Planning & Development FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions
Planning & Development


Q: What is the difference between a zoning by-law and an official plan?
A: An Official Plan describes the municipality's general policies on how land in our community should be be used. It is prepared with public input and helps to ensure that future planning and development meets the specific needs of the community. It deals mainly with issues such as where new housing , industry, offices and shops will go; what services like roads, watermains, sewers, parks and schools will be needed; and when and in what order parts of the community will grow. A zoning by-law on the other hand controls the use of land in the community and states exactly how land will be used, where buildings and other structures can be located, the types of buildings that are permitted and how they can be used and the lot sizes, dimensions, parking requirements, building heights and setbacks from property lines.
Q: Why do I need to be concerned about the zoning for my property?
A: A property's zoning determines the uses allowed and the lot and setback requirements for any structures. It is always a good idea to check with the Planning department prior to building any additions or making a change of use to the property. Please note that zoning compliance is checked on the sale or resale of a property, and also when the Town has reason to believe there is a contravention.
Q: When do I need an archaeological survey?
A: An archaeological survey is required only when a person makes an application under the Planning Act and only if the property in question is within the Zone of Archaeological Potential. Members of the public who intend to make a planning application should check with planning staff to confirm whether their property is within the Zone of Archaeological Potential. Copies of the Archaeological Potential Map are available in the Planning & Building Services Department.
Q: When do I need a Heritage Permit?
A: A Heritage Permit is required when the owner of a designated property wants to alter the exterior of a building designated under Part V (conservation district) or the designated portions of a building designated under Part IV (individual) of the Ontario Heritage Act. Owners of designated properties should check with planning staff to confirm whether their property is designated and if the work they are proposing to do requires a Heritage Permit.
Q: What is a home occupation and a home industry and how are they different?
A: Zoning By-law 500A -74, as amended, defines these as follows: 2.41 Home Occupation: means an occupation, business, enterprise or service conducted entirely within a dwelling unit only by the members residing in such dwelling unit provided that: (a) there shall be no external display or advertising other than a sign not exceeding 0.1859 square meter in area and such sign shall not be externally or internally illuminated by artificial means (b) there shall be no external storage or display of goods or materials (c) retail sales of items, goods or products shall not be permitted from the premises (d) such 'Home Occupation' shall not occupy more than 25% of the total floor area of the dwelling unit and shall not exceed 28 m2 (301.4 ft2) (e) such 'Home Occupation' does not interfere with television or radio reception (f) parking must be provided for the use listed under Section 3.19 of the By-law (g) no food preparation or food service shall be permitted as a 'Home Occupation' (h) the 'Home Occupation' shall not involve the use of the premises as a base of operations for persons who are employed by or associated with the 'Home Occupation', nor shall the premises be used to assemble or rally such persons for transportation to a work site (i) the 'Home Occupation' shall not involve the use or employment of a person who does not reside in the dwelling unit. (By-law 5OOGD-91) 2.40 Home Industry: means a gainful occupation including an animal hospital, woodworking shop, window frame shop, welding shop, machine shop or blacksmith operation conducted in whole or in part in an accessory building to a one-family dwelling house by the residents of the dwelling unit provided that: (a) there is no external advertising other than a sign erected in accordance with any by-laws of the Corporation regulating signs; (b) there is no external storage of goods or materials; (c) such home industry is not an obnoxious trade, business or manufacture; (d) such home industry is clearly secondary to the main residential use and does not change the residential character of the dwelling unit; (e) such home industry does not interfere with radio or television reception; and (f) submission of a site plan as defined in Section 2.73 (By-law 500M-76) (g) parking is provided in the rear yard only. (By-law 500M-76) It should be noted that a home occupation is only permitted in an R1, R2, R3, RS, RR & PDH zone. A home industry is only permitted in an RA zone which has 10 acres or more and in an RR zone which has 5 acres or more.
Q: Why can my neighbours do that and I can't?
A: What the property is allowed to do next to your own is entirely dependent on when they began their uses. There may be properties scattered throughout the municipality that do not meet current zoning requirements but many of them have "legal non-conforming" uses that existed before the passing of the zoning by-law and as such they are allowed to continue those uses. Or they may have completed and been approved for some type of a minor variance or zoning amendment which permitted them their use or change of zone requirements.