The Municipal Government Act (MGA) allows municipalities to control the development of land by means of municipal planning strategies, land use by-laws and subdivision by-laws. Parts 8 and 9 of the MGA are the key sections devoted to planning and subdivision.
The Planning and Development Department is responsible for planning documents for both West Hants and Hantsport. All Hantsport documents can be found at here.
The West Hants Municipal Planning Strategy (WHMPS) is a statement of Council's intent for growth and development of the Municipality. The WHMPS consists of policies, text, and maps. Land use (zoning) and subdivision by-laws provide the rules to implement the policies of a MPS. pdf The West Hants Land Use By-law (WHLUB) (649 KB) establishes zones, uses permitted in each zone and standards for development - all based on policies contained in the WHMPS. The Subdivision By-law sets out rules for dividing land.
The Planning and Development Department helps Council with the periodic review and update of the planning documents. The review process is time-consuming and involves a lot of background research and public consultation, largely through public meetings. The review results in Council adopting revised policies and planning documents.
Municipal Planning Strategy Amendment
Occasionally a proposal may not be consistent with the intent of the MPS. In these cases, an owner may apply to change either the policies in the MPS or the Generalized Future Land Use Map of the MPS. Council is guided by its overall vision and policies and good planning practice when considering these applications.
Land Use By-law Amendment
A proposed use for a lot may meet Council’s intention for an area but may not be allowed by the Land Use By-law. A request to amend the LUB may address inconsistencies in the By-law, respond to changing trends or to a specific development proposal. An amendment to the LUB can be either:
(i) an amendment to the zoning map; and/or
(ii) an amendment to the text of the By-law (a change in the wording).
Each must be measured against specific criteria and policy in the MPS to see if the LUB amendment meets Council’s intentions.
A proposed use for a lot may meet Council’s intention for an area but may require a development agreement: a site-specific legal contract between Council and a property owner which establishes conditions on the location and design of development which will be permitted on a lot. A development agreement is registered against the title to the lot and applies to the lot even if ownership changes. Development agreements allow Council to consider uses that are not otherwise permitted at the requested location. They can only be used when there is a specific policy in the MPS that authorizes them and the ability to consider the development agreement must appear in the Land Use By-law.
Once an application is received the following process is followed:
*If the amendment is to the Hantsport MPS or LUB
Municipal Planning Strategy, Land Use By-law and Development Agreement Application