What is a Minor Variance?

All development proposals must meet the terms of the Zoning By-law. Whenever changes are made to a particular site and any of the regulations are not complied with, you will need a minor variance or amendment to the by-law to legalize the situation. The variance can relate to the land, building or structure or its use.

Examples of minor variance applications may include, but are not limited to:

  • New buildings or additions to existing buildings
  • Porch enclosure or new deck
  • New accessory buildings such as garages and sheds
  • Enlargement, extension or change of use of any legal non-conforming building
  • Parking spaces required for new or expanded businesses

What is a Consent?

The Planning Act requires that a consent must be granted before a parcel of land can be divided to create a new lot. This process is referred to as severing land and the type of consent given in this instance is a severance. Controlling the division of land through a severance gives the Municipality a procedure to ensure that the creation of lots is consistent with the planning policies of the municipality as set out in its Official Plan and all servicing requirements have been met.

Examples of other consent applications may include, but are not limited to:

  • Mortgages over part of a property
  • Lease agreements in excess of 21 years
  • Easements for servicing and right of ways for access over one property in favour of another Validation of title to resolve conveyance oversights that contravene the Planning Act

What is a Zoning By-law Amendment?

A by-law is approved by Council to implement and regulate the land use designations and planning policies of a Municipality's Official Plan at a more detailed level. The level of detail included within the Zoning By-law regulations commonly speak to the following elements:

  • Building Height
  • Landscaped Open Space
  • Lot Area, Coverage and Density
  • Minimum Distance Separation
  • Parking Requirements
  • Permitted Uses
  • Setbacks from Buildings and or Structures

What is a Site Plan?

A site plan is set of professional drawings, to scale, that display the physical arrangement of a property and includes such things as buildings, parking spaces, landscaping, entrances and servicing connections. The drawings are commonly referred to as “plans” and “elevation drawings”. The plans show what the site will look like from above and the elevations show what the site will look like from the street.

Site Planning is a tool used in Chatham-Kent when property is being developed to coordinate the developer’s needs as well as the interests of the community, and use of public resources.   It is extremely valuable in implementing Chatham-Kent’s goals for continuous improvement towards being a welcoming, active and sustainable place to work and live. All of Chatham Kent’s specific goals are found in the Official Plan.

Site Plan Approval:

  • Implements Chatham-Kent’s Official Plan and Zoning By-law
  • Coordinates municipal servicing, public safety and compatibility of land uses
  • Provides opportunities for being a healthier and progressive place
  • Respects individual choice, style and budget

What is a Subdivision approval?

When you divide a piece of land into multiple parcels, you are subdividing property, and the provisions of the Planning Act come into play. To subdivide land, you need approval of a plan of subdivision from the Municipality. If your proposal involves creating only a lot or two, you may seek approval for a "land severance" instead.

Subdivision approval ensures that:

  • The land is suitable for its proposed new use
  • The proposal conforms to the official plan in your community, as well as to provincial legislation and policies
  • You, your neighbours and your community are protected from developments which are inappropriate or may put an undue strain on community facilities, services or finances

What is an Official Plan Amendment?

If you want to use your property or develop it in a way that conflicts with the Official Plan, an amendment to the plan would be needed. You should talk first to municipal staff. They can let you know if the change is possible, what problems you might encounter and how you should apply.