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 and include 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 Local Planning Appeals Tribunal (LPAT). The Local Planning Appeals Tribunal holds a hearing on any objections.