The Planning and Development Act, 2007 (PDA), provides a council the authority to adopt an official community plan (OCP). The OCP is the keystone of the planning process and is essential in managing future growth and development of the community.
Under the legislation, the OCP must be prepared in consultation with a professional community planner as licensed under The Community Planning Profession Act, 2013. Additional review by a solicitor is highly recommended.
The purpose of the OCP is to provide a comprehensive policy framework to guide the physical, environmental, economic, social and cultural development of the municipality or any part of the municipality. A community plan is a growth management strategy for a municipality and enables it to set development goals, objectives and policies which council can use to manage land use, subdivision, municipal services, and public utilities. An OCP must also incorporate any applicable provincial land use policies and The Statements of Provincial Interest. An OCP is required to identify policies that address:
- sustainable current and future land use and development in the municipality;
- current and future economic development;
- the general provision of public works;
- the management of lands that are subject to natural hazards including, flooding, slope and instability;
- the management of environmentally sensitive lands;
- the co-ordination of land use, future growth patterns and public works with adjacent municipalities;
- source water protection; and
- implementation of the OCP.