Planning Services

Enabling Legislation - Nova Scotia's 'Municipal Government Act' (MGA) provides the authority to the Town to control the development of land through the creation of a Municipal Planning Strategy, Land Use By-Law, and Subdivision By-Law. Part 8 of the MGA provides guidelines and requirements for the Municipal Planning Strategy and Land Use By-Law. Part 9 of the MGA outlines the respective guidelines for the Subdivision By-Law.

Land use planning is a means of managing our land and resources as a community. It helps the Town establish goals about how it will grow and develop and to work out ways of reaching those goals while keeping social, economic and environmental concerns in mind. Planning strives to balance the interests of individual property owners with the wider interests and objectives of the whole community. 

Municipal Planning Strategy

The Municipal Planning Strategy (MPS) is a statement of Council's policies for growth and development in the Town. The MPS is designed to be a 'visionary document’ in that it represents the stated intentions of Council with respect to future development and use of land within the Town boundaries.   The Town is currently undergoing a review of the MPS with the expectation of  producing a revised document with community input in the near future. The current version is available at the Town Office. Please contact the Manager of Community and Economic Development if you have any questions in this regard.

  Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP)

As a requirement under the Municipal Funding Agreement, all municipalities in Nova Scotia developed an Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP). The purpose of this report was to provide the Town of Shelburne with a “long-term plan, developed in consultation with community members that provides direction for the community to realize sustainability objectives it has for the environmental, economic, social and cultural, and physical dimensions of its identity”. In January 2010, Municipal Council adopted its first ICSP. The 2010 ICSP sets out a planning framework for implementing a number of actions over the short to medium term. A link to the report is provided above.

  Municipal Climate Change Action Plan (MCAAP) 

The Municipal Climate Change Action Plan was adopted by Council on February 19, 2014 and can be considered an amendment to the ICSP Report. The majority of the MCCAP Report was focused on applying research on climate trends to municipal decisions on land use and infrastructure. A link to the report is provided above.


The Town of Shelburne values the historical and cultural heritage of the community. The Town created the Historic Waterfront Land Use Designation in recognition of the area's historically significant buildings, small lanes, and open access to the water. This unique setting contributes to a sense of the bygone era of sail which formed such a prominent part of Shelburne's historic character and is a major draw for visitors to this day. The Municipal Planning Strategy reinforces the Town's commitment to heritage preservation by requiring a detailed set of land use and design controls within the historic waterfront to ensure its character is preserved.  

In addition, there are currently 22 municipally registered and 7 provincially registered heritage properties in the Town of Shelburne.