OPA 29

 The Municipality is currently conducting a review of its Agricultural designation in our Community Official Plan!

Referred to as Official Plan Amendment 29 (OPA 29), this project consists of a systematic review of the agricultural areas throughout Mississippi Mills. This review uses an approach known as Land Evaluation and Area Review (LEAR).

If you have questions about the LEAR study and related Official Plan Amendment No. 29, please see below for the most frequently asked questions regarding this study. The Municipality has also provided two different fact sheets which can be accessed here:

What is LEAR?

What are the next steps?

If your questions or concerns are not addressed in the information provided below or within these Fact Sheets, additional information will be presented at a virtual Public Meeting on April 5, 2022 at 6:00 pm via Zoom. The public meeting is a chance for everyone to learn more about OPA 29, the related zoning by-law amendments and ask questions.  To participate in this virtual meeting, please register with mrivet@jlrichards.ca or mknight@mississippimills.ca or call 613-256-2064. Please register before March 31, 2022.

Why are we conducting a review of our Prime Agricultural Areas?

After the approval of Official Plan Amendment No. 21 (Five Year Review), the Municipality was required to assess its agricultural areas (known as “Prime Agricultural” lands at the provincial level). Mississippi Mills has used an alternative agricultural land evaluation system approved by the Province. This agriculture review process is referred to as a “Land Evaluation and Area Review (LEAR)”.

Why are these changes being considered?

From time to time, every municipality needs to update their Official Plan policies and mapping. Updating the lands designated as Agriculture within Mississippi Mills needs to be completed to ensure consistency with the Province’s policies – more specifically, the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS). For more information, please read our What is LEAR? Highlight Sheet.

Are agricultural lands being removed?

Since the LEAR approach differs from the previously used techniques to designate Agricultural Lands (mostly based on Class 1, 2, and 3 soils) in the municipality, there will be some changes to the limits of the current Agricultural designations. As a result, some lands previously designated as Agriculture may be changed to Rural as part of the LEAR study and vice versa.

What land does this affect?

The lands affected by this Amendment include all lands outside of the settlement areas and rural hamlets within Mississippi Mills.

Appendix ‘A’ to Official Plan Amendment 29 includes a new Schedule A – Rural Land Use to the Community Official Plan. A concurrent revision to the Zoning By-law mapping is being undertaken to ensure consistency between these two documents.

The Municipality has notified property owners through direct mail outs, through local newspaper advertisements and on the Municipality’s website. If you want to know if your land is affected, please review Schedule A to Official Plan Amendment 29 or contact Marc Rivet at mrivet@jlrichards.ca or call (343) 803-4533.

Proposed Prime Agriculture Designation Map (coming soon)

 Will I lose severance rights? 

For some landowners, their severance rights will change and in some cases, their severance rights will be more restrictive than before. This will vary greatly, depending on the current and proposed designation of the property (Agricultural or Rural), the severance history of the property as well as other policy considerations (i.e. Minimum Distance Separation). In some cases, landowners may also gain additional severance rights as a result of Official Plan Amendment 29.

Currently, within the Agricultural designation, landowners can only sever a lot for a surplus farm dwelling as a result of farm consolidation. This is a long-time provincial restriction established by the Province through the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS).

The proposed Agriculture designation is resulting in a slightly larger area than what had been designated in the 2006 Community Official Plan. As a result of this, certain properties would lose the potential to sever new rural residential lots. Alternately, the properties proposed to be changed from Agriculture to Rural designation may gain severance rights. Mapping has been prepared to highlight the properties being affected by Official Plan Amendment 29.

Will I pay more/less taxes when my land no longer designated as agriculture and becomes Rural? 

No, you will not pay more in taxes as a result of changes from Agricultural to Rural designation or vice versa. Property taxes associated with a Farm use, for example, are determined by the use itself, not the Official Plan designation or zoning.

Farmers must belong to one of the recognized farming associations and be included on a Ministry property database. For more information about how property assessments are conducted for farm properties, please see the following Municipal Property Assessment Corporation link - “How MPAC Assesses Farm Properties.” Farm Property Assessments | MPAC

 Can I see the LEAR and Official Plan Amendment 29 mapping?

Yes, mapping is available for viewing online at:

GIS LEAR mapping

 How is OMAFRA involved? 

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) is a Ministry of the Provincial Government responsible for the food, agriculture and rural sectors of Ontario. Over several meetings, OMAFRA advised on the LEAR (Land Evaluation and Area Review) methodology and will play a technical advisory role. OMAFRA will advise on this Official Plan Amendment once it is sent to the County for review and approval (as Lanark County is the approval authority).

 Can we object to the point system  or argue the points allocated to my parcel? 

Yes, if you do not agree with the proposed designation or LEAR score you can provide an oral or written submission expressing your concerns which will be considered by staff and consultants as part of the recommendation to Council. You are also entitled to pursue additional studies (such as a soil assessment) at your own cost to demonstrate how your parcel does not meet the threshold score for consideration as Agricultural Designation (score of 66 points or more).

 What is the role of the Agriculture Committee in the LEAR? 

Often times Council will refer matters to a Committee to get feedback on a proposal. In the case of the LEAR, the Committee and the subsequent, Agricultural Working Group for LEAR, participated in a series of meetings to review the LEAR study, review landowner submissions and provide expert advice regarding the LEAR scoring process. Following input from this Working Committee, the Agricultural Committee passed a recommendation to Council supporting the draft Official Plan Amendment 29.

 How can I get involved or receive more information?

J.L. Richards and the Municipality will be hosting a virtual public meeting on April ,5, 2022 at 6:00 pm via Zoom. To participate in the virtual meeting, please register by emailing either mrivet@jlrichards.ca or mknight@mississippimills.ca or calling 613-256-2064. The deadline to register is March 31, 2022.

Please send your written comments to mrivet@jlrichards.ca and mknight@mississippimills.ca referencing "OPA 29"

 Who do I talk to if I have more questions?

If you have further questions regarding Official Plan Amendment 29, please contact Marc Rivet at mrivet@jlrichards.ca  or call (343) 803-4533. Your comments are always welcome!

What are the next steps after the public meeting?


After the public meeting, J.L. Richards will be compiling the comments and preparing a recommendation report to the Committee of the Whole and Council. Mississippi Mills Council’s decision is only the first step in the approval process for this amendment. Please read through our Next Steps Highlight Sheet to find out more about what happens next.