A zoning by-law controls the use of land in your community. It states exactly:
- how land may be used,
- where buildings and other structures can be located,
- the types of buildings that are permitted and how they may be used, and
- the lot sizes and dimensions, parking requirements, building heights and setbacks from the street.
An official plan sets out the municipality’s general policies for future land use. Zoning by-laws put the plan into effect and provide for its day-to-day administration. They contain specific requirements that are legally enforceable. Construction or new development that doesn’t comply with a zoning by-law is not allowed, and the municipality will refuse to issue a building permit.
A zoning by-law divides the municipality into different land-use zones, with detailed maps. The by-law specifies the permitted uses (e.g. commercial or residential) and the required standards (e.g. building size and location) in each zone. Zoning by-laws for a municipality may be viewed at the local municipal office.