Planning Inquiries

Any planning inquiries can be made to our Planner Bryan Pearce at 519-280-1028 or  

Planning Fees as of April 8, 2019

Brochure - Thinking of starting a Home-Based Business



Notice of Study Completion - Talbotville & Ferndale Master Servicing Plan

The Township of Southwold, at its Regular Council meeting of Monday, April 27th, passed the following resolution:


2015-154         Talbotville & Ferndale Master Servicing Plan


THAT Council for the Township of Southwold approves the Talbotville & Ferndale Master Servicing Plan as prepared by Stantec, dated April 20, 2015.                                                                                                                    CARRIED


The Project File on the Master Servicing Plan is now available for your review.

Thank you


Severance Applications

Severance Applications

What is a Land Severance?

A land severance is the authorized separation of a piece of land to form two new adjoining properties. This is commonly known as consent. It is required if you want to sell, mortgage, charge, or enter into any agreement for 21 years or more, a portion of your land. If a road or railway splits the two parts already, for example, consent is not needed. In addition to the division of land, rights-of-way, easements, and any change to your existing boundaries also require land severance approval.

Land division in Ontario should generally occur by plan of subdivision. If several severances are intended in the same area, this process may be more appropriate. It is a process that involves the laying out of roads, division of land into lots or blocks, the dedication of lands for other public purposes, and entering into subdivision agreements. This process involves wide consultation with the public and government agencies.

Where land division is minor, involving only one or two lots and, for example, where a plan of subdivision is clearly unnecessary for orderly development, the Planning Act provides a simpler process, called the granting of consent.

  • If you require a Severance (Application for Consent), the application is handled by the Elgin County Land Division Committee the fee is $1,250.00.00.  A copy of the application for severance can be picked up at the Municipal Office or downloaded below, and at the County of Elgin Offices at 450 Sunset Drive, St. Thomas, Ontario N5R 5V1 (519) 631-1460.
  • The Township will include a Planner's Report at a cost of $400.00
  • Please bring your completed Application to the Township office and speak with the Planner prior to submitting it to Land Division.  This will allow us to ensure that you have included all the necessary information and provide time to get the Planner's Report.

If you have any questions, contact Heather James in the Township's Planning Department.  She can be reached in the Township's office on Wednesdays and on Friday at (519) 769-2010.

Thank you

The Application package consists of:

Application for Consent,

Note:  Appendix B of the Application will be completed by planning staff.  You do not have to complete it.

Associated Costs with a Severance

Citizens' Guide to a Severance

Form C-1 (for a surplus farm dwelling severance only)



After you have submitted your completed Application to the Township's Planner for review, and have received the Planner's Report indicating that the Application is supportable,

  • Pre-consultation with the Municipalities and applicable agencies.
  • Submit one copy of Completed Application with fee of $1250.00 payable to TREASURER, COUNTY OF ELGIN.
  • Identification Signs: Two yellow signs will be mailed to you for posting on the portion of the lot to be severed.
  • Notice of Hearing: At least fourteen (14) days prior to the date of the hearing you will receive a "Notice of Application" with the date and time when the severance will be heard.
  • Hearing: The Land Division Committee will consider the application(s) and submissions by all interested parties regarding the severance. The Committee's decision will be made at a later time in the meeting.
  • Decision: A Notice of Decision will be forwarded within fifteen (15) days after the date of the hearing
  • Conditions: A one-year time limit after the date of decision to obtain the consent stamp on the deed(s) is generally imposed and other conditions may be imposed.
  • Appeal Period: A twenty (20) day appeal period from the date of the Notice exists during which any person may appeal the decision and/or conditions imposed by the Committee to the Ontario Municipal Board. After the appeal period, notice will be sent that either no appeals were received or that the application has been appealed.
  • If Appealed: A letter outlining the reasons for the appeal is forwarded to the Secretary-Treasurer of the Land Division Committee, with a cheque payable to the Minister of Finance for $300.00 for the first appeal and $25.00 for each further appeal related to the same matter. Notice of Appeal must be received within the twenty (20) day appeal period.
  • No Appeal: If no appeal is received, the decision is final and binding and the applicant is required to: a) Satisfy the conditions imposed by the Committee within one (1) year from the date of decision; b) Obtain the services of a land surveyor to survey the lands to be severed in accordance with the Decision; c) Obtain the services of a solicitor to prepare the deeds and necessary documents; d) Submit the deeds to the Secretary-Treasurer of the Land Division Committee for final certification; e) Register the deeds at the Registry Office for the County of Elgin.
  • Stamping of the Deed: 3 copies of the deed, 1 copy for the Reference Plan and a fee are required for affixing the consent stamp.

A severance approval may have certain conditions attached to it including requirements for road widening or Day Light corners on County or Municipal Roads, parkland dedication, or a rezoning to allow a new land use. In addition, the property owner may be required to enter into an agreement with the municipality to provide future services or facilities. Severances applied for in rural areas that are serviced by septic systems and/or wells require review and lot assessment by the Elgin-St. Thomas Health Unit, for which the Health Unit requires a separate fee.

