Hand-drawn development plans won’t cut it in Highlands East after council voted in new rules governing shoreline road allowance purchases Dec. 14.

Junior planner Kim Roberts presented revised rules to council, including requirements for all land surveys to include reference to structures on a property.

Previously, applicants could sketch buildings themselves when applying to purchase municipal land abutting bodies of water. Often that results in measuring mistakes which then require minor variance applications, for example when measuring a setback to a property’s high-water mark.

“This is just providing some clarification as to what we want as far as seeing buildings,” Roberts said.

The new format outlines specifics such as what a shoreline road allowance is, who can and cannot purchase a road allowance, as well as procedures for a revision.

“It’s kind of like putting together a puzzle,” she said.

Revisions include a summary of key terms and rationale, such as why the township sells shoreline road allowances and the necessary features of any application.

The municipality will also charge a nonrefundable $200 fee for merging lots and a $350 non-refundable administration fee.

The changes come as Highlands East adjusts to raised shoreline road allowance purchase fees, which previously were lower than any surrounding municipality.

Highlands East experienced unprecedented building activity in 2021, with build values sitting at $39.7 million, a more than 300 per cent rise over 2020 figures.