In an attempt to streamline planning matters and simplify smaller projects, the Town of Hanover is making some changes to its planning process.
Hanover is no longer seeking Natural Heritage comments from the Saugeen Conservation Authority.
The Town recently passed a motion instructing the SCA to no longer automatically provide Natural Heritage comments on planning issues unless specifically requested to do so.
As an urban municipality, staff note there are not a lot of natural heritage issues within Hanover, especially when it comes to minor variances such as the addition of a garage or a set back etc.
By opting out of receiving SCA Natural Heritage comments, Chief Building Official Don Tedford says the Town is trying to make things easier for residents who have small planning applications.
He says this means less hurdles for residents to jump through.
Staff stress that by opting out of receiving automatic SCA comments, it in no way means Hanover is bypassing any Provincial rules.
Staff say that any project that requires Natural Heritage comments will still receive them, it is just a matter of who provides those comments as it could be a consultant or the SCA .
Tedford says Hanover is opent to requesting Natural Heritage comments from the SCA on larger projects such as new subdivisions or commercial projects.
Hanover’s motion was to simplify and streamline planning matters so that smaller projects that don't actually require Natural Heritage comments do not receive them.
The ‘Natural Heritage commenting’ issue came up after the previous SCA Board of Directors had notified municipalities that the Authority would no longer provide Natural Heritage commenting.
That decision was reversed in March by the new SCA Board of Directors who passed a motion that Natural Heritage commenting should continue to municipalities who request it.
So far, Hanover is the only municipality in Grey or Bruce to make the request not to receive Natural Heritage commenting.
Saugeen Conservation officials confirm the County of Bruce, the County of Grey, West Grey, Chastworth, Grey Highlands and South Gate have all requested that the Authority continue to provide Natural Heritage comments.
Natural Heritage comments include comments on everything from: wetlands, woodlands and valleys to significant species etc.