Interim Control By-law - Cannabis Production

On February 24, 2020, St. Catharines City Council approved an interim control by-law prohibiting the establishment of any new cannabis production facilities on agriculturally zoned lands within the municipal boundaries of the City of St. Catharines. The interim control by-law is effective immediately and is in place for a 12-month period, but may be extended by Council for an additional one-year period in accordance with Section 38 of the Planning Act, or repealed by Council at an earlier date.

The purpose of the interim control by-law is to review Official Plan policies, zoning regulations and implementation procedures as they apply to the establishment of new cannabis production facilities on lands zoned agricultural in the City of St. Catharines. Council has directed that a study be undertaken to investigate land-use implications related to cannabis production facilities within the municipal boundaries, and recommendations as to how cannabis production facilities should be regulated.

What is an interim control by-law?

An interim control by-law is a tool available to Ontario municipalities in accordance with the Planning Act. It allows for an opportunity to place a temporary pause on development of certain lands while a municipality studies or reviews land-use policies. The restriction can only be imposed for a one-year period, with a maximum extension of a second year.

What happens now?

A study will be undertaken focusing on the land-use implications of cannabis production facilities, including but not limited to, odour, noise, light pollution, minimum setbacks and ancillary uses, with an end goal of generating recommendations for possible regulations of licensed cannabis production within a year. The study will be funded via $75,000 from the Ontario Cannabis Legalization Implementation Fund.

Why is the by-law only prohibiting new operations on agricultural lands?

Interim control by-laws can only be applied to a geographical area once every three years. In the past several years, there have been two for the urban area of the municipality, including a residential infill review in 2017 and one applying to cannabis retail stores and retail vaping areas in 2018.

This means while the cannabis production facility interim control by-law cannot be passed in the urban area boundary, it can for the agricultural area.

What about current cannabis production operations?

Cannabis production operations that were lawfully established under all relevant legislation, will be permitted to continue.

What happens to operators who are in the process of establishing a facility?

Prospective applicants who have not yet secured a Health Canada licence will not be permitted to establish a new cannabis production facility in the agricultural area until such time as the interim control by-law has been repealed and compliance with the City’s Zoning By-law has been established.

The City will continue to accept complete development applications while the interim control by-law is in place, as required by the Planning Act. While applications will be accepted, no planning analysis will be undertaken until the recommendations from the study and any associated amendments are approved by Council.

Can the interim control by-law be appealed?

There is no ability to appeal an interim control by-law when it is first passed, however, an extension to the by-law may be appealed.

Any proposed zoning by-law resulting from the Council-directed land-use study may be appealed to the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal.



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