GBA has launched a project to compare the main features of the official plans and planning bylaws for municipalities along the eastern and northern coasts of Georgian Bay.
How is GBA involved?
- GBA is undertaking a review of the Official Plans and critical zoning bylaws with a goal to establishing best practices along the Bay.
- GBA will be working with your municipalities and seeking input from all stakeholders on this review.
How can you help?
- Encourage your municipality to participate in the project.
- Adopt best practices to protect Georgian Bay and the coast.
The purpose of this initiative is to establish base data on the current status and main features of each municipality’s Strategic Plan, Official Plan (OP), Comprehensive Zoning By-laws (CZB), and (where applicable) Community Plans, compare them and then share information on the results with the partners in the project. The focus will be on the OP policies, and CZB regulations that apply to the coastal area of the municipalities. We expect that this exercise will surface both commonalities and key differences in the planning policies and regulations, which can be analyzed to identify core principles, and how the policies and regulations might be made more consistent, if appropriate for various municipalities. After the findings are shared, the partners could discuss potential sound or best practice approaches.
The goal will be to focus on the more significant planning issues rather than drilling down into the fine details, in particular developing data on planning and land use policies and regulations to improve preservation and protection of the east and north coasts of Georgian Bay.
This will primarily be a research project aimed at gathering knowledge and then sharing key insights and important information. Key to the project’s success will be establishing and maintaining good communications among the partners in the project, including GBA and participating municipalities.
The key benefits to the project partners and residents will be:
- Identify the main commonalities and differences in the content of OPs and CZBs, for the information and consideration of municipal planning departments and Councils.
- Develop a basis for discussion of potential ways to develop more consistent planning and land use policies and regulations throughout the coast, including identifying and sharing information on sound procedures and best practices.
- Serve as a platform for potential future discussion and information sharing among municipalities.
- Develop communications material for residents and GBA members to better inform them on the policies and regulatory requirements in their municipalities.
The partners may think of more benefits or uses for the results as the project unfolds.
GBA suggests that the project commence with a review of the official plans, followed by a review of the key zoning by-law regulations. At this point we suggest that the main steps would be:
- Assemble copies of the current OPs and CZBs.
- Develop a list of significant planning policies and regulations that should be compared.
- Put together a comparison chart that clearly identifies commonalities and differences.
- Determine which differences are significant and which are less important from a planning and coastal protection standpoint.
- Carry out further research on the significant differences to determine how the policies and regulations might be made more consistent, and to identify potential best practices.
- Communicate the findings to all municipalities.