Land Development Process

This guide provides an outline of the process and requirements of each of JEDI’s partner municipalities for industrial/commercial land development. Its intent is to serve as a reference for developers, industry, land owners and the general public. The land development process, depending on the magnitude of the proposed development, can be lengthy, very complex and can involve several municipal departments and provincial agencies. While every reasonable effort is made to ensure that the information provided here is accurate, it does not provide the exact details, form submissions or fees required by each municipality. Additional questions regarding the land development process and specific requirements can be directed to JEDI or to the Planning Department of the relevant municipality.

The land development process and timelines for each of the partner municipalities are outlined in the next subsections. The definitions for the key applications required for land development are listed below.

Area Structure Plan (ASP)

An Area Structure Plan (ASP) is the first process of land development. It is the planning and technical document that provides the proposed use for a land development. It is also the key document that is is used as the project reference and guides all the other steps in the development process.

It is the responsibility of the prospective developer, industry or land owner that is proposing the development to draft the ASP and then present it to the municipality. Typically, an ASP is written by a professional consultant or an engineering firm. It is highly recommended that one of these third parties is used to draft the ASP, as they are very familiar with all the technical factors involved and can prevent delays in the development process. It is also recommended that before an ASP is started or considered, that the prospective developer consult with the municipality to determine if there are any limitations that need to be accounted for.

The content of the ASP must provide all the specific components required by the municipality and must address and be within the guidelines of the Municipal Development Plan (MDP). The contents typically include most of the standard ASP components, but not necessarily all of them, as the municipality will indicate which components are required. Common ASP components include:

  • General land use concept – size, existing land use, intent for subdivisions, etc.
  • Phasing and development sequence
  • Traffic impact assessment – proposed transportation routes, arterial roadways, existing roadways, etc.
  • Geo-technical and groundwater report
  • Sewage treatment
  • Storm water management
  • Water supply
  • Environmental assessment
  • Archaeological and historical assessment
  • Provision for municipal reserves
  • Fire protection
  • Location of pedestrian links (if applicable)
  • Maps – existing land use, proposed zoning, natural areas, boundaries, roads and utilities, municipal reserves, tentative subdivision plan, etc.
  • Any other items required by the municipality or relevant provincial agencies

Off-site Levies

Off-site levies are a tool or condition to development that a municipality can use to recover capital costs incurred for new infrastructure or the expansion of existing infrastructure required because of a new development. They are used to equitably account for affected offsite infrastructure capital costs such as water treatment, drainage, sewage, associated lands and expanded roads. Since new infrastructure costs incurred by the municipality can benefit several developments, the municipality will calculate how each development will be accountable for the shared infrastructure. Not all municipalities have off-site levies, and sometimes developments may not have any off-site levy costs when site factors and size are fully analyzed.

Subdivision Application

The Subdivision Application is the specific process of dividing a parcel of land into two or more parcels with separate legal titles for each parcel. The subdivision of land can be done independently, but within the development process and as part of an ASP, it identifies the lots/titles in the parcel of land that the ASP represents. In an initial ASP draft, the subdivisions are generally identified. Once the ASP is approved and moved forward, the subdivision application is reviewed with the specific subdivision plans.

Development Agreement

A Development Agreement is a contractual agreement between the municipality and the developer and is used for residential, industrial and commercial developments. It sets out the terms and conditions of how the infrastructure development of the lands are to take place within the municipality. It ensures that the infrastructure required to service a proposed development is constructed to the municipality’s standards. Development Agreements may also contain provisions for the payment of applicable off-site levies, securities and/or any moneys that might be owing to the developer when further development occurs by others.