Zoning By-law Amendment

To determine what the zoning of your property is and what it permits, consult  and speak with a zoning technician. If you cannot meet the requirements of the existing zoning, rezoning may be required if you intend to alter your property in a manner that significantly differs from the requirement of the existing zoning, including:

  • A complete change of use (from Residential to Commercial, from Industrial to Commercial, for example)
  • Major reductions in zoning provisions (for example, significant reductions in minimum parking, minimum setbacks, maximum height, maximum building coverage)
  • Inclusion of a certain use that is similar, but not permitted, by the existing zoning (for example, addition of a basement apartment to a dwelling in a neighbourhood zoned for single dwellings only, addition of a retail store to a commercial property that permits only offices) 

Minor variances

If you intend to alter your property, resulting in only minimal variations from the zoning by-law requirements, a "minor variance" application may be an alternative to rezoning. Consult with a planner to determine whether a rezoning or minor variance applies to your situation.

Prior to making an application for a Zoning By-law Amendment, applicants are required to consult with the City. The City of St. Catharines has established a Pre-Submission Consultation Process to identify the studies, plans and / or reports that are required to be submitted with an application. 

  1. A written request for pre-submission consultation must include a detailed concept plan and the required pre-submission consultation fee. See the 2021 Schedule of Rates and Fees. Go to pages 50 - 60 for Planning and Building Services.
  2. Once the Pre-Submission Consultation request is received, it will be circulated to all relevant departments and agencies and a formal consultation meeting will be scheduled, usually within three weeks.


Should you require rezoning, a Zoning Amendment application is required for submission to Planning and Building Services. Once an application is received and reviewed for completeness, the time period required until the application is considered by City Council is approximately four months. Timing is dependant on a variety of factors including wheter an application is "complete," Council's meeting schedule, complexity of issues within an application and whether an appeal is submitted to the Ontario Municipal Board after a decision is made by Council.

*  Please note the pre-submission consultation fee will be discounted from the Zoning By-law Amendment application fee.

Copyright © 2014 The Corporation of the City of St. Catharines