Site Alteration/Tree Preservation By-law Review

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The Township of Muskoka Lakes is committed to the protection of the health and integrity of the natural environment and the water quality of its lakes and rivers, which are all part of the Township’s most valuable resources. To ensure that environmental protection meets the highest standards, consideration is being given to updating the Township’s existing Site Alteration and Tree Preservation By-laws.

Current Site Alteration By-law

The by-law is structured with prescriptively prohibiting site alteration outside of development in receipt of municipal approvals or permits. In other terms, provided a property owner has received, amongst others, site plan approval and/or a Building Permit, which would not be available unless in full compliance with the Township Zoning By-law, grade is permitted to be altered to install the building without the need for additional review or approval. Should a property owner alter grade outside of a permitted building, septic, etc. envelope, they would be in contravention of the by-law and enforcement action would be available.

Updated Site Alteration By-law

While the current by-law has been effective, administration and enforcement of the by-law since 2008 has identified areas in need of improvement. In addition, Council has requested that the distance regulated from the water’s edge be increased as well as making entire island properties subject to the by-law.

Some of the more notable changes to the By-law include Lands Subject to the By-law, Patios and Stairways/Pathways and Sedimentation Fence Requirements.

Current Tree Preservation By-law

The Tree Preservation By-law is structured similarly to the Site Alteration By-law. Corresponding changes to the Tree Preservation By-law are envisioned as a result of the ongoing review.

Updated Tree Preservation By-law

Suggested changes include extending the driveway width and changing of wording for the spacing of joints on a stone patio.

The Township of Muskoka Lakes is committed to the protection of the health and integrity of the natural environment and the water quality of its lakes and rivers, which are all part of the Township’s most valuable resources. To ensure that environmental protection meets the highest standards, consideration is being given to updating the Township’s existing Site Alteration and Tree Preservation By-laws.

Current Site Alteration By-law

The by-law is structured with prescriptively prohibiting site alteration outside of development in receipt of municipal approvals or permits. In other terms, provided a property owner has received, amongst others, site plan approval and/or a Building Permit, which would not be available unless in full compliance with the Township Zoning By-law, grade is permitted to be altered to install the building without the need for additional review or approval. Should a property owner alter grade outside of a permitted building, septic, etc. envelope, they would be in contravention of the by-law and enforcement action would be available.

Updated Site Alteration By-law

While the current by-law has been effective, administration and enforcement of the by-law since 2008 has identified areas in need of improvement. In addition, Council has requested that the distance regulated from the water’s edge be increased as well as making entire island properties subject to the by-law.

Some of the more notable changes to the By-law include Lands Subject to the By-law, Patios and Stairways/Pathways and Sedimentation Fence Requirements.

Current Tree Preservation By-law

The Tree Preservation By-law is structured similarly to the Site Alteration By-law. Corresponding changes to the Tree Preservation By-law are envisioned as a result of the ongoing review.

Updated Tree Preservation By-law

Suggested changes include extending the driveway width and changing of wording for the spacing of joints on a stone patio.

  • Site Alteration/Tree Preservation By-law Review - Planning Committee May 12, 2022

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    Township staff will be returning to Planning Committee on May 12, 2022 with updated drafts of the Site Alteration and Tree Preservation By-laws.

    The By-law drafts along with a staff report will be attached to the Planning Committee’s Agenda Package, which will be available for download HERE on Friday, May 6, 2022 by end of day. The meeting will be held virtually via Zoom and a link to join the meeting will be included in Committee’s Agenda Package.

    If you wish to attend to speak to Committee regarding this matter, please request to delegate by emailing Lauren Cochrane, Planning Assistant at LCochrane@muskokalakes.ca. If you wish to make a written submission in advance of the meeting, it can be emailed to bylaw@muskokalakes.ca.

  • Effective Changes Overview (Cheat Sheet)

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    Site Alteration/Tree Preservation By-law Review – Effective Changes Overview

    During the March 2022 Planning Committee, staff were directed to create an overview of the effective changes and provide 30 days for the public to review, at which time the By-laws will come back to Planning Committee for more consideration.

    This chart is a high-level summary of the proposed changes in the new Site Alteration and Tree Preservation By-laws and does not include every change proposed. This chart should not be relied upon over the complete by-laws that are passed through Council.

