Zoning By-Laws & Building on Land in Ontario

If you’ve considered building an addition to your home, adding a shed to your backyard or putting a fence around your property, you may be familiar with the tricky world of zoning by-laws.

For the uninitiated, you might be wondering what exactly a by-law is and why you should be concerned about it. A by-law details how land may be used, where buildings and other structures can be put on the land, what types of buildings and structures are allowed, and the sizes, heights and other requirements that these buildings and structures have to comply with.

These by-laws are determined from municipality to municipality, so what might be allowed in Kitchener might not be allowed in Guelph. Zoning by-laws are legally enforceable laws and if you want to put a building on land that doesn’t comply with the by-law, you won’t be given a building permit. If you’re thinking of building something or adding on to your home, it’s important to be aware of the zoning by-laws where you live. You can easily search for the by-laws in your city online or you can visit a Municipal Service Office in your city.

Most municipalities use something called a comprehensive zoning by-law. This divides the municipality into different zones with different types of land uses, for example building a shopping mall versus building a house. But if you want to build or develop your property in a way that’s not permitted by the by-law, you can apply for what’s called a minor variance to the zoning by-law amendment.

If this all sounds complicated to you or if you aren’t sure where to start when doing your next renovation, we can help. As contractors who have been in the business since 1942, Menno S. Martin takes care of all the zoning by-laws research necessary when we build, renovate or design something for you and your home. We’re experts in meeting the proper zoning by-laws and getting the proper building permits each time we start a new project, so you’ll be able to rest assured that when you use our services your home will be compliant with all your local zoning by-laws.