County nears completion of Official Plan Review

The County of Renfrew has just published the latest draft of its five-year Official Plan Review. Click HERE to view the full draft. The Current has reviewed the draft and in this article will provide highlights of proposed changes and issues affecting Land Development in the County. In a subsequent article we will report on matters relating to environmental aspects.

An Official Plan (OP) is a policy document that guides the short-term and long-term development of a community. It applies to all lands (over 700 people wrote to the County objecting to the inclusion of their land) and the policies within it provide direction for the size and location of land uses, provision of municipal services and facilities, and resources protection.

The latest version of the draft OP incorporates revisions as a result of public input gathered during public meetings held throughout 2016. The County has also just published a summary of municipal and public comments which incorporates the details of all suggestions and objections submitted during the 2016 consultation process. Click HERE to read the summary of comments.

Some of the Land Development matters that are noteworthy are:

Rural plans of subdivision:

  1. The draft OP has been amended to permit rural subdivisions provided the number of lots is consistent with historical trends and projected population growth in the area. Also, a subdivision in a rural area should not be closer than 1km to a settlement area.
  2. Issue was taken with the refusal to allow plans of subdivision to be further subdivided. The County responded by stipulating that if a developer wanted smaller or more lots, those considerations should be addressed through the initial subdivision application.

Sensitive lakes:

This description has been changed to “At Capacity Lakes”. The current OP prohibits all lot creation on such lakes. The County of Renfrew now proposes an amendment which would allow very limited lot creation where the septic system would be 300m back from the lake.


The draft OP does not propose any reduction in the number of severances from an original holding; i.e. three plus two. However, the Province has made it clear that it will insist on a cap of three severances, so it is anticipated that the County’s proposal will be rejected.

In the context of severances and related matters, there have been numerous complaints about the County being too subservient to the Province’s demands, particularly in respect of what some feel is the stifling of rural development. The County was urged to “fight back”. Its response is that its hands are tied but it has been working to put “as much Renfrew County context” into the OP that it can.

Madawaska Valley Township’s participation

Mayor Love expressed concern with population projections and how allocations will affect the interpretation of certain sections of the OP. She said the low growth rate would have a detrimental impact on Madawaska Valley. County responded by saying that population growth is based on Census Canada data. Love recommended, in this context, a change in the wording to avoid the “projected population growth as being interpreted in a restrictive manner”. County agreed with Love and recommended changing the wording.

Councillor Maika expressed concern about the prohibition of new lots on a private road that accesses a provincial highway. She was told in response that OP policies do not affect the highway control authority of the Ministry of Transportation.

Further consultation

The County has scheduled more Open Houses and Special Council meetings to allow for further public input into this latest draft OP. The dates and times of the Open Houses are:

  1. Thursday Mar. 22 – Eagles’ Nest, Eganville Community Centre, 178 Jane Street, Eganville
  2. Wednesday Apr. 4 – Germania Club Pembroke, 118 Bennett Street, Pembroke

Both Open Houses will start at 2 p.m. and will end at 4:30 p.m.

In addition, Special County Council meetings will also take place on both days commencing at 6 p.m.

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