Planning in the Town of Amherst ensures an inclusive, sustainable, productive and healthy lifestyle by promoting a variety of housing types, economic development, recreation, active transportation, heritage and environmental protection in accordance with the provisions of the Municipal Planning Strategy.
Depending on the nature of the development, applications for approval are considered as-of-right, by site plan approval or by development agreement. Applications for development agreement or amendments to the planning documents must follow the process outlined below.
As-of-right development complies with all the applicable Land Use Bylaw, Zoning and Subdivision Bylaw . This approval process is administered solely by the Development Officer and does not involve public engagement or further discretionary action by the Amherst town council.
A site plan is a precision tool used by the town to ensure certain site elements, including but not limited to walkways, parking areas, landscaping, exterior design, lighting and signage on a parcel of land, meet all the requirements of the Land-Use Bylaw, Zoning, Subdivision Bylaw and the Municipal Planning Strategy. Site plans approved through this process should show the exact details of how a property will be developed. Additional criteria for consideration by the Development Officer for assessing site plan approval are provided in the Land-Use Bylaw.
A development agreement is a legally binding contract between a property owner and the town that stipulates standards, design requirements, terms and conditions to which the property owner must adhere. Aspects of a development addressed in this agreement may include architectural design, parking, landscaping and drainage, among others.
The process involves public engagement, review by the Planning Advisory Committee before a final decision by the Amherst town council.