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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Surplus Farm Residence Severances - Differing decisions from the OMB

Two recent decisions from the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) have addressed the limits on severing surplus farm residences from larger farm parcels.  In one decision, the OMB declined to allow the severance of a parcel larger than about 1.5 acres on the basis that the proposed severance was not of "a minimum size" as required by the 2014 Provincial Policy Statement (PPS).  The farm landowner had requested a severance of approximately 5 acres from the existing 98-acre farm, including a residence and three accessory buildings.

In the other decision, the OMB approved the severance of approximately 86 acres out of a 102-acre farm.  The parcel to be retained by the owners, who were retiring from farming, contained a surplus residence, barn, and drive shed.  The balance of the farm (the severed 86-acre parcel) was apparently going to be conveyed to another area farmer to be used in conjunction with a larger operation.

These two decisions would appear to be at odds with each other.  In both cases, the applicant landowner was attempting to sever more than the minimum residence plus 1 acre because the severance of a larger parcel made more sense given the actual configuration and development of the property.  However, it is clear that in the case where the OMB declined to permit the larger severance, the OMB held that it did not have the evidence it needed from the landowner to go beyond the "minimum" severance.

Read the OMB decisions at: Simcoe (County) v Essa (Township) and McClary v. Middlesex Centre (Township).