Committee of Adjustment

The Committee of Adjustment hears applications under Section 45 of the Planning Act and Section 50/52 & 57 of the Planning Act R.S.O. 1990 c.P13, as amended. The Committee of Adjustment is an independent body appointed by Guelph City Council. There are two major types of applications to the Committee of Adjustment: Applications for consent to create new lots or adjust boundaries and applications for minor variances to the municipal Zoning By-law requirements or for permission to extend land uses that have existed prior to the passing of the current By-law.

26 kBCommittee of Adjustment 2016 Hearing Dates 20 kBCommittee of Adjustment 2016 Fees 1 MBCommittee of Adjustment Public Hearing brochure

Contact information

Committee of Adjustment
519-822-1260 extension 2524
cofa@guelph.ca

How do I make an application?

Step 1 – Consult with Staff

Before you fill out an application, discuss your plans with staff. They will facilitate pre-consultation and provide the application, fee and meeting schedule. If you are unsure what variance(s) are required for your application, complete and submit the Preliminary Zoning Review form.

Step 2 – Consult with City Departments

Speak with staff in Planning Services and Engineering Services respecting your application. Ask to speak with the staff member who deals with Committee of Adjustment matters. This is necessary to determine the need and nature of the variance, whether or not there might be servicing requirements or land dedications involved with the proposal and whether or not an amendment to the Zoning By-law is required. If a Zoning By-law amendment is required, this cannot be dealt with by the Committee of Adjustment.

Step 3 – Complete the Application

Committee of Adjustment Application For Consent Committee of Adjustment – Application For Consent 120 kBCommittee of Adjustment – Application For Minor Variance 352 kBCommittee of Adjustment – Application For Minor Variance 46 kBPreliminary Zoning Review Form 373 kBPreliminary Zoning Review Form

Step 4 – Public Hearing and Decision Making Process

A public hearing will normally be held within 30 days of receiving your application. It is very important that you and/or your agent or solicitor attend the hearing to explain the reasons for your application. If you do not attend, the Committee may proceed in your absence or defer the application. There are additional fees associated with the deferral of an application. Other interested persons are also entitled to attend and to express their views about the application. The Committee will also consider verbal advice and written reports from staff. The Committee will use the following criteria to evaluate the application and reach its decisions:

  • Is the variance minor?
  • Is it desirable for the appropriate development or use of the land, building or structure?
  • Is the general intent and purpose of the Official Plan and Zoning By-law being maintained?

If your application is approved, the Committee may impose conditions as part of its decision.

Step 5 – Notice of Decision

Within 10 days of the Committee making its decision, the Secretary-Treasurer of the Committee will mail a copy of the decision to you and to any who filed a written request for notice of the decision. Information is included in the Notice of decision outlining appeal procedures and identifying the last day for appealing the Committee’s decision to the Ontario Municipal Board.

Step 6 – When the Decision is Final and Binding

If no appeal is made by the end of the appeal period, the decision is final and binding. You will be notified by mail, and if the application has been approved, you should, subject to the fulfilment of any conditions set out in the final decision, be in a position to apply for a building permit or be in compliance with the Zoning By-law.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Planning Act of Ontario allows for minor variances that meet the four test criteria. It is up to the Committee of Adjustment to determine if a variance meets the four tests.
Under Section 45(1) of the Planning Act there are four tests that a minor variance must meet:

  1. Is the proposed variance minor in nature?
  2. Is the proposed variance desirable for the appropriate development of the lands in question?
  3. Does the proposed variance maintain the general intent and purpose of the Zoning By-law?
  4. Does the proposed variance maintain the general intent and purpose of the Official Plan?
The City’s Zoning By-Law is the most important document with respect to the regulation of development and land use activities within the municipality. The Zoning By-Law can be accessed through the city’s website. Current zoning designations can be identified through the defined area maps, and access the corresponding regulations. Building Services should be consulted regarding inquiries and interpretation of the Zoning By-law.
For both minor variance and consent applications, from the time the application is submitted until a decision is made and the appeal period expires takes 2 to 3 months. If conditions are attached to a decision, the process will be longer. If a decision is appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board, the decision is not final until it has been dealt with by the Board.The applicant can help to facilitate timely progression through the process by ensuring their application is complete, and that the information provided is accurate. Delays in the review of an application commonly stem from a lack of detailed information. By submitting an application that is complete and detailed, unnecessary delays can be avoided.

