Land Use Designations

Oak Ridges Moraine Land Use Designations

The Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan (ORMCP) divides the Oak Ridges Moraine (Moraine) into various land use designations. This allows limited development to continue on the Moraine to preserve its important natural features and resources.  The ORMCP’s four land use designations include:  

 
Natural Core Areas (38%)

These areas make up 38 per cent of the Moraine. They are identified by high concentrations of key natural heritage features, hydrologically sensitive features and landform. Permitted uses of Natural Core Areas include:

    • Fish, forest and wildlife management
    • Flood and erosion control projects
    • Agricultural uses
    • Transportation, infrastructure and utilities (with demonstrated need)
    • Home businesses
    • Home industries
    • Bed and breakfast establishments
    • Farm vacation homes
    • Low-intensity recreational uses
    • Unserviced parks
    • Accessory uses to all of the above

 

Natural Linkage Areas

These areas make up 24 per cent of the Moraine. They are central corridors connecting core areas and river valleys. Permitted uses include of Natural Linkage Areas include:

    •  All those permitted in Natural Core Areas

    • Aggregate extraction and wayside pits

 
Countryside Areas

These areas make up 30 per cent of the Moraine. They are rural, agricultural, recreational and extraction lands. Permitted uses of Countryside Areas include:

    • All those permitted in Natural Core and Linkage areas

    • Most agriculture-related uses

    • Small-scale commercial, industrial and institutional uses

    • Major recreational uses

    • Limited rural residential developments

 Settlement Areas (8%)

These areas make up eight per cent of the Moraine. They include all urban lands. All uses are permitted in Settlement Areas by the ORMCP.

Further reading: the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act ; the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan; the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan Technical Paper Series

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