Pre-consultation with the municipality involved and interested agencies will address these issues in order to avoid time delays. The applicant will have one year from the date the decision was given to fulfill all conditions imposed by the Committee. One condition generally imposed by the Land Division Committee is that a deed be presented within one year of the date of decision so that the consent stamp may be affixed, otherwise the severance is considered lapsed. Legislation under the Planning Act does not allow for extensions to the one-year time limit to meet imposed conditions.

When the applicant has met all the conditions, upon expiry of the 20-day appeal period, the Secretary-Treasurer shall, on behalf of the Committee, affix a stamp to the deeds or legal documents and sign it, certifying that consent has been given pursuant to Subsection 42, of Section 53, of the Planning Act. The Secretary-Treasurer shall accept only original signed copies, accompanied by a fee, payable to Treasurer County of Elgin, for affixing the consent stamp. In the event it is necessary to have a survey, a copy of the reference plan must accompany the documents.

Appeals to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal can be made in three different ways: Pre-consult with Municipalities and applicable agencies.

Any person or public body may appeal a consent-granting authority's decision and any condition within 20 days of the notice of decision.

  1. The applicant may appeal if no decision is made within 90 days from the date of receipt of the completed application by the consent granting authority containing the prescribed information.
  2. Any person or public body may appeal any changed conditions imposed by the consent-granting authority within 20 days after the notice of changed conditions has been given.

An appeal may be filed with the Secretary-Treasurer of the Land Division Committee, within 20 days of the date of decision. A letter outlining the reasons for the appeal, accompanied by a cheque or money order payable to the Minister of Finance, currently in the amount of $300.00 for the first appeal and $25.00 for each further related appeal to the same matter, is required. For example, if you are appealing three related applications, the cheque would be in the amount of $325.00.

If the consent-granting authority receives an appeal, it has 15 days in which to forward the notice of appeal, fee, and compile a complete record containing the prescribed information, to the LPAT.

The Local Planning Appeal Tribunal may dismiss an appeal without holding a hearing if the appellant failed to put their concerns in writing before the authority's original decision, or make an oral submission at the public meeting, or if the appellant fails to provide further information that the LPAT may request. The LPAT may also dismiss the appeal if the appellant does not include planning reasons, if in the opinion of the OMB the appeal is frivolous, or for delay, or if the consent is premature because necessary public services would not be available within a reasonable time. The LPAT will make a decision based on the facts presented at the hearing. The LPAT's decision is final.

If no appeals are received within 20 days of the notice of decision, the Secretary-Treasurer will swear a declaration that notice was given in the manner and in the form and to the persons, Corporations, or public bodies prescribed, and that no appeals were received within the time allowed.

Official Plan and Zoning By-law

Draft Official Plan 

Official Plan - Public Meeting Presentation 

Official Plan - Open House Presentation

Township of Southwold Draft Policy Background Report 

NOTE:  Please be advised that the NEW Official Plan and comprehensive Zoning By-law 2011-14 received final approval from the Ministry on Friday, November 1st, 2013.

Plan Documentation:

Official Plan February 2011 
Official Plan Maps

Township of Southwold Zoning By-law 2011-14 Consolidated December 2020  Please note this consolidation does not include maps. 

Zoning By-law maps


What is an Official Plan?

The purpose of an Official Plan is to establish general direction for planning and land use matters; that is, to create policies on how land in the County should be used. An Official Plan consists of goals, objectives and policies to guide development and meet the physical, social and economic needs of the community.

An Official Plan typically deals with a range of land uses and issues including housing; employment (retail, industry, office); services (roads, water, sewage); parks/open space/recreational areas; institutions (places of worship, schools, government, etc.); and resources (agriculture, environment/natural heritage, cultural heritage, mineral/aggregates).  An Official Plan also includes criteria and guidelines for planning processes and implementation

The main purpose of an Official Plan at the County level is to provide general direction and guidance on a broad basis by establishing an upper tier policy framework that:

  • Provides guidance to the local municipalities in the preparation of local Official Plans and Zoning By-laws
  • Facilitates coordination and cooperation amongst the local municipalities and the County on planning and development issues that transcend municipal boundaries

Each of the seven local municipalities in Elgin County have their own Official Plans that provide specific and more detailed strategies, policies and land use designations for land use planning in each community.


Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw Amendments:

Every property in the Township of Southwold has been identified and mapped in accordance with its land use.  Properties are provided with at least two designations:

  • An Official Plan land use policy
  • A land use zone

In some cases, additional bylaws have been passed regarding the development of the property (ie. heritage designations, site plan control agreements, holdings).

A complete and up-to-date copy of both the Town’s zoning by-law and Official Plan are available above.  A zoning schedule (zoning map) is also available and can be used to identify the zone in which a property is located.  

For questions regarding additional bylaws registered on the title of the property, please contact the Planning Department.


What is an Official Plan?

