The Official Plan outlines in a broad manner the land use and development guidelines within Ottawa. A Zoning By-law, on the other hand, outlines how a specific parcel of land may be used. Zoning By-laws also regulate lot size, parking requirements, building height and other site-specific factors.
If a proponent wishes to develop a property in a manner that deviates from the current zoning provisions, they must apply for a Zoning By-law Amendment; also referred to as a rezoning. For example, a change of use from residential to commercial would require a Zoning By-law Amendment.
Sometimes a property owner only wants to make a minor deviation to a Zoning By-law provision such as a building setback or height restriction. Owners who want to differ only slightly from Zoning By-law provisions can alternatively apply to the Committee of Adjustment for what is known as a minor variance.
Before you begin
Before you begin
Before making an application, you should discuss your proposal with staff. Pre-consultation with City staff is required for a Zoning By-law Amendment. The pre-consultation process is designed to help promote the exchange of information and development considerations early in the planning process and a customized list of the studies and plans required in support of a development application is provided. If you fail to consult with staff, the City cannot guarantee the completeness or accuracy of your application submission which may result in processing delays.
An application for a Zoning By-law Amendment involves public consultation including providing notice to all property owners within 120 metres of the subject site. City Council must approve any amendment to the Zoning By-law, which is subject to an appeal process.
The Planning Act has a provision whereby City Council must make a decision on any Zoning By-law Amendment application within 90 days of receiving a complete application. If City Council does not make a decision within this timeframe, the applicant can appeal to the Ontario Land Tribunal on the basis that a decision has not been made within this time period.
For additional details on the steps associated with the processing and review of development applications, please refer to the City’s development application process information.
There are three types of Zoning By-law Amendments – a major rezoning, a minor rezoning and one that arises from the severance of a surplus farm dwelling. A minor rezoning only applies to the following:
- Modifications to performance regulations only (not adding a new use to the zone, but only requesting a change to regulations such as height, floor space index, density, yards etc.)
- Extension of a zoning boundary to reflect addition of lands to existing property
- Establishment of a group home (request that this use be permitted)
- Lifting of interim control for one use only
- Temporary rezoning
- Any zoning changes required as a condition of severance
- A change in use that is wholly contained within an existing buildings envelope, where no building permit has been issued within the previous two years to increase the size of the building and which is not located within a residential zone, as defined by Zoning By-law 2008-250, to introduce one new non-residential use. No additional amendments to performance standards may be sought and the change in use cannot result in the establishment of any of the following uses:
- Amusement centre or Amusement park;
- Automobile body shop;
- Automobile dealership;
- Automobile rental establishment;
- Automobile service station;
- Heavy equipment and vehicle sales, rental and servicing;
- Drive-through facility;
- Payday Loan Establishment
The following fees (effective July 1, 2023) apply to an application for Zoning By-law Amendment.
Major Zoning Amendment $26,366.62
Minor Zoning Amendment $13,970.62
- Plus an initial Conservation Authority fee
- Wards 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 $125.00 or
- Remainder of City $410.00
Related to Severance of Surplus Farm Dwelling $5,831.18
The Conservation Authority will invoice for any additional fees and technical report review as required.
A Zoning By-law Amendment application that has been withdrawn, in an effort to resolve circulation or City comments, may re-apply within a 60-day timeline at a reduced fee, effective July 1, 2023, of $4,940.00.
Please see additional information related to the City’s Development Application Fees including information related to reductions for multiple applications, on-site signs, Ontario Land Tribunal City Legal Costs as well as refunds.
Applications can be submitted to email@example.com accompanied by required plans, studies and any other information that may be needed to assess your application.
- Note: If using a file sharing / transfer site to submit supporting documents, please select one that does not restrict access to a single planning staff member or email address.
Upon application submission, staff will provide confirmation of the amount due, the specific payment methods available for the application type, and the necessary details for the different payment methods.
Application commissioning, fees and payments
Client Service Centres will continue to offer commissioning services for applications and handle payments for new applications. Please ensure the payer’s name and address are indicated on the cheque.
To have an application form commissioned or to make a payment, please make an appointment in person at a Client Service Centre:
If you require assistance using an electronic application form please contact a Development Information Officer, located at any of the Client Service Centres. You can make an appointment by calling 3-1-1 and asking to speak with a Development Information Officer.
If you would like to speak with planning staff please contact the appropriate development review Planner III by calling 3-1-1 and providing the address of the property you wish to discuss.