with the 2005 Provincial Policy Statement and 2006 Growth Plan;
- Conformity with the official plan and compatibility with adjacent uses of land;
- Compliance with local zoning by-laws;
- Suitability of the land for the proposed purpose, including the size and shape of the lot(s) being created;
- Adequacy of vehicular access, water supply, sewage disposal; and,
- Ensure protection from potential flooding
In considering a consent application, the Committee of Adjustment shall have a regard to the Provincial Policy Statement and the Growth Plan.
The Provincial Policy Statement and Growth Plan contain clear, overall policy directions on matters of provincial interest related to land use planning and development. The "shall be consistent with" rule means that the Committee of Adjustment is obligated to consider the application of all relevant and specific policies when carrying out its planning responsibility.
8. WHAT ABOUT CONDITIONS OF APPROVAL?
A severance approval may have certain conditions attached to it including requirements for road widening, parkland dedication, or a rezoning (or minor variance) to allow a new land use. In addition, the property owner may be required to enter into an agreement with teh Town to provide future services or facilities.
The conditions of severance must be satisfied within one (1) year of the Committee's decision. If all conditions are not satisfied within this time period, the application is deemed to be refused and the approval will lapse.
When the applicant has satisfied or fulfilled all the conditions, the Secretary of the Committee of Adjustment issues a certificate for the new lot and the severance goes into effect.
If the transaction originally applied for - scale of property, for example - is not carried out within two years of the date of the certificate, the severance is considered lapsed. The Committee of Adjustment can specify an earlier lapsing date at the time of the severance decision.
9. WHY DO I NEED APPROVAL TO SEVER MY LAND?
The indiscriminate division of land without anyone's approval could have a long-term, negative impact on your community. For example, it could result in over-extension of municipal services, such as snow plowing, school busing and garbage collection. Or it might result in damage to the natural environment, because lots are too small to accomodate adequate sewage disposal systems.
Official approval is required to ensure that:
- Land severances are considered within an established community planning framework
- New lots and new land uses do not conflict with the overall future planning goals and policies of your community
- Consideration is given to the effects of the division of land on the sire, on the neighbours and on the community as a whole
Once a severance has been approved, the new land parcels may be sold or resold without further approval. The only exception is if th econsent-granting authority has specified that thi should not occur without further approval.
10. HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED?
If you are concerned about a severance application that may affect you, you should:
- Find out as much as possible about the application
- Discuss your concerns with the consent-granting authority
- Write the consent-granting authority
If you have any concerns, you should make sure that you let council know about them early in the process. The consent-granting authority will then hae time to think about what you said and may make changes before the land severance is approved.
11. WHAT RIGHTS OF APPEAL DO YOU HAVE?
Appeals to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) can be made in three (3) different ways:
- The applicant may appeal if the Committee makes no decision within 90 days from the date of receipt of a completed application.
- Any person or public body may appeal the Committee's decision and any condition within 20 days of the notice of decision being sent
- Any person or public body may appeal any changed conditions imposed by the Committee within 20 days agter the notice of the changed conditions being sent
Appeals must be filed with the Secretary of the Committee of Adjustment, accompanied by reasons for the appeal and the fee required by the OMB. The OMB is an independent administrative tribunal responsible for hearing land use planning appeals.