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Land Use Planning - Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Where do I need a development permit?
  2. Why should I get a development permit?
  3. What are a Municipal Plan and Development Regulations?
  4. Does my Community have a Municipal Plan?
  5. What if I can’t understand the Municipal Plan or Development Regulations?
  6. What if my application is refused?
  7. Can I change the zoning of my property?
  8. I am not sure about the ownership of the land I want to develop, who do I contact?
  9. What other permits do I need?
  10. What services does the Land Use Planning Section of the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment provide?

1. Where do I need a development permit?

A development permit is needed if your land is located within a Municipal Planning Area, Local Planning Area, Protected Area, Protected Road Zoning Regulation Area or a Development Control Regulations Area as designated under the Urban and Rural Planning Act, 2000 External Link Icon

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2. Why get a development permit?

To protect your interests and investment, and ensure the well-being of the community you live in. If you develop land without a permit you might be subject to a Stop Work Order or other enforcement measures. This will delay your development and may add to the cost of your project.

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3. What are a Municipal Plan and Development Regulations?

A Municipal Plan sets out the future land use for a municipality taking into consideration the quality of life for the residents, such as economic development, infrastructure development, and environmental values. The Future Land Use Plans show land designated for these future uses.

The Development Regulations are the municipal implementation tool of the Municipal Plan and they set out the land use zones that are consistent with the Plan. The Development Regulations contain technical standards such as, lot size, buffers and setbacks, and site development suitability criteria.

You should be able to access your Municipal Plan and Development Regulations at your municipal council office and speak to a staff member. The Municipal Planner or Town Clerk can provide you with the development application form and can inform you of the decision-making process by your municipal council in considering your application.

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4. Does my Community have a Municipal Plan and Development Regulations?

All Municipal Plans and Development Regulation documents and mapping can be found at: http://www.mae.gov.nl.ca/registry/reglist.html

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5. What if I can’t understand the Municipal Plan or Development Regulations?

If you have spoken with a municipal representative and still have questions, you can contact the Land Use Planning Section at the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment for assistance by calling 709-729-3090.

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6. What if my application is refused?

If the municipal council has refused your application, you can appeal this decision to the Regional Appeal Board within 14 days of when council informs you of its decision. The Appeal Board can only make a decision that complies with the Municipal Plan and Development Regulations.

Further information regarding appeals is available here.

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7. Can I change the zoning of my property?

If your land is located within a municipality, contact the municipal council office for information regarding an application to amend the zoning. Municipal council contact information is available here.

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8. I am not sure about the ownership of the land I want to develop, who do I contact?

Staff at a Regional Lands Office with the Crown Lands Administration Division can advise you if there is a Crown lands title issued for the property. The Registry of Deeds may also have information regarding current ownership of the property. However, registration of property title and transactions is not compulsory in the province; therefore, if these two sources of information do not provide you the information you need, you may wish to consider seeking legal advice as to how to proceed.

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9. What other permits do I need?

BizPal External Link Icon is a good source for information about the permits that might be required for your specific type of development.

For information specific to your development proposal, do not hesitate to talk to a representative at your local Service NL office.

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10. What services does the Land Use Planning Section of the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment provide?

Information about the services provided by the Land Use Planning Section is available here.

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