Grey County’s new official plan has been sent off to the province for approval.
Grey County adopted the final draft of the plan, called Recolour Grey, at its meeting on Thursday after more than two years of work.
“Creating a new official plan is a tremendous undertaking but vitally important to the long-term planning of a municipality,” Grey County Warden Stewart Halliday said. “After years of consultations with the public and stakeholders, we believe we have a finely tuned plan that will guide Grey County’s growth for the next 20 years.”
The plan sets goals related to development, communities and natural resources and divides the county into different land uses, setting policies for each designation.
The plan includes five pillars, including Develop Grey, Move Grey, Live Grey, Natural Grey and Cultivate Grey, which focused on key themes, including transportation, agriculture, growth and development, living standards and quality of life and the natural environment.
The plan has taken a housing-first approach, with an expanded definition of affordable housing and updated policies to support the creation of secondary units. Local level policies and zoning regulations will need to be developed to reflect the changes.
Other policy changes have included a requirement of rehabilitation plans and agricultural impact assessments for pit and quarry operations, and an allowance of an additional severed lot on rural-designated lots larger than 100 acres, bringing the maximum permitted lots to four, including the retained lot. Local municipalities have the ability to be more restrictive in their own official plans.
Other policy additions include recognizing the importance of parks, including dog parks and skate parks, and plans to explore creating living snow fences along county roads and work with municipalities to establish living snow fences along municipal roads.
The plan clarifies setbacks from operating landfills and updates source water protection policies.
Over the past two-and-a-half years, the public has been consulted and input has been received on the plan through public meetings at the nine member municipalities. The input was used to discuss and adjust the plan over the past year.
“The level of engagement on Recolour Grey has set the bar for future projects,” Halliday said in the news release. “It’s been a long road, but we know the effort has been worthwhile because we have a plan that considers the needs of people in every corner of the county.”
It is unknown how long it will take the province to review the plan or if any changes will be recommended, the news release said.