A land severance is the authorized separation of a piece of land to form a new lot or a new parcel of land. Most municipalities have policies in place that govern when land can be severed, and obtaining municipal approval is referred to as a consent. A consent is required if you want to sever part of your land, sell a portion, create an easement or right of way, amend your property boundaries, or enter into a lease for 21 years or more. If land is to be divided into multiple parcels, a plan of subdivision may be required rather than a consent.
A municipality’s policies regarding consents are usually contained in the municipality’s official plan and zoning by-laws. A municipality will consider the following when deciding whether to grant a consent:
- conformity with the official plan and compatibility with adjacent uses of land;
- compliance with local zoning bylaws;
- 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; and
- the need to ensure protection from potential flooding.
In considering a consent application, the municipality’s decision must be consistent with the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) and not conflict with any applicable provincial plan. Other municipal staff and governing authorities will typically provide input and recommendations, including the chief building official, drainage or public works director, and the local conservation authority.
The process to obtain a consent typically includes:
- A preliminary review of the official plan and zoning by-laws to confirm whether the creation of a new lot or parcel of land is generally permitted in the area.
- A preliminary meeting with a municipal planner to review the proposed severance and confirm what supporting documents and other permits may be required.
- The preparation of a severance sketch showing the lands to be severed, which should include a building envelope showing the applicable zoning by-law set backs.
- The preparation of any supporting plans, such as water source (municipal or well water availability) and sewer or septic plans.
- Filing a consent application and paying the consent application fee.
- Displaying a notice of proposed severance near the lot.
- The municipal planner will prepare a report outlining the municipal staff’s recommendations with respect to the consent application.
- The approval authority (either the municipal council or a committee delegated by municipal council) will hold a public meeting to consider and decide upon the consent application. If the approval authority grants consent, typically the approval authority will include a number of conditions the applicant must satisfy before the severance is finalized.
- Following the public meeting, a notice period is provided that allows a person to appeal the decision of the approval authority.
- The applicant must satisfy any conditions that the approval authority imposed.
- A reference plan showing the boundaries of the new lot or parcel must be deposited with the land registry office.
- A transfer of the lot or parcel typically must be completed within a prescribed period after the approval authority consents to the severance.
A person who opposes the decision of the approval authority may appeal the decision to the Land Planning Appeal Tribunal.
If you are considering dividing land into one or more lots, a Lerners lawyer would be glad to assist you.