Government of Nova
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Municipal Planning Strategy and Land Use By-Laws

A municipal planning strategy (MPS) and land use by-law (LUB) are legal documents and, once approved, have the status of law in a municipality. The Municipal Government Act authorizes a municipality to develop and adopt a municipal planning strategy and land use by-law. These documents outline the municipality's vision for the future and its strategy for managing challenges, such as social and economic issues. As part of the adoption process, a municipality must engage the public in some form of public participation process – the details are left up to the individual municipality.

A municipal planning strategy may take various forms including an inter-municipal planning strategy or a secondary planning strategy.

The land use by-law is the companion document to the municipal planning strategy. It is the way in which a municipality identifies and enforces its vision as defined within the municipal planning strategy. For example, if a municipality's vision were to enhance economic development, the municipality could develop a land use by-law to identify land specifically meant for commercial/retail space by way of a zone to approve and regulate it.

Why do municipalities need a municipal planning strategy and land use by-law?

A municipal planning strategy is a forward looking policy document. It outlines management and implementation techniques municipalities can use to develop plans that are proactive rather than reactive. Quite simply, it helps the municipality chart a future it desires rather than reacting to events as they unfold. Land use planning is an important cornerstone to the success of a municipality.

How can Municipal Affairs help?

Creating municipal planning documents may appear complicated, but it is a manageable and rewarding endeavor. We have developed a number of guides, model by-laws, and other resources to help elected officials, planning advisory committees, municipal planners and the public develop to assist in this process.

Planning and Land Use Resources

Local Government Resource Handbook

Municipal Government Act - Information Bulletins

  • Planning Documents (bulletin #25)
  • Citizen Participation (bulletin #28)
  • Ministerial Approval of Planning Documents (bulletin #21)
  • Infrastructure Charges (bulletin #26)
  • Incentive or Bonus Zoning (bulletin #27)
  • Planning Fees and Expenses (bulletin #22)
  • Site Plans (bulletin #38)

Government Act Resource Binder – Section 7