The minor variance process consists of several steps:

  1. Zoning Review – prior to making the application, the applicant is encouraged to submit a preliminary zoning review form to ensure they are applying for the correct variances, and that they have included all required variances on their application.
  2. Pre-consultation – applicants are encouraged to speak with staff from Planning Services and other property owners in their neighbourhood. They will receive notice of your application and have opportunity to raise issues. While not mandatory, it’s a good idea to canvass everyone ahead of time and resolve any concerns that are expressed.
  3. Submission – when submitting, ensure that the application is completed in its entirety and that all required elements are included on your drawing. An appointment with Committee of Adjustment staff to review the completed application prior to submission is recommended.
  4. Circulation – all property owners within 30 metres (or 60 metres if the subject property is not detached, semi-detached or duplex housing or the application is not considered under section 45(1) of the Planning Act) of the subject lands as well as various City departments and any affected agencies are provided a Notice of Public Hearing at least 10 days prior to the hearing date, which outlines the nature of the application. A copy of this notice is also posted to the City of Guelph website. The applicant is responsible for posting a sign on the property at least 10 days prior to the hearing, which will be provided by City staff. Committee of Adjustment members and city staff will visit the property for a site inspection. Property owners are not required to be home or present on the site when the members visit the property, but they do require unobstructed access to the site (i.e. make sure the gates are unlocked, walkways are clear, etc.)
  5. Comments – Anyone who was circulated notice of the application or any other member of the public has the opportunity to provide comments or raise issues. City departments and affected agencies may recommend conditions of approval as part of these comments. Comment documents are posted to the City of Guelph website approximately one week prior to the meeting. The applicant should review and understand the comments provided. If they are unsure what a condition requires please contact city staff. There is opportunity at the hearing to address any concerns about the proposed conditions, but once the Committee has made a decision subject to conditions, the conditions cannot be changed or removed.
  6. Hearing and decision – The Committee hears the application, and makes an oral decision on the same day (approval, refusal, or deferral). A written notice of decision is circulated to the applicant and any persons who made a written request to be notified of the decision. Once the decision is made, a 20 day appeal period commences during which time the Committee’s decision could be appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board (Note: the 20 day appeal period is 20 days, not business days).
  7. If appealed – the application is heard before the Ontario Municipal Board in what amounts to a new hearing.
  8. If no appeal – the Committee’s decision is final after the expiration of the 20 day appeal period. A letter will be mailed to anyone who received a notice of decision informing them that the appeal period has ended and no appeals were received.
In evaluating applications for consent, the Committee must consider criteria listed in Section 51(24) of the Planning Act. Examples of these criteria include:

  • Conformity with the lot creation policies of the City’s Official Plan;
  • The availability of access to and frontage on a municipal road;
  • The adequacy of water and wastewater services;
  • The location, suitability, and characteristics of the property;
  • Whether the application is premature or in the public interest;
  • The conservation and protection of natural resources and farmland; and
  • The impact upon the current and future use of surrounding properties.
The consent process consists of several steps:

