After 30 years, the municipality’s Official Plan-a document that guides development and growth in Prince Edward County-is due for a change, one which appears to be on the horizon.
Having undergone several years of study and public consultation, according to a recent press release, the new Official Plan is undergoing one final round of public consultation, after which the revised plan will go before council.
Once council has approved the new plan, it will be sent to the Government of Ontario for final approval.
The entire draft of the new plan is posted on the public consultation website, Have Your Say, which can be found here: (https://haveyoursay.thecounty.ca/official-plan). Included as part of the website are several forums where people can learn more about each section of the plan and offer feedback.
Public consultation closes November 5, 2020.
The latest version of the Official Plan includes the following:
Eliminate country lot subdivisions and reduce severances to one per lot, instead of two, to help preserve the natural landscape, minimize conflicts with and preserve agricultural lands, and to direct growth to the varied settlement areas within the County.
Smaller and less dense developments are to take place within the hamlets while larger more expansive and denser developments (including residential) are to be directed to the larger centres of Wellington and Picton where the County has already invested heavily into the existing infrastructure and is able and willing to expand the infrastructure (with the help of developers) to support any proposed growth.
More accepting of creative/alternative means of housing development to help address affordability. Different forms of tenure (co-ops, mixed use) along with different performance standards (more lenient parking standards or setbacks) are intended to help create greater density.
A more expansive definition of tourism to include agri-tourism, wineries, craft breweries, distilleries, spas, cycling and nature trails; as such, tourism is now more appropriately permitted in most designations so long as it takes into consideration the intent of that land use designation.
Support for agriculture-related and on-farm diversified farming uses. Development proposals for farm-related uses that meet the criteria do not require formal approval from the County if they are less than 1,200 square metres in size.
Natural Core Areas have greater protection by not permitting larger scale developments outside of a settlement area and requiring greater environmental review to show no negative impacts on the Linkages between the Natural Core Areas.
While feedback is being gathered through the Have Your Say website, the public is also invited to provide feedback via regular mail to the County (Engineering and Development Services, 332 Picton Main Street, Picton, ON K0K 2T0).
According to the most recent press release from Shire Hall regarding this matter, staff intend to bring the new Official Plan to council with a report during the Committee of the Whole Meeting scheduled for Thursday, November 12 at 1:00 p.m.
The meeting will be available for livestreaming through the municipal website: www.thecounty.ca.
Once council approves the Official Plan, the document will be sent to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing for review as the Minister has final authority over the Official Plan, which is required under provincial legislation.