Site Plan Design and Approvals

Section 41 of the Planning Act provides detailed lists of the information to be included on site plans filed under a Site Plan Control By-law. Typically, Site Plan Control By-laws apply to the construction, erection, or placement of one or more commercial, industrial or multi-unit residential buildings or structures. Commercial parking lots are also subject to Site Plan Control in many municipalities.

An application for Site Plan Approval is required to include plans or drawings identifying:

  • The location of all buildings and structures to be erected and the location of all facilities and works.
  • Facilities designed to have regard for persons with disabilities;
  • Plan, elevation and cross-section views for each building to be erected;
  • Relationship of the building to existing and proposed streets; and exterior public areas;
  • Exterior design features;
  • Sustainable design elements on adjoining areas within the municipality’s jurisdiction (shrubs, hedges, plantings, permeable paving materials, street furniture, curb ramps, waste and recycling containers and bicycle parking…)

The municipality may also require the owner to provide:

  • Off-street vehicular parking and loading zones
  • Facilities for lighting and floodlighting
  • Walls, fences and hedges and landscaping
  • Easements to be conveyed
  • Grading and site alteration, and
  • Provisions for the disposal of storm, surface and waste water

Where a Zoning By-law amendment is required to permit a proposed use, it is not unusual for the municipality to introduce a Holding Provision on the By-law, requiring the proponent to receive Site Plan Approval before the Zoning By-law can take effect.

Approval of site plans can be a lengthy process, given the level of detail required in the submission. In our experience, it is rare that a site plan will be approved, without any requirement for revisions by the approval authority. Although some municipalities make available guidelines for submissions, there is still plenty of opportunity for differences of opinion amongst review agency representatives in how these guidelines are to be implemented.

EcoVue’s experienced planners can help to guide you through the Site Plan Approval process. Our technical staff are proficient in the preparation of Site Plans which meet the criteria set out in the Planning Act, and are designed to address the requirements of the municipality, including the provisions of its Zoning By-law, Urban Design Guidelines, Urban Tree Conservation By-law, etc.