The Planning Act is the law that allows the City to pass a site plan control by-law. The site plan control by-law is a legal document that sets out whether development can proceed with or without site plan approval.
The site plan control process allows the City to influence land development so that it is safe, functional and orderly. It is also used to ensure that the development standards approved by the City and other agencies are implemented and maintained.
To determine if a proposal qualifies for site plan approval, staff complete a comprehensive review of plans and studies submitted with the site plan control application. Technical agencies, ward councillors and the public all inform staff’s decision to approve, modify or refuse an application for site plan control.
Building location, landscape treatment, pedestrian access, drainage control and parking layout are a few of the items addressed during review.
Determining if Site Plan Approval is required
Consult the Site Plan Control By-law and the Summary of Subtype Thresholds to determine if a development is exempt from approval and, if not, what type of site plan application is required. In accordance with the By-law, a development that is exempt may be required to obtain site plan approval if required by the Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development Department. To confirm that site plan approval is not required telephone 3-1-1 to speak with a Development Information Officer. If approval is required, a building permit cannot be issued until it is granted. In general, the following developments may be exempt from approval if the property location, land use and parking count comply with the Site Plan Control By-law.
- A four storey or less residential building that is serviced by municipal drinking water and sanitary sewer systems and which does not exceed a gross floor area of 600 square metres and does not contain more than three dwelling units within the Inner Area or six dwelling units outside of the Inner Area.
- A residential building containing no more than three dwelling units, no more than 600 square metres gross floor area, and maximum seven outdoor parking spaces where the lot is privately serviced.
- A non-residential building that does not exceed a gross floor area of 600 square metres when serviced by municipal water and sanitary sewers or 300 square metres when privately serviced or un-serviced.
- An accessory building or structure if the cumulative gross floor area of all accessory buildings and structures on the lot does not exceed 600 square metres.
- An outdoor commercial patio.
- An agricultural use.
- An existing non-residential building, where more than 460 square metres, may be expanded by 30 percent in gross floor area if the addition does not exceed 600 square metres.
- Most non-residential conversions.
- Minor changes to an approved site plan if permission from the City is granted.
- The establishment or enlargement of a surface parking area that does not add more than nine spaces.
New Requirements for Site Plan Control in Sandy Hill
Development pressure has occurred in recent years in Sandy Hill as a result of the demand for student accommodation. This has lead to the conversion of properties in a manner inconsistent with the existing public realm.
As a result, Sandy Hill has been designated as a Special Site Plan Control Area through an amendment to the City’s Site Plan Control By-law.
Site Plan Control is now applicable to the following:
- A residential use building that contains a detached dwelling, linked detached dwelling, semi-detached dwelling, duplex, three unit dwelling, group home, a freehold townhouse containing no more than three dwelling units and where each of those dwelling units are on a separate conveyable lot or a rooming house with a maximum of six rooming units and no dwelling units;
- Residential development that constitutes an addition to the land uses listed above;
- Development that introduces one or more additional dwelling units to those land uses listed above
- Development that introduces one or more additional rooming units to those land uses listed above.
Review Time Frame
There is no public consultation associated with this process. Site Plan Control is delegated under authority to staff, with sign-off by the General Manager, Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development. The decision timeline is 42 days. Delegated authority can be withdrawn by the Ward Councillor.
If the building is designated under Part IV or V of the Ontario Heritage Act, then there is no charge for alteration to the front, corner side or other street-facing façade.
The requirement for Site Plan Control in this area of Sandy Hill can be waived by the General Manager, Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development or the Chief Development Review Services, with the concurrence of the Ward Councillor.
In general the purposes of the site plan control in these cases is limited to review of design and elevations, where exterior changes are proposed, the location and layout for on-site parking, landscaping, grading and drainage, and waste management. The required information and documentation with respect to a site plan for these purposes are as follows:
The information set forth in Subsections 9(3) to (10) inclusive of By-law 2014-256, as amended.
The information required to address the Planning Act, paragraph 41(7)(a)(7) and:
- A one-page planning rationale providing a summary of the nature and intent of the proposed development or redevelopment;
- A site plan showing site layout, the location of the building and all its entrances, details of landscaping, and the layout/location of any on-site motor vehicle and bicycle parking;
- In the case of additions resulting in buildings of 275 square metres gross floor area and greater, a grading and drainage plan prepared by a certified professional engineer licensed to work in Ontario;
- Elevation drawings and three-dimensional colour renderings (at a scale of 1:50) of the building before (in the case of redevelopment or additions) and after development or redevelopment;
- Details on cladding materials, windows, and other architectural elements proposed or, in the case of an existing building proposed to be modified, details on how these materials are being changed or replaced;
- Floor plans of each floor of the building showing the use of all space, consistent with Building Permit application, including all rooms with their intended purpose, vaults, central storage and collection areas and other facilities and enclosures for the storage of garbage and other waste material.
Note that this process does not exempt any development that would otherwise be subject to the full Site Plan Control process and fees.
