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Chatham-Kent Legal Services Targets Business Bylaw Red Tape

In an effort to help reduce red tape for local businesses, Chatham-Kent Legal Services is in the process of conducting a review of 30 regulatory bylaws. Dave Taylor, Manager of Legal Services, presented the early findings of the review at the Community Development Advisory Committee meeting on December 10, 2019.

“We have made it a priority to dedicate time towards looking at if the bylaws are working the way they are intended, if there is room for improvement, and if there are any opportunities to just remove a bylaw all together,” said Taylor.

One example of a bylaw under review is the property disposition bylaw, which looks at the sale of municipal industrial properties. Under the current bylaw, Chatham-Kent Council consent is required for any transfer, lease, or mortgage of the property within 10 years of closing as the Municipality has the option to re-purchase.

The origins of this bylaw were to help control disposition or resale inconsistent with Municipal plans for industrial park space. While in theory this sounded like a reasonable and practical solution, in actual practice it has proven to be a stress point for developers.

Through ongoing engagement with developers and investors, discussions are being planned for the New Year to look at proposing a repeal of this 10 years clause as it will be better for land purchase negotiations and has the opportunity to make growth easier.

“The world changes and we need to be able to respond to new realities by adjusting our regulations,” said John Norton, General Manager of Community Development. “There are times when introducing a new rule can sometimes have unexpected results. These are the kinds of bylaws we are hoping to work with our businesses and industries to help adjust. It just makes sense,” added Norton.

Looking at the preliminary presentation provided to the Community Development Advisory Committee, other bylaws being considered for revamping are downtowns business signage bylaws which can be restrictive, updating a building code bylaw to allow for permits to be submitted electronically, and cleaning up the wording on several bylaws in an effort to make them easier to understand.

“Nothing is set in stone yet and there is still work to do with stakeholders including the BIA’s, Chambers, and anyone interested in being a part of the process,” said Taylor. “Our ultimate goal is to make it even easier for people do to businesses in Chatham-Kent and this is another step forward towards that goal.”

A follow up discussion will return to a future Community Development Advisory Committee meeting in 2020 followed by a formal presentation made to Council for final decision. More information, including engagement sessions will be made available online at



Chatham-Kent Legal Services is evaluating 30 regulatory bylaws
The bylaw review by Chatham-Kent Legal Services is evaluating 30 regulatory bylaws in an effort to revise, clean up wording, and where possible eliminate unnecessary red tape.

Additional Details:

Media Contact:

Andrew Tompsett
Marketing and Communications Officer, Economic Development Services
Municipality of Chatham-Kent
Phone: 519-352-8401 x2039
Fax: 519-436-3237