1) What is Rezoning Clarington?
Rezoning Clarington is a group of individual Clarington landowners who recognize that many other Clarington property owners are not aware of the serious impacts that changes to the Municipality’s mapping and zoning bylaws will have on their land usage, property values and futures.
We are working to inform more property owners of the changes, their impacts and investigate how it was decided to designate 49% of all rural land as environmental protected (EP). Previously 27% of rural land in Clarington was designated as EP.
2) How does my donation to Rezoning Clarington help the group in their work?
Donations to Rezoning Clarington will be used for hall rentals for public information sessions, flyers, a website, research and further outreach to Clarington residents both rural and urban.
3) How do I find out if my property has been impacted by the expanded EP zoning?
A) Visit www.Clarington.net
B) Visit the Municipality of Clarington’s Planning Department and ask to see the maps
C) Contact Rezoning Clarington for assistance.
4) If all or any part of my property is now zoned as Environmentally Protected (EP) or A Environmental Review Area and I do not understand why or cannot identify an environmental feature on my property that requires a change in its zoning, what can I do?
Contact the Municipality of Clarington’s Planning Office and ask for a site visit. The Municipality has offered free site visits to provide further clarifications or to identify if there has been an error in their mapping.
An environmental feature that is being protected could be wetlands, fish habitat, valleylands, significant woodlands, areas of natural and scientific interest beach bluffs and flood plains.
5) How does an Environmentally Protected (EP) designation on my land affect what I can and cannot do on my property?
Provincial legislation and policies restrict “development” on Environmentally Protected lands and lands designated as an Environmental Review Area.
The Conservation Authorities Act defines ‘development’ as follows:
(a) the construction, reconstruction, erection or placing of a building or structure of any kind,
(b) any change to a building or structure that would have the effect of altering the use or potential use of the building or structure, increasing the size of the building or structure or increasing the number of dwelling units in the building or structure,
(c) site grading, or
(d) the temporary or permanent placing, dumping or removal of any material, originating on the site or elsewhere;
6) If my land is zoned or partially zoned EP will it affect the value of my land?
Yes, experienced local real estate agents have said that EP zoning will possibly lower the value of your property. EP zoning designations are the most restrictive of all the zoning designations in bylaws. Any time you restrict the permitted uses of a property, you reduce the value of that property.
(See the September edition of ClaringtonPromoter.ca – page 5 article “Results of Survey of Local Realtors Indicate Environmental Protection (EP) Designation Reduces Property Values)
Urban property sales in Courtice, Bowmanville, Orono and Newcastle with EP zoning will also be affected by lower property values.
Lower property values will have an impact on financing, loans and mortgages.
The Municipality’s report to Council says that there will be no impact on property values. They used a 2010 American paper discussing the impact of Ontario Green Belt legislation on land values, which in fact states “There is no clear consensus in the literature as to the nature of the effects of zoning or conservation easements on the value of agricultural properties.”
Property values are not to be confused with property assessments. Assessments are used to establish tax rates. The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) assesses properties for what they are being used for as compared to similar properties. Farms are assessed based on farm to farm sales and the productivity of the land.
7) Will Clarington be expanding the EP areas in the urban areas of Courtice, Bowmanville, Orono and Newcastle?
It is expected that EP lands may be expanded in the urban areas of Clarington as there are environmental features that would be protected in the urban areas of Clarington.
The Municipality is currently working on changes for the urban areas in Clarington to expand environmentally protected lands. Some amendments are available on the Municipality’s website, however new, completed urban maps are not yet available.
It is hoped that individual affected property owners in Courtice, Bowmanville, Orono and Newcastle will be notified of the changes to their property’s zoning and given ample notice with full opportunities to express their concerns and submit their comments to Council and Clarington’s planning staff.
Notifications should be worded in a simple format easily understood by the average land owner. They should also clearly explain what this may mean to them and what restrictions may apply as to expansion of homes, renovations, or new structures as well as gardens and vegetation on their property.
8) Farming in rural Clarington
The Municipality is saying that lands currently in Environmentally Protected (EP) areas, can continue to be farmed. However, in the future land designated as environmental protected lands will face restriction.
No new buildings or structures are permitted in the previous 30 metre EP zone as well as in the expanded 30 metre Minimum Vegetation Protection Zone. To expand an existing farm structure, re-build or build a new non-farm related structure within the EP area, a planning application and environmental review may be required.
Agricultural, agricultural-related and secondary on-farm uses within the EP zone may also require an environmental review.
With an expanded EP zoning on your land, your future plans for expansion, diversification or other new buildings or structures may require a planning application, an environmental assessment or environmental review adding more paperwork and cost for you.