  1. Pre-consultation: Applicants are encouraged to speak with staff from Planning Services and any neighbours within 60 metres of your property. They will receive notice of your application and have opportunity to raise issues. While not mandatory, it’s a good idea to canvass everyone ahead of time and resolve any concerns that are expressed.
  2. Submission: when submitting, ensure that the application is completed in its entirety and all required elements are included on your drawing. An appointment with Committee of Adjustment staff to review the completed application prior to submission is recommended.
  3. Circulation: all property owners within 60 metres of the subject lands as well as various city departments and any affected agencies are provided a Notice of Public Hearing at least 14 days prior to the hearing date, which outlines the nature of the application. A copy of this notice is also posted to the City of Guelph website. The applicant is responsible for posting a sign on the property at least 14 days prior to the hearing, which will be provided by City staff. Committee of Adjustment members and city staff will visit the property for a site inspection. Property owners are not required to be home or present on the site when the members visit the property, but they do require unobstructed access to the site (i.e. make sure the gates are unlocked, walkways are clear, etc.)
  4. Comments: Anyone who was circulated notice of the application or any other member of the public has the opportunity to provide comments or raise issues. If City departments and affected agencies support the application, they will recommend conditions of approval as part of these comments that must be fulfilled within one year after the consent has been granted. Comment documents are posted to the City of Guelph website approximately one week prior to the meeting. The applicant should review and understand the comments provided. If you are unsure what a condition requires please contact city staff. There is opportunity at the hearing to address any concerns about the proposed conditions, but once the Committee has made a decision subject to conditions, the conditions cannot be changed or removed unless a separate application is made to change the condition.
  5. Hearing and decision: The Committee hears the application, and makes an oral decision on the same day (approval, refusal, or deferral). Generally, consent is granted conditionally (typical conditions may include payment of an administration fee, reference plan (survey), cash in-lieu-of parkland, connection to municipal services etc.). A written notice of decision is circulated to the applicant and any persons who made a written request to be notified of the decision. Once the decision is circulated, a 20 day appeal period commences during which time the Committee’s decision could be appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board (NOTE: the 20 day appeal period is 20 days, NOT business days).
  6. If appealed: the application is heard before the Ontario Municipal Board in what amounts to a new hearing.
  7. If no appeal: the Committee’s decision is final after the expiration of the 20 day appeal period. A letter will be mailed to anyone who received a notice of decision informing them that the appeal period has ended and no appeals were received.
Fees are set out on the cover sheet of the application forms as well as in our fee schedule. If your property is in the Conservation Authority regulated area, an additional fee to the Grand River Conservation Authority will apply. These are just application fees, keep in mind there may be other fees associated with your application, depending on what you are doing to your property.Additional fees may include but are not limited to building permits, development charges, agreement preparation fees, cash in-lieu-of parkland fees, site plan charges, relocating hydro poles, water, storm or sanitary hookups etc.

Yes. Whether you are the applicant, a neighbouring property owner, or a passerby who saw the posted sign, staff is available to answer any of your questions. If you have any questions regarding the process you may contact Committee of Adjustment staff by phone at 519-822-1260, ext. 2524 or by email at cofa@guelph.ca.
No, the applicant is not required to speak to the neighbours prior to the hearing, but it is highly recommended that they do as a courtesy to understand any concerns that neighbours may have.
The Committee of Adjustment meets the second Thursday of every month starting at 4:00 p.m. (a second hearing may be held if there is a large volume of applications received, please contact the Secretary-Treasurer to confirm if there will be a second hearing for the month).Hearings are held in Council Chambers at City Hall, 1 Carden Street, Guelph.

Yes, an applicant or neighbouring property owner can request a deferral of the application, and the decision to grant a deferral is at the sole discretion of the Committee.
Staff comments may also include a recommendation for deferral. In these cases staff are recommending the applicant request a deferral from the Committee. This can happen to allow the applicant to provide additional information/studies, or revise their application in a manner that would facilitate a future decision. If the applicant accepts the staff recommendation for deferral, it is recommended that they attend the meeting and request this from the Committee.If you are not able to attend the hearing, you should send any comments, concerns or request for a deferral in writing to the Secretary-Treasurer for the Committee of Adjustment. You may also send someone to represent you in your place. A deferral request will be subject to an additional fee if granted by the Committee.

Whether you are an applicant dissatisfied with a negative ruling or an interested party dissatisfied with a positive ruling, you have the option to appeal the decision to the Ontario Municipal Board within 20 days of the ruling.
For further clarification on how to clear conditions, please contact Committee of Adjustment staff. The department and staff member that recommended the condition must be satisfied that the condition has been addressed in order to have it cleared. They will then forward a clearance confirmation to the Secretary-Treasurer of the Committee of Adjustment.
You can apply for a building permit at any time. However, in order for the building permit to be issued, the appeal period must have expired and all conditions of the minor variance must be satisfied and cleared. Once the Committee of Adjustment file is closed, building permits are issued by Building Services and all enquiries should be directed through Building Services.
  1. All applicants and members of the public are asked to sign in upon arrival to ensure an accurate record of hearing attendance is maintained.
  2. Applications that are requesting deferral will be heard at the start of the hearing. The Secretary-Treasurer will announce each application.
  3. The Chair of the Committee will ask the applicant to confirm the sign was posted in accordance with Planning Act requirements and that staff comments were received. The applicant will be given an opportunity to briefly explain the proposal.
  4. The Chair will ask members of the Committee if they have any questions for staff or the applicant.
  5. Members of the public will then be provided with the opportunity to comment, with comments limited to 10 minutes or less. The applicant will be given an opportunity to respond to these comments at the conclusion of all public submissions.
  6. Once all comments and questions are addressed, the Committee will make a decision to approve, deny, or defer the application.
Once the 20 day appeal period has elapsed; and a decision is final, the variance is granted indefinitely. This means an approved variance would run with the property if the lot is sold. A minor variance is tied to the land, and not the owner of that land.
Each minor variance or consent request must be assessed against a standard set of criteria in addition to site-specific constraints and opportunities. Existing developments may have been approved under less stringent zoning regulations or on lots that were able to more adequately accommodate the development due to their size and configuration. Regard must be had for the proposal, the date of its review by staff and the Committee, and its context.
Applications, guidelines, and other information can be found on the Application tab. Agendas for upcoming meetings can be found on the Meetings and Minutes tab.

