What is a Minor Variance?
A minor variance is a change or permission from the specific requirements of the Town’s zoning by-law. Zoning by-laws are very specific in terms of setbacks, lot coverage and so on, and while they are crafted to anticipate most scenarios, they simply cannot anticipate all. The minor variance process allows a property owner the opportunity to seek permission or relief from a specific provision of the Town’s zoning by-law by applying to the Committee of Adjustment.
When the Committee is considering a minor variance application, the four tests as prescribed by Section 45(1) of the Planning Act are applied to determine if the minor variance should be approved.
The four tests are:
- Is the application minor in nature?
- Is it desirable for the appropriate development or use of the land, building or structure?
- Is it in keeping with the general intent and purpose of the Zoning By-law?
- Is it in keeping with the general intent and purpose of the Official Plan?
What is the Minor Variance Process?
The minor variance process consists of several steps:
Pre Consultation: Prior to making the application, the applicant may wish to confer with the Secretary Treasurer
Submission: When submitting, ensure that the application is completed in its entirety. Once a completed application is received it is processed by the Secretary Treasurer
Circulation: All property owners within 60 metres of the subject lands as well as various Town departments and any affected agencies are provided a Notice of Hearing two weeks prior to the Hearing date, which briefly outlines the nature of the application – applicant is responsible for posting a sign on the subject lands
Hearing and Decision: The Committee hears the application and usually makes a decision the same day
Notice of Decision: A Notice of Decision is circulated to the applicant and all persons who made a written request to be notified of the decision – once the decision is made, a 20 day appeal period commences during which time the Committee’s decision could be appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board
If Appealed: The application is heard before the Ontario Municipal Board in what amounts to a new hearing
If No Appeal: The Committee’s decision is final after the expiration of the 20 day appeal period