A subdivision is a tract of land that has been divided into several building lots or blocks. These lots or blocks can be used for residential, industrial, commercial, institutional (for example, a school) or open space/parks, depending on the designation of the land within the City's Official Plan and Zoning By-law. An approved plan of subdivision is required in order for the lots and blocks to be sold or conveyed separately. A registered plan of subdivision is a legal document that outlines all the details and conditions required to develop a parcel of land.

If you are thinking of submitting a Plan of Subdivision Application, you should first meet with Planning Services staff who can identify the steps and procedures that must be followed in order to have a subdivision approved.  You may also be required to complete some special studies (for example, traffic, noise, servicing) in support of your application.

The Process

Prior to making an application for a Draft Plan of Subdivision, applicants are required to consult with the City. The City of St. Catharines has established a Pre-Submission Consultation Process to identify the studies, plans and / or reports that are required to be submitted with an application. A written request for pre-submission consultation must include a detailed concept plan and the required pre-submission consultation fee. * See the 2021 Schedule of Rates and Fees. Go to pages 50 - 60 for Planning and Building Services. Once the Pre-Submission Consultation request is received, it will be circulated to all relevant departments and agencies and a formal consultation meeting will be scheduled, usually within three weeks. 

Once an application for Plan of Subdivision has been submitted, the application is circulated to internal departments and external agencies. A Public Information Meeting is held by planning staff to receive feedback prior to planning staff formulating a recommendation and prior to Council's consideration of the application. Planning staff prepare a report to Council recommending draft plan approval subject to conditions and/or modifications or refusal of the application. Council will then make a decision on the application as part of the Public Meeting they hold to consider the application.  

If draft plan approval is granted, there are usually a number of conditions to be met by the applicant prior to final approval and registration of the plan of subdivision. Among the conditions is usually a requirement that the owner enter into a subdivision agreement with the City regarding matters such as construction of roads, servicing and parkland dedication. Applicants are required to provide a letter of credit in order for the City to ensure that all of the conditions are fulfilled. The responsibility for fulfilling the conditions of draft approval rests primarily with the developer, as does the timing involved. After all the conditions of draft plan approval have been met and, where appropriate, documented letters of clearance have been received, final approval can be given. The Subdivision Plan and agreement can then be registered in land titles registry system.

*  Please note the pre-submission consultation fee will be discounted from the Draft Plan of Subdivision application fee.

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