A minor variance is a way of permitting a minor change to a property's zoning in order to allow the land to be used in a way which does not comply exactly with the requirements of the Zoning By-law. It is often triggered by circumstances which are peculiar to the property, and which would prevent the land from being developed in a way which conforms to the by-law's provisions. Examples of minor variances include relief from certain parking space requirements, building setbacks, and height restrictions.
HOW TO APPLY
If you think you might need a minor variance, you should discuss your proposal with a planner in the Municipality's Planning Department. It may also be beneficial to refer your proposal to the Municipality's Development Review Team as part of the pre-consultation process.
If it is determined that a Minor Variance is the only means available for accomplishing your development, then you should submit the appropriate application form complete with all required supporting documents, along with the appropriate fee (see Fee Schedule).
However, a Minor Variance is only appropriate if the variation to the Zoning provision is small. In cases where the proposed variation is larger, a Zoning By-law Amendment may be required instead. Since the variance may be "minor" in some situations and "major" in others, each case must be evaluated on its own merits.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
Applications for minor variances are made to the Municipality's Committee of Adjustment. Once a complete application has been filed and the fees paid, a date for a Public Meeting will be set and Notice of Meeting will be circulated to the surrounding property owners within 60 metres of the property to which the application applies, as well as other prescribed Ministries and agencies. The Notice must be sent out at least 10 days prior to the date of the Public Meeting. Also a sign will be installed on the property briefly describing the proposal.
The Municipal planner will prepare a report for the Public Meeting with a recommendation to either approve or refuse the Minor Variance application. You may appear at the Public Meeting to present your views. If the Committee of Adjustment approves the proposed variance, it will pass its Decision, which may have specific conditions of approval attached to it. The Decision will be circulated to give interested parties the chance to appeal. A 20-day appeal period is provided for, once Notice of Committee's Decision has been given. If no appeals are received by the end of the appeal period, the variance will come into full force and effect.