Development Applications Frequently Asked Questions
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Development Applications Frequently Asked Questions

What services does the Development section of the Planning & Building Services Department provide?
How are development applications approved?
What is the City of Windsor’s Official Plan?
What is an Official Plan amendment?
What is zoning and how do I find out how my property is zoned?
What is an amendment to the Zoning By-law?
What is Site Plan Control?
What is a Plan of Subdivision?
What if I want to split my parcel or adjust my property lines?
What is a Plan of Condominium?
Why is there an “H” before the zoning code of my property?
How to remove the “H” symbol?
What is Part-Lot Control?
How much can I expect to pay in application fees?
What is the current status of my permit application?
What if I don’t agree with the Council decision?
How Do I Appeal Council's Decision to the Ontario Municipal Board?
How do I obtain a municipal address or change an existing address?
Does the City have a list of street names that exist or are pre-approved and available for use within the City?
Can I make an appointment to meet with a planner to discuss a particular development application.
I paid the City a street tree fee as part of my development charges; do I plant a tree and then get my money back from the City?

Planning & Building Services Department
Suite 404, 400 City Hall Square East
Windsor, Ontario
Canada
N9A 7K6
T. (519) 255-6543
F. (519) 255-6544
Phone: For general information, call 311.
Email: planningdept@citywindsor.ca


What services does the Development Section of the Planning & Building Services Department provide me?
Staff in the Development section are responsible for reviewing and analyzing all development applications with regard to Provincial and Municipal plans, policies and regulations; preparing reports and recommendations to Planning, Heritage and Economic Development Standing Committee (PHEDSC) and Council, the Committee of Adjustment, the Site Plan Review Committee and the Street and Alley Technical Advisory Committee; as well as provide administrative assistance to PAC. Staff in this Section also provide advice on development matters to the development industry and the general public.

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How are development applications approved?
All applications submitted to the Development Section are reviewed within a standardized framework. An application is circulated to various agencies and reviewed by municipal planners and engineers, public and separate school boards and other agencies to ensure conformity to the Official Plan and Provincial Guidelines and Policies. Local utility companies, such as, gas, hydro, cable providers, Canada Post, and CN Rail, also review it. Planning staff prepares a report, which contains all the information related to the project and the feedbacks from other agencies. The staff report includes a recommendation for approval/denial, which is submitted to the Planning and Economic Development Standing Committee, before proceeding to Council for decision.
Contact a planner in the Development Section for further information.

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What is the City of Windsor’s Official Plan?
The City of Windsor Official Plan is a principal policy document adopted by Council under the provisions of the Ontario Planning Act. It reflects matters of municipal and provincial interests and applies to the entire city. Using the Plan as a guide, Council adopts more detailed planning policies such as secondary plans and community improvement plans for specific areas and neighbourhoods and directs the development of new subdivisions. The use and development of individual parcels of land is also influenced by the Official Plan, which determines more specific regulatory measures related to land subdivision, zoning and site plan control.

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What is an Official Plan Amendment?
Sometimes it is necessary to amend the Official Plan to provide more desirable policies or a land use designation for certain lands, which was not anticipated when the Plan was prepared. The owner of a property, or the person authorized by the owner to act on his or her behalf, can make an application to amend the Official Plan. Official Plan Amendments may be complicated and the changes proposed may affect the City's future policies and directions. In some cases the Plan requires that specific studies and assessments be made before Council considers the changes. Before making an application, all applicants should consult planners in the Development Section to determine what information will be required.

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What is zoning and how do I find out how my property is zoned?
The purpose of zoning, as set out in the Zoning By-law is to regulate different land uses to ensure that development takes place in conformity with the Official Plan, share common development standards, and do not place an unreasonable burden upon their neighbours. To determine what the zoning designation is for a piece of property or if you wish to confirm the zoning information, please contact the Development Division at (519) 255-6257 provide the municipal address and/or the Assessment Roll Number. You may also view the Zoning District Maps. If you require more detailed zoning information, you will need to visit the department located on the 4th floor of City Hall.

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What is an amendment to the Zoning By-law?
An amendment to the Zoning By-law is commonly known as a rezoning . A common reason for rezoning is that the existing zone does not permit a specific use on the property. Planners in the Planning & Building Services Department can discuss with you your proposal. An application to change the use of the land is made to the Development section of the Planning & Building Services Department. Planning and Economic Development Standing Committee, a Council appointed committee, considers rezoning applications and makes recommendations to Council. The public may attend and participate in these meetings. The decision to approve or reject an application is made by City Council after considering these recommendations of the Development Section, opinions expressed by the public, and staff reports from Development. An appeal can be made to the Ontario Municipal Board which gives the final decision. Formal zoning approval is granted by a specific amendment to the Zoning By-law.

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What is Site Plan Control?
Site Plan Control is a type of development control in addition to zoning that is utilized for development in the City of Windsor. Council or their delegated Planning Official approves site plans and elevation drawings for the development prior to the issuance of a building permit. It allows the municipality to control development details.

A Site Plan Control agreement ensures that the development is built and maintained as approved, new developments meet certain standards of quality and appearance, there is safe and easy access for pedestrians and vehicles, there is adequate landscaping, parking and drainage, and nearby properties are protected from nuisances and lose of amenity.

Prior to filing an application, applicants are required to meet with the Zoning Co-ordinator to confirm zoning compliance and the Site Plan Approval Officer in the Development Section to discuss the Site Plan Control process, details of the development proposal, and standards, requirements/conditions of site plan approval.

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What is a Plan of Subdivision?
A Plan of Subdivision is a method of dividing land into two or more parcels or lots so that those parcels or lots can be held in separate ownership. It requires approval to ensure that the land is suitable for its proposed new use, the proposal conforms to the Official Plan in our City, as well as to provincial legislation and policies, and property owners, neighbours and the community in general are protected from developments which are inappropriate or could put an undue strain on community facilities, services or finances.

