Northumberland Next: Official Plan Update

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We are updating the Northumberland County Official Plan to guide growth and development in Northumberland over the next 30 years. These updates align with Provincial legislation that requires municipalities to review and update their Official Plan every few years.

Current Provincial forecasts indicate that the population for Northumberland County will grow to 122,000 people and 44,000 jobs by the year 2051. As part of the Official Plan update, we will be reviewing the maps and policies in the current Official Plan, and will undertake a series of amendments to update the Plan to ensure that the County and its member municipalities are prepared for the forecasted growth.

About Northumberland Next

Our vision: To manage growth for a complete and thriving Northumberland over the next 30 years.

The public engagement objectives for Northumberland Next are to:

  1. Inform residents of the process for updating the Northumberland County Official Plan
  2. Gather public input on land use planning priorities for Northumberland County as we plan for future growth and development
  3. Gather resident and stakeholder feedback about topics for review in the County's Official Plan

Consultation launched in the fall of 2018 with public meetings about the first amendment planned as part of this process: the Natural Heritage System amendment. On October 28, 2020, the County hosted a virtual public meeting to provide an overview of the overall Northumberland Next process.

Topics under review

Button that says 'Natural Heritage System' with icon of river, trees and fields(Completed)Button that says 'Growth Management' with icon of rural and urban land(Current Consultation)
Icon of barn and farm field with text that says 'Agricultural Mapping'(Current Consultation)


Coming soon

  • Water Resource mapping and policies
  • Affordable housing policies

Consultations

The updated Official Plan is being developed in consultation with the local area municipalities and community partners, and through consultation with the public, including public meetings and online input through Join In Northumberland. Opportunities for public engagement are ongoing, and will continue throughout 2022.

Currently, we are seeking feedback on:

  • Agricultural mapping
    • We will be hosting in-person open houses in Campbellford, Colborne and Port Hope in June and July 2022 to review the proposed mapping and policy updates and to gather input from the community. For more information about this amendment, visit our Agricultural Mapping page.
  • Growth Management
    • We hosted a virtual open house and virtual public meeting in April/May 2022 to review the proposed changes and gather input. If you were unable to attend those sessions, you can review our Growth Management Report online and provide feedback by email. For more information about this amendment, visit our Growth Management page.

Stay in the loop

  • Join our email distribution list for updates about the project and opportunities to provide your feedback. Click 'subscribe' under the 'Stay Informed' box.
  • Attend our upcoming consultations for more information and to provide your feedback on the topics for review.

We are updating the Northumberland County Official Plan to guide growth and development in Northumberland over the next 30 years. These updates align with Provincial legislation that requires municipalities to review and update their Official Plan every few years.

Current Provincial forecasts indicate that the population for Northumberland County will grow to 122,000 people and 44,000 jobs by the year 2051. As part of the Official Plan update, we will be reviewing the maps and policies in the current Official Plan, and will undertake a series of amendments to update the Plan to ensure that the County and its member municipalities are prepared for the forecasted growth.

About Northumberland Next

Our vision: To manage growth for a complete and thriving Northumberland over the next 30 years.

The public engagement objectives for Northumberland Next are to:

  1. Inform residents of the process for updating the Northumberland County Official Plan
  2. Gather public input on land use planning priorities for Northumberland County as we plan for future growth and development
  3. Gather resident and stakeholder feedback about topics for review in the County's Official Plan

Consultation launched in the fall of 2018 with public meetings about the first amendment planned as part of this process: the Natural Heritage System amendment. On October 28, 2020, the County hosted a virtual public meeting to provide an overview of the overall Northumberland Next process.

Topics under review

Button that says 'Natural Heritage System' with icon of river, trees and fields(Completed)Button that says 'Growth Management' with icon of rural and urban land(Current Consultation)
Icon of barn and farm field with text that says 'Agricultural Mapping'(Current Consultation)


Coming soon

  • Water Resource mapping and policies
  • Affordable housing policies

Consultations

The updated Official Plan is being developed in consultation with the local area municipalities and community partners, and through consultation with the public, including public meetings and online input through Join In Northumberland. Opportunities for public engagement are ongoing, and will continue throughout 2022.

