Frequently Asked Questions

Development Applications

What materials are available on the City's website in support of development applications?
Studies and plans in support of the following development applications are posted online: Site Plan Control, Official Plan Amendment, Zoning By-law Amendment, Demolition Control, Plan of Subdivision and Plan of Condominium.

Can I obtain additional information about the applications posted through the City's Web site?
Plans and studies submitted with an application are posted on the City’s website. Further questions and concerns can be directed to the File Lead, either by email or telephone. The name and contact information for the File Lead can be seen on the Dev Apps page.

Is it possible for me to comment on a development application?
You are encouraged to submit comments by selecting the link ‘send comments to the planner'. You may also contact the File Lead directly by calling the number provided, fax or via e-mail. Note that the terms Planner and File Lead in this context refer to the same person. The standard time period for commenting on an application is 28 days after its circulation date. It is possible that comments will be accepted after this period. If you are uncertain whether comments are still being accepted please contact the File Lead.

What is meant by the term circulation date?
Circulation date refers to the day that notice of an application is provided to the public and internal and external agencies for comment.

Who is a File Lead?
A File Lead is a City land use planner in charge of administering the review of a development application by a multi-disciplinary team.

What does Delegated Authority mean?
The Planning Act permits a municipal Council to delegate their approval authority to City staff for some development applications. In these instances, the actual approval decision is made by the assigned staff or Manager in the Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development Department, as described under the City’s Delegation of Authorities By-law.

It is possible for an individual Councillor to withdraw delegated authority. In this event, the matter will be referred to either the Planning Committee or the Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee, depending on the site’s geographic location.

What if I can't find a development application online?
Make certain that the development application you are searching for is one of the following applications subject to public consultation:

  • Site Plan Control – Manager Approval, Public Consultation
  • Zoning By-Law Amendment
  • Official Plan Amendment
  • Demolition Control
  • Condominium – Vacant Land and Common Elements only
  • Plan of Subdivision
  • Heritage Applications to be considered by Council

Information may not appear online if the City does not consider a development application submission to be complete. This means that all of the required plans and studies must be submitted before the application can be reviewed. After an application is deemed complete, it is circulated to technical agencies and registered community organizations for review. The supporting materials are posted online. Some applications require that residents within a 120 metre circumference of the site be notified directly.

It is important to note that all materials posted in support of a development application are removed from the website 5 years after a decision has been granted.

Before beginning your search for a development application, ensure that your information on the property's location is accurate. You can also use the website's advanced search function to broaden or expand your search to include multiple criteria such as street, ward, and application type.

If your search is unsuccessful and you believe that an application has been filed you may contact one of the Development Review Managers listed below.


East ( Wards 11, 2, 1, and ½ of 19) Manager: Jeff McEwen
West (Wards 4, 6, 23, 8, 9, 7) Manager: Erin O’Connell (A)
Central (Wards 13, 12, 14, 15, 17) Manager: Saide Sayah
South (Wards 18, 10, 16, 22, 3) Manager: Lily Xu
Rural (Wards 5, 21, 20, and ½ of 19) Manager: Adam Brown

Technical Queries

I can't seem to open the PDF files contained on the City's website. Is there an alternative way for me to view this information?
You can view hard copies of the plans and studies submitted for an application by contacting the File Lead. In some circumstances it may be possible to have copies made of these documents.

Decision and Appeals

Who decides whether an application is approved or refused?
Depending on the type of application, decisions are made by either:

  • City Council
  • The Planning Committee (Urban and Suburban Area)
  • The Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee (Rural Area)
  • Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development Department staff.
City Council makes all decisions on Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendment applications.

Can a decision be appealed?
Appeals to heritage applications to alter for individually designated properties (Part IV) are referred to the Conservation Review Board. Other application decisions can be appealed by members of the public to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT), with the exception that for Site Plan Control and applications that are submitted under the Ontario Heritage Act, a decision can only be appealed by the applicant. Please note that the grounds for an appeal, in the case of a zoning by-law amendment, are restricted to inconsistency with the Official Plan or a provincial policy statement and in the case of an official plan amendment to inconsistency with a provincial policy statement. Also, there are eligibility criteria that must be met in order to appeal a development application to the LPAT. The File Lead can further advise on any specific requirements in this regard.


What is meant by the term Review Status?
The Review Status indicates the stage of an application's review. City staff and external technical agencies review each development application extensively before a decision is reached. The amount of time required depends on the type of application being reviewed and its complexity.

Common status labels include, Community Head's-Up Completed, Comment Period in Progress, Comment Period has Ended/Issue Resolution, Application File Pending and Application Approved by Director.

The Review Status, Community Head's-Up Completed indicates that the appropriate community organizations registered with the City have been notified of the proposal.

The Review Status, Comment Period in Progress indicates that the File Lead is accepting comments from the public in response to a development proposal. It also signals that the application has been sent to technical agencies for review. In most cases, comments are accepted for a 28-day period beginning the day that an application is circulated.

The Review Status, Comment Period has Ended/Issue Resolution indicates that the time period for commenting on an application has ended. The next step in the process involves identifying potential issues and exploring possible solutions.

The Review Status, Application File Pending is applied when unforeseen difficulties or delays occur during the review of an application. Often this mechanism is used when more information is required from an applicant. An application can remain Application File Pending for an unspecified period of time. The Review process is restarted at the City's discretion when all items affecting review have been resolved.

The Review Status, Application Approved indicates that an application has been approved by the relevant Planning Branch Manager. This term will only apply to applications that can be approved through Delegated Authority.

For Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendment applications, the status updates will be different from an application subject to Delegated Authority.

Here, the review status, Amendment Recommended to Council for Approval, means that either the Planning Committee or the Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee has recommended the adoption of the Official Plan Amendment or Zoning By-law Amendment to Council.

The review status, Application Approved by Council means that Council has approved the recommended Official Plan Amendment or Zoning By-law Amendment.

The review statuses, LPAT Package Sent or Appealed to the LPAT, means that Council’s decision has been appealed to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT).

For applications submitted under the Ontario Heritage Act, the status labels are as follows.

Report completed - indicates that the File Lead has finished writing the report. The report will be considered by the Built Heritage Sub-Committee, Planning Committee and Council.

Report in progress - indicates that the File Lead is writing the report to be heard by the Built Heritage Sub-Committee, Planning Committee and Council.

Heritage Permit Approved - indicates that the report was approved by City Council, and the heritage permit has been issued.

Heritage Permit Refused - indicated that the report was refused by City Council.

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