Site Plan Control
The Town of Innisfil welcomes the opportunity to grow, while maintaining our cherished small-town feel and commitment to superior customer service. As one of the fastest growing municipalities in Ontario, we recognize and commit to managing growth and future development that is safe, aesthetically pleasing and adheres to our placemaking planning policies.
We are working on an Applicant User Guide to support and lead applicants through the Site Plan Control process. This guide is intended to outline the objectives and goals of the Town’s Official Plan “Our Place” and the requirements of the Town’s Zoning By-law 080-13, as amended.
Introduction to Site Plan Control
Site Plan Control refers to the process authorized under Section 41 of the Planning Act which regulates development in accordance with physical planning, built form and the natural environment. The Council of the Town of Innisfil passed a Site Plan By-law which designates all lands within the municipality, with certain exceptions, as a Site Plan Control Area. Any lands within the Site Plan Control Area are subject to review by staff and external agencies, prior to any construction taking place.
Site Plan Control is an essential component of the development review process. The intention is to complement the objectives of the Town’s Official Plan and the requirements of the Town’s Zoning By-law 080-13. The implementation of Site Plan Control enables the Town of Innisfil to ensure that all new development will be designed in accordance with the requirements of all provincial, regional and municipal authorities.
Innisfil uses site plan control to make sure that new development is appropriate, well designed, and assists with building complete communities. When reviewing site plan applications, Town staff ensures that:
- The site is safe, functional, appropriate and makes good use of design, landscaping, lighting, etc.
- The exterior character, scale, appearance and design features of buildings/structures are appropriate;
- The proposal suits the character of the area, improves and activates the streetscape (i.e. placemaking, landscaping, paving, street furniture, bicycle parking) and poses minimal land use conflicts to neighbouring uses;
- The site is graded properly and any easements needed for public utilities, servicing and/or site drainage have been secured;
- Road considerations (i.e. road width, the location/size of driveways, parking lots, loading facilities, garbage collection areas, snow storage/removal areas, etc.) are clearly shown and appropriate;
- The site is designed to be convenient and accessible for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers;
- Fire & Rescue vehicles will be able to safely and quickly enter and exit the site if there is an emergency;
- Sustainable design, such as Low Impact Development (LID) is used to minimize the impact of the development on the natural environment.
The Town’s Site Plan By-law outlines the type of development that must go through site plan control and any development that is exempt based on the zoning of the property and the type of development proposed. The following table provides an overview of the zones included in the Town’s site plan control area. A complete list can be found in Schedule ‘A’ of By-law 135-17, including specific exceptions.
The following list does not typically require site plan control:
- Single detached, semi-detached, duplex and townhouse dwellings within approved developments;
- On-farm buildings associated with agricultural uses;
- Municipal development projects on Town property; and
- Any other development that has been exempt by Council.
A one-time expansion to an existing development may also be exempt from site plan control if the following conditions are met:
- There is an existing site plan agreement registered on title;
- The nature of the use of the site will not change;
- The proposal complies with the Zoning By-law;
- The total increase in area of all buildings, structures and parking lots will be less than 20%;
- Site imperviousness or stormwater runoff potential will not increase by more than 20%; and
- The proposal does not require any alterations to external works, roads or drainage infrastructure
Town staff will identify at the pre-consultation meeting if any additional planning applications are required to support the proposed development. The appropriate Official Plan designation and Zoning need to be in place for the subject lands before a site plan control application can be approved. If your proposal does not already comply with the Official Plan you will need to amend your proposal or apply for an Official Plan Amendment (OPA). If your proposal does not meet all zoning requirements, it is suggested that the proposal be amended or apply to the appropriate amendment process such as; a Minor Variance (for small variations from the Zoning By-law) or a Zoning By-law Amendment (ZBA/re-zoning). These additional application processes can run concurrently with a formal site plan control application.
