Homeowner's Guide: Minor Variance
Table of Contents
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Municipalities in the province of Ontario establish standards to achieve orderly and safe development in their communities. These standards are set out in zoning by-laws. A zoning by-law governs the types of use permitted on a property and lists minimum development requirements. The minor variance application process is a method to seek relief through a Committee of Adjustment when hardship or circumstances make it difficult to meet any of the standards listed in the by-law.
It is a committee made up of five individuals who are appointed by City Council. They are empowered to grant relief from the provisions of the by-law under certain conditions.
3. When may I need a Minor Variance Application?
1. New Construction
When a building permit application is made for new construction of any type, a member of the Building Services staff in the Growth & Development Department will make a comparison between your proposal and the minimum development requirements set out in the zoning by-law. If one or more requirements cannot be met and it is not possible to revise your proposal to fully conform to the by-law, you are provided the option of seeking minor variance approval. If all provisions of the by-law are met no minor variance approval is required and you may proceed to the next step in the building permit application process.
2. Sale of Property
One of the steps often undertaken as part of a real estate transaction is ensuring that all existing buildings on the property were constructed in compliance with the by-law and the necessary building permits were obtained. To determine compliance with the by-law a Property Search Request is filed with the Building Services Section of the Growth & Development Department. If it is determined that one or more requirements of the by-law have not been met, it may be possible to obtain minor variance approval to 'legalize' the property.
The application fee covers processing costs. The non-refundable application fee is $782.00. This includes a $192.00 fee collected to offset the cost of advertising your proposal in the local newspaper, as required under provincial legislation.
You may also have to pay a fee if input from the Sudbury and District Health Unit is required. This only applies to properties that do not have municipal sewer service (i.e. require a septic system)
- A sketch, drawn to scale, illustrating:
- size and location of all existing and proposed buildings, garages, pools, sheds, etc. on property
- all property lines and dimensions
- distance between all structures and the property lines
- Details about ownership, property description, building dimensions and an outline of the proposal
- Application fee
- Written authorization for an appointed representative
The application is circulated to a number of City departments and other agencies for comments. Notice of your proposal will also be sent by mail to property owners within a 60 metre (approximate 200 foot) radius of your property and will also appear in the newspaper. A public hearing before the Committee of Adjustment will be scheduled. The Committee will hear evidence and make a determination to approve or not approve the application proposal. The evidence includes your (or your agent's) verbal submission, written submissions from commenting agencies and the views of any individual receiving notice of your application.
At Tom Davies Square, Wednesday evenings beginning at 5:00 p.m. in Room C-11.
Yes, either you, as registered property owner, or someone authorized in writing by you.
1. Valid objections from neighbours
2. Negative comments from one or more departments or agencies such as:
- Nickel District Conservation Authority
- Sudbury and District Health Unit
- Traffic and Transportation
- Public Works (Engineering, Construction & Technical Services)
- Development Services
- Building Services
- Ministry of Transportation
- Greater Sudbury Hydro Plus Inc (if applicable)
NO. The Committee of Adjustment must weigh all the evidence presented at the public hearing and make a determination on that basis. The Committee must also find your request to be minor in nature and desirable from development and use perspectives. Conformity with the general intent of approved planning documents i.e. the Official Plan and Zoning By-law, is also essential.
NO. Staff time and costs are incurred regardless of the outcome.
You can file an appeal to a higher authority ~ the Ontario Municipal Board. You have twenty days following the date the Committee of Adjustment decision is made to file an appeal with the Secretary-Treasurer.
The neighbour has the same appeal rights as you do.
The Committee of Adjustment hearing will take place approximately one month from the day your application is accepted by the Committee staff. Your approval is not in effect until the 20 day appeal period following the decision has ended. In cases where an appeal is lodged, the decision is not final until it has been dealt with by the Ontario Municipal Board.
Proceed to apply for your building permit (if required) or ensure that the decision reaches your lawyer, bank etc. if your property is being sold.