Site Plan Approval Process

What is Site Plan Control?

Site Plan Control is a tool that is employed by municipalities to regulate the design and technical aspects of a development. This process ensures that municipal standards are maintained, and that development occurs in a manner that is safe, attractive, sustainable, and compatible with surrounding land uses.  

When is Site Plan Approval Required?

By-law No. 2011-112 designates the whole of the City of Niagara Falls as a Site Plan Control Area.

Site Plan Approval is required to facilitate:

  • All new industrial, commercial, institutional, mixed-use, and multi-residential construction (Please note that in accordance with Bill 23, the More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022, Site Plan Approval is no longer required for residential developments containing 10 residential units or less)
  • Additions / alterations to existing industrial, commercial, institutional, mixed-use, and multi-residential buildings / structures that substantially increase its size or usability
  • Agri-tourism uses, commercial farm markets, permanent or mobile farm help houses, greenhouses, and cannabis cultivation and / or production facilities

Please contact the City’s Urban Designer/Landscape Architect in the Planning Department to confirm if Site Plan Approval will be required to facilitate your proposed development.

Applying for Site Plan Approval

A pre-consultation meeting is required in advance of applying for Site Plan Approval. For more information, please visit the pre-consultation webpage or speak with the City’s Urban Designer/Landscape Architect in the Planning Department.

Application Submission Requirements:

  • Deed/PIN register
  • Floors plans, building elevations, and landscape plan
  • Site servicing, grading, stormwater management, and photometric plans, SANDA, and STMDA
  • Digital .DWG files of the site and servicing plans in accordance with Appendix B
  • Zoning compliance certificate (issued by the City of Niagara Falls)
  • Supporting studies, plans, information, and materials in accordance with the pre-consultation form / checklist. Consult the City’s Terms of Reference for guidance.
  • Other forms and documentation listed on the application form (Appendices A and C-E)

Site Plan Application Process

Site Plan Control Application

Time to Process (to decision): 60 Days

StepCity's RoleApplicants RoleTarget Timeline

City Staff, any required agencies and an applicant will review a preliminary development proposal, discuss the nature of the proposal, any development and planning issues, the need for additional information, and the planning approvals process.

The City will provide the applicant a pre-consultation form/checklist identifying what approvals, studies, information, materials, and fees are required to proceed with a formal application. 

Applicant completes pre-consultation process3 weeks
Application Submission--Applicant submits:
  • formal application
  • site plan package
  • studies
  • zoning compliance certificate
-Reviews files (i.e., names, unlocked status) --2 days
-Generates invoiceApplicant pays required fees1 day
-Urban Designer/Landscape Architect assigned to file.--1 day
Review for CompletenessUrban Designer/Landscape Architect reviews material issues notice of complete/incomplete application.--1 week
Circulation (When Complete)Urban Designer/Landscape Architect circulates to internal departments and external agencies. Comments and draft plan conditions are consolidated and provided to Applicant.--2 weeks
Approval by General Manager of Planning, Building, and Development or Designate

Site plan drawings are signed (a) conditional approval or (b) final approval.

If conditional approval, a memo outlining conditions of approval will be provided.

--2 weeks
Final ApprovalUrban Designer/Landscape Architect prepares Site Plan Agreement that may include conditions.--1 week
-Legal Services finalizes draft Site Plan Agreement.Applicant provides securities to Urban Designer/Landscape Architect.1 week
-Legal Services sends Site Plan Agreement to Applicant’s lawyer and outlines deliverables required.--1 day
---Applicant provides 2 copies of executed Site Plan Agreement and required material to Legal Services (i.e., Solicitor’s Certificate, PIN record, registration fees).--
-Legal Services has agreement signed by Mayor and Clerk.--1 day
-Legal Services registers Site Plan Agreement on title.--1 day
-Urban Designer/Landscape Architect notifies internal departments Site Plan Control complete.----
Building Permit--May apply for Building Permit.--
Site Inspections & Security Release--Applicant notifies Urban Designer/Landscape Architect once Works complete for inspection and provides certification letters from their engineer and landscape architect.--
---If acceptable, security may be released.2 weeks