Having a customer service focus while ensuring the proposed development meets Town policies and guidelines allows for a collaborative positive experience for any developer. Staff are committed to being transparent and accountable throughout the process and will ensure that a thorough review of your application takes place to avoid late stage and conflicting comments. As a one window approach to the site plan control process and to ensure efficiency, all correspondence and communication regarding your application will flow through the Development Coordinator.
The time it takes to approve a site plan application depends on a number of variables. Below are the most common variables affecting processing timelines:
- The type of application: More complex applications may require various studies and/or reports to be submitted with the application and this typically requires additional technical reviews which increase deadline deliverables.
- The quality, completeness and clarity of submissions: Well prepared submissions are efficient to review and provide feedback on. To ensure the most efficient and streamlined approach is taken, any incomplete applications will not be accepted or circulated. Any re-submissions must clearly address all comments before they can be accepted, re-circulated/reviewed.
- The time it takes the applicant to make revisions: This can fluctuate depending on the complexity of the submission and feedback received. This has an increased impact on the overall length of time it takes to process a site plan control application and ultimately gain approval.
Site plan application costs will vary depending on the complexity and scope of the proposed development, as well as many other factors including:
- Location of proposed development;
- Natural environment (i.e. impacts to trees, watercourses, conservation);
- Stormwater Management; and/or,
- Proposed use and Impacts on neighbouring lands.
How do I make an application payment?
Application payments are now accepted electronically via PayPal. If you do not have access to a computer or internet, we still accept cheque, cash and debit at Town Hall. Please contact Customer Service at email@example.com to schedule an appointment.
Town staff use a “Billable” process, whereby the full cost of staff time and Town expenses (including peer reviews) for the subject application are billed to the Owner or Authorized Agent, as per the fees set out in the Fees & Charges By-law (Section 9.11). This includes, review, circulation, site inspections, meetings and correspondence between the staff member and the applicant and any applicable consultants working on the subject file. These amounts are drawn from the Staff Review Deposit and the Owner or Agent will receive monthly invoice statements showing a breakdown of time spent by staff.
The billable process helps control and direct the costs of time spent on the application review to the Owner, reducing the impact on Municipal tax payers as well as ensuring the costs associated with application review accurately reflect the time spent by staff.
In addition to billable rates, the below is an overview of the application costs, working deposits, and other costs associated with the site plan process. Application fees and deposits are due at the time the applicant submits an application. The following is an overview of the different types of fees/deposits:
Town Application Fees & Deposits:
The Town’s Fees and Charges By-law sets the yearly fees for Site Plan Control including pre-consultation costs, application costs, working deposit and staff billable rates. Fees are payable based on the fee schedule in effect on the date the formal application is made. Payments are currently accepted electronically through PayPal. Applicants must pay an application fee as well as a deposit to cover the cost of reviewing the application (including Town staff time, expenses and any related external consulting costs).
There may be financial requirements arising from the application, including, but not limited to, consultant fees, parkland dedication, development charges, payment of outstanding property taxes, Right of Way Activity Permits (RAP), road widening conveyance, legal preparation, allocation of servicing for Innisfil Developers Allocation Group (IDAG), if applicable, and registration of agreements. If there is a need for a peer review of any of the required supporting studies, the peer review shall be at the Applicant’s cost.
There are two (2) working deposits that are collected at the formal submission stage:
(i) Staff Working Deposit and (ii) Legal Review Deposit.
The staff working deposit covers some of the costs of staff time spent reviewing the application. The applicant is circulated monthly with an update on the time spent by staff. Working deposits generally cover the costs of staff time for the first two (2) submissions, depending on the complexity and scope of the proposed development. If the staff working deposit dips below $2000.00, the applicant will be asked to “top up” the deposit to ensure the account remains in good standing and there are adequate fees to cover staff time. Working deposits cannot be transferred to securities and are only returned once the final inspection has taken place on the subject property.
The legal review deposit covers the costs of Legal staff’s time spent conducting title searches, reviewing, executing and registering the site plan agreement or amending site plan agreement. These deposits are not required to be “topped up” and are adjusted annually in the Fees and Charges By-law.
