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Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw Amendments

Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw Amendments:

Every property in the Town of Smiths Falls has been identified and mapped in accordance with its land use.  Properties are provided with at least two designations:

  • An Official Plan land use policy in The Town of Smiths Falls Official Plan
  • A land use zone in the Town of Smiths Falls Zoning Bylaw 6080-94

In some cases, additional bylaws have been passed regarding the development of the property (ie. heritage designations, site plan control agreements, holdings).

A complete and up-to-date copy of both the Town’s zoning by-law and Official Plan are available on the Planning Department's website.  A zoning schedule (zoning map) is also available and can be used to identify the zone in which a property is located.  

For questions regarding additional bylaws registered on the title of the property, please contact the Planning Department.

What is an Official Plan?

An Official Plan is a policy adopted by the Municipal Council for the purposes of:

  1. Guiding future growth in a logical and orderly manner;
  2. Protecting existing development from the adverse effects which may arise from incompatible development and redevelopment; and
  3. Correcting any errors of past development so as to ensure a healthy growth which will benefit all residents of the Town.

The Town of Smiths Falls is currently in the processes of reviewing their Official Plan and will be adopting a new plan within the near future.

What is an Official Plan amendment?

An Official Plan amendment is a bylaw passed by the Municipal Council adjusting the current Official Plan land use designation of a specific property or group of properties.  An Official Plan amendment is usually done in conjunction with a Zoning By-law amendment.

What is a Zoning By-law?

A zoning by-law is a document passed by the Municipal Council that lays out the day-to-day administrative duties and puts into affect the policies set out in the Town’s Official Plan.  The zoning by-law states exactly:

  • What uses are permitted on the lands;
  • Where buildings and structures can be located;
  • The types of buildings and specific uses of the building;
  • The lot area and dimensions, setbacks and height restrictions;
  • The amount of landscaped open space and parking required for the use;

All sections of the zoning bylaw are legal enforceable and any construction or new development that does not comply with the zoning by-law is not allowed to occur.

What is a zoning amendment?

A zoning amendment is a change in zoning and may be necessary for any new construction or develop in the Town.  The first step to deciding if an amendment is necessary is to contact the Planning Department.  In some cases a zoning amendment may also be accompanied by an Official Plan amendment.

 Frequently Asked Questions:


How do I apply for a Zoning of Official Plan Amendment?

  • An application for amendment requires the completion of the Application for Zoning Bylaw Amendment or Application and Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw Amendment form which are both available on the Planning Department’s website or at Town Hall.
  • The application will be reviewed for completeness by the Planning Department and a Notice of Public Meeting will be issued no less than 20 days prior to the Public Meeting date.
  • The Planning Department will advise the applicant as to whether additional information or applications are required prior to the issuance of a Notice of Public Meeting.

The Planning Department recommends pre-consultation prior to the filing of an application in order to facilitate the efficient and thorough processing of the application.

 What if the application is only for a minor amendment?

  • If the nature of the application is minor in nature and meets most provisions of the current zone or Official Plan designation, a Minor Variance Application may be more appropriate.  The Planning Department can advise which application is most suitable for the situation.

 Is there an application fee?

  • Yes, for each application there is a fee of $2,000.00 to be paid at the time the application is filed.

 How long will the application process take?

  • From the date of submission of a complete application form, the process will take approximately 60-90 days to the date a provisional decision is made by the Municipal Council.
  • Once a complete application is received a Public Meeting will be scheduled to allow for comment from neighbouring properties owners and local agencies.
  • The application will then be presented by the Town Planner at the next scheduled Committee of the Whole meeting for discussion.  At this point the Municipal Council may ask for additional information regarding the application prior to appearing in front of Council.
  • Once all additional information has been reviewed by Council the application will be brought forward for decision at the next scheduled Council Meeting.
  • A Notice of Passing will be circulated for consideration and a 20 day appeal period is permitted before the by-law becomes effective.

 Why do I need to apply for an amendment?

  • An Official Plan or zoning by-law amendment provide:
  1. A legal way of managing land use and future development
  2. Protection from conflicting and possibly dangerous land uses in your community

 How is it evaluated?

  • The Municipal Council will consider the application by evaluating the proposal against several criteria including, but not limited to:
    • Conformity with the Provincial Policy Statement;
    • Conformity with the General Provisions of the Town’s Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw
    • Suitability of the land for the proposed use
    • Adequacy of municipal services for the site
    • Adequate protection against potential environmental risks
    • Impacts on the natural environment

 Is there an opportunity to appeal a decision?

  • Anyone may appeal the decision or conditions imposed by the Committee of Adjustment to the Ontario Municipal Board within 20 days of the issuance of the Notice of Decision. 
  • The applicant may appeal to the OMB if no decision has been made by the Committee of Adjustment within 60 days from the date of receipt of the application by the Committee

The OMB is an independent tribunal responsible for investigating appeals to municipal planning decisions based on evidence presented at the hearing.  For additional information regarding the OMB please go to http://www.omb.gov.on.ca/english/home.html.

NOTE:  This guide has been produced by the Town of Smiths Falls Planning Department and is intended to provide general information to the public.  It should not be construed as technical or legal advice for amendments or a right for approval if the steps indicated are followed.