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What is a subdivision?

Generally, when you divide a piece of land into two or more parcels in order to sell one or more parcels, you are subdividing property and the provisions of Ontario's Planning Act come into effect.

If your proposal involves creating generally only one or two parcels, you may be able to seek approval for a land severance.

Who is the approval authority for Plans of Subdivision?

The City of Oshawa is the approval authority for subdivision and condominiums. Citizens have an opportunity for input for proposed subdivisions.

Subdivision approval ensures that:

  • The land is suitable for its proposed new use;
  • The proposal conforms to Oshawa's Official Plan and Provincial legislation and policy; and
  • The community is protected from development which is inappropriate or might put an undue strain on facilities, services or finances.

What is a "Draft Plan of Subdivision"?

A draft plan of subdivision is a proposal to subdivide property. It generally shows topographic information, natural heritage features, such as creeks and vegetation, and the proposed lots and streets.

What is a "Registered Plan of Subdivision"?

A registered plan of subdivision is a legal document that implements an approved draft plan of subdivision. A registered plan of subdivision shows:

  • The exact survey boundaries and dimensions of lots on which houses or buildings are to be built;
  • The location, width and names of streets; and
  • The sites of any schools, parks or other uses within the plan.

A registered plan of subdivision creates new, separate parcels of land and can be legally used for the sale of lots. It should not be confused with "compiled plans" or "reference plans" which are used simply to describe a parcel of land.

How does a person undertake to subdivide a piece of land?

The basic process for subdividing a parcel of land is as follows:

Step 1 - Pre-consultation
1.1 A person considering draft plan of subdivision should discuss their intentions with staff of the Development Services Department - Development and Urban Design Division.
Step 2 - Application
2.1 Applicant submits a copy of a completed "Application to Process a Subdivision or Condominium" to the Development Services Department. Supporting documentation and fee must be submitted with the application. In accordance with the Planning Act, the applicant must indicate whether the proposal conforms with the Provincial Policy Statement and applicable Provincial Plans.
2.2 Staff review the application and advise the applicant within 30 days whether or not it is complete. Additional information or studies may be required as the application is being processed.
2.3 A "Public Notice" sign advising that a draft plan of subdivision has been applied for is posted on the property by the applicant. The wording for the sign will be prepared by staff and provided to the applicant.

The application is circulated to various agencies, City and Regional departments for review and comment (e.g., Conservation Authority, Regional Municipality of Durham, Engineering Services).

Most subdivisions also require an application to amend the Zoning By-law. Normally the subdivision application and rezoning application will be submitted together and processed concurrently. An Official Plan Amendment may also be required.

Step 3 - Review and Report
3.1 Staff evaluate the application and review comments submitted by agencies and departments.
3.2 A Public Meeting Report is prepared for submission to the Development Services Committee.
Step 4 - Notification of Public Meeting
4.1 Notice of the application and a Public Meeting to consider the application  is sent to all property owners within 120 metres (400 feet) of the subject property at least 20 days prior to the meeting date and within 15 days of the application being determined to be complete. In addition, notice of the meeting is placed in a local newspaper.
4.2 A Public Meeting is held by the Development Services Committee to consider the application and the Public Meeting Report.
4.3 At the Public Meeting, any person including the applicant, has the opportunity to express concerns or opinions regarding the application to the Development Services Committee.
4.4 At the conclusion of the Public Meeting, the Development Services Committee refers the application back to staff to consider, amongst other matters, the comments heard at the Public Meeting.
Step 5 - Council Decision
5.1 Staff further evaluate the application and consider comments expressed by the applicant and the public.
5.2 Staff prepare a second report for the Development Services Committee's consideration recommending that the application be draft approved or denied.
5.3 The Development Services Committee considers the second report and makes a recommendation to Council to approve or to deny the application. The Development Services Committee may hear from any person or the applicant before making its recommendation. An approval recommendation will normally include a number of conditions which must be satisfied prior to final approval.
5.4 City Council considers the recommendation of the Development Services Committee and makes a decision on the application. The City Council may hear from the applicant and any other person before making its decision.
5.5 The plan is formally draft approved and staff will issue conditions of draft approval which include conditions of the City and other agencies.
Step 6 - Appeal to Ontario Municipal Board (OMB)
6.1 The City issues a Notice of Decision to the applicant and anyone requesting notification. If an applicant or any person or public body is not satisfied with the decision, it may appeal to the OMB within the time period specified in the notice.  Only persons who made oral submissions at the public meeting or written submissions to Council before adoption may appeal. If an appeal is received, the OMB will generally hold a hearing and make a final decision to approve or deny the application.
Step 7 - Registration
7.1 If an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board is not received, the applicant must fulfill various conditions associated with the approval.  Among the key conditions is a requirement that the subdivider enter into a subdivision agreement with the City, including detailed engineering drawings and landscape plans. Once these conditions are fulfilled, the subdivision can be registered and lots sold.
Location: Planning Services
8th Floor, Rundle Tower, City Hall
50 Centre Street South
Oshawa, Ontario, L1H 3Z7
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