Ministry of Transportation / Ministère des Transports
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Guidelines for Municipal Official Plan Preparation and Review



3. Specific Policies and Standards for Impacts on the Provincial Transportation System


This section highlights specific policies that aim to avoid negative impacts on the provincial transportation system and related facilities. It also identifies municipal requirements within MTO's permit control authority, under the Public Transportation and Highway Improvement Act (PTHIA).

This section also includes standards and best practices for municipalities to consider, in an effort to avoid or minimize negative impacts on the provincial transportation system.

3.1 Policies and Provisions to Address Local Growth and Development Adjacent to and in the Vivinity of Provincial Highway

It is the practice of MTO to advise larger municipalities prior to the approval of their OPs and major OP amendments (i.e. secondary plans) to prepare a transportation master plan (TMP) as a component of their OP review process.

It is in the mutual interest of the municipality and MTO to discuss the implications of any future development plans upon the provincial highway network and develop a mutually acceptable strategy to deal with them. If highway improvements are required to accommodate the growth, arrangements for financing should be discussed early with MTO to avoid delays in the future during the permitting process.

It is in the mutual interest of the municipality and MTO to discuss the implications of any future development plans upon the provincial highway network and develop a mutually acceptable strategy to deal with them. If highway improvements are required to accommodate the growth, arrangements for financing should be discussed early with MTO to avoid delays in the future during the permitting process.

The MTO encourages municipalities to contact the MTO early in the process when they are contemplating any proposed improvements to any provincial highway facilities; improvements that will be reflected in their official plans and could impact upon a provincial highway. Such improvements could be a new intersection or interchange location that has not been planned or approved by the MTO. The municipality would then become the proponent of the project. All financial responsibility would then lie with the proponent for the protection of the land from future development, the design of the interchange/intersection in consultation with the MTO and the construction and maintenance of the facility.

For those OPs where new growth and development are proposed, MTO will require a general statement be included in the OP indicating that a traffic study will be conducted to address both the impact of any new development upon the provincial highway system and any associated highway improvements that are required prior to the approval of any secondary plans or subdivisions. A traffic study will require the prior approval of the Ministry of Transportation. MTO requirements for traffic impact studies can be found at:

http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/engineering/management/corridor/TIS_Guidelines_EN.pdf

In the roads section of the OP, a policy should be included indicating that direct access onto a provincial highway will be restricted. Development should be encouraged to utilize local roads and service roads wherever possible.

Each OP should include the following policy under the General Provisions section of the OP, to notify landowners adjacent to a provincial highway of the mandate of MTO:

"In addition to all the applicable municipal requirements, all proposed development located adjacent to and in the vicinity of a provincial highway within MTO's permit control area under the Public Transportation and Highway Improvement Act (PTHIA) will also be subject to MTO approval. Early consultation with the MTO is encouraged to ensure the integration of municipal planning initiatives with provincial transportation planning. Any new areas in the municipality identified for future development that are located adjacent to or in the vicinity of a provincial highway or interchange/intersection within MTO's permit control area will be subject to MTO's policies, standards and requirements. Direct access will be discouraged and often prohibited."

3.2 General Official Plan Mapping Provisions

All existing highways, interchanges and intersections under the jurisdiction of MTO should be accurately shown on all land use schedules and maps in the OP. All highway routes and their numbers should be clearly visible and legible.

All highways should be clearly identified as 'Provincial Highways' in the legends of all schedules in the OP and not as 'arterials' or 'collectors' under the municipalities' classification system. It should be clear to the public that these routes are under the jurisdiction of the province and, as such, are subject to the policies, standards and safety requirements of MTO.

Municipal roads that have been previously transferred from the province should no longer be shown as provincial highways in an OP.

All future provincial highways that have received approval, interchanges and intersections, whether initiated by MTO or by another jurisdiction, should be shown on all land use schedules. It is important the schedules indicate the approximate location of the proposed routes that are subject to an environmental assessment approval.

Any municipal initiative such as a possible intersection or interchange shown on any schedule should be clearly identified as such in the text and on the schedules of the proposed official plan and labelled as "possible interchange/intersection". In the end, it should be evident that the proponent of the initiative is the municipality. If a provincial highway is known locally by another name, it is suggested that both the local name and the highway number be shown.

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3.3 Specific MTO Policies for Official Plans

3.3.1 MTO's Permit Control Area under the Public Transportation and Highway Improvement Act

MTO's statutory authority for its permit control system, including highway access control, is set out in Sections 31, 34 (King's Highway) and 38 (controlled-access highway) of the Public Transportation and Highway Improvement Act (PTHIA). Any development located within MTO's permit control area under the PTHIA is subject to MTO review and approval prior to the issuance of entrance, building and land use permits. Note that these permits must be obtained prior to any construction being undertaken within MTO's permit control area.

