Update on Harmonised Zoning Bylaw Proposal

The City has proposed that most of the zoning bylaws of the former municipalities be amalgamated into one bylaw with common terms and provisions without changing the intent of the existing bylaw regulations. Zoning bylaws are what tells you what you can build on your property – what use, size, parking requirements etc. So it is important that the harmonisation be done correctly.

The City put out a proposed new bylaw last May and since then there have been a number of meetings and issues raised about the proposals. The project is described on the City’s web site - see . The proposals include both “harmonization” and the addition of totally new proposals that are normally added in separate reports with detailed information.

The consultation process produced a list of issues that included:

  • Why amalgamate the bylaws?
  • Residential regulations are being substantially changed.
  • Uses permitted in industrial are being substantially changed.
  • What happens to the legal status of existing buildings when the regulations change?
  • Lack of sufficient and appropriate consultation.

The original deadline for completing the City’s approval process has been delayed for several months to allow for more consultation, including as directed by the Planning & Growth Management Committee, looking at the best way of incorporating the intent of the existing bylaws.  Also, the timeframe for reviewing the final proposals has been considerably extended. The City is now being much more open to consultation and is responding to the concerns raised.

PPT’s roles


PPT has raised issues about:

  1. the consultation process, which has provided insufficient information about the proposals, so ordinary citizens have difficulty understanding what the impacts will be. There should be clear examples of the impacts of existing and proposed regulations.
  2. the fact that there were unanticipated and hidden changes to existing provisions that will impact neighbourhoods.

PPT has also proposed better consultation about changes to neighbourhoods, the residential districts, and recommended that the planners work with a group of zoning experts to carefully review the proposals. PPT then played a major role in making this happen. A group of experts has met 3 times and worked through a series of issues about the proposals.

As a result, a number of significant changes should be incorporated into the revised proposed bylaw!  One of the major changes is to keep the use of “gross floor area” or “floor space index” where it is the measure of size of a house rather than change it to “lot coverage”. The “lot coverage” way of measuring is so different that it results in different shapes of houses. Others are to ensure that use permissions are not changed and that height regulations work effectively.

What happens next?


April 21 - Planning and Growth Management Committee meeting

  • The planners will have a report on the all proposed changes to the May 2009 draft bylaw that address the concerns raised.
  • The report will have examples comparing the impacts of existing and proposed regulations.
  • The report will be available a week before on the City’s web site. See

May 19 - Planning and Growth Management Committee meeting

  • The planners will have a report on any additional changes to the draft bylaw as a result of submissions on the report to the April 21 meeting.

May 27 - Statutory Open House

  • This is an extra step in the normal bylaw approval process to provide for more information to interested people and to allow for people to discuss their concerns with staff.


June 16 Statutory Public meeting –Planning and Growth Management Committee meeting

  • This is the formal meeting to make submissions in support or to report on issues.
  • The decision made by the Committee goes to City Council for approval.
  • The OMB now only will considers issues raise at this meeting, in person or written.

July 6 & 7 - City Council meeting

  • The City Council makes it decision on the proposed new bylaws – to approve, approve in part, defer etc.



  • Appeals can be made to the OMB, which then holds a hearing on the appeals.
Sat, 2013-02-16 12:33

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