The approval process for new development varies depending on the zoning and the intensity (size and impact) of the proposed use. There are three standard forms of approval used in the Municipality of Chester.
The first is “as of right”, meaning that the proposed use meets all policies and regulations within the Land Use By-law. A “Site Plan Approval” is required as specified and the development must meet additional requirements, usually having to do with the layout and placement of structures, parking and signage on the site. The final form of planning approval is a “Development Agreement”. A Development Agreement is a legal agreement between a developer and the Municipality, to undertake a development subject to specific terms and conditions. These terms and conditions are set out in policy statements contained in the Municipal Planning Strategy. Before approving a Development Agreement, Council must be satisfied that all relevant policies have been met. An approved Development Agreement is registered against the property and will remain in effect until discharged by Council. Development Agreements can allow flexibility and negotiation between Council and a developer. Use of a Development Agreement also provides greater authority to Council to impose limits on hours of operation, construction and take over of roads, sewer systems and other utilities and grading and alteration of land levels in relation to the development.
AMENDMENTS TO THE MUNICIPAL PLANNING STRATEGY OR LAND USE BY-LAW
From time to time, changes to planning documents are needed, despite all efforts to ensure that they are comprehensive in their outlook. All such changes:
- Must respect the intent of the Municipal Planning Strategy
- Should be done in a thoughtful and transparent way following detailed study
- Must be in the public interest
- Must be carried out in accordance with the Public Participation policies set out in section 9.1 of the Municipal Planning Strategy
The procedure for amending planning documents to permit a specific land use or a change in development standards, or approving a Development Agreement, is governed by the Municipal Government Act of the Province of Nova Scotia. More information on Provincial planning legislation can be found at www.novascotia.ca or by contacting the Community Development & Recreation Department.