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Land Division by Consent/Severance

What is a land severance?

A land severance is the authorized separation of a piece of land to form a new lot or a new parcel of land. This is commonly known as a consent. It is required, if you want to sell, mortgage, charge or enter into any agreement (at least 21 years) for a portion of your land. If the two parts are split already, by a road or railway for example, consent is not needed.

The City of Kenora Official Plan (2015) includes specific policies and requirements for land severance. In addition to the division of land, rights-of-way, easements and any change to your existing property boundaries also require land severance approval.

If several severances are intended in the same area, a plan of subdivision may be more appropriate. Please contact City Planner, Devon McCloskey at dmccloskey@kenora.ca or 807-467-2059 to arrange an appointment or for more information.

Why do I need approval to sever my land?

The indiscriminate division of land without anyone’s approval could have a long-term, negative impact on our community. For example, it could result in over-extension of municipal services, such as snow plowing, school transportation and garbage collection. Or, it might result in damage to the natural environment, because lots are too small to accommodate adequate sewage disposal systems.

City approval is required to ensure that: land division is considered within an established community planning framework, new lots and new land uses do not conflict with the overall future planning goals and policies of the community, and then consideration is given to the effects of the division of land on the site, on the neighbours and on the community as a whole.

Once a severance has been approved, the new land parcels may be sold or resold without further approval. The only exception is if the consent-granting authority has specified otherwise at the time of approval.

How is the severance application evaluated?

In considering each application for land severance, the Kenora Planning Advisory Committee evaluates the merits of each proposal against criteria such as:

  • conformity with the official plan and compatibility with adjacent uses of land
  • compliance with the City of Kenora Zoning By-law
  • suitability of the land for the proposed purpose, including the size and shape of the lot(s) being created
  • adequacy of vehicular access, water supply, sewage disposal
  • the need to ensure protection from potential flooding
  • Provincial Policy Statement (2014)

In considering a consent application, the Kenora Planning Advisory Committee must be consistent with the Provincial Policy Statement, which contains clear, overall policy directions on matters of provincial interest related to land use planning and development.  The City of Kenora Official Plan is a key document when applying for land division, as is the City of Kenora Zoning By-law.

What about conditions of land severance approval?

A severance approval may have certain conditions attached to it including requirements for road widening, parkland dedication, or a rezoning (or minor variance) to allow a new land use. In addition, the property owner may be required to enter into an agreement with the City of Kenora to provide future services or facilities. These conditions must be met within one year of the making of the decision or consent lapses.

When all the conditions have been met by the applicant, a certificate is issued and the severance goes into effect. If the transaction originally applied for – sale of property, for example – is not carried out within two years of the date of the certificate, the severance is considered lapsed. An earlier lapsing date can be specified by the consent granting-authority at the time of the severance decision.

How can you get involved?

If you have received notice, or have questions, about a severance application that may affect you, you should:

  • find out as much as possible about the application by contacting the Property and Development Division
  • discuss your concerns with the Secretary Treasurer of the Kenora Planning Advisory Committee,
  • attend the statutory public meeting
  • write the to the Kenora Planning Advisory Committee, by the date specified on the notice you received or indicated on the sign located on the subject property.

If your concerns are known early in the process, they may be taken into account before making a decision on the severance application.

If someone objects, is my application automatically refused?

NO. The Kenora Planning Advisory Committee must weigh all the evidence presented at the public hearing and make a determination on that basis.  The Kenora Planning Advisory Committee will use section 51(24) of the Planning Act, the Provincial Policy Statement and City of Kenora Official Plan when considering the application.

Do I get my money back if my application is refused?

NO. Staff time and costs are incurred regardless of the outcome.

What can I do if my application is turned down?

You can file an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board www.omb.on.ca. You have twenty days following the date of notice of decision made by the Kenora Planning Advisory Committee decision is made to file an appeal with the Secretary-Treasurer. The appeal must be submitted with the prescribed fee in accordance with the City’s Tariff of Fees By-law.

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