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What is a Zoning Bylaw amendment?

If a proposed use is not permitted in the zone for a property, or if the standards of that zone cannot be met by a proposed development, a Zoning Bylaw may need to be changed or 'amended'. A Zoning Bylaw amendment is a By-law passed by City Council. Since the Zoning Bylaw implements the Official Plan, a proposed Zoning Bylaw amendment must still conform to the Official Plan. If it does not, the proposed Zoning Bylaw amendment may not be appropriate without first obtaining an Official Plan amendment.

How is the Zoning Bylaw amended?

The process for amending a Zoning Bylaw is made up of the following steps:

Step 1 - Consult with Planning & Development Staff:
You should discuss your plans with planning staff at the planning and development department before you submit the application. The planner will:

  • Confirm whether a Zoning Bylaw amendment is necessary
  • Provide initial comments on your proposed development
  • Outline information that will be needed to support your application
  • Confirm whether other approvals will also be required

The planner may also suggest that other city departments such as the engineering department and/or Utilities Kingston be consulted before you submit the application to determine if there are any development issues or concerns related to the property.

Step 2 - Submit the Application:
After you have consulted with city staff, you will need to submit the following to the planning & development department:

  • A completed 'Basic Application Form' and 'Application for Zoning Bylaw Amendment'
  • Information that the Planner has outlined will be needed to support your application
  • Application fee

Applications will not be accepted if incomplete or inaccurate information is provided. Once the application has been received, you will be sent a letter advising you of the planner who will be responsible for your application.

Step 3 - Application Review:
The planner will send out a notice to interested parties requesting to receive notification that your application has been received. The application will also be provided to other city departments and outside agencies for review and comment.

Step 4 - Public Meeting Report to the Planning Committee:
Once the application review is completed, it will be considered by the planning committee, which is one of the standing committees of City Council. A public meeting report to the planning committee will be prepared by the planner. This report will include a description of the subject lands, a summary of the proposed development and an outline of the regulations and policies that relate to the application such as those in the Official Plan, Zoning Bylaw and the Provincial Policy Statement.

Step 5 - Notice of Public Meeting:
Once the public meeting report has been prepared, a statutory public meeting at the planning committee needs to be scheduled to consider your application. This public meeting will also consider other development approval requirements for your application, such as Official Plan amendments, should they be required. A 'Notice of Public Meeting' will be posted on the City's website, published in the Kingston Whig Standard and Kingston This Week as well as mailed to all property owners within 120 metres of the subject lands and to other interested parties requesting to receive notification at least 20 days before the meeting date. In addition to the notice, you will also be required to install signage on the subject lands that notifies the public about this meeting. Information on signage requirements for major applications is available on this website.

Step 6 - Public Meeting:
The planning committee typically meets on the third Thursday of every month. Public meetings generally start at 6:30 p.m. and are held prior to the regular meeting of the planning committee. At the public meeting, you or someone on your behalf will make a presentation describing your proposed development and the reasons for the Zoning Bylaw amendment. The planner will supply any additional information required as well as a brief summary of the public meeting report. At this point any interested party may make written submissions to the planning committee or appear before the committee to comment on your application. Once all public input has been received, you will have an opportunity to respond to the comments. After this, the public meeting will be closed.

Step 7 - Comprehensive Report to the Planning Committee:
The planner will collect all of the comments made at the public meeting and prepare a comprehensive report. This report will include an analysis of the proposed development, a discussion of the issues raised at the public meeting and a recommendation on whether your application should be approved or rejected. If the comprehensive report recommends approval of your application, a draft of the proposed bylaw to amend the Zoning Bylaw will also be included.

Step 8 - Regular Meeting of the Planning Committee:
Based on the planner's comprehensive report and the comments made at the public meeting, your application will be considered during a future regular meeting of the planning committee. The planning committee will then prepare its recommendation to City Council to approve your application with or without changes, reject your application or defer its decision until additional information is received.

Step 9 - City Council Meeting:
During a City Council meeting, City Council may adopt the planning committee's recommendation, amend it, reject it or refer it back to the planning committee for further information. If your application is approved by City Council, the Bylaw to adopt the Zoning Bylaw amendment will be given three readings at that City Council meeting.

Step 10 - Notice of Passing:
After City Council approves a Zoning Bylaw amendment, a 'Notice of Passing' will be sent by the city clerk within 15 days of Council's decision to all property owners within 120 metres of the subject lands and to any other interested parties requesting to receive notification. This notice will include information on the Bylaw to adopt the Zoning Bylaw amendment and will provide a 20 day period within which an appeal of the Bylaw may be made to the Ontario Municipal Board. Any person with an interest in the matter may appeal the decision of City Council to the Ontario Municipal Board.

Step 11 - Approval:
If no appeals to the bylaw are received, the Zoning Bylaw will come into effect. If the bylaw is appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board, the final decision regarding approval or rejection of your application will be made by the Board following a Municipal Board Hearing.

How long does it take to amend a Zoning Bylaw?

After your application has been submitted and deemed to be complete, it will generally take from four to six months to process the application to the stage where a recommendation can be made by City Council. If no appeals to the Zoning Bylaw amendment are received, it will come into effect. The approval process may be longer for applications that propose major developments, deal with complex supporting information or extensive public input or require additional development approvals such as a Draft Plan of Subdivision or an Official Plan Amendment (note that if an Official Plan Amendment is also required, there may be an opportunity for the City to deal with both the Official Plan Amendment and Zoning By-law Amendment applications at the same time). If an application is appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board, the Municipal Board Hearing process will add time to the approval procedure as well.