Site Plan Approval Process

Nested Applications

Content - Business - Planning - Site plan approval process

The Site Plan Approval process is necessary for most land development before a building permit is issued. The types of development that require Site Plan Control are listed in the Site Plan Control Bylaw.

Planner appointed

A City Planner is assigned to each application as part of the Pre-Consultation stage and works closely with the applicant to address technical comments, arrange meetings, and discuss concerns. The planner is the main point of contact for the applicant throughout the processing of their application. 

Legal Authority

Site Plan Control is legislated under Section 41 the Ontario Planning Act and allows the City to review and control important aspects of a proposed project - for example, the siting of buildings, landscaping, pedestrian access, parking, exterior design and appearance, stormwater management and waste disposal. Kingston's Site Plan Control Guidelines describe the application process, submission requirements, payment of fees, financial securities, supporting reports and studies that may be required, technical circulation, and other essential information.

Approval Time Line

The time required to complete the Site Plan Approval process will vary depending on the complexity of the project and completeness of submissions. Once the Site Plan is approved, the City and developer enter into a legally binding Site Plan Control Agreement. A building permit is generally not issued until Site Plan Control requirements are addressed and final approval is granted. Depending on circumstances and timelines, a conditional or partial building permit may be an option to allow foundation work to commence. This is considered at the request of the applicant and reviewed by all technical departments prior to a decision being made. 


A Pre-Application meeting is mandatory for all Site Plan Control Applications. Meetings are held every third Tuesday morning (view the schedule).

A copy of the Pre-Application Request Form must be included with the complete Site Plan Control application (i.e. all required fees, drawings and supporting studies).

Special reports

Pre-consultation will identify the approvals that are required as well as the supporting briefs or reports that must be submitted with the Site Plan Control application. Some examples are: traffic impact study, tree preservation plan, stormwater management study, parking study, noise study, etc.

Pre-consultation also identifies any outside agencies that must be contacted, such as:

Prior approvals

For properties that have previously received Site Plan Control approval, revisions to the approved site plans may require a Site Plan Modification approval and, in some cases, an amended Site Plan Control Agreement and/or the submission of additional financial securities.

Payment of fees

Applicants for Site Plan Control approval can expect to pay a number of fees. The full Site Plan Control application fee, which includes planning, and engineering fees, must be paid when the application is submitted for approval. 

Project design

The Site Plan Control approval process also considers the design of projects to ensure they generally conform with surrounding buildings and enhance existing development in Kingston. Site Plan Control specifically looks at the movement of pedestrians and traffic on the site, access to and from abutting streets, building location and design, the design of parking areas, garbage and recycling storage areas, site servicing (sewer, water, gas, electric), stormwater management, landscaping, noise impact, snow removal and storage. Depending on the location of the property, the City may specify that certain design elements be included in the project, for example, building materials or buffering requirements. 


The design of the project must also meet all accessibility requirements. The Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committee supports the review of Site Plan Control applications to ensure the facility is accessible for all. Please review the Site Plan Accessibility Checklist to ensure that the proposed development is designed to meet accessibility requirements.

Public Notice

As part of the Site Plan Control process, the City prepares an 11-inch x 17-inch sign which must be posted on the property to advise the public that an application for Site Plan Control has been submitted, to describe the proposal and to provide a contact should additional information be required. It is the responsibility of the applicant/developer to post the signs on the property according to the City's requirements. 

Technical circulation

The Planner assigned to the project will circulate the appropriate plans and studies to various internal departments of the City and external agencies, as part of a technical circulation. 

Technical responses

Responses to the initial technical circulation are required within 10 working days from the date of circulation and within five working days for subsequent circulations. Comments received are forwarded to the applicant or agent by the Planner. Additional information, including revised drawings, to address the technical circulation comments, must be submitted to the assigned Planner, who will re-circulate the material to the appropriate departments and agencies for further review. The Planner will also work with the applicant to address technical comments or concerns and arrange meetings, if required. Complete submissions are important to ensure departments are able to review all relevant drawings and revisions and provide comments within the requested time frame. 

Council involvement

The Director of Planning and Development is delegated Council's authority to approve Site Plan Control applications unless they have been "bumped up" to the Planning Committee through a motion of Council, in which case approval rests with the Planning Committee. Mayor and members of City Council are notified of all Site Plan Control applications. In such cases, the Planning Committee Courtesy Notice published in the local newspaper will include the Site Plan Control application as an item to be considered by the Committee. In certain cases, the applicant or staff may also request that an application be "bumped up" to Planning Committee. 

Approval Authority

The Committee may choose to approve the application in principle and refer it back to the Director of Planning & Development for final approval, subject to conditions (e.g. all outstanding technical issues being resolved). 

Draft agreement

The Site Plan planner will prepare the draft site plan control agreement for review by the applicant and legal services. Once the agreement and conditions are satisfactory to all parties the agreement is forwarded to the developer for signing. The signed agreement is then returned to the City for execution and registration. 

Required copies

Prior to final approval of the application, the applicant/developer must submit three copies of the signed Site Plan Control Agreement, required securities, seven copies of the final Site Plan drawings, and an electronic version of the drawings. 


The City may impose conditions of approval. If the applicant disagrees with the proposed conditions, they can request that the application be "bumped up" to Planning Committee or can appeal these conditions to the Ontario Municipal Board.

If construction fails to start within one year of the date of the Site Plan Control Agreement, the City at its option can withdraw approval of the plans and declare the Agreement to be null and void. 

Sign removal

It is the responsibility of the applicant/developer to remove all signage from the property once Site Plan Control approval is complete. 

Final approval

Once final Site Plan Control approval has been granted, the project is ready for the Building and Construction phase. 

Release of securities

Once construction is completed as per approved plans including landscaping, the applicant may request to reduce or release financial securities as per the conditions set out in the Site Plan Control agreement. 

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