Increased Transparency in Land Use Compatibility: An Overview of the Newly Released Draft Land Use Compatibility Guideline

The Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) has recently released the Draft Land Use Compatibility Guideline (“Guideline”) for comment on the Environmental Registry. The new Guideline supports the implementation of the Provincial Policy Statement (“PPS”) in a Planning Act approval process regarding the creation and/or expansion of sensitive land uses near existing or planned major facilities; and vice-versa.

Major facilities include, among others, transportation and manufacturing facilities, and are classified according to impact characteristics and scale. Sensitive land uses include, among others, residences, schools and health facilities.

The Guideline will replace the existing D-1, D-4 and D-6 guidelines regarding land use compatibility, and feature the following key aspects:

  • Explicit allocation of responsibility to planning authorities (municipalities) to:
    • Ensure that sensitive uses and major facilities are planned to avoid or minimize adverse effects according to PPS policies and; and
    • Protect the long term viability of existing and planned industrial and employment uses according to PPS policies
  • Detailed process for assessing land use compatibility using the metrics area of influence (“AOI”); and minimum separation distance (“MSD”) measured between property lines.
  • Guidance on mitigation strategies and the preparation of compatibility studies.

The commenting period for the Guideline expires on July 3, 2021.

It should be noted that this Guideline will not replace the NPC-300 noise guidelines. Furthermore, Appendix D of the Guideline clarifies that the prescribed AOI and MSD do not apply to new or expanded aggregate operations near sensitive land uses. These will continue to be governed by the Aggregate Resources Act (“ARA”) processes and standards.

Please see the below decision tree for a visual representation of the process outlined in s. 2.5 of the Guideline.

Draft Land Use Compatibility Guideline, s. 2.9 Decision Tree for Land Use Compatibility [36]. 

land use compatibility decision tree

The Wood Bull LLP team will continue to monitor this Guideline for further developments. For more information and interpretation, please contact our team. 

Author(s): Kim Mullin and Bogdan Artus