Learn more about the fundamentals of the planning process at the Town of Huntsville and find frequently asked questions.

The planning application process

Development is authorized by municipalities through planning applications. If you're interested in making changes to your property, please consult the website information and the planning department to determine if a planning application is required. Visit the Planning Applications & Forms page to find additional information and resources.

Planning applications are reviewed and approved in accordance with the applicable planning policies, procedures, guidelines, and by-laws.

Planning application review & decision making

In Huntsville, decision making for planning related issues is delegated to different authorities, depending on the application and if it adheres to the Community Planning Permit (CPP) By-law and/or the Town's Official Plan. 

Town Planning staff can approve specified planning applications. Staff review all applications and are delegated approval authority for Class 1 and 2 Community Planning Permit Applications, as well as uncontested Consent Applications.

Planning application can be brought forward to Planning Council for decision. Planning Council consists of every member of Town Council. They review recommendations by Planning Staff on applications for which they are the approval authority, including contested Consent Applications, Class 3 CPP and CPP By-law Amendment applications.

The District of Muskoka is the approval authority for subdivision and condominium applications and Official Plan Amendments in Huntsville.

Finally, appeals to planning decisions rendered by the above noted approval authorities are handled by the Ontario Land Tribunal.

What is a pre-consultation?

A pre-consultation is a requirement for all Town planning applications. The pre-consultation process ensures that all necessary requirements are provided for application submission and supports a more seamless process. Each pre-consultation request is assigned to a member of the Planning team, who reviews the submission. The more detail you provide the more efficient we can be with our review.  

Depending on the complexity of the proposal, pre-consultations may require a formal meeting with Town staff and any other relevant commenting departments and agencies. The meeting provides the opportunity for internal staff and consulted agencies to ask questions, voice concerns and clarify the process required for the application. Applicants are then provided with written comments with next steps and submission requirements. Not all pre-consultations require a meeting, but staff always provide detailed comments and are happy to assist with any questions you may have. 

There is a $285 fee for a pre-consultation, which is then reduced from the corresponding planning application, should you wish to proceed. Please note the fee reduction only applies if the application is submitted within three months of the pre-consultation.

Planning and its impact on the community
Land use planning is a way to organize and manage development and growth within a geographical region. Land use organization is very closely tied with transportation systems, housing, environmental considerations, parks and recreation, municipal services, and economic growth and jobs. Land use planning policies provide predictability to all residents by creating a standardized process in which all development will follow. This Town also helps ensure that services are adequately allocated throughout the municipality. It helps ensure that environmental, health, and economic interests are balanced and properly prioritized.
Planning involves many stakeholders including all levels of government, public authorities, private corporations and YOU. As land use planning dictates what is and what is not allowed, understanding and participating in the creation of these regulations is important. It shapes the neighbourhoods where you live, play, and work.
Governing development in Huntsville
Both the Official Plan and Community Planning Permit By-law work together to guide planning and development within the Town of Huntsville.

What is an Official Plan?
An Official Plan is a tool for municipalities to use in managing growth and development. They ensure the Town's vision is implemented along with measures to ensure environmental, natural, and cultural stewardship, protect and enhance community character, foster healthy, active, and safe communities, and align with Provincial and District policy documents.

Huntsville's Official Plan (OP) was adopted in 2019. It is a policy document that guides short-term and long-term
development, applies to all lands within the municipal boundary, and contains designations which classify land uses in Huntsville. The OP provides direction on:
  • The size and location of land uses
  • Provisions of municipal services and facilities
  • Protection of natural features, resources, and constraints
  • Preparation of regulatory by-laws

What is a Community Planning Permit By-law?

A Community Planning Permit (CPP) By-law is a tool available to municipalities in Ontario under the Planning Act that combines development processes into one approval stream by addressing all precinct amendments, minor variances and site plan agreements under one application.

Huntsville's CPP By-law was passed in 2022. It provides Huntsville with the ability to regulate and manage
development in a streamlined and flexible manner, with complete applications being reviewed within a 45-day timeframe. For the community, it means faster approval timelines, fewer applications, and fewer approvals that need to be considered by Council. 

Visit our Community Planning Permit By-law page fore more in depth information and to learn about the process. 

Have a Question?

Review our Frequently Asked Questions page for the most common planning questions or contact us by emailing Planning or calling (705) 789-1751, option 3.