An Official Plan is a policy adopted by the Municipal Council for the purposes of:

  1. Guiding future growth in a logical and orderly manner;
  2. Protecting existing development from the adverse effects which may arise from incompatible development and redevelopment; and
  3. Correcting any errors of past development so as to ensure a healthy growth which will benefit all residents of the Town.


What is an Official Plan amendment?

An Official Plan amendment is a bylaw passed by the Municipal Council adjusting the current Official Plan land use designation of a specific property or group of properties.  An Official Plan amendment is usually done in conjunction with a Zoning By-law amendment.

The Official Plan Amendment Package consists of:

Application for Official Plan Amendment


What is a Zoning By-law?

A zoning by-law is a document passed by the Municipal Council that lays out the day-to-day administrative duties and puts into effect the policies set out in the Town’s Official Plan.  The zoning by-law states exactly:

  • What uses are permitted on the lands;
  • Where buildings and structures can be located;
  • The types of buildings and specific uses of the building;
  • The lot area and dimensions, setbacks and height restrictions;
  • The amount of landscaped open space and parking required for the use;

All sections of the zoning bylaw are legally enforceable and any construction or new development that does not comply with the zoning by-law is not allowed to occur.

Township of Southwold Zoning By-law 2011-14 Consolidated December 2020  Please note this consolidation does not include maps. 

What is a Zoning By-law Amendment?

A zoning amendment is a change in zoning and may be necessary for any new construction or develop in the Township.  The first step to deciding if an amendment is necessary is to contact the Planning Department.  In some cases, a zoning amendment may also be accompanied by an Official Plan amendment.

The Zoning By-law Amendment Application package includes:

Zoning By-law Amendment Application

Citizens' Guide to Zoning By-laws

Authorization to Appoint an Agent



Official Plan and Zoning By-law - Background Reports

Minor Variance

What is a Minor Variance?


A Minor Variance is a small variation from the requirements of the zoning by-law. A Minor Variance approval is a certificate of permission, because it allows the property owner to obtain a building permit even though their property does not comply precisely with the zoning by-law. Under Section 45(1) of the Planning Act there are four tests a Minor Variance must meet:

  1. Is the application minor?
  2. Is the application desirable for the appropriate development of the lands in question?
  3. Does the application conform to the general intent of the Zoning By-law?
  4. Does the application conform to the general intent of the Official Plan? It is important to note that to consider any application a minor variance it must meet all four tests.

Who needs a Minor Variance?

If your proposed change doesn't conform exactly to the zoning by-law, but follows its general intent, you can apply for a Minor Variance.  For example, you might want to locate something on your property, but the shape of your lot won't allow you to meet the minimum setback requirements. 

To obtain a Minor Variance, you have to complete a Minor Variance Application and apply to the Township Committee of Adjustment (comprised of all Council members) to deal with minor problems in meeting by-law standards.  The Committee will hold a public hearing and decide on your application.  Anyone who disagrees with the decision has 20 days to appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board.  The appeal should be filed with the Secretary-Treasurer of the Committee.  You should set out the reasons supporting the objection and include the fee required by the Board.

The OMB has the power to dismiss your appeal without holding a hearing.  The OMB can allow or dismiss your appeal or amend the application in any way it sees fit.

A Minor Variance does not change a zoning by-law.  It simply excuses you from a specific requirement of the by-law and allows you to obtain a building permit.


The Minor Variance Process:

The landowner or agent submits the completed Minor Variance Application along with the fee. 

A hearing will be held within 30 days of receipt of the Application.

Notice of Public Hearing is mailed to everyone within 60m of the subject property, applicable agencies and the Applicant/Agent is contacted and responsible for the posting of a sign (provided by the Township) on the subject property.

Notice must be given at least 10 days prior to the hearing.

The Township Planner prepares a planning report and it is presented to the Committee of Adjustment at a Public Meeting. 

Notice of Decision must be given no later than 10 days after the date of decision. 

If the Variance is granted, Notice of Decision is mailed to the Applicant and all other individuals who asked to be notified.

If a Minor Variance is NOT granted, the Applicant, Minister or any person with interest in the matter may appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board by filing Notice of Appeal with the Secretary-Treasurer of the Committee of Adjustment with 20 days of the decision.

If there are no appeals after 20 days, then staff will produce a Notice of No Appeal.  The Variance is complete at this stage.

All remaining fees will be paid at the time of building construction if new a building or renovations are to be completed.




Want to know more?

Want to know more?

  • Citizens Guides to Land Use Planning has now been posted to Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing website

Shedden and Fingal EA

Update- Notice of Completion 

Shedden and Fingal Environmental Study Report (Final) and Notice of Completion 

Shedden and Fingal Master Servicing Plan PIC Documents

Comment Sheet Shedden and Fingal


Dillon Consulting Limited

130 Dufferin Avenue, Suite 1400

London, Ontario N6A 5R2


Site Plan Approval

Site Plan Approval Application 

Fees associated with this application are: 

  • $1 000.00 for the Site Plan Application 
  • $1 000.00 for the Site Plan Agreement