Currently, we are seeking feedback on:

  • Agricultural mapping
    • We will be hosting in-person open houses in Campbellford, Colborne and Port Hope in June and July 2022 to review the proposed mapping and policy updates and to gather input from the community. For more information about this amendment, visit our Agricultural Mapping page.
  • Growth Management
    • We hosted a virtual open house and virtual public meeting in April/May 2022 to review the proposed changes and gather input. If you were unable to attend those sessions, you can review our Growth Management Report online and provide feedback by email. For more information about this amendment, visit our Growth Management page.

Stay in the loop

  • Join our email distribution list for updates about the project and opportunities to provide your feedback. Click 'subscribe' under the 'Stay Informed' box.
  • Attend our upcoming consultations for more information and to provide your feedback on the topics for review.
  • Agricultural mapping (Current consultation)

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    Northumberland County is currently reviewing and updating maps and policies related to agricultural land in Northumberland County’s Official Plan. Share your feedback as we protect and preserve Northumberland's thriving agricultural landscape.

    Public consultation process

    In June and July of 2022, Northumberland County will be launching the consultation process for the agricultural mapping amendment with in-person open houses across the County and an online public review and comment period.

    Each open house session will include two 15-minute presentations at 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. about the proposed agriculture mapping and policy updates to the Official Plan, which will be followed up a Q&A period:

    Join In the conversation


    What is agricultural mapping?

    Northumberland County is known for having a thriving agricultural community and high-quality farmland, with over 31% of land in the County currently designated as protected agricultural land.

    As part of the Northumberland Next initiative, Northumberland County is reviewing and updating mapping and policies in the County's Official Plan to ensure this vital system of agricultural land remains protected for future generations.

    This amendment will result in updates to the Northumberland County Official Plan, including mapping and policy updates that will increase the amount of protected agricultural land in Northumberland, and will support the collective well-being of the agriculture economy by:

    • Identifying the best areas for agricultural production within Northumberland County
    • Preserving our local agricultural land base for food production to meet the province's long-term needs by aligning our local mapping with the Provincial Growth Plan and Agricultural Land Base for the Greater Golden Horseshoe
    • Introducing/updating land use policies to ensure agricultural uses can continue, now and into the future

    What is the Agricultural System?

    The agricultural system is a defined term in the Provincial Policy Statement (2020) which provides policy direction to municipalities across the province. The province has developed a methodology for identifying and classifying lands as part of an agricultural system to ensure consistency, clarity, and standardization across the province.

    The Provincial Policy Statement (2020) defines the Agricultural System as a system comprised of a group of inter-connected elements that collectively create a viable, thriving agricultural sector. It has two components:

    • An agricultural land base comprised of prime agricultural areas, including specialty crop areas, and rural lands that together create a continuous productive land base for agriculture; and
    • An agri-food network which includes infrastructure, services, and assets important to the viability of the agri-food sector.

    Planning authorities are encouraged to use an agricultural system approach to maintain and enhance the geographic continuity of the agricultural land base and the functional and economic connections to the agri-food network.

    What is the Growth Plan?

    The Growth Plan is a provincial mapping system released in 2018, that includes a continuous and productive land base comprised of prime agricultural areas, including specialty crop areas and rural lands, as well as a complementary agri-food network that together enable the agri-food sector to thrive.

    This plan is provided by the province with the intent to implement the recommended updates in the County's Official Plan; however, before the provincial mapping is implemented, the province allows an opportunity to refine the suggested mapping during a Municipal Comprehensive Review.

    How does the County review mapping updates?