Figures 1 and 2, at the end of this document, illustrate the extent of MTO's permit control area for King's Highways and controlled-access highways. The following table summarizes the Ministry's permit control area under the PTHIA:

Summary of the Ministry's control area under the Public Transportation and Highway Improvement Act
An MTO permit is required if you want to... Within this distance
Place a building, structure, entrance or any road 45 m of the limit of any highway
180 m of of the centre point of any intersection (on King's Highways)
395 m of the centre point of any interchange (on controlled-access highways)
Place a sign 400 m of the limit of the highway
Major developments* or uses i.e. shopping centre, stadium, fair ground, race track, drive-in theatre or any other purpose that causes persons to congregate in large numbers 800 m of the limit of the highway

Summary of MTO's statutory authority under the PTHIA regarding new road connections to provincial highways
MTO... Statutory Authority
Requires a municipality to obtain the consent of the Minister of Transportation to open, close or divert any road entering upon or intersecting a provincial highway PTHIA, Section 24

Summary of MTO's interests and input under the PTHIA, the Planning Act and the Places to Grow Act regarding provincial highway matters and objectives related to land use development
MTO... Statutory Authority

May require a property owner and/or municipality to undertake a traffic impact study and subsequently the design and construction of warranted highway improvements related to a proposed land use development, at their cost, in connection with the terms and conditions for the issuance of PTHIA permits

Is circulated either by a municipality (Municipal Plan Review) or by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (One Window Planning Service) under the Planning Act, as both a landowner and/or a provincial public body to provide input and comment upon municipal land use planning applications

May comment on related provincial highway matters and objectives

May request a property owner and/or municipality to undertake a traffic impact study and subsequently the design and construction of warranted highway improvements associated with land use development (outside statutory authority of the PTHIA), at their cost, subject to municipal support and agreement

May request dedication of lands where appropriate

May otherwise comment upon or make requests regarding highway related matters (e.g. road closures or openings

PTHIA, Sections 31, 34 and 38
Planning Act, Sections 51(24)(a) & (e), 51(25), 51(26) and 53(12)
Planning Act, Section 3
(e.g. Provincial Policy Statement - Sections 1.6.5 and 1.6.6)
Places to Grow Act, Sections 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 12, and 14
(e.g. Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe - Sections 3.1 and 3.2)

 

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3.3.2 Geometrics

Since provincial highways are under the control and jurisdiction of MTO and not the local municipality, highway geometrics such as right-of-way widths or number of lanes should not be addressed or mentioned in OPs. Rather, OPs should indicate that right-of-way widths for a provincial highway will be determined by MTO.

3.3.3 Proposed Access Connections onto a Provincial Highway

Municipalities should pre-consult with MTO before any new proposed access connection (e.g. public road or signalized intersection) onto a provincial highway is included in an OP. MTO regulates access to provincial highways under the authority of the Public Transportation Highway Improvement Act. This consultation will ensure that the OP meets MTO's access management practices and principles. Any such proposed access connections shown in OPs are conceptual only and exact locations of new public roads or signalized intersections are subject to final approval by MTO.

3.3.4 Access Connections along Municipal Crossroads in the Vicinity of a Provincial Highway Intersection or Interchange Ramp Terminal

Municipalities should pre-consult with MTO before access connections to provincial highways are included in the OP. Any new proposed access connection (e.g. public road or signalized intersection) that is shown or mentioned in the OP and that is located on a municipal crossroad and within the vicinity of a provincial highway, intersection or interchange ramp terminal must meet MTO's access management practices and principles. The municipality should be aware that such proposed access connections shown in OPs are conceptual only and exact locations of new public roads or signalized intersections shall be approved by MTO. Pre-consultation will ensure that MTO and municipalities work together to address transportation network deficiencies and determine the required improvements.

3.3.5 Lot Design of Proposed Subdivisions Abutting a Provincial Highway

In the section of the OP dealing with plans of subdivision, MTO requests that a policy be included indicating that where a draft plan of subdivision is proposed adjacent to a provincial highway, the layout of the subdivision should be designed such that the lots back onto the provincial highway and front onto a local internal street. Subdivision layouts where a local road runs parallel to a provincial highway, with no lots between the local road and provincial highway, often restrict the province from effectively acquiring land for future highway improvements. Ideally, rear yards should back onto a provincial highway.

3.3.6 Outdoor Storage on Properties Abutting Provincial Highways

Although MTO has no legislative authority to deal with the appearance and location of outdoor storage adjacent to provincial highways, MTO is generally concerned with the appearance of outdoor storage and loading areas associated with commercial and industrial land uses that back onto a provincial highway. Municipalities should be encouraged to include policies that ensure that outdoor storage and loading areas in these locations are visually screened or appropriately located and not visible to the travelling public, to ensure these uses are not a distraction to the travelling public.

3.3.7 Home Occupations, Industries and Businesses Located Adjacent to Provincial Highways

Most municipalities permit property owners to operate home occupations and small-scale home industries that are compatible with neighbouring uses and as a secondary use to the main permitted land use (zoning) of the property. Home occupations and industries or businesses that are not secondary land uses and are primarily commercial or industrial in nature that are proposing access from a provincial highway via a basic residential or farmstead entrance will not be permitted.

