A land review process currently being undertaken by the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville is catching some local landowners by surprise and angering others. The Review has a history dating back years, and is tied into the Counties Official Plan.
As a requirement under the Planning Act, the Counties must complete an Agricultural Area Review, a process which requires refined mapping of the local area so that input on zoning can be sought from members of the public and other stakeholders. Specifically, it is required that local governments identify lands that could be re-designated as “Prime Agricultural Land”.
One local resident reached out to the Times with specific concerns that his Rural zoned property was going to be re-zoned to Agricultural status. This would have made it difficult for him to sever his property in the future. This resident was relieved that his submitted request to keep the Rural zoning was accepted, and wants to make sure others are aware of the current Review.
The Agricultural Area Review was identified as a requirement in 2016. MPP Steve Clark weighed in: “The Counties kicked the can down the road until now and I’ve received a bunch of complaints.” He confirmed that rumours about this process being a way to “make up” for the Greenbelt lands matter are simply untrue, which is clear when looking at the timeline. He also pointed out that final decisions when it comes to Official Plan Amendments are not made by the Province, but rather by the mayors who sit at the Counties Council table.
Amy Martin, Director of Planning and Development at the Municipality of North Grenville, told the Times that the Land Evaluation and Area Review (LEAR) study was made a requirement in 2016, and is not required to be completed until 2026. MPP Clark stated that a Counties public meeting will be held next month to confirm the final mapping before Counties Council gives the matter final consideration in the months that follow.
Elaine Mallory, Planner at the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville, says that “all potentially impacted landowners have been [contacted], which is a really proactive step by the Counties Council to help inform them what the final recommended product may look like.” She emphasizes that although comments on the matter are appreciated by October 30, they are “sought and accepted any time”. Elaine can be contacted by phone at 613-342-3840 Ext. 2422, or by email at [email protected].