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What is a subdivision?

Subdivision is the division of a lot, tract, or parcel of land into two or more lots, parcels, sites, of land for sale or future development.

In order to subdivide land, you must submit an application. If you’re looking to create up to three lots, you can seek approval through a land severance application. The division of larger parcels of land into more than three lots is done though an application for Proposed Plan of Subdivision.

Subdivision approval

This process allows the Municipality to review the proposal to subdivide land and determine whether:

  • The land is suitable for the proposed new use;
  • The proposal conforms to Clarington’s Official Plan, provincial legislation and policies;
  • Ensures the community is protected from development that is unsuitable or may put undue strain on Municipal facilities, services or finances.

What’s the process?

Before you submit an application to subdivide land, you first must have a pre-consultation meeting with municipal staff and other agencies. They will let you know what information you need to add in your application including relevant studies.

How do I apply?

You can submit your draft Plans of Subdivision Application to the Clarington Planning Services Department. You must submit a complete application, and include all the information and documents that staff asked for during the pre-consultation meeting.

You must determine if the land is suitable for the proposed new use and whether your proposal conforms to the Official Plan and zoning in the community.

A Draft Plan of Subdivision generally shows topographic information, natural heritage features, such as creeks and vegetation as well as the proposed lots, parks, school blocks and streets.

What happens next?

Once your application is filed and has been deemed complete, the plan will be evaluated and circulated to Municipal departments and other agencies for comment and input.

The Municipality will advertise that it is holding a public meeting on the application. The public meeting allows people to learn about the subdivision and provide comments, and concerns.  Residents with questions about the proposal are encouraged to contact the planner identified on the notice to get additional details.

Once all the comments have been received and issues resolved, Planning staff prepare a report for Council recommending a decision on the application.

Although subdivision approval has been delegated to the Director of Planning Services, Council provides concurrence with staff decision and conditions of draft approval. Draft approval is usually subject to certain conditions that relate to the provisions of roads, parkland and services. One of the conditions of draft approval is the requirement for the applicant to enter into a legal subdivision agreement with the Municipality, the Region of Durham and other agencies as necessary, to address financial as well as other obligations.

What is a registered plan of subdivision and when does registration occur?

Once Planning Staff have determined that the developer has met all the conditions of draft approval, final approval is issued, and the plan of subdivision can be registered.

A registered Plan of Subdivision is a legal document that implements an approved draft plan of subdivision. It generally shows:

  • The exact survey boundaries and dimensions of lots where homes or structures are to be built;
  • The location, width and name of streets; and
  • The sites of any schools, parks or open space blocks.

A registered Plan of Subdivision allows for the creation and sale of separate parcels of land or housing lots.

How long is the application process?

Each application has its own processing time. Requirements such as public notification; public meetings; the submission and approval of required studies supporting the proposal, such as noise and traffic, all play a role in determining the timing.

The Municipality attempts to process applications within eight months if possible. Some proposals are dependent on external studies or other issues that can delay the process.

What are the costs of applying?

There are fees associated with the different stages including:

Our fee schedule has a full list of the price for each stage of the application process.

Can the decision on the application be appealed?

You can appeal the decision made by the Municipality to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT). Additionally, any person or public body can appeal the Director’s decision to the OLT. An appeal must include an OLT Appeal Form and be accompanied by the required fee payable to the Minister of Finance. All appeals and fees are submitted in writing to the Municipal Clerk. If an appeal is received, the Ontario Land Tribunal will generally hold a hearing where you will be able to present your case. The OLT can make a final decision and either approve or deny the appeal.

If an appeal is not received, the applicant can fulfill the various conditions of draft approval to permit registration of the Plan of Subdivision.

Are there other approvals and permits that may be needed?

Your development proposal may need an Official Plan amendment, zoning by-law amendment, site plan approval, building permit, Conservation Authority permit or Health Department permit prior to construction. The required permits and approvals will be discussed during the pre-consultation meeting.


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