    One of the components of the County's Municipal Comprehensive Review is a review of the location of the prime agricultural area in the County. According to the Provincial Growth Plan, prime agricultural areas are areas where Class 1, 2 and 3 prime agricultural lands predominate and includes associated Class 4 through 7 lands, and additional areas where there is a local concentration of farms that exhibit characteristics of ongoing agriculture.

    The County's Official Plan identifies current prime agricultural areas, using areas defined in our local municipal Official Plans. Project consultants have developed mapping that compares the provincial and County's Official Plan mapping of prime agricultural areas and have determined that a considerable amount of additional land throughout the County has been identified as being within a prime agricultural area by the province.

    Soil review

    DBH Soil Services Inc. completed a review of the provincial agricultural land mapping. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping was received from the province and County, which included soils data, municipal boundaries, road networks, Official Plan land designations, etc. DBH Soil Services Inc. determined that some lands require additional review and assessment to determine appropriate soil classifications.

    Learn more

    For information about the proposed agriculture mapping updates, please visit our in-person open houses or view the PDF maps available in the Documents tab.

    The Provincial Agricultural Land Base maps indicate land areas in Northumberland that are proposed to be designated as 'Prime Agricultural Land' in accordance with the Province's Agricultural Land Base for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, as well as Candidate areas that are proposed by the Province for consideration as 'Prime Agricultural Land' designations.

    The Provincial and County Prime Agricultural Land Base Comparison Maps compare the recommended provincial Agricultural Land Base mapping with the agricultural mapping that is currently implemented in the County's Official Plan.

    For more information about how these land designations were determined, please review our Prime Agricultural Mapping Process Overview or review our example of the agricultural mapping process.


    Project timelines

    Current stage

    June/July 2022

    • Open houses regarding updates to agriculture mapping and policies in the County Official Plan.
    • Launched online review process of proposed mapping and policy updates.

    Next steps

    Late 2022/Early 2023

    • Complete full amendment report and present to the public for feedback.
    • Present final recommendations for agriculture mapping and policies to Northumberland County Council for adoption.
    • Submit the amendment to the Province for approval and implementation.

    News updates

    2022


    Supporting documents

    Background information

    Provincial Agricultural Land Base maps

    The Provincial Agricultural Land Base maps indicate land areas in Northumberland that are proposed to be designated as 'Prime Agricultural Land' in accordance with the Province's Agricultural Land Base for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, as well as Candidate areas that are proposed by the Province for consideration as 'Prime Agricultural Land' designations.

    Provincial and County Prime Agricultural Land Base Comparison maps

    The Provincial and County Prime Agricultural Land Base Comparison Maps compare the recommended provincial Agricultural Land Base mapping with the agricultural mapping that is currently implemented in the County's Official Plan.

    *Please note there is no Agricultural Land Base mapping for Cobourg.

  • Growth Management (Current consultation)

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    Northumberland County is currently reviewing and updating maps and policies related to long-term growth and land needs in Northumberland County’s Official Plan. Share your feedback as we prepare for future growth in our community.

    What is Growth Management?

    Current Provincial forecasts indicate that by the year 2051, Northumberland's population will grow to approximately 122,000 people and the workforce will grow to approximately 44,000 jobs.

    To ensure our community is prepared for this future growth, we are reviewing maps and policies related to long-term growth and land needs in Northumberland County’s Official Plan. This amendment process will help us assess how new development will be planned, phased, and accommodated to the year 2051.

    This process is required to bring the County’s Official Plan into conformity with the Growth Plan, 2019 (as amended), as well as to reflect current provincial policy direction and the County’s strategic initiatives.

    The Growth Management Amendment will result in updates to the Northumberland County Official Plan policies, including:

    • Long-term population, housing and employment forecasts to 2051
    • Allocations of population, housing and employment by Urban and Rural Area, as well as by planning policy area
    • An analysis of urban Community Area land needs (to accommodate residential and population-related employment)
    • An analysis of urban Employment Area land needs (to accommodate industrial type employment)
    • A review and analysis of Employment Area conversion requests

    Public consultation process

    In December 2021, Northumberland County launched the public consultation process for the Growth Management Amendment with a virtual presentation of our Growth Management Report and an online public review and comment period, which is currently ongoing.

