Norfolk County initiated rezoning in Port Rowan, St. Williams and Booth’s Harbour.

Holding Provision Regarding the Limiting of New Development Until Water Infrastructure Completed

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is this happening?

Under provincial legislation and policy, the County must maintain healthy and sustainable municipal drinking water and wastewater (sanitary) systems for existing and future landowners and users. This requires monitoring the usage of the systems (including average daily and peak period use), the existing capacity of the systems (including in the event of a fire emergency), the amount of new construction and development that may be occurring in the area which would need new water and wastewater usage, and planning any future upgrades for capacity and operating purposes that may be needed. Direction and guidance are further provided through Provincial Guideline D-5 Planning for Sewage and Water Services.

The September 2021 Servicing Monitoring Report identifies that the Port Rowan water system currently has more future demand than existing capacity. There is enough capacity for existing homes, businesses and users along with the several recent development approvals. There are some agreements and commitments for several new homes to be built on certain properties; however, beyond that, the water treatment facility requires infrastructure work first before more development can take place.

An open, transparent and legal tool under the provincial legislation and municipal policies is to apply what is called a Holding Provision to properties in an area requiring an infrastructure project to be completed before new development proceeds. This Holding Provision would provide important information to the existing landowners and potential future purchasers so that they are aware the municipality is conducting a related infrastructure project in the area.


What will this holding provision do?

The zoning of properties indicates the overall legal land uses that are permitted, such as residential (single detached dwelling), commercial (retail, office), industrial (manufacturing) and the parameters by which buildings and sites can be developed (building setbacks to property lines, parking space requirements, etc.). A holding provision is a tool under the Ontario Planning Act that can be applied to properties to essentially indicate: 1) what new land uses and building development is not permitted until the infrastructure work is completed; 2) what existing land uses and building development is still permitted; 3) what infrastructure work is required as it relates to these land use/development permissions and 4) what is required to lift or remove the holding provision and to whose satisfaction at the municipality.

In this case, existing homes and businesses can continue to operate legally. There may be some allowance for building expansions or adding a dwelling unit in the interim, provided there isn’t a new water service connection or greater water usage. Some existing buildings with existing water service may be able to have a new use (for example a commercial building with a retail store that happens to vacate may be able to have a hair salon in its place). There are a few properties that currently have some agreement or are far through the development process that may have existing permissions to proceed with building permits. The holding provision would limit new development (e.g., future subdivisions, future houses or future commercial buildings that require servicing) from being built until the improvements to the water infrastructure are complete and water capacity is available to be allocated.


What properties and areas would this apply to?

The Port Rowan Water Treatment Facility provides water to most properties in Port Rowan and a transmission line to St. Williams and Booth’s Harbour, where many properties are serviced. Any property that has or could have a water service connection in this area would be in the subject area.


When is the water infrastructure work happening? When will the holding provision be lifted?

There is an active capital project currently underway and in the design phase for the Port Rowan Water Treatment Facility. This project would provide additional water capacity upon completion. The scheduled timeframe is to complete construction in 2025 but this is subject to change. The County’s Environmental & Infrastructure Services (E&IS) group is leading the project with a consultant. When the project is complete, the County would lift/remove the holding provision and new development may be able to proceed.


How do I know if my property is one of the sites that is able to continue building or is exempted from this holding provision for my new construction?

Several properties within the subject area are at the building permit stage currently, have a development agreement, and/or have an approved allocation of capacity. There may also be some forms of construction (for example, a building addition that is not adding a new water service) that would be exempt. Landowners can email questions and comments to [email protected] and cite “Application ZNPL2023090 Port Rowan Holding Provision”. Please identify your circumstances. Staff will review, recommend, and confirm which properties are committed or exempt in the Proposed and Recommended Zoning Bylaw.


Can I construct a private well or cistern?

Currently, permitting a new private well or installing a cistern is not being considered.


How and when do I provide input on this?

Landowners can email questions and comments to [email protected] and cite Application ZNPL2023090 Port Rowan Holding Provision.
The original comment period was to April 19 but has now been extended to May 3. Although public comments can occur until and at the Public Hearing Committee scheduled for June 6 or even until the Council decision.


When will the Proposed Zoning Bylaw be available?

The Proposed Zoning Bylaw for the holding provision, including mapping of properties affected will be presented to the June 6, 2023, Public Hearing Committee. It will be available 20 days prior to the meeting on the Public Hearing webpage.


Who decides on this holding provision zoning bylaw amendment?

Norfolk Council decides on zoning amendments. Staff will bring a recommendation report to Council after a Public Hearing Committee and with any feedback that has been received along with technical considerations. A Notice of Decision is provided after the Council meeting.

Decisions can be appealed to the Ontario Land Tribunal but are subject to any provincial legislative rules.


Who can lift/remove this holding provision when it is appropriate?

When confirmation has been received from the General Manager, Environmental & Infrastructure Services (Norfolk County) or designate that the infrastructure works are completed or at a stage where additional water capacity can be officially allocated for new development or a site is not required to have the limitation due to water capacity – the Director of Planning has the authority to lift/remove the holding provision. This may be referred to Council as appropriate. A bylaw would be passed (signed by the Clerk), and notice given.

There are currently no appeal rights for lifting a holding provision.