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> Planning 101 > Planning Objectives

Plan Objectives

What is an Official Plan?

An Official Plan deals mainly with issues such as:

  • Where new housing, industry, offices and shops will be located;

  • What services like roads, watermains, sewers, parks and schools
    will be needed;

  • When, and in what order, parts of your community will grow; and

  • Community improvement initiatives.

What is an Official Plan not?

  • Not a zoning by law;

  • Not meant to be property specific;

  • Not a financial plan; and

  • Not a capital investment plan – although it does contribute and help refine financial studies such as Development Charges.

What is a Regional Official Plan?

The Planning Act of Ontario requires that each upper-tier municipality prepare an Official Plan. The Region of Durham’s Regional Official Plan requires that the natural environment be given paramount consideration in the planning and development of the Region. The Plan also seeks to protect and maintain agricultural land for future generations. Overall, the Plan effectively builds on historic development patterns, and reinforces the Region’s identity as the eastern anchor of the GTA.

The Regional Official Plan outlines policies that will help guide economic, environmental and community-building decisions affecting the use of land in the Region of Durham. Since there are eight local municipalities within the Region, with their own specific visions and goals, the Regional Official Plan leaves room for a local municipality, such as Clarington, to provide detailed planning policies that conform to the overall framework contained in the Regional Official Plan.

Why do we need an Official Plan?

The Municipality's Official Plan:

  • Lets the public know what the Municipality's general land use planning policies are;

  • Makes sure that growth is coordinated and meets your community’s needs;

  • Helps all members of your community understand how their land may be used now and in the future;

  • Provides a framework for establishing municipal zoning by-laws to set local regulations and standards, like the size of lots and height of buildings;

  • Provides a way to evaluate and settle conflicting land uses while meeting local; regional and provincial interests; and

  • Articulates council's commitment to the future growth of your community.