Zoning FAQs

Zoning – Frequently Asked Questions

What is zoning?

Zoning is a process that establishes zone categories for every property within the municipality. The zone identifies permitted uses and regulations related to such things as minimum lot area, density, building height and area, maximum lot coverage, parking requirements, permitted accessory uses, etc.

What if my property is regulated by the Conservation Authority?

Some properties may fall under lands which are regulated by the Conservation Authority. In these areas the Conservation Authority regulates land uses and activities based on potential hazards, flooding, natural features, watercourses and shoreline areas.   The Town of Innisfil falls within the jurisdiction of two conservation authorities, the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority  (LSRCA) and the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority  (NVCA).  All you have to do to find out if your property comes under the Fill, Construction, and Alteration to Waterways Regulation is call the LSRCA at 905-895-1281 or the NVCA at 705-424-1479.  Regulation mapping is also available on their websites.

You can visit our zoning page for more information by clicking here, where you will also find an easy to use zoning mapping tool.

Can I operate a business from my home?

Home based businesses are permitted in certain zones. A home based business, or home occupation, is an occupation for gain or support conducted entirely within a dwelling unit, is secondary to the residential use, and operated only by those residing on the premises plus not more than one assistant who is not a resident of the dwelling. Additional requirements for home occupation uses can be found in the Zoning By-law.

How many dwelling units can be located on a lot?

A dwelling unit is basically one room or a group of rooms in a dwelling, used by only one household as a single independent and separate housekeeping establishment in which food preparation, sleeping and sanitary facilities are provided for the sole use of the occupants, and which has a private entrance from outside the building or from a common hallway or stairway inside the building. A second dwelling unit (e.g. a basement apartment, in-law suite, etc.) is generally allowed in a single-detached, semi-detached or street townhouse as long as it can meet the zoning requirements, it is legally constructed, and it is registered with the Town. See the Second Units tab on the Planning Services page for more information. 

What is an agricultural use? 

An agricultural use is defined as the use of land, buildings or structures for the growing of field crops, berry crops, vegetables, flowers, mushrooms, tree crops, the grazing, breeding, raising, boarding or training of animals and livestock, market gardening, kennels, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, and other silvaculture, aquaculture, apiculture and hydroponics, and the sale of agricultural products from the farm on which they are produced.

What is a minor variance?

The provisions of the Zoning By-law are precise, and any development proposal must comply with the terms and provisions of the by-law. A minor variance is a change or permission from the specific requirements of the Town’s zoning by-law.  Please see Committee of Adjustment for more information on minor variance. 

How close to the lot line can I build?

Each zone has specific setbacks that must be followed. A setback is simply the distance a building or structure must be located from a lot line. You can check the Zoning By-law to determine how the property is zoned, and the requirements for that zone, or contact Customer Service.

What is lot coverage?

Lot coverage is the combined area covered by all buildings on the lot and calculated as a percentage of the lot area. Decks are included within lot coverage. Each zone has its own maximum allowable percentage, which is outlined in the Zoning By-law.

How high can a building be?

Although there are different height restrictions for different zones, generally, the maximum height of a single family dwelling is 9 metres. The height is measured from the average point at grade to the midpoint of the roof. The specific height restrictions for each zone are outlined in the Zoning By-law.

On a corner lot, where is the frontage?

Regardless of which way your home is oriented on a lot, the front lot line is determined as being the shorter of the two lot lines which abut the two streets. For clarification, you should check the Zoning By-law definitions section.

On a lakefront property, where is the front lot line?

The front lot line would normally be the line that divides the lot from the street.