Official Plan Amendments (OPA) Reports & Approvals

What is the purpose of an Official Plan?

Official plans, governed by municipal councils throughout Ontario, guide general land use as well as the economic development and growth of a community. They provide the municipality’s broad policy direction for the future development of the community, including policies around residential, commercial and industrial development; targeted growth areas; municipal servicing, roads and other infrastructure; natural heritage and environmental protection; and parks and open space.

When is an Official Plan Amendment required?

Official Plan Amendments are required when a proposed development or land use greatly differs from the general objective established by Council for that area. These are complex proposals, which usually involve a high level of supporting information, and often involve consultation with the community, land planning experts and relevant agencies and authorities.

For example, if you wish to create a housing development, apartment complex or shopping centre, this will likely have an impact on transportation and road use in the area – planned roadways may need to be widened to incorporate extra traffic flow. Through the Official Plan Amendment process, the community would have the chance to discuss the impact of the proposed project on its residents, and to address the compatibility of existing and proposed land uses.

Do I need an Official Plan Amendment to develop my land or property?

If you wish to develop your land or change your property use in a way that conflicts with the Official Plan, you will need to submit an application for Official Plan Amendment, along with the required supporting materials. Consulting with a professional land use planner early in the project can help to ensure that all requirements are met in a timely manner.

Members of the public, companies and organizations can submit Official Plan Amendments (OPAs) themselves; however, it is strongly advised to seek the skilled help of a professional land planning consultant to take away the stress, remove any element of doubt and relieve the burden of covering all the necessary formalities. Planning rationales are typically required to support an amendment to the Official Plan, and these must be prepared by a qualified land use planner.

Approval authorities can, and do, reject applications that are not considered complete and in line with the policies covered by the Official Plan. ZanderPlan land planning consultants will ensure no vital information is missing from your submission.

From the preparation of detailed planning reports to representation at public meetings, ZanderPlan takes care of all of the essential elements involved in securing an official plan amendment.


Rural zoning amendment and site plan for an industrial project, which involved county and township approvals, a detailed planning rationale and multiple public meetings
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— E. M., Smiths Falls