Costs not covered by the working deposit include:
- Peer review costs
- External review costs (i.e. conservation review, County review, etc)
- Additional permit or planning application fees
Cash-in-Lieu of Parking:
Where specific sites cannot meet the required parking spaces calculated within the Zoning By-law, the Town may at its discretion allow the applicant to pay Cash-in-Lieu based on a formulae specific for this occurrence. Approval for cash-in-lieu is granted through a Zoning By-law Amendment application or Minor Variance application. The applicable fees for cash-in-lieu of parking are listed in the Fees and Charges By-law.
Conservation Authority Review Fees:
If the proposed development is located within an area regulated by the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (“LSRCA”) or the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (“NVCA”) there is an additional review fee. This fee is collected by the relevant conservation authority and is due prior to the review of the submission.
The Town requires, as a condition of development or redevelopment, that the developer convey to the Town for parks and other public recreational purposes 2% of the land proposed for commercial or industrial development or 5% of the land proposed for other types of development. The Town may at its own discretion require payment of cash-in-lieu of conveyance with the value of the land for which cash is being substituted determined as of the day before the day the building permit is issued or, where more than one is issued. The conveyance of land (or cash-in-lieu) for park purposes is not required where previous conveyance or payment was made on the lands will increase the density of development, or the land originally proposed for development or redevelopment for commercial or industrial purposes (2% conveyance requirement) is now proposed for development or redevelopment for other purposes (5% conveyance requirement).
After the site plan has been approved the applicant will need to submit an estimate of costs and apply for a building permit. At this time any development charges and building permit fees will be calculated. . Securities (including landscaping), which are determined during the site plan process and included in the Site Plan Agreement, will also be collected at this point.
Site Plan Process
Development and redevelopment proposals often begin with a high level concept plan or idea, where the applicant is proposing to make changes to a property. We recommend that the applicant consults with Planning Services and Economic Development prior to investing time and money into the architectural design and planning of the proposed development. The Town also recommends retaining a professional Planning or Engineering Consultant whose expertise in site plan control will help guide and coordinate your application through the process as well as take an in-depth look at the Town’s Official Plan, Zoning By-law and relevant policies to ensure your proposal meets the Town’s requirements.
The Town’s site plan control process consists of 6 stages with several steps in each stage. All applications will follow this process, with the exception of development proposals that are exempt from the requirements of Site Plan Control. Each stage in the process is described in more detail below.
Pre-consultation is a mandatory meeting between the applicant and the Town, providing an opportunity to discuss the proposed development and gain meaningful feedback. Staff from various departments and external agencies will provide guidance, preliminary comments and advise you what plans and studies are required for a formal submission.
You must submit a completed Request for Pre-consultation form and provide a minimum of one (1) drawing which illustrates the following: Please note that all submission material is required to be digital and dimensioned in metric.
- Location of property and immediate surroundings (including property dimensions)
- Existing and proposed land and structure Uses and uses of adjoining lands
- Location of all existing and proposed structures and features, including:
- Pedestrian and vehicular access (including adjacent accesses and intersections);
- Proposed and existing parking spaces (including aisle widths, parking stalls and accessible parking spaces);
- Location/names of all road allowances, rights of way, streets or highways);
- Restrictive covenants or easements affecting the subject land;
- Location of all existing trees and vegetation, watercourses, drainage ditches, slopes and natural features which may affect the application); and
- Services and utilities (including location of connections at property line)
- Other relevant information, as appropriate, to assist staff in understanding the proposal (zoning matrix, elevations, etc.)
Pre-consultations are scheduled on a first come first serve basis within 2-3 week from the receipt of a complete request. The Development Coordinator will provide the applicant with a list of available dates and times to meet with Town staff and will coordinate the scheduling of the virtual meeting. Staff will ensure that the appropriate agencies and staff are available to attend the pre-consultation meeting to ensure a thorough review and complete discussion of the proposal.
