The Official Plan

What is an Official Plan By-Law?

An official plan describes your upper, lower or single–tier municipal council's policies on how land in your community should be used. It is prepared with input from you and others in your community and helps to ensure that future planning and development will meet the specific needs of your community.

Official Plan:

Why do you need an official plan?

The Official Plan:

  • lets the public know what the municipality's general land use planning policies are
  • makes sure that growth is coordinated and meets the community’s needs
  • helps all members of the community understand how their land may be used now and in the future
  • helps decide where roads, watermains, sewers, garbage dumps, parks and other services will be built
  • provides a framework for establishing municipal zoning by-laws to set local regulations and standards, like the size of lots and height of buildings
  • provides a way to evaluate and settle conflicting land uses while meeting local, regional and provincial interests
  • shows council's commitment to the future growth of the community.

Official Plan Amendments

An official plan amendment is a formal document that changes a municipality's official plan. Changes may be needed because of new circumstances in the community or because of requests made by property owners.

Official Plan Amendment Applications

Before you apply for an Official Plan Amendment, you should talk to Township staff for advice and information. You must complete an application form which requires information identified by the Planning Act and the municipality.

The application form outlines the requirements for submitting an application for an Official Plan Amendment. If you are acting as an agent for the purposes of the application, a letter of authorization is required from the registered owner of the property.

Official Plan Amendment Application

Applications are also available at the Municipal Office.

How Much will it Cost?

The application fee is outlined on the application form, payable at the time an application is submitted. Fees may be paid by cash, cheque or debit. If the fee is being paid by cheque, the cheque must be made payable to: “Township of Lanark Highlands”.

What Happens Once the Application is Submitted?

The application is circulated to other Township Departments and various agencies for their comments, as well as to all property owners within 120 metres of the subject site. A notice will be installed on the property briefly describing the proposal.

All correspondence will be reviewed and the Township Planner will prepare a report with a recommendation to approve or refuse the Official Plan Amendment application. The report will then be presented at a Public Meeting.

If the recommendation is to approve the Official Plan Amendment the necessary by-law will be considered at the next Council Meeting, which generally is held immediately following the Public Meeting. Council will then adopt a By-Law approving the necessary Official Plan Amendment for the specific parcel of land.

What Happens After the Meeting?

If Council approves the proposed amendment and passes a by-law, the by-law will be circulated to give interested parties the chance to appeal. A 20-day appeal period is provided for, once notice of Adoption of the By-Law has been given. If no appeals are received by the end of the appeal period, the amendment is in full force and effect.

Appeal Provisions

The process for dealing with official plan amendments is the same as for an official plan by-law. If local council refuses your official plan amendment application, or if it does not make a decision within 180 days of the receipt of your application containing the prescribed information, you may appeal to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal.

Contact Us

Amanda Noël
Planning Administrator / Deputy Clerk
Ext. 231


Lanark Highlands Logo

75 George Street,
PO BOX 340
Lanark, Ontario
K0G 1K0


Hours of Operation:
Monday to Friday - 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.