• Serving Muskoka & Surrounding Areas
  • 705.645.6420

Cottage Country Planning & Environmental Seminar Series


We have a mission.

Our Mission is to provide unparalleled Land Use Planning advice to private sector and public sector clients. We represent clients at Public Meetings under the Planning Act and Ontario Municipal Board Hearings, as well as providing education through seminars on Planning Issues in Cottage Country.

Past and future.

The sole proprietor of the firm, Stephen Fahner, has over 32 years of experience in the public sector, the last 24.5 years with the Township of Muskoka Lakes. In cottage country, there is not a busier municipality in the Province. Overseeing the review of approximately 300 – 400 planning applications in a year, in the position of Director of Planning, has resulted in extensive experience from major resort redevelopment to minor variances. Stephen was also instrumental in numerous special projects including: Updating of the Official Plan, Waterfront Density and specialized bylaws. During this tenure, he was also the Secretary-Treasurer of the Committee of Adjustment. Stephen has routinely appeared in front of the Ontario Municipal Board, being involved in approximately 250 matters over his career with the Township.

Prior to his employment with the Township, he spent seven years with the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority as a Land Use Technician. In addition to completing Floodline and Fill Line Mapping, he enforced the Fill, Construction and Alteration to Waterways Regulation. He also briefly held positions at the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Nottawasaga Conservation Authority.

Our Vision is to see beyond the present and look to the best planning solutions that balances development with long term environmental sustainability.

Why Choose Northern Vision Planning?

Through over 34 years of experience, most of it in cottage country, Northern Vision Planning Ltd. has developed a number of areas of expertise. Attendance and effective presentations to Committees and Council have been made 6000-7000 times over this timeframe. The majority of the matters related to residential – single lot development. As a subset of such proposals a number of items are evaluated including: building density, setbacks, shoreline structures, aesthetics/architecture, shoreline vegetative buffer, access, and lakefront character. A balance must be struck between development and the environment such that the natural form remains dominant over the built form.
This type of approach is also evident in the approach to shoreline management on a larger scale. Such management of development along the shores of lakes can be done by Lake Capacity, Best Management Practices, or Lake Classification. This is all done in an effort to permit developmet that is sustainable in the long term.

Commercial/industrial development include: marinas, resorts, business parks, and gravel pits. Ownership models, site planning, density, permitted uses, buffering from neighbouring uses are all part of the enhanced development or redevelopment of such properties.

The experience and expertise is conveyed through the firm’s Cottage Country Planning and Environmental Seminar Series. Along with guest speakers, topics have included: Legal Aspects of Shoreline Structures, Long Term Site Monitoring, Future Trends in Resort Development and Policy, Environmental Regulation Changes, and Cottage Country and the new Provincial Policy Statement.


  • Committees/Council
  • Commercial/Industrial Areas
  • Dark Sky Lighting
  • Educational Seminars
  • Golf Courses
  • Lake Planning/Classification
  • Long Term Site Monitoring
  • Marinas
  • Municipal Management
  • Ontario Municipal Board Hearings
  • Residential Single Lot
  • Committees/Council
  • Resorts
  • Scenic Areas/Corridors
  • Committees/Council
  • Shoreline Structures
  • Shoreline Vegetative Buffers
  • Site Alteration
  • Site Plan Control
  • Waterfront Density

Other areas of expertise encompass the management and operation of Planning in municipalities. This includes process review, document updates, mentoring, special projects, and Planning Department Handbook. Providing expert evidence at Ontario Municipal Board Hearings is another knowledgeable area as a result of attendance and the provision of evidence at approximately 250 Hearings.