Yes. Preliminary comments are circulated to the applicant ahead of the scheduled meeting. The Development Coordinator will coordinate the receipt of comments from staff and external agencies and provide the applicant with a copy a minimum of two business days ahead of the meeting. This value-added service provides the applicant with time to review staff comments and requirements before the meeting, yielding a better and more effective discussion. If preliminary comments are not received, they will be discussed at the meeting and recorded in the Record of Pre-consultation.
Pre-consultation meetings take place virtually through Zoom Video, Microsoft Teams or via telephone conference call. An in-person meeting is not required and is only scheduled under specific circumstances
- Does my application conform to the Town’s Official Plan and Zoning By-law?
- What other approvals or permits will I require?
- How long will the entire process take?
- Do I need to hire a planning consultant?
- Do I need approvals from the conservation authority?
- How can I improve accessibility of my proposed development?
- How can I improve sustainability of my proposed development?
Within 3-5 business days of the pre-consultation meeting, the Development Coordinator will provide you with a Record of Pre-consultation. The Record will contain a list of information and material that will be required to process the formal application. The Record of Pre-consultation must be submitted with your formal submission along with all of the required information and materials within one (1) year from the date on the Record of Pre-consultation.
Submission Preparation Stage
Once you receive your Record of Pre-consultation, you will begin to prepare your formal site plan submission package. Site plan submissions can be quite complex and involve many consultants and discussions. It is highly recommended that a professional planning or engineering consultant is retained to help you prepare and manage the preparation and coordination of application materials.
All site plan applications are to be filed with the Development Coordinator. You will be advised at or following the Pre-consultation Meeting exactly which studies and documents will be required, and in what quantity and format. It is imperative that the applicant ensures that the consultants communicate with each other on all aspects of design to produce quality drawings and reports that coincide with each other . It is strongly recommended that the consultants contact the Town to ensure that the design criteria is clearly established and that the relevant policies are referenced prior to initiating design.
General notes for all submitted documents:
- All submission material must be submitted digitally (no paper copies)
- Applications will not be accepted and/or processed if the mandatory drawings and information are not provided in the requested format.
- Plans should be clear, legible, dimensioned in metric units, and should include all information in Section XX as appropriate to the plans.
- Plans, Reports and Studies must follow the File Naming Convention as set out below
- Plans, Reports and Studies should include a revision date
The Site Plan Approval process is a key component in the implementation of the policies of the Town’s Official Plan (Our Place), Town Standards, and Town Master Plans. The policies of Our Place relate to a range of technical matters such as transportation, environment, urban design, heritage preservation, natural heritage, public health and safety. To ensure that designs meet with expected standards of construction in Innisfil, applicants shall refer to the most recent version of the Town of Innisfil Engineering Standards.
All electronic/digital documents received must be named following the Town’s file naming convention as outlined below. This drastically reduces the amount of staff time spent renaming and searching for files and aids in an effective review process.
Example File Name: 2020.06.10 SP-2020-001 2101 Innisfil Beach Road Landscape Plan
**The date on the file name, must match the stamp or most recent submission date of the document (whichever is more current). If you have any questions on the Town’s naming convention please reach out to a Development Coordinator to assist.
Formal Submission Stage
Once you have prepared the required submission material, you will circulate the complete application package digitally to the Development Coordinator. The Development Coordinator will review your submission within five (5) business days to ensure all requirements listed in the Record of Pre-consultation are included and all applicable application fees have been paid to the Town. If the submission is deemed complete by the Development Coordinator, it will then be circulated to applicable commenting departments/agencies. This is called the comment stage of the process. If the submission is deemed incomplete, the application will be placed on hold and the Development Coordinator will provide you with a list of outstanding items to be included.
- Ensure your submission is complete to avoid hold-ups in the application process.
- Communication between consultants and designers is critical in reducing common errors.
- Have your consultants contact the Town to establish the design criteria prior to initiating design.
