Why hire a planner?

Registered Professional Planners (RPP) have the necessary education and experience to supervise land use matters and manage the implications. They follow a Professional Code of Practice established by the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) and the Ontario Professional Planners Institute (OPPI). This Code of Practice is strictly regulated and enforced.

Everyone in the community should have a voice on how the land is used. To achieve this end, planners work with residents, businesses, developers, municipalities, community organizations, environmental groups, and other interested stakeholders.

View our services belowServices

Coherent. Concise. Clear.

Expert planning is determining the details then reporting on them in clear, digestible English. Writing is one of our core strengths. We carefully edit and organize our work according to accepted professional standards to bring out all the salient points without overwhelming the reader.

You have your goals, schedules and deadlines, so we work hard to set expectations and clarify the procedures to give you full confidence in our work. Ask us questions, name your concerns, and we will provide thorough and satisfactory answers.

Our professional urban planning and development services include:

  • Subdivision & Site Plans

  • A Plan of Subdivision is a drawing that shows the boundaries of a property and the dimensions of lots within those boundaries designated for the construction of houses or buildings. It also shows locations and dimensions of streets, parks, schools or other land uses within the boundaries.

    A Site Plan is a scaled drawing showing the layout of a property. It includes details such as existing structures, dimensions, and setbacks. It also shows parking areas and space layout, driveways, abutting streets, landscaped areas and easements.

  • Master Plans, Official Plans & Zoning By-Laws

  • A Master Plan is a broad vision or overall strategy for an area. It is typically presented as a graphical representation of the planning proposal.

    An Official Plan is a comprehensive document which provides the general land use planning policies of a municipality in conjunction with a “Master Plan”. Typically Official Plans are comprised of a statement of goals, objectives and policies pertaining to the organization and use of land within municipalities. Official Plans are intended to provide the context for the organization and use of land as a guide for its development.

    A Zoning By-Law implements the Official Plan with permitted uses and standards of individual parcels of land or properties. Zoning By-Laws provide detailed policy context for the organization and use of land within municipalities as a guide for its development.

    Official Plans and Zoning By-Laws may be amended from time to time in response to planning proposals that are deemed by the approval authorities to be in the best interest of the municipality.

  • Planning Studies & Reports

  • Planning Studies and Reports are typically required in support of planning applications. They establish the planning opinion on how the proposed development meets the requirements of the different regulatory bodies, providing justification for the planning proposal, along with an explanation as to how the proposal represents good planning.

  • Strategic Options & Development Assessments

  • A Strategic Options Assessment is completed to determine a strategic direction for development on a property. It is an analysis of the costs and complexities involved in:

    1. 1. leaving the property ‘as is’,
    2. 2. completing a partial redevelopment of the site, and
    3. 3. completing a partial land use change and redevelopment of the site.

    A Development Assessment is an analysis of the current use of a property and what the possible highest and best use for a property could be as a result of changing the planning permissions on that property.

  • Site Disposition & Adaptive Re-Use Strategies

  • Site Disposition Strategies outline ways in which the land value or marketability of a piece of property can be increased by changing land use permissions.

    Adaptive Re-Use Strategies outline the viability of converting a land use. Typically such strategies focus on converting underutilized or vacant industrial or commercial uses to either a mixed use or a ‘living’ land use.

  • Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) Representation

  • In Ontario, planning decisions may be appealed to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) for rulings on land use disputes.  The OLT has replaced Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) in 2021, which replaced the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) in 2018.  The OLT is an adjudicative tribunal where parties present professional land use planning opinions in support of their position.  We have considerable experience representing our clients before the OLT and its predecessors LPAT and the OMB. Although we prefer to find a compromise between parties through effective negotiation, we are well-versed in case preparation and presentation.

    Our extensive experience and professional credentials make us a valued expert resource at judicial hearings. We may be retained to provide expert testimony for either party involved. Testimony provided by a Registered Professional Planner is in strict accordance with accepted professional standards. The client’s case is substantiated and presented in a clear and concise manner.

  • Peer Review

  • LARKIN+ has senior staff who have experience conducting peer reviews. Peer reviews are normally recommended by staff, and may/not have Council involvement. In most cases, the applicant (developer) pays for the peer review. We have the expertise to do peer reviews for a broad range of work: Land Use Planning (Reports & Site Plans); Urban Design; and Natural Heritage Planning.

  • 2nd Opinions ©

  • 2nd OPINIONS © are slightly different than peer reviews, being requested by Council rather than staff. Staff reports make recommendations. Council must then make a decision: approve; reject; send back for further study. If Council is not comfortable with the staff position, instead of sending it back for further study, Council can direct that a 2nd Opinion be sought. LARKIN+ has the professional expertise to prepare a 2nd Opinion and defend it at the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal (LPAT), as needed.

    Our experience gives Council the confidence to make an informed decision on controversial and complex projects.

  • Natural Heritage Planning

  • LARKIN+ coordinates the provision of natural heritage planning services through our association with skilled professionals.   Increasingly, natural features (woodlands, wetlands, streams, vegetation, animals) are being impacted by development and re-development.  Natural heritage planning involves protecting these features, while allowing development to occur within certain limits. Essentially, natural heritage planning identifies critical features as “constraints” and provides protection through setbacks, tree inventories, erosion & sediment controls, among others.

    Studies which fall within the scope of Natural Heritage Planning assume various labels: Environmental Impact Study (EIS)| Natural Heritage Evaluation (NHE)| Environmental Implementation Report (EIR).   Working with seasoned professional biologists, arborists for foresters (RPF), and Natural Heritage Planners our team ensures that natural heritage planning services are scoped properly, involves no more work than necessary, and provides a strong scientific and policy-based argument in support of the development proposal.   If we cannot support the project from a professional perspective we do not accept the assignment.

  • Sustainability

  • This is a big topic that means different things to most people. It can range from using a water-saving showerhead, to using a 2 or 3 box garbage system, to driving an electric or hybrid vehicle, to so much more.  LARKIN+ views sustainability in a bigger way, one that is influenced by what we do.    In the context of land use planning, sustainability relates to the design practices we employ and features we encourage in the projects we design.

    We focus on improving the project we work on so that it has a positive impact on our community, indeed our world.  How do we actually do this?   with our Clients in supporting and implementing Low Impact Development (LID) principles, pursuing advanced urban design and creative articulation of space; and supporting energy planning – thats how.   We employ the principles of good planning for our Client’s projects that demonstrate sustainable practices in the design and final product we produce.   We are advocates of good design and community planning excellence.

For additional information regarding our services or to discuss a project, please contact us directly.