When you’re planning to start, grow, or change your business is an exciting time. Here is some information to help you make the transition as smooth as possible.
Where do I start?
When planning to start, grow, or change your business, the easiest way to avoid potential problems is to consult with the planning staff at your local municipality before making any commitments. They will give you a brief explanation of the development limits and requirements for the property you are dealing with.
Occasionally, business owners or managers will have to apply to the municipality for changes (such as rezoning) or exceptions (a variance) to local by-laws to accommodate the plans they have for their business or property. Rezonings and variances are two of the most common applications made to municipalities.
The Planning Advisory Committee (PAC) is the group of community members appointed by council that help manage land use and have specific approval authority. These volunteers meet on a regular basis to evaluate applications.
Municipal staff are responsible for the day-to-day administration of these by-laws, including applications for rezoning, variances, conditional uses, temporary uses, similar or compatible uses.
Municipal Council appoints PAC members and, in some cases, approves decisions or recommendations made by the staff or PAC.
The Zoning By-Law outlines the permitted land uses and development standards for the different areas in your municipality. If you are proposing a different use for your property that does not fit within the range described in the by-law, you will be required to obtain a rezoning before starting. There is an application fee, paid whether or not the rezoning is granted. The process for rezoning is public and takes six to eight weeks and a minimum of three months if a municipal plan amendment is required to support the rezoning.
Variances are required when your proposed use fits within the zoning structure but does not fit one (or more) of the development standards. For example, your building plans call for a sign erected 6 metres from the ground when 4.5 is the by-law maximum. Following a meeting with municipal staff, the application is forwarded to PAC along with a recommendation from staff. PAC then approves (sometimes with conditions) or denies the application. This process is public and will take several weeks.
David Taylor, Development Officer
Tel: (506) 738-6409
Fax: (506) 738-6424