Zoning By-law

What is a Zoning By-law?

A Zoning By-law is a document used by the City of Port Colborne to regulate the use of land.  It states exactly what land uses are currently permitted in the City and provides detailed information such as:

  • Where buildings or structures may be located;
  • Types of uses permitted;
  • Standards for lot size, parking requirements, building height, side, rear and front yard setbacks and lot coverage.

How does a Zoning By-law differ from an Official Plan?

While Official Plans set out the general, long-range policy framework for future land use, Zoning By-laws put those plans into effect and provide for their day-to-day administration.  Unlike the Official Plan, the Municipalitiy's Zoning By-law contains very specific and legally enforcable regulations.  Any new development or construction that fails to comply with a municipality's Zoning By-law is not permitted and will be denied a building permit.

The City has Zoning By-laws that divide the entire municipality into Land Use Zones.  A detailed map of these Zones forms an important part of the written By-law.  Within each Zone, the By-law specifies the permitted uses (e.g.: Commercial or Residential) and the required standards (e.g. location and size of the buildings).

Why are Zoning By-laws necessary?

A Zoning By-law is required to:

  • Help implement the objectives and policies of a municipality's Official Plan;
  • Provide a specialized legal tool for managing the use of land and future development in the community; and
  • Help maintain existing property values and protect property owners from the development of conflicting land uses.

 What other types of Zoning By-laws are there?

There are a number of specialized Zoning By-laws which may be used to control land use:

  • HOLDING BY-LAW: a By-law which sets out the future use of land or buildings but delays their development until, for example, local services such as sewer and water services are in place.  Interim uses are usually specified.
  • INTERIM CONTROL BY-LAW: a By-law which is used to place a temporary "freeze" on certain land uses while a municipality is studying or reviewing its land use policies.  Such a freeze can be put in place for a year at a time, to a maximum of two (2) years only;
  • TEMPORARY USE BY-LAW: a By-law which zones land or buildings for a specific use for a maximum of three (3) years at a time, with further extensions possible;
  • INCREASED HEIGHT & DENSITY (BONUSING) BY-LAW: a By-law that enables the Municipality to award increases in density and height of development in return for meeting specific municipal planning objectives.  These objectives may include, but are not limited to: the provision of assisted housing; the preservation of buildings with historical or architectural value; the provision of additional open space; and/or the provision of other services the City deems important.

How is a Zoning By-law passed?

When a Municipality decides to prepare a Comprehensive Zoning By-law, it must first make adequate information available to the public.  Council must hold at least one public meeting to allow citizens an opportunity to express their views before a decision is made.  Notice of this meeting is given in advance, through the local newspaper.  Anyone present at the meeting has a right to address the propsal.

Local Council, through Staff also consults with interested agencies, boards, authorities or commissions before making a decision.  When full consideration is given to all concerns, Council passes a Zoning By-law.  If changes are made to the proposal, Council must decide whether another public meeting is necessary.  

What if all I need is a minor change in the By-law?

If you have a proposal that is essentially in keeping with the Zoning By-law, but does not conform exactly, you may apply for a minor variance.  This eliminates the need for a full Rezoning Application in cases where, for example, because of the shape of the lot, what is being proposed may not meet the minimum side yard setback.  As long as the general purpose and intent of the By-law and Official Plan are maintained, a variance of "minor" significance can be considered by your municipality.  Unlike a Zoning Amendment, a Minor Variance does not change the existing By-law.  Instead it provides relief from the specific requirements of the By-law in order to move forward with the proposal and obtain a building permit.

View the information on Minor Variances


Zoning By-law 1150/97/81

For a copy of the current Zoning By-law 1150/97/81 (Updated as of February 24, 2014), please click on the following:

Zoning By-law 1150/97/81

To view the associated Schedules, please click on the following:

Schedule A

Schedule A1

Schedule A2

Schedule A3

Schedule A4

Schedule A5

Schedule A6

Schedule A7

Schedule B: Street Allowance Requirements

Schedule D: Geometric Design Standard for Parking

Schedule E: Laneways

Schedule F: Municipal Drains



Zoning By-law Amendment

What is a Zoning By-law Amendment?

If a new use or development is proposed that does not comply with the existing By-law, an application for a Zoning By-law Amendment will be required.  A Rezoning or Zoning Amendment, can only be considered if the proposed new use is permitted within the City's Official Plan.


Prior to the submission of an application for Zoning By-law Amendment, a meeting with City Staff is required to determine what supporting documents and studies may be required to evaluate the proposal, to verify information on the application, and to clarify the procedures to follow.

Zoning Bylaw Amendment Application


Approval Process

The Zoning By-law Amendment approval process is designed to ensure that the property is suitable for its proposed new use, that the proposal conforms to the Official Plan for the City of Port Colborne and provincial legislation and policies, and that property owners, neighbours and the community are protected from developments that are inappropriate or might put undue strain on community facilities, services or finances.

If the application is approved by Council, the applicant is advised of the decision.

If the application is denied, the applicant will be advised of the decision and informed that it may be appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board (O.M.B.).  Appeals are filed through the City Clerks department and require a payment of $125.00.

For more information about the appeal process, please visit the O.M.B. website at www.omb.gov.on.ca


More Information

For more information regarding the Zoning By-law or to make an application for Zoning By-law Amendment, please contact:

Shannon Larocque
Ph.  905-835-2900 ext. 202
Fax. 905-835-2939   
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