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Land Severances in the City of Ottawa

In Ontario, the subdivision of land is governed by the Planning Act, R.S.O. 1990. Under this legislation, lot creation is permitted through the approval the granting of a consent (commonly described as a “severance”). The severance of land is defined as the authorized separation of a piece of land to form a new lot or a new parcel of land.  This official approval, or “consent”, is in place to ensure that land severances are considered within the established provincial and municipal planning framework, ensuring that development occurs in a controlled and orderly way and that every property is serviced properly.

Prior to applying for severance with the Committee of Adjustment, it is advised that you consult with the following authorities: City Development Information Officer, City Planner, the City’s Infill Forester and, particularly in rural areas, the local Conservation Authority.  

The City Development Information Officer will discuss the requirements of the Zoning Bylaw for your property. If your proposal does not meet the zoning requirements, then an application for rezoning or a minor variance may be required.

Reviewing your proposal with a City Planner is advised since the Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development Departments will each provide a written comment to the Committee, based on conformity with the City’s Official Plan.

As of January 1, 2021, trees on private property, within the Urban Boundary, and any municipally owned trees are subject to the City's Tree Protection Bylaw. The Infill Forester will provide a Tree Information Report that must accompany your application for severance.  

After the application is submitted, a Hearing Date will be assigned, and a public notice is sent to property owners within a 60-metre radius of the subject property. A notice will also be posted on the subject property.

In considering an application for land severance, the Committee of Adjustment will evaluate the proposal based on criteria in the Planning Act, R.S.O. 1990. Some of the considerations are:

  • Conformity with the official plan and compatibility with adjacent uses of land.
  • Suitability of the land for the proposed purpose, including the size and shape of the lot(s) to be create.
  • Adequacy of vehicular access, water supply, sewage disposal, and school sites.

After hearing all evidence, a decision to approve (with or without conditions), deny, or defer the proposed severance will be made and publicly circulated.  If no appeal is made by the end of the 20-day appeal period, the decision is final and binding.

All conditions must be met within one year and only once all the conditions have been met, is a certificate issued by the Committee of Adjustment. The severance is then registered in the land registry office, which gives it effect, and the new land parcels may be sold or resold without further approval.

If an application is refused, you may make an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board for a final determination of the matter.

For full process details and applications forms, visit the City of Ottawa Committee of Adjustment at https://ottawa.ca/en/planning-development-and-construction/committee-adjustment.

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