Subdivision Control: What is the Planning Act?
Barenberg & Roth, LLP, Barristers & Solicitors
Section 50 of the Planning Act affects most Ontario transactions involving real property. This section controls the manner in which land can be divided and dealt with. The results of any failure to adhere to the Act are perhaps draconian; any conveyance is void.
Section 50 is the main way municipalities divide larger pieces of land and create and control subdivisions. For example, the breaking up of a farm into a hundred lots or the breaking up of a house lot to allow the construction of a second house. The legislation is required because without it, a property owner could do anything he/she wanted with it even if it was inconsistent with good municipal planning.
There are many prohibitions and exceptions to the prohibitions in how land is dealt with but perhaps the most notorious one is how part-lots on a plan of subdivision are dealt with. Essentially, you cannot carry out a transaction with land if that land abuts land that is not a whole lot or block on a registered plan of subdivision. In other words, you can't buy or sell a piece of land if you also own an abutting part-lot.
The pattern of land division significantly impacts road patterns, the provision of services and the aesthetic impact on a community so the restrictions in the Planning Act are supportable.