Stikeman Elliott
Real Estate & Municipal
Municipal & Land Use

The Municipal and Land Use Group at Stikeman Elliott is uniquely positioned to help clients address issues in dealing with municipal authorities in respect of developments and planning. The group's work in the municipal sphere spans a wide range of activity, encompassing both the traditional involvement of legal advisers in the areas of land use and development and clients' more recent need for business and financial advice. The group's reach is complemented by practitioners with specialized knowledge of land development and zoning, real estate, construction, public-private partnerships and project finance, as well as expertise in the energy, hospital and healthcare, hospitality, and transit industry sectors.

Our experience with all aspects of municipal, land use and development, allows us to offer comprehensive services to clients, including:

Municipal Financing, Licensing, and Restructuring/Privatization

  • Providing advice on gaining access to financial markets, on the new finance rules and on structuring public/private financing, including taxation advice.

  • Advocacy and opinion work related to municipal licensing disputes.

  • Advising on governance structures for joint municipal ownership of water/wastewater facilities and other such services.

Land Use Permits and Approvals

  • Providing pre-development opinions and strategic processing advice to crystallize real estate development potential.

  • Coordinating and obtaining all Planning Act land use approvals such as official plan amendments, rezoning, site plan approvals, plans of subdivision and condominium, consents, and minor variances. Past experience includes work on behalf of the provincial government, local governments, developers and other proponents for projects in the following areas:

    • Residential: projects ranging from mixed-use and high density housing to public housing and single family dwellings, including urban renewal projects and new community developments;

    • Industrial: various projects including brownfield redevelopment, light and heavy manufacturing, warehousing, and independent power production facilities;

    • Aggregates: mines and gravel quarries;

    • Commercial: all formats ranging from retail warehousing and office/commercial subdivisions to shopping malls and hotels;

    • Institutional: from hospitals and churches to museums and school expansions; and

    • Recreational: from private boathouses to NHL arenas and NBA stadiums.

  • Negotiating and obtaining all necessary permits and approvals from all levels of government and agencies, including Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Natural Resources, Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, area municipalities and conservation authorities.

  • Consulting with government authorities, professional consultants, the general public, and public interest groups as well as developing and enhancing relationships with municipal government and staff.

  • Negotiating subdivision, cost sharing, condominium, site plan, heritage and agricultural easement, pre-development and development agreements, levies and development charges.

  • Presentations before general public meetings, municipal planning committees, Councils, Committees of Adjustment and Land Division Committees.

Formal Defence

  • Emphasis on negotiation based on sound planning principles and common interest resolution rather than drawn-out adversarial hearings.

  • Acting for government (federal, provincial and municipal), corporations and landowners before administrative tribunals and the courts to appeal and defend municipal decisions or defend a position upon appeal by government agencies, members of the public and public interest groups.

Environmental & Compliance

  • Environmental review of proposed acquisitions and financings, environmental assessment work and municipal undertakings, including sewage, water and landfill projects and general environmental opinion work.

  • Providing advice with respect to due diligence investigations for the purchase, sale and lease of real estate, commercial lending and corporate financing.

Stikeman Elliott's hallmark is innovative legal advice that works in the real world. Getting results in the municipal sector and the successful implementation of any property development project or approval requires skilful manoeuvring within a maze of players and quasi-governmental, provincial and federal legislation. By giving constant attention to the evolution of legislation and political matters affecting the municipal and planning sphere, Stikeman Elliott offers clients strategic, results-oriented advice.

Governments and Municipalities

With our diverse practice experience, including extensive work for governments on privatization and private-public partnerships, we are able to employ creative, business-oriented solutions to the novel problems facing municipalities. We are fully committed to understanding our municipal clients' needs and the legal environment they face, responding quickly and professionally, and dedicating the resources needed to solve problems. We are able to assist municipalities with their increasing needs to:

  • Develop strategic approaches to delivering both existing services and those for which municipalities will have increased responsibility;

  • Explore a variety of new delivery mechanisms, including amalgamation, privatization and outsourcing;

  • Access financial markets and understand new rules governing municipal finance; and

  • Design new assessment regimes in light of current value assessment and increased flexibility in municipal taxation.

Related Practices
Key Contacts

Neil L. Bindman
Stefan Fews
Howard J. Rosenoff

Jim Harbell
Calvin Lantz

Greg Plater

Ross A. MacDonald

Related Publications