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Guidelines for Municipal Official Plan Preparation and Review

1. Introduction

1.1 Ontario Ministry of Transportation Guidelines for Municipal Official Plan Preparation and Review

This document has been developed to assist municipalities in understanding the Ministry of Transportation's (MTO) interest in municipal official plans. MTO staff will follow this guideline when reviewing an official plan to ensure MTO's interests are protected.

This is not a policy document; this is a guideline that identifies some of MTO's policies and standards that should be considered in the review and preparation of an official plan.

1.2 The Role of the Ministry of Transportation in Municipal Planning

The responsibilities of the MTO include the preservation of the safety, mobility and functionality of Ontario's provincial transportation system. Achieving a sustainable multimodal transportation system throughout the province is a key interest of not only the Ministry but also the municipalities that are served by provincial transportation systems. A safe and efficient multimodal transportation system is critical to Ontario's quality of life, a strong economy and a clean and healthy environment for all citizens of the province and their communities.

In order to ensure that provincial transportation interests are communicated and incorporated into local official plans and other planning documents to the satisfaction of all parties involved, it is in the interest of good land use planning that MTO be involved in the early stages of municipal land use planning processes and the development of municipal plans.

The Ministry also participates in land use planning by providing policy direction, guidance and technical advice to municipalities though the provincial One Window Provincial Planning Service, and through participation on technical advisory committees. As part of the One Window Provincial process, MTO provides comments on official plans, secondary plans, transportation master plans, and similar plans to ensure the transportation policies in the plans are consistent with current legislation, provincial plans and guidelines where applicable. (Refer to Part 2: Transportation Planning Policies and Guidelines for more details)

MTO also provides comments on all development applications (subdivisions, consents, zoning amendments, etc.) within its permit control authority, under the Public Transportation and Highway Improvement Act (PTHIA). Typically, MTO's comments are specific to highway access, technical matters and other permit-related issues and conditions. (Refer to Part 3: Specific Policies and Standards for Impacts on the Provincial Transportation System of the Guidelines for more details)

1.3 How is MTO involved in the Circulation and Review of Municipal Plans?

Through the One Window Planning process, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH)notifies its partner ministries, including MTO, of a municipality's intent to commence the OP process. MTO then has the opportunity to advise the municipality of the MTO interests that should be addressed in the plan and to suggest necessary studies at the very early stage of the official plan development. MTO will provide comments in writing and may also hold face-to-face meetings with municipal staff and or partner ministries to identify issues.

In cases where a lower-tier's OP must be approved by an upper-tier municipality, and the upper-tier municipality has been assigned or delegated approval authority by MMAH, these plans are not generally circulated to MTO. However, it is the responsibility of all municipalities as part of the Municipal Plan Review process to ensure that these plans are in accordance with provincial legislation, policies and practices. MTO has an interest in reviewing lower-tier official plans if there are potential impacts on the provincial transportation system. We encourage all municipalities with Provincial highways to contact MTO early in their OP process to ensure an alignment of official plan policies with MTO's permit controls within MTO's permit control area.

1.4 MTO's Areas of Interest in Municipal Official Plans

Part 2 and Part 3 of this document summarize the scope of issues that MTO expects to have addressed in a municipal official plan with respect to both general transportation policies and planning and to more specific technical and operational issues. It is understood that not all areas of interest will apply to every municipality.

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