Corp Comm Connects

Retirement lots for farmers being phased out
June 18, 2015
By Sandra Bolan

A farmer’s ability to sever a piece of his land and retire on it is coming to an end.

Since 2005, the province has been phasing out various planning documents that enabled farm retirement lots, according to Alan Drozd, manager of planning for the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville.

The Oak Ridges Moraine is the last area in Ontario that still allows farm retirement lots, for now, he said.

If the permissibility of a farm retirement severance is removed from the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan and/ or the region’s official plan, provisions restricting these severances remain in effect and the town is required to amend its planning documents accordingly, according to Drozd.

In order for a farmer to sever a piece of land for retirement, the farm has to have existed since Jan. 1, 1994; the farmer has to have been farming it full time for a minimum of 20 years and the land must be at least 25 acres in size. An application for re-zoning must be made to the town.

“The object is to not take agricultural land out of production,” he said.

The average retirement lot is one to 1.5 acres. In the six years Drozd has been with the town, he has dealt with about five farm retirement severances.

One resident not happy with the phasing out of the farm retirement lots is Whitchurch-Stouffville resident Carin Bacher. She does not own land that qualifies for this type of severance.

“I find it inherently wrong that somebody who is a good steward of the land and works it for decades” won’t be able to retire on a small piece of that land, she told councillors recently.