What type of development applications is the District of Muskoka the approval authority for?

    The District of Muskoka is the approval authority for plans of subdivision, condominium descriptions, as well as local Official Plan Amendments and lifting of part lot control by-laws.  

    Applications for draft plans of subdivision and condominium descriptions are submitted directly to the District of Muskoka Planning Department.  

    Local Official Plan Amendments and lifting of part lot control by-laws are first approved by the Area Municipality and then forwarded to the District of Muskoka for approval.

    What other types of applications does the District review?

    The District of Muskoka is a commenting agency for Area Municipal zoning by-law amendments, consent applications, minor variances and site plan control applications.  

    Minor variances and site plan control applications are currently only reviewed from an Engineering and Public Works perspective in relation to the provision of municipal water and wastewater services and solid waste, and access to District Roads

    How are development applications approved?

    All applications submitted to the District of Muskoka Planning Department are reviewed within a standardized framework. 

    An application is circulated to various agencies and reviewed by District planners and engineers, public and separate school boards and other agencies such as Provincial Ministries, to ensure conformity to any applicable Official Plan and Provincial Guidelines and Policies. Local utility companies, such as, gas, hydro, cable providers, Canada Post, and CN Rail, also review it. 

    A public meeting is held in order to provide both members of Committee/Council and the public with information on the proposed development and gather feedback on the proposal. 

    Planning staff ultimately prepares a report, which contains all the information related to the project and the feedback from other agencies, as well as public comments on the application. The staff report includes a recommendation for approval/denial, which is submitted to the Community and Planning Services Committee for a decision. Some applications may also be required to proceed to Council for a decision.  Contact a Planner for further information.

    What is a Plan of Subdivision?

    A Plan of Subdivision is a method of dividing land into lots and/or blocks in a comprehensive manner, so that those lots/blocks can then be held in separate ownership. It often requires the creation of public roads, multiple lots and appropriate infrastructure to service the development.  

    It requires approval to ensure that the subject lands are suitable for its proposed new use from a number of perspectives including environmental, geotechnical, transportation/access, servicing, and natural heritage. 

    The proposal is also evaluated to ensure that it conforms to the Official Plans (both District and Area Municipal), as well as to provincial legislation and policies, and that property owners, neighbours and the community in general are protected from developments which are inappropriate or could put an undue strain on community facilities and services.

    What is a "block"?

    Blocks can be used to identify small portions of land on the draft plan of subdivision/condominium, such as site triangles and road widenings, as well as portions of the land to be used for stormwater management facilities or open space/recreational purposes.

    They can also be used to identify portions of the draft plan which will be reserved for future development.  In the case of future development blocks, additional Planning Act applications (i.e. Condominium, Site Plan, Lifting of Part Lot Control) are generally required to further divide the parcel(s).

    What is an "Agency"?

    An angency is any agency, board or commission that is not part of the District Municipality of Muskoka (the District), which are consulted by the District on development applications, as required. 

    Agencies may include Government Ministries (i.e. Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, or the Ministry of Transportation, First Nations, utility providers (i.e. Hydro One and Lakeland Power), telecommunication providers (Bell Canada), Railways, local school boards and service providers such as Canada Post.

    Are reports available to the public?

    Yes, both staff reports to the Community and Planning Services Committee and technical documents submitted with this development application can be found in the "Technical Documents & Committee Report Folders" located on this page.  

    Reports are also made public through our online reports portal at: https://muskoka.civicweb.net/filepro/documents

    How do I participate in the planning process?

    You can participate in the planning process for this project by staying engaged in this project page, by attending public meetings, open houses and workshops or by providing your thoughts in writing.

    To be notified of these important opportunities and to receive project updates, join our courtesy notice list by subscribing to follow this project and receive updates right to your inbox.

    From the project home page, locate the "Stay Informed Tool" (Just look for the big blue megaphone on the top right-hand side of your desktop computer, or scroll down on your mobile device). Enter your email address and hit subscribe!  

    You will then be added to our courtesy notice list and receive regular email updates letting you know of updates, workshops, open houses, and public meeting dates

    How do I submit my thoughts in writing?

    You can submit your thoughts/comments in writing by the following 2 options:

    1. Send by Email to:
      Kassidee Fior, Planner with the District Municipality of Muskoka
      Email: Kassidee.Fior@muskoka.on.ca

    2. Mail your letter to:
      The District Municipality of Muskoka
      70 Pine St. Bracebridge, ON
      P1L1N3
      Attention: Kassidee Fior

    What are "Conditions of Draft Approval"?

    Once a plan of subdivision or condominium description has been draft approved, it is subject to conditions of draft approval which must be fulfilled prior to final approval and registration. 

    Conditions of draft approval include entering into entering into municipal agreements to ensure that the recommendations of the technical studies will be implemented, and ensuring that the interests of the Town, the District and other commenting agencies are protected through the provision of easements, dedication of parkland or payment in lieu, community benefits, etc.  

    An applicant is given five years in order to fulfill the conditions of draft approval, however extensions of time may also be granted.

    What is the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal (LPAT)?

    The Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) is an adjudicative tribunal that hears cases in relation to a range of municipal planning, financial and land matters. These include matters such as official plans, zoning by-laws, subdivision plans (including condominiums), consents, and a number of others.

    What is a Zoning By-law and where can I find the one for my area municipality?

    A Zoning By-law controls the use of land in your community. It specifies the permitted uses of land (e.g. commercial or residential) and the required standards (i.e. building size and location) in each municipality’s different land use zones. 

    Each of the six local municipalities within the District of Muskoka has its own Zoning By-law to regulate land use; copies may be viewed by contacting the local municipal office. 

    The Town of Bracebridge and Township of Muskoka Lakes zoning information is also available on the District of Muskoka GeoHub webmapping portal.

FAQ's: Official Plans

    What is an Official Plan?

    An Official Plan is a policy document that guides the short-term and long-term development in your community.  An Official Plan sets out a vision and goals and ensures that new development and growth considers a broad range of policies to protect the natural environment, align growth and development with municipal infrastructure, and promote complete, safe, accessible and inclusive communities.

    The Muskoka Official Plan covers:

    • Environmental protection
    • Water quality  
    • Resource Management  
    • Housing     
    • Growth and settlement patterns
    • Community vision and objectives                                   
    • Economic development                       
    • Tourism and resorts                               
    • Transportation 
    • Services and utilities
    • Implementation

    Each of the Area Municipalities also has an Official Plan which recognizes the unique characteristics of that community and implements the policies of the Muskoka Official Plan. 

    The District is the approval authority for Area Municipal Official Plans and approval of any amendments to those plans.  

    Where can I find the current Muskoka Official Plan?

    The June 28, 2019 office consolidation of the Muskoka Official Plan is available online or it can be obtained from the Community and Planning Services department.  

    Click the following link to view or download the plan now: Muskoka Official Plan

    (Please note the MOP is large document and may take a few moments to download)

    Learn more about the MOP on the District's website at: www.muskoka.on.ca/en/work-and-invest/Muskoka-Official-Plan.aspx 

    What is an Official Plan Amendment (OPA)?

    An Official Plan Amendment (OPA) is a formal document that changes a municipality’s official plan. Changes may be needed because of new circumstances in the community, changes at the Provincial level or because of requests made by property owners.

    Where can I learn more about Official Plans and the planning process?

    To learn more about Official Plans and the Planning Process, visit the Government of Ontario's website to view the Citizen's Guide to Land Use Planning.