Planning and Development

We work with the seven member municipalities in Northumberland, the Government of Ontario and local residents and businesses to grow communities and protect resources in Northumberland.

Official Plan 

Visit our Official Plan page to view established land use categories and policies.

Northumberland County is currently updating our Official Plan. For more information about these updates and to share your feedback, visit Join in Northumberland ⁠— our online public consultation portal. 

Development applications

View the application instructions and fees for each type of development application.

Affordable Housing Grant Program

Are you a property owner, community agency, or residential developer looking to build, convert or add new affordable housing units to your home or building? You may be eligible to apply for our Affordable Housing Grant Program.

County Official Plan amendment

Amendments to the Official Plan are required when a new development does not satisfy the intended land use categories or policies in the plan.

Applying for a County Official Plan amendment

The Planning Act prevents certain land use categories and policies from being amended. Contact our Land Use Planning team to find out if you are eligible to submit a County Official Plan amendment. We require a pre-consultation meeting before consideration.

Application fee and deposit

  • Fee: $5,000
  • Deposit: $5,000

Municipal Official Plan amendment

Our seven member municipalities have Official Plans that detail land use categories and establish local policies to manage growth and development.

Applying for a municipal official plan amendment

If you need a municipal Official Plan amendment, please contact the appropriate municipality. We are required to approve some municipal Official Plan amendments.

Review and approval fees

  • Review: $1,500
  • Approval: $1,000

Subdivision plans

A subdivision plan is required to divide land into lots and blocks for development and often involves the creation of public streets and infrastructure. 

Located in Brighton, Cobourg, Port Hope or Trent Hills?

Please contact the appropriate member municipality for a subdivision application if your property is located within Brighton, Cobourg, Port Hope or Trent Hills. Please note that Northumberland County does not provide subdivision approval to these areas but may review subdivision plans. 

  • Review fee: $1,000

Located in Alnwick/Haldimand, Cramahe or Hamilton?

If your property is located in Alnwick/Haldimand, Cramahe or Hamilton you can use our Subdivision Application Form to apply.

Application fee and deposit
  • Fee: $5,000
  • Deposit: $1,000

Land severance and consent

Consent is required if you want to do any of the following:

  • Sever a lot (lot creation)
  • Add land to a neighbouring property (lot addition)
  • Establish a right to use another property (easement)
  • Establish permissions for mortgaging or leasing parts of lots

Contact the appropriate municipality

Our seven member municipalities each have consent-granting authority for their areas. Contact the appropriate municipality if you require a consent application. We review some consent applications for the member municipalities.

Review fee


Zoning by-law amendments

Our seven member municipalities each have their own zoning by-law. Zoning by-laws control the use of land and often include land use restrictions (permitted uses) and technical provisions (setbacks, lot size requirements, etc.).

Amendment to a zoning by-law

If you require a zoning by-law amendment, contact the appropriate municipality. You may require an amendment to a zoning by-law if your proposal doesn't meet the permitted uses outlined in the existing by-law. We review some zoning amendment applications for the member municipalities.

Review fee

$250 to $750

Minor variance

A minor variance is a minor adjustment to a municipal zoning by-law. Contact the appropriate member municipality if you require a minor variance application. We review some minor variance applications for the member municipalities.

Review fee


Site plan

Member municipalities use site plan control to ensure a development meets the official plan policies, zoning by-laws and design guidelines. Site plans detail how a property will be developed. We review some site plan applications for the member municipalities.

Contact the appropriate member municipality if you require site plan approval.

Review fee


Development charges

Development Charges (DCs) are one-time fees levied by municipalities on new residential and non-residential lands. The purpose of DCs is to ensure that new development pays for the infrastructure growth (such as road improvements, new facilities and other infrastructure) that is required to meet the needs of the growing community. These charges apply to all County services on a countywide basis with the exception of Community Housing as well as Waste Diversion – Curbside Collection, which applies in the benefitting service area only (outside of Port Hope Rural Ward II).

View our printable Development Charges By-Law Brochure

Total countywide development charges effective September 11, 2023

Area of Northumberland CountySingle and semi-detached dwelling (residential)Apartments – 2 bedrooms or more (residential)Apartments – bachelor and 1 bedroom (residential)Other multiples (residential)Special care/special dwellings (residential)Non-residential – per square foot of gross floor area
Port Hope Rural Ward II 3,271 2,172 1,653 2,554 1,389 1.82
All areas outside of Port Hope Rural Ward II 3,361 2,231 1,698 2,625 1,427 1.87

Frequently asked questions

When were countywide development charges introduced?