    Overall, there are very few Permits applied for under either By-law as owners and contractors are permitted to conduct work in line with either their Site Plan Agreement, a Building Permit or a Septic Permit. The most common violations occur when a site is cleared or altered prior to approvals being issued or for work that has been conducted outside of the parameters of an Agreement or a Permit.

    Subject

    Current Bylaw

    Effective Changes - Proposed Bylaw

    Lands Subject to By-law

    All lands within:

    • 200 feet of a navigable waterway
    • 25 feet of a navigable waterway in urban centres and communities
    • EP1 and Scenic Corridor zones

    *Within 50 feet of a navigable waterway and EP1 and Scenic Corridor zones, Site Alteration and Tree Removal Permits are not available. A Permit can be applied for beyond 50 feet, however, no Permits are required for exemptions, see row 2.

    All lands within:

    • 300 feet of a navigable waterway
    • 200 feet of a navigable waterway in urban centres and communities
    • All lands on islands (save for identified large islands)

    Exemptions

    (Actions permitted without the need to apply or acquire a Site Alteration or Tree Removal Permit)

    SA and TR are allowed, without the need to apply or acquire a Permit, in the case of (amongst others):

    • Development in accordance with an approved Site Plan, or issued Building or Septic Permit
    • Driveway in scenic corridor and access road on water access lots
    • Dead, dangerous or diseased trees and pruning

    *All work has to be done in accordance with the approved permits or agreements and not extend beyond the boundaries identified.

    • Removal of diseased trees to be accompanied by a professional arborist’s report
    • Driveway permitted on all properties
    • Patios, stairways and walkways permitted (see row 3 for more details)

    *A permit or application is not required to remove diseased trees. Owners must obtain arborist’s report confirming disease should a complaint be received.

    Patios, Stairways, Walkways

    Current By-laws do not permit or list as a permitted exemption (unless site plan approval obtained).

    Sections have been added to allow for the placement of stone patios, walkways and stairways within 50 feet of the water subject to the requirements listed, without the need to obtain site plan approval.

    Patio size limitation of 200 sq. ft. applies within 50 feet of a navigable waterway. Larger or additional patios permitted beyond 50 feet in accordance with sundeck provisions of Zoning By-law.

    Sedimentation Control Measures

    Current By-laws are silent.

    Sections have been added to specify requirements for sedimentation control measures.

    Tree Protection Plans

    Current By-laws are silent.

    Provide for the ability to require a Tree Protection Plan as part of a complete Permit Application.

    * SA and TR are allowed, without the need to apply or acquire a Permit, see row 2 exemptions.

    Sedimentation Control Plans

    Current By-laws are silent.

    Provide for the ability to require a Sedimentation Control Plan as part of a complete Permit application.

    * SA and TR are allowed, without the need to apply or acquire a Permit, see row 2 exemptions.

    Orders

    Stop Work Orders and Orders to Remedy are enforcement options.

    Additional details included for Orders to Remedy including the ability to collect financial assurances.

    Fine Amounts

    Maximum penalties are $10,000 for individuals and $50,000 for corporations (in Tree Preservation By-law only).

    Increased maximum fines to $100,000 for both individuals and corporations (maximum permitted by law).

    Set Fines

    Both current By-laws do not have set fines.

    Set fines have been added to both By-laws and are requested to be $1000.00 each. Set fines are a further enforcement option for complaints more minor in nature, as opposed to laying charges as per the row above.

  • Site Alteration/Tree Preservation By-law Review - Planning Committee March 17, 2022

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    Township staff will be returning to Planning Committee on March 17, 2022 with the results of public feedback and direction to move forward.

    A staff report will be attached to Planning Committee’s Agenda Package, which will be available for download here on Friday, March 11, 2022 by end of day. The meeting will be held virtually via Zoom and a link to join the meeting will be included in Planning Committee’s Agenda Package.

    If you wish to attend to speak to Planning Committee regarding this matter, please request to delegate by emailing Lauren Cochrane, Planning Assistant at LCochrane@muskokalakes.ca. If you wish to make a written submission in advance of the meeting, it can be emailed to Planning@muskokalakes.ca.

Page last updated: 26 Apr 2022, 10:52 AM