Meetings and minutes

Committee of Adjustment meets the 2nd Thursday and 4th Thursday (if necessary) at City Hall, 1 Carden Street, Guelph.

Committee of Adjustment archive
Meeting Date Agenda Comments Minutes Link to audio Notes
December 17, 2015 meeting location details Agenda Comments Minutes Audio Special Hearing
December 10, 2015 meeting location details Agenda Comments Minutes Audio
November 26, 2015 meeting location details Agenda Comments Minutes Audio
November 12, 2015 meeting location details Agenda Comments Minutes Audio
October 8, 2015 meeting location details Agenda Comments Minutes Audio
September 24, 2015 meeting location details Agenda Comments Minutes Audio
September 10, 2015 meeting location details Agenda Comments Minutes Not available Recorded audio unavailable in Committee Room 112
August 13, 2015 meeting location details Agenda Comments Minutes Audio
July 23, 2015 meeting location details Agenda Comments Minutes Audio
July 9, 2015 meeting location details Agenda Minutes Audio
June 11, 2015 meeting location details Agenda Minutes Audio
May 14, 2015 meeting location details Agenda Minutes Audio
April 23, 2015 meeting location details Agenda Minutes Audio
April 9, 2015 meeting location details Agenda Minutes Audio
March 26, 2015 meeting location details Agenda Minutes Audio
March 12, 2015 meeting location details Agenda Minutes
February 12, 2015 meeting location details Agenda Minutes
January 15, 2015 meeting location details Agenda Minutes
December 11, 2014 meeting location details Agenda Minutes
May 29, 2014 meeting location details Agenda Minutes
April 1, 2014 meeting location details Agenda Minutes
July 23, 2013 meeting location details Agenda Minutes
July 9, 2013 meeting location details Agenda Minutes
June 11, 2013 meeting location details Agenda Minutes
May 14, 2013 meeting location details Agenda Minutes
April 23, 2013 meeting location details Agenda Minutes
April 9, 2013 meeting location details Agenda Minutes
March 12, 2013 meeting location details Agenda Minutes
February 26, 2013 meeting location details Agenda Minutes
February 12, 2013 meeting location details Agenda Minutes
January 15, 2013 meeting location details Agenda Minutes
December 11, 2012 meeting location details Agenda Minutes
November 27, 2012 meeting location details Agenda Minutes
November 13, 2012 meeting location details Agenda Minutes
October 9, 2012 meeting location details Agenda Minutes
September 11, 2012 meeting location details Agenda Minutes
August 14, 2012 meeting location details Agenda Minutes
July 10, 2012 meeting location details Agenda Minutes
June 26, 2012 meeting location details Agenda Minutes
June 12, 2012 meeting location details Agenda Minutes
May 8, 2012 meeting location details Agenda Minutes
April 24, 2012 meeting location details Agenda Minutes
April 10, 2012 meeting location details Agenda Minutes
March 13, 2012 meeting location details Agenda Minutes
February 28, 2012 meeting location details Agenda Minutes
February 14, 2012 meeting location details Agenda Minutes
February 7, 2012 meeting location details Agenda Minutes
January 10, 2012 meeting location details Agenda Minutes
3 MB2014 Committee of Adjustment Minutes 6 MB2013 Committee of Adjustment Minutes 6 MB2012 Committee of Adjustment Minutes 5 MB2011 Committee of Adjustment Minutes 22 MB2010 Committee of Adjustment Minutes 1 MB2009 Committee of Adjustment Minutes 759 kB2008 Committee of Adjustment Minutes 773 kB2007 Committee of Adjustment Minutes

Last Updated: February 18, 2016. Broken links or incorrect information? Let us know!