If your proposal does not conform exactly to the requirements of the zoning by-law, but follows its general intent, you can apply for a minor variance to the City’s Committee of Adjustment. If the use of your land or building was lawfully used for a purpose prohibited by the zoning by-law before the by-law was passed (legal non-conforming), you can apply to enlarge the building or change its use as well, but it must remain on the original parcel of land. The Committee can also determine if a use is similar to a legal non-conforming use and if a use conforms with the uses permitted in the by-law.
A land severance is the authorized separation of a piece of land to form a new lot or parcel of land. Severances are approved by the City’s Committee of Adjustment. In addition to the division of land, easements, rights-of-way and boundary adjustments also require severance approval from the Committee.
Part Lot Control
Another method of creating a new lot is through part lot control. This process is similar to a severance, but can only be used on lots within a plan of subdivision. Part lot control is commonly used to create lot lines between individual units of a semi-detached dwelling or townhouse dwelling.
Plan of Subdivision
If you are creating more than 2 lots you may need a plan of subdivision. A plan of subdivision is used in situations where multiple lots are being created, land is being given to the City for roads, parks, or other purposes, extensive servicing (water, sewers) is required, among other requirements. Because an application for a plan of subdivision is usually more complex, services from a professional engineer, surveyor and planner are required.
Plan of Condominium
If you have an existing townhouse project or apartment building that you would like to be able to sell the dwelling units individually, you can apply for a plan of condominium. A vacant land condominium can also be used as an alternative to a plan of subdivision where smaller road sizes are desired. The main difference between a plan of vacant land condominium and a plan of subdivision is that the City does not assume ownership of the roads and in-ground services (water mains, sewers, etc.) in a plan of vacant land condominium. These are owned privately by a condominium corporation.
Site Plan Approval
The purpose of site plan control is to address such matters as grading, landscaping, lighting, stormwater management and site layout prior to development. It can also be used to regulate the exterior design of a building and to require sustainable design elements on municipal rights-of-way next to a development. The entire City is subject to site plan control. Only certain classes of development are exempt from site plan control including development proceeding by way of vacant land condominium approval, most agricultural buildings and buildings and structures associated with extractive industrial activities. For more detail refer to By-law No. 2011-112.
The Site Plan Approval Process promotes functional and attractive development while minimizing adverse impacts on the surrounding land uses. It is designed to protect the interest of all parties including the public, the City and the developer.
Before Submitting an Application
The above processes (except part lot control and minor variances) require an applicant to meet with Planning staff (staff from other departments/agencies may be required to attend) prior to submitting the application. This meeting is termed a preconsultation meeting and serves to review the proposal to determine what additional information and applications are needed to be submitted with the application (ie. stormwater management report, traffic study, environmental impact study, etc.). Also, it may be necessary to apply for an official plan amendment, zoning by-law amendment or minor variance as part of the above noted processes.
Check Events and Notices for information on applications being considered. Application Forms can be found on our Application Forms page.
If you have any questions about subdividing your land, please contact the Planning Division.