- Retain the expertise of a Planning Consultant to help guide and coordinate your application through the process.
A complete application is when your submission package includes all the information required to ensure a thorough review is completed in a timely manner. This includes the following:
- Completed Site Plan Control Application Form;
- Copy of Record of Pre-consultation including Submission Checklist;
- A digital copy of each required plan, drawing, study, report etc. as outlined in the Submission Checklist (prepared to meet all standards and stamped/signed if necessary)
- All required fees and deposits (submitted electronically and payable through PayPal)
The Development Coordinator will notify you through an email once the application has been reviewed and deemed complete. It will then be circulated to the Site Plan Review Team who will provide comments and identify what needs to be revised for it to meet Town standards and be approved. If your application form needs to be commissioned by a Commissioner of Oaths, the Development Coordinator will schedule that virtual meeting with the applicant at no charge.
An incomplete application is when your submission package is missing one or more items needed to ensure a thorough review in a timely manner. Applications that are missing information will be placed on hold until the missing information is received and deemed complete by the Development Coordinator. A complete list of all items missing from the submission will be circulated to the Applicant within five (5) business days from the date the submission is received.
Circulation & Comments Stage
The Development Coordinator will circulate your complete submission to internal staff and external agencies to review and provide comments on your development proposal. Once circulation of your submission has taken place, the Development Coordinator will begin receiving comments from various staff and external agencies. The turnaround time for comments is 20 business days for South Shore Woods residential applications and 30 business days for all other site plan applications. Once the turnaround time has been reached, your comments will be circulated to you in a Summary of Comments package that includes a list of all parties circulated, which comments were received and on what date, and any items that are outstanding.
Town staff from various departments as well as external agencies are circulated on site plan applications to review and provide meaningful feedback to help guide your application towards approval.
Late comments can happen from time to time due to workloads, staffing resources, etc., however Staff try their best to submit comments on time to ensure your application is not delayed. If comments will be received late, the Development Coordinator will ensure this is communicated to the applicant.
A summary of comments is a document provided to the applicant that combines all comments together in one place. Comments that require a response are clearly identified and flagged for the applicant.
Additional Submission Stage
The Town of Innisfil has set a goal of approving most site plans in two resubmissions or less. To ensure we can meet that goal, we require every applicant to address all comments before submitting their revised plans and/or reports. When applicants demonstrate how each comment was addressed it contributes to increased efficiency in staff time resulting in lower billed costs to the applicant.
Resubmissions that do not address all comments will be deemed incomplete and placed on hold by the Development Coordinator.
The following items must be included in your resubmission package:
- Cover letter outlining what items are being resubmitted (insert link to template)
- Response to Comments letter outlining how each comment has been addressed (template)
- Updated plans, drawings, reports and studies, as required, to address comments from staff
- Digital copy of each plan, drawing, report and study
You should also be able to answer these questions before you resubmit your plans:
- Have I met with my consultants to discuss comments from Town staff and external agencies?
- Have I clearly indicated where changes were made?
- Have I updated all plans to reflect changes in the resubmission?
- Have I provided an appropriate response to each comment by staff and external agencies?
Resubmissions happen when comments from Town staff are not addressed at the previous submission review. Town staff will provide comments on each item submitted, where applicable, outlining what needs to be revised and resubmitted to address or “sign-off” on the particular comment. Our goal is to reduce resubmissions wherever possible for a more effective and efficient process for the applicant and Town staff.
A response to comments is a requirement for the applicant to submit with each additional submission. The response to comments will outline how the applicant has addressed each comment by Town staff and external agencies and should be organized for each Town department or external commenting agency.. If comments are not addressed, the additional submission will not be processed or recirculated.
Site Plan Agreement Stage
Upon approval of final site plan drawings, the applicant will be required to enter into a Site Plan Control Agreement with the Town. The Agreement must be registered on title before a building permit is applied for with the Community Development Standards Branch (Building Department) and issued by the Chief Building Official which gives the applicant permission to construct.
