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Land Evaluation and Area Review Project Update January 2016

Land Evaluation and Area Review (LEAR) Project Update

The LEAR Project, including the Prime Agricultural Area (PAA) mapping refinement, Minimum Distance Separation Formulae Review and Draft Edge Planning for Agriculture Discussion Paper, is nearing completion.

The LEAR Project, including the LEAR Study and the PAA Map Refinement were completed for consultation in March of 2015. A Public Information Open House was held on April 7, 2015, to provide an opportunity for community consultation on recommended changes to the Prime Agricultural Area mapping designation in the Region of Peel and the Town of Caledon Official Plans. Following the Open House, a public comment period, until May 8, 2015, was undertaken to elicit input on the study and refined map. Comments received from affected land owners and community members were reviewed, with modifications to the map undertaken as appropriate. All input was responded to and meetings were held upon request with those who were interested in receiving more information.

The LEAR Study and recommended Prime Agricultural Area (PAA) Map were presented to the Peel Agricultural Advisory Working Group (PAAWG) for their review on May 28, 2015. The Working Group requested that further information be provided, when available, regarding the potential impact of the proposed GTA West Highway Corridor on the recommended PAA. At this time, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation has not identified the preferred corridor, and the Environmental Assessment has been suspended. As a result, an update on the LEAR Study and PAA Map will be presented to PAAWG at their meeting on February 25, 2016.

The MDS Formulae was reviewed as part of the project in 2014, with recommendations provided to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). When the Draft MDS Formulae 2015 were released by OMAFRA, the guidelines were reviewed in light of the 2014 recommendations, and additional comments and recommendations were provided to Peel Regional Council on May 14, 2015.

The study on Edge Planning for Agriculture was initiated as part of the LEAR Project to provide background research, best practices and opportunities for the introduction of edge planning policies and guidelines to address conflicts between agricultural and residential, or other sensitive land uses. The draft report has been completed and will be included as part of the background research for the Region of Peel Official Plan Review. Additional public and stakeholder consultation on the edge planning discussion paper will be undertaken in 2016 to solicit input on policy options.

Edge Planning for Agriculture

Research into Edge Planning for Agriculture was initiated as part of the larger LEAR Study project to provide case studies, evaluation of the effectiveness of existing best practices, and the development of recommendations on the applicability and appropriateness of these types of land use guidelines and policies for the Ontario land use planning context. This research assists in providing insight into the mechanisms to protect and enhance opportunities to support viable agriculture in Peel which is identified through the LEAR Study.

Municipalities that work to manage these conflicts would benefit from the introduction of guidelines and standards to provide direction on addressing conflicts before they arise. Best practices have been introduced and implemented successfully in several jurisdictions including the United States, Australia and Canada. A combination of policy, education and landscape design has been shown to be successful in the reduction of conflicting land use impacts, which led to enhanced understanding of the needs of both groups of land users, facilitate respectful coexistence, and the protection of valuable, viable agricultural operations.

The Edge Planning for Agriculture report provides information and evidence to permit consideration of edge planning policies during the Region and Town's update of their Official Plans to ensure consistency with the Provincial Policy Statement (2014) with respect to policies addressing impact mitigation and agriculture. The Edge Planning for Agriculture Research is nearing completion, and will be presented to different stakeholder audiences in 2016. The combined LEAR Study and Edge Planning report is anticipated to be brought to a Regional Council through the Region of Peel Official Plan Review.

The Draft Edge Planning for Agriculture report (PDF, 7MB) is available for review.

Next Steps

The LEAR Study refinement of the Prime Agricultural Area designation, the Edge Planning for Agriculture Discussion Paper, and the MDS Formulae Review will all be included as part of the technical background information package to support amendments to the Region of Peel Official Plan.

The following is the information provided at both the April 2014 and April 2015 Public Information Open Houses on the LEAR Study.

Public Information Open House (2015)
A second Public Information Open House was held on April 7, 2015, to provide updated information on the Land Evaluation and Area Review (LEAR) Study that was conducted jointly by the Region of Peel and Town of Caledon. The Public Information Open House provided information on the updated mapping of recommended Prime Agricultural Areas. Information on the mapping refinement work is provided below.

Date: April 7, 2015
Time: 7 to 9 p.m. (presentation at 7:30 p.m.)
Location: Caledon Country Club, 2121 Olde Baseline Road, Caledon, Ontario

Land Evaluation and Area Review (LEAR)

The Land Evaluation and Area Review (LEAR) is an agricultural background study being undertaken to inform future amendments to the Region of Peel and Town of Caledon Official Plans. Developed by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), the LEAR study methodology serves as the provincial standard for the identification and refinement of Prime Agricultural Areas by municipalities in their Official Plans.

Contiguous Area Analysis and Map Refinement (CAA)

A contiguous area analysis (CAA) is a step that refines the mapping produced by the technical LEAR scoring to confirm the size of the areas recommended to be designated Prime Agricultural Area. Provincial guidelines require a minimum contiguous area of 250 hectares as a size threshold.

To undertake this analysis, the Project Management Team, with guidance from the Province, developed a methodology to produce an overlay of Region and Town Official Plan designated natural heritage features and site specific prior approvals that removed lands to a non-farm designation, on the "LEAR Recommended Prime Agricultural Area".

The LEAR Study Report (PDF) is available for review as part of the consultation and public comment process. Please review the report as it outlines the methodology used; the analysis performed and provides additional information on the LEAR Study. All information provided in the report was addressed during the presentations provided at the Open House, on April 7, 2015. For those who were unable to attend, the additional details are provided in the report.

Additional Public Information Open House Consultation Materials

Below are the notices, display boards, presentation slides and maps presented for public input.

Public Information Open House Presentations (LEAR and CAA)

Public Information Open House Maps

The Public Comments to the attached information, and that presented at the Public Open House, was received until May 8, 2015.

All comments were compiled and responded to following the end of the public input period. Comments and responses are posted on this webpage and included in the final reports to Region of Peel and Town of Caledon Councils for their information.

Previous Public Input Process (2014)

A Public Information Open House was held on April 3, 2014. Public comments on the LEAR project were open until April 30, 2014.

The following are the notices, information and maps presented for public input.

Public Comments received and responses to the comments and questions received can be viewed here: 2014 Open House Q&A (PDF)

To provide comments, request further information or to be notified of the LEAR Study Public Information Open House, please contact the project managers:

Melanie Williams
Principal Planner
Region of Peel
Integrated Planning Division
10 Peel Centre Drive, Suite A, 6th Floor
Brampton, ON, L6T 4B9
Tel: 905-791-7800 ext. 4749
Email Melanie Williams

Ohi Izirein
Senior Policy Planner
Town of Caledon
Approval & Planning Policy Department
6311 Old Church Road
Caledon, ON, L7C 1J6
Tel: 905-584-2272 ext. 4271
Ohi.Izirein@caledon.ca

 

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