Should you have any questions, please contact Simon Deiaco, Planner III, Development Review Central Unit, at 613-580-2424, ext. 15641 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Public Notification and Consultation
Certain site plan proposals are subject to the City's public notification and consultation process. A large sign summarizing the proposal is placed on the property to notify the public that an application has been received. Registered community organizations enrolled with the City are also given notice when a site plan proposal is received in their neighbourhood.
Detailed information about all site plan proposals, including a copy of the site plan, are made available online. Any person who wishes to provide comments to staff for consideration may do so. Refer to the review status online to determine if the initial comment period for an application is in progress or whether revised materials have been received and the application has been reactivated. To submit comments to staff, select the application number from the list of results. An option to send comment is located on the details page under the heading, File Lead.
In general, the following site plan proposals are subject to public notification and consultation.
- New residential buildings containing fourteen or more units, five or more storeys or with a gross floor area of 1,200 square metres or more;
- New planned unit developments;
- New mixed-use buildings containing fourteen or more units, five or more storeys or with a gross floor area of 1,400 square metres or more;
- New non-residential development of five or more storeys or with a gross floor area of 1,860 square metres or more;
- Drive-through facilities in the Site Plan Control Inner Area, as shown on Schedule C of the Site Plan Control By-law;
- Drive-through facilities abutting residential zones; and
- A revision to a previously approved site plan control application, for which the previously agreed upon conditions state the need to go through the public consultation process for such revisions.
Key Steps in the Site Plan Control Approval Process
- Applicant arranges a pre-application consultation meeting with City staff. Meeting is mandatory if the proposal is subject to public notification and consultation.
- Applicant submits a complete application with studies, plans and fees to a Client Service Centre. Study, plan and fee requirements are outlined during pre-application consultation. Refer to the City's Guide to Preparing Studies and Plans for information on preparing these requirements.
- A file lead is assigned to manage the review of the application. Details about the proposal are sent to technical agencies, public bodies and the Ward Councillor for consideration.
- After the comment period ends the file lead discusses the outcomes of consultation with the applicant. Any modifications to the proposal are updated on the plans and within studies which are then submitted to the City for review and approval.
- Approval of Site Plan Control applications is delegated to City staff by Council. Councillors have the authority to withdraw this delegated authority. In these instances, the application will be placed before either the Planning Committee or the Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee for a decision. If the applicant disagrees with the conditions of approval, they may file an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board.
- In accordance with the Site Plan Control By-law, the applicant enters into an agreement or undertaking with the City. The applicant has up to six months from the date of approval to sign a Letter of Undertaking and up to one year to enter into a Site Plan Agreement.
- As part of the Agreement, the applicant provides a development cost estimate to the City so that financial securities can be calculated. Securities are held by the City to ensure that construction is completed in accordance with the approved plans. The applicant provides the City with the required securities in the form of a bank issued letter of credit, bank draft or certified cheque. The applicant also supplies a certificate of insurance to protect staff completing work on private property.
- After construction is complete, the development is inspected by staff for compliance. Securities are released if the built project complies with the approved plans.
Timelines for Processing an Application
Site Plan Control applications approval timelines vary based on the development complexity, scale, and public consultation process if applicable. The target approval timelines for Complex and Standard site plans are 19 and 15 weeks, respectively, provided the initial application submissions are complete, re-submissions are timely and accurate, and issues can be resolved in a timely manner. Should additional submissions be required, the timelines will be adjusted accordingly to account for additional review and issue resolution time.
Agreements are registered on title and remain in effect for the lifetime of the development. A request to release an agreement may be considered if all conditions of the approval have been met. A non-residential agreement must remain on title for at least five years after the release of all financial securities.
Refer to the site plan control fees or telephone 3-1-1 to speak with a Development Information Officer.
Additional Permits and Approvals that may be required
The following permits and approvals are subject to additional fees.
- Zoning By-law Amendment or Minor Variances - If proposed development does not conform to the Zoning By-law.
- Heritage Permit - If property is located in a designated Heritage Conservation District.
- Building Permit - Required for most construction.
- Private Road Naming application - Required when there is a road under private ownership that provides vehicular access to units that are addressed from the private road. Effective May 1, 2014, the fee for a Private Road Naming application is reduced for an application submitted on the same day and for the same lands as a Site Plan Control application.
- Road Cut Permit - Required prior to cutting into a road allowance.
- Water Permit
- Sewer Connection Permit - If sewer connections or sewer works are proposed.
- Encroachment Agreement - If the proposal encroaches onto a municipal road allowance.
- Urban Tree Conservation By-law - If the proposal requires the removal of trees in the urban area.
- Ministry of Environment Approvals - If the proposal requires a Permit to Take Water, Sewage Works and/or Operating Approvals.
- Conservation Authority Approvals - If the proposal is adjacent to a significant wetland, floodplain, unstable slope or other natural hazard, or if an alteration to a watercourse is proposed.
- Ministry of Natural Resources - If the site contains endangered species or habitat, or if the property is adjacent to a watercourse or other land subject to the Public Lands Act.
- Department of Fisheries and Oceans - If the proposal impacts fish or fish habitat.