The Official Plan outlines the objectives and policies to guide the short-term and long-term physical development of all lands within the City. Official Plan policies reflect the consideration of the following:
- The planned allocation and distribution of different land uses, such as residential, commercial and industrial;
- Means to control the development and use of land (such as zoning, subdivision of land and site plan control); and
- The provision of municipal services and facilities such as: roads, sanitary and storm sewers, and parks.
Policies provide for orderly growth and development, and compatibility between the many different uses of land within the City of Sarnia. While the objectives and policies in the Official Plan primarily relate to the physical development of Sarnia, they also include objectives related to social, economic and environmental matters. These are implemented through policies related to such things as housing, residential intensification, the location of community facilities and open space. Secondary Plans are included which provide detailed land use, transportation and servicing policies and schedules for major growth areas in the City.
Application and Approval Process For Amendments
The process for amending the Official Plan is as follows:
1. Consult with Planning Staff:
Before you submit your application, discuss your plans with one of the Department planners to confirm whether an Official Plan and/or Zoning By-law amendment and/or other planning or engineering approvals are necessary.
2. Complete the application, including the following:
- A cheque made payable to the City of Sarnia for the application fee (variable fee structure);
- If you are using an agent or solicitor, your written authorization identifying by name the individual who will be your agent or solicitor; and
- In some cases, additional information could be helpful in assessing an application; you are encouraged to submit plans, photographs or other relevant documentation.
3. Notice of Public Hearing and Circulation of Application:
A notice specifying the date, time and location of the public meeting is sent to all assessed property owners within 120 metres (400 feet) of the property and is advertised in the Civic Corner section of the Sarnia Observer at least 20 days before the date of the public meeting.
A letter outlining the requested amendment is sent by the Planning Department to relevant municipal departments and public agencies for comment.
4. Public Meeting and Decision Making Process:
The public meeting will normally be held within 35 days of receiving your application. It is very important that you and/or your agent or solicitor attend the meeting to explain your application and answer any questions that Council may have. Other interested persons are also entitled to attend and to express their views about the application. Council will also consider verbal advice and a written report from the Planning Department. Council normally makes a decision on the application at the public meeting.
5. Adoption of Amending By-law:
If Council approves the application, an implementing amendment is usually passed by Council at the following City Council meeting.
6. Notice to County of Lambton (Approval Authority):
Within 15 days of Council adopting an Official Plan amendment, the Planning Department forwards a written notice of the adoption containing information prescribed by the Planning Act to the County of Lambton (approval authority) for approval.
7. Notice of Decision:
If the County of Lambton makes a decision on the adopted amendment, it will give written notice of its decision to City Council, each person or public body that made a written request to be notified of the decision, and the applicant. A 20 day appeal period is given from the date of the County's written notice of the decision.
8. When the Decision is Final and Binding:
If no appeals are made by the end of the 20 day appeal period, the decision is final and binding. If an appeal is made within the 20 day appeal period, the County must forward the appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board. The Ontario Municipal Board holds a hearing on any objections.