2020: Introducing countywide D.C.s
  • On August 26, 2020, County Council approved the Countywide Development Charge By-Law No. 2020-36, effective October 1, 2020 (since amended).

2021: Amending the by-law
  • At the February 17, 2021 meeting of County Council, Council directed staff to begin the process of amending the 2020 D.C. Background Study and associated By-Law to reflect any applicable changes under the Development Charges Act. Further, the update includes proposed revisions for identified capital needs. 
  • On July 6, 2021 the Northumberland County Finance and Audit Committee held a public meeting to present and obtain public input on the municipality’s proposed D.C. by-law and underlying background study.
  • At the August 25, 2021 meeting of County Council, Council passed By-law No. 25-2021 to amend municipal-wide development charges By-law No. 2020-36.

View the 2021 Update Study and Draft By-Law

2022: Indexing of charges
  • On August 26, 2022, the County's development charges were indexed and updated in accordance with the County's D.C. By-law.
  • On November 28, 2022, the County's development charges were updated to remove Community Housing as an eligible service for D.C. charges, in accordance with Bill 23.

Which County services are included in the charge?

All County services with the exception of Waste Diversion – Curbside Collection apply on a countywide basis. Waste Diversion – Curbside Collection services apply in the benefiting service area only (outside of Port Hope Rural Ward II).

Services include:
  • Roads and related
  • Waste diversion services
  • Long-term care
  • Paramedic services
  • Related studies and interest

In accordance with Bill 23, Community Housing is no longer an eligible service as of November 28, 2022.

Countywide development charges by service

Total Countywide Services 3,271 2,172 1,653 2,554 1,389 1.82
Countywide ServiceSingle and semi-detached dwelling (residential)Apartments – 2 bedrooms or more (residential)Apartments – bachelor and 1 bedroom (residential)Other multiples (residential)Special care/special dwellings (residential)Non-residential – per square foot of gross floor area
Roads and related 2,657 1,764 1,341 2,074 1,128 1.48
Growth-related studies 57 38 29 44 24 0.04
Homes for aged 391 259 198 305 165 0.22
Provincial Offences Act 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Paramedic services 120 80 61 94 51 0.06
Waste diversion services - Facilities 46 31 24 37 21 0.02

Area-specific development charges by service

Total area-specific (Excluding Port Hope Rural Ward II) 90 59 45 71 38 0.05
Area-Specific Service - Excludes Port Hope Rural Ward IISingle and semi-detached dwelling (residential)Apartments – 2 bedrooms or more (residential)Apartments – bachelor and 1 bedroom (residential)Other multiples (residential)Special care/special dwellings (residential)Non-residential – per square foot of gross floor area
Waste diversion services (curbside) 89 58 44 70 38 0.05
Growth-related studies 1 1 1 1 0 0.00

When is a development charge collected?

A development charge is typically collected at building permit issuance. Other requirements pertaining to the timing of calculation and collection are included in the by-law.

Are there any exemptions?

Exemptions to the charges include:

  • industrial and residential additions
  • municipal and educational facilities
  • farm buildings
  • places of worship
  • hospitals
  • municipal housing facilities

What if the project is a redevelopment?

If a development involves the demolition and replacement of a building or structure on the same site, a credit will be provided. Demolition credits are allowed only if the demolition permit was issued less than 5 years prior to the issuance of a building permit.

How are the costs determined?

The cost of applicable development charges is determined based on the average occupancy for residential units and Gross Floor Area for industrial, commercial and institutional facilities.

How often are the charges reviewed and updated?

The development charges will be subject to mandatory indexing annually on August 26, in accordance with provisions under the Development Charges Act.

Where can I review the annual financial statements for these charges?

As required by the Development Charges Act, 1997, and Bill 73, the Treasurer for Northumberland County must prepare an annual financial statement reporting on the status and transactions relating to the development charge reserve funds for the previous year. This statement is presented to Northumberland County Council for their review and may be reviewed by the public in the Clerk’s office.