The Township's Zoning By-law (35-99) regulates the way in which land can be used in the Township by designating different areas with land use zones. The by-laws also contain rules that apply to each zone for things such as permitted uses, building set backs and lot coverage. Because it is difficult for the zoning by-laws to address every circumstance that may affect the development or use of a particular property, the Planning Act allows Township Council to establish a Committee of Adjustment to which property owners can apply when they require a "minor variation" to the regulations.
A homeowner in an area zoned as R1 (allowing a single detached residential dwelling unit) in Zoning By-law No. 35-99 wants to build a garage which would end up being closer to a neighbour's property than the minimum 1.2 metres (3.9 feet) side yard separation required by the zoning by-law. In this situation, the homeowner cannot obtain the necessary building permit for the construction of the garage without first applying to and receiving a Minor Variance to the Zoning By-law from the Committee of Adjustment.
How Do I Make a Minor Variance Application?
Before you fill out an application, discuss the application with the Chief Building Official. This will help to determine:
- the need for a variance
- the nature of the variance
- whether or not there might be servicing requirements or land dedications involved with a given proposal
- whether or not an amendment to the zoning by-law is required, rather than a variance
Download the Minor Variance Application form here
After your application has been received, a notice of Public Hearing will be sent to all assessed property owners within 60 metres (200 feet) of the property, at least 10 days before the date of the Hearing. At the same time copies of your application will be circulated to external agencies. The purpose of this circulation is to obtain advice from and/or the requirements of these interested groups in the form of reports for the Committee of Adjustment that are considered at the Public Hearing.
The Public Hearing will normally be held within 30 days of receiving your application. It is very important that you and/or your agent or solicitor attend the Hearing to explain the reasons for your application; if you do not attend, the Committee may proceed in your absence. Other interested persons are also entitled to attend and to express their views about the application. The Committee will also consider verbal advice and written reports from staff. Besides considering the site-specific aspects of the application, the Committee will also use the following criteria to evaluate the application and reach its decision:
- Is the variance minor?
- Is it desirable for the appropriate development or use of the land, building or structure?
- Is the general intent and purpose of the Official Plan and the Zoning By-law being maintained?
- If your application is approved, the Committee may impose conditions as part of its decision.
Within 20 days of the Committee making its decision, the Secretary-Treasurer of the Committee will mail one copy of the decision to you and to anyone else who filed a written request for notice of the decision. Information is included in the Notice of Decision outlining appeal procedures and identifying the last day for appealing the Committee's decision to the Ontario Municipal Board.
If no appeal is made by the end of the 20 day appeal period, the decision is final and binding. You will be notified by mail, and, if the application has been approved, you should, subject to the fulfilment of any conditions set out in the final decision, be in a position to apply for a building permit or be in compliance with the zoning by-law. The process will take approximately 10 to 12 weeks from the time an application is filed with the Secretary-Treasurer to the point where a decision of the Committee of Adjustment is final and binding. For any inquiry regarding a minor variance application, please contact the Township Planner at 519-485-2490 ext 237.