Land use planning affects everyone, from homeowners to owners of commercial and industrial facilities. Through planning, development of land and resources in a community are coordinated. This encourages, organizes and directs desirable land uses to areas which will maximize the benefits to your community, making the best use of services and utilities. It is a delicate balance between the interests of individual landowners, the aspirations of the community and the sustainability of our natural environment.
Within the Town of Port Hawkesbury and the planned areas of Antigonish, Inverness, Richmond, and Victoria Counties development must be consistent with the Municipal Planning Strategy and Land Use By-law. Recognizing the existing natural and built environments and the social, economic and environmental conditions, policies are set in the Municipal Planning Strategy. Designations are established to guide residential, commercial, industrial and recreational uses to the most appropriate areas. The Land Use By-law implements the policies established in the Municipal Planning Strategy. Within each designation, there may be several zones addressing the diverse types of residential, commercial, industrial or recreational uses. As such, specific locations in the planned area may have different permitted uses and development requirements.
Guided by area advisory committees, the Commission provides the planning support when preparing or reviewing a Municipal Planning Strategy and Land Use By-law. Subsequently, these documents are approved by the Planning Advisory Committee and the Council of the appropriate municipality and the Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs before coming into effect.
In planned areas it is necessary to obtain a Development Permit. This permit is required for all new construction and any change in use of an existing structure. It is a confirmation the project is in compliance with the regulations of the Land Use By-law. Should your proposal not conform to the existing Strategy and By-law, it is sometimes possible to amend these documents.
When creating lots with an area of less than 25 acres or consolidating property, it is necessary to obtain subdivision approval. Subdivision approval is not required for the creation of lots greater than 25 acres in area, but the applicant must provide affidavits indicating the lots satisfy the 25-acre requirement. An approved lot ensures the property has been approved by the Departments of Environment, Transportation and Public Works for development on the lot. It also establishes the legal boundaries of the land. In planned areas, any development must also conform to the Land Use By-law. Further information about may be found in our Citizen’s Guide to Subdivision Brochure #4.
Building Inspection Services
A building permit is required for all construction projects within the Counties of Antigonish, Inverness, Richmond and Victoria and the Town of Port Hawkesbury. This applies to any construction project; from a new home to shopping mall renovations. The building inspector will review the plans to ensure they meet all applicable National Building Code Requirements, obtain approval from the municipal engineer, and where necessary, the departments of Transportation and Environment and the Fire Marshall. On-site inspections will also be conducted at various stages of the construction project to ensure the building standards are met. The processing of an application takes an average of three weeks.
E911 Civic Addressing Services
The EDPC provides civic numbering and signage for new construction in the four counties during the building inspection process. The Civic Address Coordinator maintains the Nova Scotia Civic Address File so that addressing is consistent with E911 guidlines to ensure rational and orderly addressing for emergency responders.
From time to time, the District Planning Commission staff is called upon for their input in a wide variety of areas. In the past we have worked with community groups in an effort to gain insight in the diverse interests and needs of the communities. By participating with waterfront commissions, tourism and development commissions and heritage groups, we become aware of the special needs and visions of a community. This knowledge, in turn, is reflected in the land use planning documents.