Minor Variances

What is a Minor Variance?

By-laws for each community contain regulations that apply to each identifying zone for permitted uses, building set backs and lot coverage. The Planning Act allows Council to establish a Committee of Adjustment to which property owners can apply when they require a "minor variance" or relief from the By-law regulations.

Example: A homeowner in an area zoned as Residential in the Zoning By-law wants to build a garage which would end up being closer to a neighbour's property than the minimum 0.61 meters (2 feet) side yard separation required by the zoning by-law. In this situation, the homeowner cannot obtain the necessary building permit for the construction of the garage without first applying to and receiving a Minor Variance to the Zoning By-law from the Committee of Adjustment.

How Do I Make a Minor Variance Application?

Outlined below are the steps involved in making an application for a minor variance. The process takes approximately 8 to 12 weeks from the time a complete application is filed to the point where a decision of the Committee of Adjustment is final and binding.

Step 1 - Consult With Staff

Before you fill out an application, contact the Building Department (2nd Floor, City Hall, 705.848-2287 ext 2119) to determine whether or not you meet the zoning requirements for your property. If you do not, discuss your plans with the Building Inspector at which time the following matters can be discussed:

  • the need for a variance;
  • the nature of the variance;
  • whether or not there might be servicing requirements or land dedications involved with a given proposal, or
  • whether or not an amendment to the zoning by-law is required, rather than a variance.

If you decide to proceed with a minor variance application, you will be given the appropriate form. If a zoning by-law amendment is needed, a separate application can be obtained from the City Clerk's Office.

Step 2 - Complete the Application

Complete the Application, including the following:

  • a copy of the survey showing the location and size of the buildings and of the parking and access on the lot;
  • a cheque made payable to the City of Elliot Lake for the application fee;
  • if you are using an agent or solicitor, your written authorization identifying by name the individual who will be your agent or solicitor.  In some cases, additional information could be helpful in assessing an application; you are encouraged to submit photographs or the relevant documentation.

Step 3 - Notice of Public Meeting and Circulation of Application    

After your application has been received, a notice of Public Meeting will be sent to all assessed property owners within 200 feet of the property, at least 10 days before the date of the meeting. At the same time copies of your application will be circulated to other Municipal departments, and, in some cases, to external agencies. The purpose of this circulation is to receive advice from and/or the requirements of these interested agencies in the form of reports for the Committee of Adjustment that are considered at the Public Meeting.

Step 4 - Public Meeting and Decision  

It is important that you and/or your agent or solicitor attend the Meeting to explain the reasons for your application; if you do not attend, the Committee may proceed in your absence. 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 also use the following criteria to evaluate the application and reach its decision:

  • 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 (internal) and the Zoning By-law(internal) 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 Municipality will mail one copy of the decision to you and to anyone else 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 20 day 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 fulfillment of any conditions set out in the final decision, be in a position to apply for a building permit in compliance with the zoning by-law amended by the Committee.

Did you know?

Anyone may appeal a decision of the Committee of Adjustment to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). The appeal must be made within 20 days of the date of the decision of the Committee by personally delivering or sending a Notice of Appeal to the Secretary Treasurer of the Committee. The appeal must set out the reasons for objecting to the decision and must include a cheque in the amount of $125.00 made payable to the Minister of Finance of Ontario.

Need Further Information?

City of Elliot Lake Clerk's Office
45 Hillside Drive North
Elliot Lake, ON
P5A 1X5

Tel: (705) 848-2287 ext 2103
Fax: (705) 461-7244

E-mail the Clerk's Office