Mayor Iain Lovatt

What’s a Complete Application Anyway?

There has been a lot of commenting on a Facebook post regarding the Notice of Complete Application for the old Giles Car Dealership site at 9th and Main St. The application is probably less than you think. It’s only an application that has just been submitted. It has not been before the public in a Public Meeting, nor council at any time. I think it’s important to inform residents about the process for an application to be deemed complete and what that ultimately means.


Any land owner can apply to do almost anything on their property. There are some obvious “guard rails” that they must live within. The guard rails are the Towns Official Plan and Zoning bylaws. Every property in Whitchurch-Stouffville has a designation in the OP and Zoning By-law.


If an applicants vision does not fit within the OP or the Zoning bylaws, an application for an Official Plan Amendment and Zoning Bylaw Amendment are required.


Requirements for complete application(s) are determined on the basis of the uniqueness of each development proposal. Prior to submitting any Planning application, applicants are required to complete a pre-consultation application with the Town. Through the pre-consultation application process, preliminary proposals are reviewed by Town department staff as well as external agencies, comments are provided and requirements to submit complete applications are established. As each project is unique, requirements vary from project to project and are therefore selected from the list below, accordingly. Here is the list of studies or reports that could be required for submitting a complete application and for the application to be deemed complete by staff prior to review and processing of the application.




Preliminary Building Design OBC Matrix


Site Plan


Floor Plan(s)


Elevation Drawings


Building Sections


Landscape Plan & Details


Landscape Cost Estimates




Engineering Cost Estimates


Site Servicing Plan


Grading Plan


Erosion and Sediment Control Plan


Lighting/Illumination/Photometric Plan


Lighting Cost Estimates


Geotechnical Report


Stormwater Management Report


Slope Stability Study


Functional Servicing Report


Hydraulic Analysis for Floodplain Delineation


Hydrogeological Assessment


Operation Maintenance Report


Construction Management Plan


Noise Impact Study


Vibration Study


Air Quality Impact Study


Wind Study


Soil Quality Study


Railway Corridor Safety Study


Traffic Impact Analysis


Public works


Waste Management Plan


Site Servicing Plan


MOECC Form 1


Tree Preservation, Protection and Removal Plan


Tree Canopy Loss/Enhancement Within the Town




Draft of OPA / ZBA


Planning Justification Report


Sustainable Development Report


Land Use Compatibility Study


Urban Design Brief


Retail Impact Study


Parking Standard Analysis/Justification


Matrix of Responses to the comments provided in earlier submission




Environmental Site Assessment


Record of Site Condition


Tree Analysis/Inventory


Natural Heritage Evaluation (Required on lands within 90 m within an ENV zone)


Hydrological Evaluation (Required on lands within 90 m within a FH zone)


Oak Ridges Moraine Conformity Statement / Report


Minimum Distance of Separation (OMAFRA)


Nutrient Management Plan (OMAFRA)


Watershed & Sub-watershed Study


Water Analysis Report


Dust/Odour Control Study


Agricultural Impact Evaluation


Environmental Impact Study


(Required on lands within areas of Greenlands System)


Contamination Management Plan


(Required for lands within a Highly Vulnerable Aquifer as deemed necessary by the Town)


Water Balance Assessment


(Required for proposal considered major development under Source Protection Plan)


Section 59 Notice


(Required for ICI, farm structure, residential fuel oil storage proposal in Wellhead Protection Areas




Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment


Shadow Study


Architectural Control Guidelines


Compliance Certificate from Control Architect


Rental Housing Conversion Study


Analysis of and Impact Mitigation to Views and Vistas from the ORM Ridgeline


Archaeological Resource Assessment


Deeming the Application complete or incomplete is the first step required by the Planning Act, before initiating the processing of application. If an application is deemed complete, the planning process then begins. Below is an infographic which explains the standard planning process for an OPA/ZBA.


So for the Giles site example that has received a lot of attention, you can see there is a long process for an applicant to go through before a public meeting or Council decision is ultimately rendered.


Residents are of course entitled to an opinion on any development proposal, the built form and plans that have been submitted to the Town. Equally so, the land owner, who has a vision for their property is entitled as well. But ultimately, at the Public Planning Meeting stage, the public should come to the meeting or submit written comments and get their opinions on the record, in support or against. After that meeting, a council report will be written by staff with a recommendation for consideration.


So yes, the notification boards can certainly cause concern when there is a major deviation from the Towns OP but that in no way means anything is un fait accompli.