    In spring 2022, we hosted a virtual open house and public meeting to provide additional information and opportunities for public feedback.

    Join In the conversation

    For a copy of the full draft Growth Management report or proposed official plan amendment, please submit a request to our Land Use Planning team by email at campbelld@northumberland.ca.


    Project timelines

    Completed

    December 2021 - virtual public meeting

    • Launched online review process of our Growth Management Report and Needs Analysis.

    April/May 2022

    • Virtual open house and public meeting regarding updates to growth management mapping and policies in the County Official Plan.

    Next steps

    Summer 2022

    • Complete final report
    • Present recommendation for Growth Management mapping and policies to Northumberland County Council for adoption
    • Submit the amendment to the Province for approval and implementation.

    News updates

    2022

    2021


    Supporting documents

  • Natural Heritage System (Completed)

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    As the first amendment planned for the Northumberland Next Official Plan update, Northumberland County has developed a Natural Heritage System Plan to manage community growth in a way that preserves and enhances our natural environment for future generations. The NHS report was finalized based on multiple rounds of public consultations that took place between 2018-2020, and was endorsed by County Council on July 22, 2020.

    Staff have now initiated an Official Plan amendment and are waiting for the Province to approve the amendment before the mapping and policies will be incorporated into the County Official Plan.

    What is a Natural Heritage System?

    Required by the province, the natural heritage system includes areas such as wetlands, woodlands and watercourses that have been identified as significant natural features that we must protect and enhance.

    The Natural Heritage System Plan will result in updates to the Northumberland County Official Plan policies, including:

    • Establishing a new Natural Heritage Area designation that will apply to properties with natural heritage features
    • Identification of natural heritage features and areas, as well as supporting features and areas that would be subject to development prohibitions and/or restrictions
    • Introduction of new policies affecting development and site alteration in and adjacent to the Natural Heritage System
    • Updates to the requirements for environmental studies

    Public consultation process

    In November 2018, Northumberland County conducted the first round of public consultation sessions to gather input on natural features to be included in Northumberland County's Natural Heritage System Plan.

    This input was used to develop three Natural Heritage System options, which were presented to the public for feedback during our second round of public consultation sessions in November and December 2019.

    In response to feedback received during these public consultation sessions, the County developed an online interactive map to demonstrate how each of the three options for a Natural Heritage System would be implemented in our community. Public feedback was gathered on the proposed mapping until February 21, 2020.


    Project timelines

    Completed

    November 2018 - first round of public consultations

    • Northumberland County Headquarters, Cobourg - November 26, 2018
    • Cramahe Township Municipal Office, Colborne - November 28, 2018
    • Clock Tower Cultural Centre, Campbellford - November 29, 2018

    November/December 2019 - second round of public consultations

    • Cramahe Township Municipal Office, Colborne - November 21, 2019
    • Northumberland County Headquarters, Cobourg - December 2, 2019
    • Clock Tower Cultural Centre, Campbellford - December 3, 2019

    January/February 2020

    • Interactive map and online form for gathering public input

    July 2020

    • Completed final report

    Spring/Summer 2020

    • Present the preferred Natural Heritage System option to Northumberland County Council on July 22, 2020

    March 2021

    • Initiate update and arrange for a public meeting to incorporate the preferred Natural heritage System mapping and policies into the County Official Plan update

    December 2021

    • County Council adopted the Natural Heritage System amendment and the amendment was sent to the Province for approval

    Next steps

    • Implement the Natural Heritage System mapping and policies upon approval from the Province

    News updates

    2021

    2020

    2019

    2018


    Supporting documents

Page last updated: 20 Jun 2022, 03:37 PM