MTO suggests that a statement to the following effect be included in the Official Plan,

"Entrances serving home occupations, industry or businesses located adjacent to provincial highways require the approval of the Ministry of Transportation. Typically, the Ministry of Transportation will require that the property owner obtain an entrance permit and a sign permit if necessary. As a condition of these permits, the Ministry of Transportation requires the property owner to acknowledge that the use of their existing entrance cannot be converted to a commercial entrance in the future and that an additional entrance will not be permitted to accommodate the home occupations, industry or business. In addition, the Ministry of Transportation would not support a future severance that would result in a separate entrance to a business and one for the retained parcel."

3.3.8 Access from Properties beyond MTO's Permit Control Area

MTO’s policy is to allow only one highway entrance for each lot of record that has frontage on a provincial highway, unless that property can gain access from an adjacent municipal road.

MTO will not allow an existing entrance that provides access to one property owner’s lot of record to be utilized by an abutting property owner, whose land lies beyond MTO’s permit control area and does not have frontage on a provincial highway. In addition, MTO would not allow for a new entrance that would provide access over one property owner’s lot of record to service an abutting property owner’s lot of record that does not have frontage on a provincial highway.

Through various means, some property owners that live on waterfront properties that do not have provincial highway frontage are using a neighbouring property owners’ entrance(s) to access the provincial highway when in fact the entrance is legally restricted to the property owner for which an MTO permit was issued. These entrances were never meant to serve more than one property and become an issue for MTO when more traffic is using an entrance for which was intended. Municipalities with lakefront properties should be aware that MTO restricts such properties from using another property owners’ entrance(s) and will require that new cottages or developments only be permitted access from existing municipal public roads or new municipal public roads that meet MTO’s access management practices and principles.

3.3.9 Stormwater Management

MTO is concerned with post-development flows of drainage as they may impact provincial highways. In the section of OP dealing with stormwater management, a policy should be included indicating that a stormwater management plan or report must be reviewed and approved by MTO for those developments located adjacent to or in the vicinity of a provincial highway, where drainage would impact a highway downstream.

3.3.10 Trail Crossings

If the OP includes a trail plan or makes reference to trails crossing a provincial highway, the municipality should be aware that any proposals for snowmobile or trail crossings will require the prior approval of MTO. Crossings may be permitted subject to restrictions. Trails running along MTO right-of-way will not be permitted.

3.3.11 Wayside Pits and Quarries; Portable Asphalt and Concrete Plants

In keeping with the PPS, every OP with a rural component and those urban OPs with large rural or agricultural areas should contain the following general statement from the PPS (Section 2.5.5.1)

"Wayside pits and quarries, portable asphalt plants and portable concrete plants used on public authority contracts shall be permitted, without the need for an official plan amendment, rezoning or development permit under the Planning Act in all areas, except those areas of existing development or particular environmental sensitivity which have been determined to be incompatible with extraction and associated activities."

Municipalities should be aware that MTO requests that wayside pits and quarries and portable asphalt and concrete plants be identified as permitted uses in all land use designations of the OP with the exception of residential areas and those areas of the OP designated as environmentally sensitive.

3.3.12 MTO Patrol Yards

Due to the nature of the business carried out at MTO highway maintenance patrol yards, MTO has concerns with the types of land uses located adjacent to and in close proximity to them. The municipality should be aware of the potential for conflict (e.g. night noise, lighting) that can result from situating residential land uses next to patrol yards. It is strongly recommend that municipalities consider locating only those land uses that are more compatible with patrol yards adjacent to these facilities and that they use landscaping and buffer zones to reduce the impact.

If an MTO patrol yard is located within the municipality, the following policy should be added to the Official Plan:

"Only those land uses that are compatible with the operation of a patrol yard will be permitted to locate adjacent to and in close proximity to the patrol yard(s) located on Lot(s), Concession(s)."

3.3.13 Wind Farms

In accordance with the policies of MTO's Corridor Control and Permit Procedures Manual, the municipality should be aware that wind farms and associated wind turbines placed within MTO's permit control area will require all necessary permits prior to any construction taking place on the site. Wind turbines should be set back a minimum distance measured from the limit of the highway property, equal to the distance of the height of the wind turbine structure plus the length of one blade.

3.3.14 MTO-Owned Lands

MTO may also be a landowner in a municipality, including where MTO has purchased a property to accommodate future highway improvements. In these cases, the surplus land is not part of the designated highway right-of-way, but simply land that MTO owns

MTO will review the OP to determine whether or not it has concerns with any land use designation being applied to property that it owns and, in some instances, MTO may comment on the land use designation of adjacent lands that may potentially impact provincially owned lands

3.4 Contact us

MTO staff are available to assist in addressing any provincial transportation issues that may arise during the Official Plan process.

Be sure to contact MTO, Corridor Management and Property Office at (905) 704-2989 or heather.a.doyle@ontario.ca if you have any questions.

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