The following items are required prior to registering your agreement on title:
- Certificate of Insurance
- Any required cash-in-lieu amounts, deposits, securities or other fees as outlined in the Agreement
- Payment of any outstanding property taxes and any outstanding accounts receivable
- Signed Agreement by the Owner(s) and the Town
The agreement must be signed by the registered owner(s) of the property being developed. If ownership is in the name of an individual(s), the individual’s signature must be witnessed. The witness cannot be a party to the agreement and must be 18 years old and of sound mind.
If the owner is a corporation, the authorized signing officer(s) who has authority to bind the corporation must sign the agreement. A letter, on corporate letterhead addressed to the Town, must be submitted to the Town’s legal department setting out the authorized signing officers and the corporation’s address for service.
- Once all information has been received by the Town, the agreement is then drafted by all relevant departments.
- The Agreement is then emailed as a pdf or printed and mailed to the applicant for signatures and then returned to the real estate law clerk along with the Certificate of Insurance and any required security.
- The law clerk will process the agreement for signature by the Town and then register it on title..
It is important to note that a building permit cannot be applied for or issued by the Town’s Building Department until the Site Plan Agreement has been registered on title.
A plan that identifies the proposed landscaping design for a property including illustration of the natural features, planting scheme, plant materials, paving, lighting, and irrigation system, among other elements. The Landscape Details Plan illustrates the specifications for planting and installation of landscaping features.
Demonstrates the potential impacts of a proposed development on the key natural heritage features or key hydrologic features and possible ways to mitigate negative impacts and/ or improve the natural heritage system.
A noise and/or vibration study determines the impact on adjacent developments and recommends mitigation measures.
Evaluates the proposal against the relevant goals, objectives, policies and general purpose and intent of the Our Place, County of Simcoe Official Plan, Provincial Policy Statement, Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan and the Greenbelt Plan.
A Salt Management Plan is intended to establish a framework for the use and management of road salt on a site for winter maintenance operations. The plan should contain best management practices to protect the environment from the negative impact of road salts while maintaining safe roadways and parking lots for the public.
Provide a snow storage area equivalent to 10% of the total area to be cleared on site. The snow storage shall not be located in any SWM facility or low impact development (“LID”) feature. Snow storage in SWM facilities will have negative impacts on the function of the facilities as it will increase the quantity of TSS, phosphorus, salt, and hydrocarbons. It will also prevent the flow into the facilities during certain periods and will reduce its lifetime.
A site servicing and grading plan is a plan that details the water and sanitary servicing, hydro, lighting, and other infrastructure, and grading to facilitate the development of a specific site. The plan shall be prepared by a qualified engineer. Please refer to Section 7.0 of the Town Standards for “Grading and Drainage” standards.
Ensure all offsets of services, driveways, utilities, signs, etc. are in accordance with the Minimum Offset Matrix located in Appendix C of the Town Standards.
The stormwater management report analyzes the effects of a proposed development on the stormwater and drainage system, and recommends measures to manage runoff, consistent with the Town Engineering Standards and the 2016 Comprehensive Stormwater Management Master Plan.
If the proposed development is considered a “major development” under the definition within the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan (“LSPP”) and therefore must meet the applicable policies for stormwater management, such as Policy 4.8-DP for water balance and phosphorus loading, under the LSPP. The LSPP is available on the Government of Ontario’s website at https://www.ontario.ca/page/lake-simcoe-protection-plan.
An MOECC ECA may be required for the proposed development. The MOE ECA application is available on the Government of Ontario’s website at https://www.ontario.ca/document/environmental-compliance-approval-application.
A tree survey must be prepared by a certified arborist or qualified professional, identifying all trees on the site 5 years prior to the application, their type, size and condition, those trees proposed to be removed and retained, and the methods to be used to ensure preservation of those trees to be retained. The report shall have regard for the Section 8.2 of the Town’s Engineering Standards and Tree Policy for Development Approvals (CP.09-08).