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Greater Sudbury

Minor Variance

Table of Contents (click on the links below to go to the desired section)

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What is a Minor Variance?
What is a Committee of Adjustment?
When may I need a Minor Variance application?
Where do I get an application and more information?
How much will an application cost?
What information is required in the application?
What happens once I submit my completed application?
Where are the public hearings held?
Does someone have to attend?
What could affect the outcome of my application?
If someone objects, is my application automatically refused?
Do I get my money back if my application is refused?
What can I do if my application is turned down?
What if my application is approved and my neighbour strongly objects?
How long does the application process take?
What do I do next?
Variance Examples
Example of the type of sketch required with the application

1. What is a Minor Variance?

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.


2. What is a Committee of Adjustment?Back to Top

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?Back to Top

i)  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.

ii)  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.

4. Where do I get an application and more information?Back to Top

Committee of Adjustment
3rd Floor, Tom Davies Square
200 Brady Street
705-674-4455, Ext. 4376 or 4346


5. How much will an application cost?Back to Top

The application fee covers processing costs. The non-refundable application fee is $885.00. This includes a $215.00 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)


6. What information is required in the application?Back to Top

    • 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
    • driveway
    • Details about ownership, property description, building dimensions and an outline of the proposal
    • Application fee
    • Written authorization for an appointed representative

7. What happens once I submit my completed application?Back to Top

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.


8. Where are the public hearings held?Back to Top

At Tom Davies Square, Wednesday evenings beginning at 5:00 p.m. in Room C-11.


9. Does someone have to attend?Back to Top

Yes, either you, as registered property owner, or someone authorized in writing by you.


10. What could affect the outcome of my application?Back to Top

i) Valid objections from neighbours

ii) 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)


11. If someone objects, is my application automatically refused?Back to Top

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.


12. Do I get my money back if my application is refused?Back to Top

No, staff time and costs are incurred regardless of the outcome.

13. What can I do if my application is turned down?Back to Top

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.


14. What if my application is approved and my neighbour strongly objects?Back to Top

The neighbour has the same appeal rights as you do.


15. How long does the application process take?Back to Top

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.

Variance Application Timeline




16. What do I do next?Back to Top

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.


17. Variance ExamplesBack to Top

Variance Example 2

18. Example of the type of sketch required with the application
Back to Top


Variance Sketch


















Back to Top