How We Plan Complete Communities
Land Use Planning informs and helps our communities manage change in our shared natural, built and social environments for the common good.
Bruce County Land Use Planning helps communities manage change by ensuring every planning decision reflects the public interest and the needs of the individual communities that are impacted.
Bruce County varies in the context of agriculture, economics, culture, geography and tourism. What happens on the Peninsula is vastly different from how life unfolds inland. And our inland communities are unique compared to the shores of our lakes. This diversity challenges the concept of one-size-fits-all.
Bruce County Land Use Planning helps communities, businesses and individuals navigate these challenges as we change and grow over time.
What Does the Bruce County Land Use Planning Team Do?
Develops policies that guide land use across the County.
Manages hundreds of applications for development and land use changes on an annual basis.
Reviews planning applications and makes recommendations to local and County Councils and Committees.
Ensures planning decisions and documents are consistent with the Provincial Policy Statement and conform to the County and Municipal Official Plans.
Presents material to customers and/or at public meetings, neighbourhood information meetings, Committee and Council meetings.
Responds to general and property-specific inquiries from the public, municipal partners and other stakeholders.
Land Use Planning Policy
Three levels of land use planning impact how Bruce County evolves as a collection of communities: Provincial, County and Local.
The Bruce County Official Plan sets out the vision for our shared future, land use planning goals and policies to guide future land use. It provides in-depth guidance for agricultural and rural communities and high-level guidance for built up areas.
Each municipality has its own Official Plan which may cover all of the municipality or just its urban settlement areas. These local Official Plans guide land use at a more detailed level than the County Official Plan.
Each local municipality also has its own Zoning By-law which puts the policies of the County and local Official Plans into effect. The Zoning By-law divides the municipality into zones and specifies what land uses are permitted, where buildings and structures may be located, and the development standards for each zone (e.g., lot size, setbacks, heights, parking requirements).
Read More: The Government of Ontario has produced a series of Citizens' Guides that explain how the land use planning process works in Ontario.
Roles and Responsibilities
The Planning Department at Bruce County provides services to landowners and applicants for use of land in Bruce County. Questions about land use as it relates to the Municipal and County Official Plans and Zoning By-laws, as well as the creation of lots by severance, subdivisions and condominiums can all be directed to Bruce County Planning and Development.
Who is Involved
Applicants and Developers: Bring proposals, applications and information forward.
External Planners and Consultants: Work with clients to develop complete applications and analysis of rationale and public interest of proposals.
County Staff: Receive, review and process applications in accordance with the Planning Act. Circulate notices to neighbors and agencies. Prepare mapping. Receive comments from the public. Answer questions for anyone interested in the application
Municipal Staff, Agencies, Indigenous Communities: Review proposals; offer comments, suggestions or requirements.
Public: Learn about projects, bring their ideas forward and support projects they want to see.
County Staff Planners: Review proposals and comments; may suggest improvements or alternatives; provide clear and accurate recommendations. Deliver a recommendation to Council. Councils and Committees: Make the best decisions for your community based on the best information.
Types of Applications
An application under the Planning Act is a proposal brought forward by an applicant or developer.
Bruce County’s Land Use Planning Division processes the following land use applications where the County is the approval authority:
Official Plan Amendment (County or Local Municipal)
Consent (Severance, Lot Addition or Easement)
Subdivision or Condominium
Part Lot Control
Validation of Title
Power of Sale
On behalf of local municipalities, the Bruce County Land Use Planning Department manages applications where approval of the local municipality is required:
Zoning By-law Amendment
Alteration or Extension of a Legal Non-Conforming Use
Site Plan applications are processed by the local municipality in which the property is located.
Building Permits for development that align with the zoning by-law, building code and other applicable law are issued by local municipalities.
About Planning and Development Committee and Local Councils
Bruce County Planning and Development Committee considers planning-related policies and development applications. The Committee makes recommendations to Bruce County Council about planning policies, by-laws and development applications where Bruce County approval is required.
Decisions at the Municipal level may be made by a local Council or a committee (e.g., Planning Committee, Committee of Adjustment).
Meet the Team
Claire Dodds, Director, Planning and Development
Jack Van Dorp, Manager, Land Use Planning
Peninsula Office, located in Wiarton, Ontario
Serving Arran-Elderslie, South Bruce Peninsula, and Northern Bruce Peninsula
Jennifer Burnett, Senior Development Planner*
Megan Stansfield, Planner
Lori Mansfield, Applications Technician
Inland Office, located in Walkerton, Ontario
Serving Brockton, Huron-Kinloss, and South Bruce
Monica Walker Bolton, Senior Policy Planner*
Benito Russo, Planner
Amy Rogers, Applications Technician
Lakeshore Office, located in Port Elgin, Ontario
Serving Saugeen Shores and Kincardine
Coreena Smith, Senior Development Planner*
Julie Steeper, Floating Planner*
Barbara Mugabe, Planner
Klarika Hamer, Applications Technician
Geographic Information System (GIS) Staff
Justin Kraemer, GIS Coordinator
Paulette Weber, Planning Technician
*Note: Staff also serve other municipalities in Bruce County as needed.
We are Registered Professional Planners
Staff members on our team are Registered Professional Planners (RPPs), who have the education, ethics and experience to help guide the public, elected officials and the private sector on the journey to inspired communities. Learn more about Registered Professional Planners.