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Ping-Street---3-tile.jpg   Construction-Map---3-tile.jpg   Public Notices

Development Approvals

If you are thinking of constructing any type of building in St. Catharines, the City has a variety of land use planning regulations and development approvals that you need to consider before you spend any money to start your project.

The Planning and Building Services Department, Planning Division, is responsible for the processing of all forms of development applications for approval by City Council or the Committee of Adjustment. In addition to processing applications for zoning by-law amendments, subdivisions, condominiums, site plans, heritage approvals, consent and minor variances, the division also co-ordinates the preparation of agreements to implement council decisions.

In addition to the planning regulations, the Planning and Building Services Department, Building and Development division, is generally responsible for:  

  • Commenting agency on draft plans of subdivision and site plans.
  • Review of sanitary sewer, storm sewer and watermain design for submission to the Regional Municipality of Niagara and the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) for approval.
  • Review and approval for lot grading proposals for new plans of subdivision and site plan agreements.
  • Administration of construction of services for new developments.
  • Administration of securities for subdivision and site plan agreements.
  • Review municipal servicing requirements for the issuance of building permits.
  • Respond to public inquiries with respect to municipal services and grading.
  • Liaise with outside agencies, such as Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA), Niagara Escarpment Commission (NEC), etc., with respect to issues related to new development.
  • Ontario Building Code and can provide more information on projects that require building permits.

Tip:
Use the buttons along the left side of this page to find the approval type that is required for your project (site plan or building permit, for example).

Before you start

It is a good idea to check how a property is designated in the Official Plan and also check the zoning by-law to determine what uses are permitted and where you may build on a lot. The question to ask is "Is the use a permitted use and where can it be located?" It is always best to prepare a sketch of your proposal, preferably on a plan of survey, and discuss it with planning staff before spending money on the project or starting construction.

Land Uses

Agricultural

All lands designated as agricultural in the City's Official Plan are also regulated by the province's Greenbelt Act. This act and the municipal planning documents should be reviewed as part of your process of preparing to undertake a project. For most agricultural uses, only a building permit may be required.

Commercial

All new commercial construction and many renovations are subject to municipal approval. Whether you are constructing a new shopping centre, a single retail store or a new factory or office building, there are planning and building regulations that must be complied with before a building permit can be issued. New commercial development is subject to site plan approval and may also be subject to the City's Urban Design Guidelines. Site plan approval does not normally require public consultation.

Industrial

All new construction and many renovations are subject to municipal approval. Whether you are constructing a new factory or renovating existing industrial space, there are planning and building regulations that must be complied with before any building permit can be issued. Some new industrial development is subject to site plan approval if you are adjacent or across the street from residential uses or you are on a major road. Site plan approval does not normally require public consultation.

Institutional

All new construction and many renovations are subject to municipal approval. Whether you are constructing a new church, a school or other quasi public uses, there are planning and building regulations that must be complied with before any building permit can be issued. New institutional development is subject to site plan approval. Minor expansions and interior renovations may be subject to site plan control. Site plan approval does not normally require public consultation.

Residential

All new construction and many renovations are subject to municipal approval. Whether you are constructing a new home, townhouse complex or an apartment building, there are planning and building regulations that must be complied with before a building permit can be issued. Some projects can proceed with only a building permit. Other projects may require a variety of municipal approvals, including an official plan amendment, zoning by-law amendment or Committee of Adjustment approval, all of which require a public meeting. Certain projects, such as townhouses and apartment buildings, require site plan approval. Site plan approval does not normally require public consultation.

External Approvals

As part of the review process for applications, there may be a review required from the following organizations:

Normally, the approval processes for external agencies are integrated with City approvals.

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