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Approvals Delegated to Staff

City Council has delegated approval authority for Site Plan Control, Final Plan of Subdivision, and Consent applications to staff. However, there is a provision for a bump-up to our Planning Committee or Council. The bump-up request may be made by Council through a Council motion. 

In cases of disputed Consent applications, or Consent applications submitted concurrently with a minor variance application, the Committee of Adjustment handles them. Staff or the applicant can also request a bump-up if there is a disagreement with municipal conditions or if disputes arise between staff and the applicant regarding required works. 

A bump-up request impacts processing timelines because it involves staff preparing a report for the Committee or Council and discussing the application at a meeting.

Site plan approval process

Site plan approval is a required step for many land development projects before a building permit can be granted. The specific types of development that need site plan control are detailed in the Site Plan Control Bylaw

Site plan control, which is governed by Section 41 of the Ontario Planning Act, empowers us to review key aspects of a project. This includes building placement, parking, site design, storm water management, and more. Kingston's Site Plan Control Guidelines outline the application process, requirements, reports and technical details. 

Site plan approval process guideline 

We assign a City planner to each application. That planner collaborates with the applicant to handle technical matters, set up meetings and address any issues. The planner serves as the main contact for the applicant throughout the application process. 

Once we approve the application, we and the property owner make a legal agreement. Usually, you cannot get a building permit until you meet all the site plan control requirements and get the final approval.  

In certain situations, and based on timing, we might consider a partial building permit to start the foundation work if you request it. All technical departments will review this request before deciding.

You must submit a pre-application online through DASH and meet with City staff before submitting your site plan control application. 

Pre-application helps you figure out what approvals and reports you need for site plan control. This might include studies on traffic impact, tree preservation, stormwater management, parking, noise and more. It also identifies any external agencies you should contact such as the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority.

The assigned planner will confirm requirements and fees in the Pre-Application Report provided after the meeting. 

If you want to make changes to a property that already has site plan control approval, you might need a site plan modification approval. This could also involve an updated agreement and more financial security, depending on the changes. 

Following pre-application, you may submit your site plan control application through DASH. You must submit all materials (plans, studies, etc.) identified during the pre-application process. 

When you apply for site plan control approval, there are several fees to consider. The complete application fee covers both planning and engineering costs, is due when you submit your application for approval. 

As part of site plan control, the assigned planner creates an 11x17-inch sign that you need to put on the property. This sign advises the public that you have applied for site plan control and what the proposal is. It also gives the planner’s contact details in case more information is needed. You are responsible for putting up the signs. 

The planner in charge of your project will share the submitted plans and studies with relevant City departments and outside agencies as part of a technical review. Additionally, we have a committee that supports the review of site plan control applications to ensure that the proposed development meets all accessibility requirements . A complete submission is crucial for departments to review all relevant materials and offer feedback. 

The planner will forward technical review comments to you and your agent. To address these comments, you may be required to submit additional information and updated drawings to the planner, who will share them with relevant departments and agencies for assessment. 

The planner will work with you to address comments and schedule meetings if needed.  

The Director of Planning Services can approve site plan control applications, but they may go to the Planning Committee if requested by Council through a Council motion. In these situations, the Planning Committee receives an information report on the application, but the authority to approve the application rests with the Director of Planning Services. 

A three-step process is used for site plan control approval: 

    1. We issue a conditional approval through a letter. The letter includes a list of pre-approval conditions. Conditional approval is not final approval. It is your responsibility to satisfy all pre-approval conditions before final approval. 
    2. When all pre-approval conditions have been addressed, we prepare a draft site plan control agreement. After reviewing and agreeing on the terms, you will be required to return a signed copy to us, and we will finalize the agreement for registration. Before we give final approval, you will need to submit any necessary financial securities and a digital copy of the final site plan control drawings. 
    3. The site plan control agreement is registered.

We can include conditions of approval in the site plan control agreement. If you do not agree with the conditions, you can appeal to the Ontario Land Tribunal.

As an applicant, you must remove all signs from the property once site plan control approval is complete. 

After receiving final site plan control approval, you may apply for a buildings permit, and prepare the project for the construction phase. 

After finishing construction, you can ask to reduce or release the financial securities based on the conditions in the site plan control agreement. 

The City of Kingston acknowledges that we are on the traditional homeland of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and the Huron-Wendat, and thanks these nations for their care and stewardship over this shared land.

Today, the City is committed to working with Indigenous peoples and all residents to pursue a united path of reconciliation.

Learn more about the City's reconciliation initiatives.

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