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 Consent (Severance) Applications 

Consent (severance) applications in the local municipalities are addressed directly by those municipalities. Contact the municipality for the application.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a land severance?
Why do I need approval to sever my land?
Where do I go for a land severance?
What is the process for a severance application?
How is the severance application evaluated?
What about conditions of severance approval?
Concerned about a land severance?
What rights of appeal do you have?
What are the powers of the Ontario Municipal Board?
What other approvals may be required?

 

What is a land severance?

A land severance is the authorized separation of a piece of land to form two new adjoining properties. This is commonly known as a consent. It is required if you want to sell, mortgage, charge or enter into any agreement for (at least 21 years) a portion of your land. If the two parts are split already, by a road or railway for example, consent is not needed.

Most municipalities with an approved official plan have specific policies and requirements for land severance. In addition to the division of land, rights-of-way, easements and any change to your existing property boundaries also require land severance approval.

If several severances are intended in the same area, a plan of subdivision may be more appropriate. It is up to the consent-granting authority in your area to decide whether a consent is the best approach or if a plan of subdivision is necessary for the proper and orderly development of your community.

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 bussing and garbage collection. Or it might result in damage to the natural environment, because lots are too small to accommodate 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 site, 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 the consent-granting authority has specified otherwise at the time of approval.

Where do I go for a land severance?

The approval of severances can rest with one of a number of different governing bodies. In the County of Lambton, local municipalities have approval authority and have used a by-law to delegate the approval authority function to a Comittee of Council or a Committee of Adjustment.

What is the process for a severance application?

Consult with municipal or County Planning staff. They will be able to tell you how to apply, what supporting material you must submit (e.g. sketches, plans), if there are any special land severance requirements set out in the official plan and what other permits and approvals (e.g. a septic tank permit) may be required.

When applying for a land severance, you may be charged a fee for processing the application. To determine the processing fee in your area, contact the municipal Clerk. As an applicant, you are usually required to fill out a consent application form provided by the consent-granting authority.

A typical application form contains both the information which is prescribed by minister's regulation as well as additional information which the consent-granting authority may require. The more information provided, the less likely delays will occur in the review.

If you do not provide all the information prescribed by minister's regulation, the consent-granting authority may refuse to accept or to further consider your application. Also, the 60-day time frame for making a decision does not begin until all the prescribed information is received. You are encouraged to contact staff if you need help in assessing what information is required.

The consent-granting authority must give notice of application before a decision is made. Notice of application is given at least 14 days in advance of a decision by the consent-granting authority, usually through local newspapers or by mail. Any person or public body may submit his or her views to the consent-granting authority.

The consent-granting authority may consult with agencies, boards, authorities or commissions and surrounding neighbours before making a decision.

When the consent-granting authority has decided on your application, it is required to send a notice of decision approving or refusing the application within 15 days of the decision being made, to any person or public body requesting to be notified. When a notice of decision is given, a 20-day appeal period follows.

How is the severance application evaluated?

In considering each application for land severance, the consent-granting authority evaluates the merits of each proposal against criteria such as:

  • Conformity with Provincial planning policies
  • 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
  • The need to ensure protection from potential flooding
  • Impacts on natural heritage features

 

What about conditions of severance approval?

A severance approval may have certain conditions attached to it including requirements for road widenings or parkland dedications, 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 the municipality to provide future services or facilities. The Planning Act requires that severance conditions to be met and a deed stamped within one year or a new application must be filed.

Concerned about a land severance?

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 the consent-granting authority knows about your concerns early in the process, it can take them into account before making a decision on the severance application.

What rights of appeal do you have?

Appeals to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) can be made in three different ways:

  1. Any person or public body may appeal a consent-granting authority's decision and any condition within 20 days of the notice of decision
  2. The applicant may appeal if no decision is made within 60 days from the date of receipt of the application by the consent-granting authority containing the prescribed information
  3. Any person or public body may appeal any changed conditions imposed by the consent-granting authority within 20 days after the notice of changed conditions has been given. Appeals must be filed with the consent-granting authority, accompanied by reasons for the appeal and the fee required by the OMB

 

The OMB is an independent administrative tribunal responsible for hearing appeals and deciding on a variety of contentious municipal matters.

What are the powers of the Ontario Municipal Board?

When a decision is appealed, the OMB will hold a hearing where you will have the chance to present your case. The OMB can make any decision that the consent-granting authority could have made on the application.

The OMB also has the power to dismiss an appeal without holding a hearing. For more information, see the Ontario Municipal Board, No. 6 in the series.

Appealing a planning decision to the OMB is a serious matter. It can take considerable time, effort and in some cases, money for everyone involved. A hearing may last only a few hours if the matter is quite simple, but for more complicated matters, a hearing can last for several days or even weeks.

The OMB will make a decision based on the facts presented at a hearing.

What other approvals may be required?

In addition to the planning approvals and building permit which are needed for a building project, there are other permits and approvals required in particular circumstances. For example, a septic tank permit is required for a new septic system. In cottage areas, a permit may be required from the Ministry of Natural Resources before you do any construction in the water (for example, a dock or boathouse with solid foundation).