The Township's Zoning By-law (35-99) controls the use of land in the Township. It states exactly
- how land may be used
- where buildings and other structures can be located
- the types of buildings that are permitted and how they may be used
- the lot sizes and dimensions, parking requirements, building heights and setbacks from the street
The Oxford County Official Plan sets out general policies for future land use. The Zoning By-law put the plan into effect and provide for its day-to-day administration. They contain specific requirements that are legally enforceable. Construction or new development that doesn't comply with a zoning by-law is not allowed, and the municipality will refuse to issue a building permit. The by-law specifies the permitted uses (e.g. commercial or residential) and the required standards (e.g. building size and location) in each zone.
Citizens' Guide to Zoning By-laws
Zoning By-law Amendment
If you want to use or develop your property in a way that is not allowed by the zoning by-law, you may have to apply for a zoning change, also known as a zoning by-law amendment or a rezoning. Council can consider a change only if the new use is allowed by the official plan. Before you apply for rezoning, you should talk to the Township Planner or Clerk, for advice and information. You are required to complete an application form which contains specified information and any other additional information that the municipality may require.
Download a Zone Change Application form
The process for dealing with zoning by-law amendments is the same as for a zoning by-law. If Council refuses your zoning application, or if it does not make a decision within 90 days of the receipt of your application containing the prescribed information, you may appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) directly by writing to the secretary of the OMB, 655 Bay Street, 15th floor, Toronto, ON M5G 1E5.
Citizens' Guide to Ontario Municipal Board
The Ontario Municipal Board is an independent administrative tribunal responsible for hearing appeals and deciding on a variety of contentious municipal matters. Please visit the OMB website for further information.
How Zoning By-laws & Amendments are Evaluated
County Planning staff prepare a report for Council's consideration and evaluates it against criteria such as:
- conformity with the official plan and compatibility with adjacent uses of land
- suitability of the land for the proposed purpose, including the size and shape of the lot(s) being created
- adequacy of vehicular access, water supply, sewage disposal
- the need to ensure protection from potential flooding
When Council considers a zoning by-law, it shall have regard to the Provincial Policy Statement issued under the Planning Act. The Provincial Policy Statement contains clear, overall policy directions on matters of provincial interest related to land use planning and development. The "shall have regard to" rule means that a Council is obliged to consider the application of a specific policy statement when carrying out its planning responsibility. It is expected that the Council will implement the Provincial Policy Statement in the context of other planning objectives and local circumstances. (See The Planning Act, No. 1 in the series, and the Provincial Policy Statement. Both may be obtained through the government offices listed at the end of this guide.)
How a Zoning By-law is Passed
When Council decides to pass a zoning by-law, it must first give as much information as possible to the public. There must also be at least one public meeting before a by-law is passed and everyone who attends the meeting must have a chance to speak. Notice of this meeting is given 20 days in advance, by mail and through a sign posted on the subject lands. The Planning Act encourages early upfront involvement and the use of mediation techniques to resolve any conflicts. Make sure you make your views known early in the planning process. If you don't, this may mean that the OMB could dismiss any appeal you may make later on, without holding a hearing. The County Planning staff, in review of the application, may also consult with interested agencies before it makes a decision. After hearing everyone's concerns, Council may decide to pass, change or reject the proposed by-law. If it decides to make some changes, it may also decide to hold another public meeting. Once Council has passed the by-law, it must give notice of the passing of the by-law within 15 days after the by-law is passed. Any person or public body may, not later than 20 days after the notice of the passing of the by-law is given, appeal to the OMB by filing a notice of appeal with the Township Clerk at the Township office. The appeal should set out the objections to the by-law and the reasons in support of the objections accompanied by the fee required by the OMB.
For any inquiry regarding a zoning by-law or amendment, please contact the Township Planner at 519-485-2490 ext 237.