Specialty crop areas are given the highest priority for protection in the Provincial Policy Statement, 2005.
Specialty crop areas are where specialty crops such as tender fruits (peaches, cherries, plums), grapes, other fruit crops, vegetable crops, greenhouse crops, and crops from agriculturally developed organic soils are predominantly grown.
Between 19, there were over 15,000 severances for the purpose of creating new lots in Ontario’s agricultural land.
Approximately 80% of those new lots were for residential uses. Prime agricultural areas are where prime agricultural lands predominate.
Source: Ontario’s Countryside: A Resource to Preserve or an Urban Area in Waiting? This includes areas of prime agricultural lands and associated Canada Land Inventory Class 4-7 soils and additional areas where there is a local concentration of farms which exhibit characteristics of ongoing agriculture.
A Review of Severance Activity in Ontario’s Agricultural Land During the 1990s. Prime agricultural lands include specialty crop areas and/or Canada Land Inventory Classes 1, 2 and 3 soils, in this order of priority for protection.
Experience in municipalities across Ontario has shown that conflicts often result between residential development and increasingly large farm operations.
Experience has also shown that residential severances for both farm-related and non-farm related uses have the same impact on the agricultural industry.
Benefits of this approach include: The provincial policy prohibiting lot creation for new residential uses, including prohibiting farm retirement lots in prime agricultural areas, supports the initiatives of many municipalities in this regard.The statement recognizes this concern and contains provisions that support severances directly related to agricultural uses to maintain agricultural viability and protect the integrity of the agricultural land base for the long-term.Policy 126.96.36.199 of the statement provides that the creation of new residential lots, including farm retirement lots and residential infilling, is not permitted in prime agricultural areas including specialty crop areas, except for a residence surplus to a farming operation as a result of a farm consolidation.Not only does the creation of residential development in agricultural areas result in the loss of valuable farmland, but it also places restrictions on the ability of farmers to operate.Complaints about noise, odour and dust tend to accompany the introduction of new residential lots in agricultural areas and threaten agricultural production.