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What if I want to split my parcel to create a second lot?
An application for consent or a land severance can be made to split an existing lot into two or more parcels. Applications are made through the Committee of Adjustment. When a number of severances are being proposed, it may be more appropriate to submit a Plan of Subdivision (see Question 8 above). Applicants are advised to consult a planner in the Development Section to determine the best approach.

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What is a Plan of Condominium?
A Plan of Condominium is a method of dividing property so that an individual holds title to a portion of a building, or a "unit", as well as a share of the rest of the property that is held in common by all the individual unit owners. A Plan of Condominium can apply to residential, commercial or industrial properties. The approval process is designed to ensure that the property is suitable for its proposed new use; the proposal conforms to the Official Plan in our City, as well as to provincial legislation and policies; and property owners, neighbours and the community are protected from developments which are inappropriate or may put an undue strain on community facilities, services or finances.

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Why is there an “H” before the zoning code of my property?
The “H” is commonly known as a holding provision, which allows future uses for the property but delays development until specific conditions have been completed by the landowner. These conditions night include completion of municipal services, such as roads and sewers, are in place. When development is ready to occur and all conditions for removal of the "H" are satisfied, the holding symbol "H" can be removed by an amending by-law adopted by City Council.

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How to remove the “H” symbol?
The applicant for “H” symbol removal is responsible for ensuring that all the necessary conditions for removal of the “H’ symbol have been satisfied prior to completing and submitting an application form to the Development Section. It is also the responsibility of the applicant to provide all the needed information and documentation, such as, an accurate legal description of the subject property, a copy of the deed for the lands in question, and, if required, a plan of survey. Staff will consult with the relevant agencies/departments and staff to ensure that the reason the holding provisions were established has been achieved or no longer applies.

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What is Part-Lot Control?
Part-lot control has the effect of preventing the inappropriate division of land in a registered plan. Pursuant to the part-lot control provisions of the Planning Act, the City of Windsor can pass a by-law exempting a parcel of land situated in a registered plan of subdivision from part-lot control to allow for the creation of new parcels. Alternatively, the property owner may be advised to apply for a severance through the Committee of Adjustment.

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How much can I expect to pay in application fees?
The fee schedules are reviewed on an annual basis, and approved by Council. The current fee schedules, as posted with the application forms, are available online are subject to change. Confirm application fees prior to submission of the application.

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What is the current status of my permit application?
You can call the Development Section at (519) 255 6267 to find out the current status of your application.

The Planning Act establishes time frames that municipalities must adhere to. Once an application has been deemed complete, the Planning Act requires the approval authority to make a decision within a certain period of time depending on the type of application. The applicant can otherwise file an appeal the application to with the Ontario Municipal Board.

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What if I don’t agree with the Council decision?
Under the Planning Act, you can appeal a decision to the Ontario Municipal Board. However, the Planning Act stipulates that you must set out land use planning grounds for the appeal, make an oral submission at the public meeting or make a written submission before the decision was made, and pay the Board’s processing fee.

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How Do I Appeal Council's Decision to the Ontario Municipal Board?
The Citizen Liaison Office, established on October 2, 2006, will help the public to understand the OMB's processes and be better informed on how to participate at OMB hearings. It will complement the changes to planning legislation as the government proceeds with OMB reform.

The Citizen Liaison Office will:

Provide information to the public about the OMB, such as how to file an appeal, the hearing process, and the issuance of decisions;
Develop information materials about the OMB to assist the public;
Be available to the public, either in person or by phone;
Provide recommendations to the Board on how to improve access to the OMB and the transparency of its operations.
The OMB plays a critical role in Ontario's land-use planning process, ensuring that there is an independent, public body to settle land-use disputes. The Citizen Liaison Office will assist the public to participate effectively in the process.

The Citizen Liaison Office will be staffed and operating effective October 2, 2006. This office may be contacted at (416) 326-6800 or toll free 1-866-887-8820, or in person at 655 Bay Street, Suite 1500, Toronto, Ontario.

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How do I obtain a municipal address or change an existing municipal address?
The City of Windsor is responsible for the assignment of municipal addresses. You may obtain further information on street naming and municipal addressing either online, by calling (519) 255-6267 or by visiting the Development Section on the 4th floor of City Hall.

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Does the City have a list of street names that exist or are pre-approved and available for use within the City?
The City of Windsor maintains a Street Name Index for the metropolitan Windsor area including Lakeshore, LaSalle and Tecumseh in order to avoid duplication. The index includes existing names for public and private streets, names reserved for specific proposals/developments, which do not exist yet, as well as pre-approved street names available for future use.

To obtain a copy of the Street Name Index, please contact Development Section at (519) 255-6267.

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Can I make an appointment to meet with a planner to discuss a particular development application?
Yes. There are a number of planners in the Development Section. Most of the planners deal with a specific type of development application such as Site Plan Control Applications, a rezoning, a Condominium application, a Plan of Subdivision etc. Each planner has expertise in the type of application they most frequently deal with and the clerical staff can assist you in determining who can best assist you. 

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I paid the City a street tree fee as part of my development charges; do I plant a tree and then get my money back from the City?
The street fee is a levy, not a deposit. The fee is not returned. Rather, the City will be planting the tree in front of your property. The street fee represents the cost to the City of installing the tree. This is a long time requirement and it ensures that the trees within the City boulevard, which the City has the responsibility to maintain, have been planted correctly and are of acceptable species, size and condition to ensure long time success. City crews plant street trees in the spring and fall. The trees are not planted until the appropriate season and after sidewalks have been installed.

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