Official Plan Amendment Review

From time to time, the Municipality proposes amendments to the official plan and zoning by-law.

Purpose and effect

On August 9th, 2022, Council initiated the process to do just this. The purpose and effect of the General Update Amendment is to update direction in the Bluewater Official Plan and Zoning By-law regarding housing, minimum distance separation (MDS) and housekeeping items including:

  • permitting additional residential units (ARU) in agricultural, hamlet and village settings, not including Bayfield or lakeshore residential areas
  • permitting increased density and a wider range of residential building types in established neighbourhoods with full municipal services, not including Bayfield
  • permitting housing units on the main and upper floors of properties in downtown Hensall and Zurich located on side streets. Housing units will continue to be permitted above or behind commercial uses along traditional main streets (King Street in Hensall and Goshen Street N in Zurich)
  • requiring minimum density of 15 units/hectare in newly developing areas with full services
  • increasing minimum lot sizes in privately serviced area to ensure that future residential development is completed in accordance with provincial and county nitrate criteria and addresses long term water quality considerations
  • clarifying that minimum distance separation will not apply to on-farm diversified uses or agricultural commercial industrial (AG3) uses and will apply as a single, rather than double distance for all cemeteries
  • remove livestock limitations from small agricultural (AG4) properties
  • minor housekeeping items such as updates to definitions and general provisions

Next steps

Public consultation, public meetings and open houses were held throughout 2022. 

On January 16th, 2023, Council passed the General Amendment to update the Official Plan and Zoning By-law in line with the stated purpose and effect. The appeal deadline for the updated Zoning By-law expired on February 9th, 2023. No appeals were received.

The Official Plan amendment has now been approved by the County of Huron and is in effect.

If you would like additional information relating to the Official Plan and by-law amendment, it is available for inspection during regular office hours at the Municipality of Bluewater, Municipal Office, 14 Mill Avenue, Zurich and the Huron County Planning and Development Department, 57 Napier Street, 2nd floor, Goderich (1-888-524-8394 ext. 3).

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