Do I Need Planning Permission to Add An Enclosure to My Commercial Property?
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In many cities across Ontario, you will need planning permission if the enclosure you are building is over 10 square feet in size.
However, cities and municipalities in the province have control over zoning laws for both residential and commercial land use in their jurisdictions. Zoning regulations, therefore, differ from city to city. You will need to seek guidance from your city’s zoning department before you draw up plans for your enclosure.
How Do Zoning Laws Affect Planning Permission?
City zoning laws place stringent restrictions on land use, including what buildings and structures you can build and where on your premises you can build them. Factors that are subject to zoning regulations include:
- The size of the building or structure you can build,
- The type of buildings that are allowed and how they may be used,
- The minimum distance the structure can be from the property line.
Planning permission aside, before you build your enclosure you will need to obtain a building permit. Building permit restrictions depend on whether you are building a new structure or you’re altering or extending an existing building, thus altering its appearance.
How does planning permission differ from a building permit?
Planning permission determines land use while a building permit approves plans for a building, to ensure the structure is safe and structurally sound. Ask your local council if you will need a building permit for your enclosure.
Why You Need Planning Permission?
City by-laws are there to ensure orderly urban development. These regulations assure good ventilation and lighting for an area’s residents.
Cities are also keen to ensure that buildings are located in healthy surroundings for the comfort and health of the people who will live and work in them. Your enclosure also has to live up certain aesthetic standards.
Planning permission also determines the type of building permit you will require for your structure. A building permit places specific demands on the equipment you can use and the safety measures to make.
By-laws also regulate the nature of the business you can conduct on your property
For commercial land, by-laws also regulate the nature of the business you can conduct on your property. As an example, city by-laws generally forbid the rearing of animals in specific zones. So you are unlikely to be approved for a horse shed or any live animal pen at the back of your factory, no matter its size dimensions.
If your enclosure and its use are not allowed in your zone, you will have to apply for a zoning change first. Remember, though, you may not be permitted to make a zoning change application if your local council passed a comprehensive zoning by-law in the last two years.
Any alterations or extensions of heritage buildings require special planning permission
Heritage buildings are buildings that possess a historical architectural aesthetic so cherished that the city will want to protect it. The Toronto Post Office and the Canadian Pacific Building are two examples of popular heritage buildings in Toronto.
Cities have planning and heritage conservation committees that confer heritage status and place stringent restrictions on any extension or remodeling work that has the potential to redefine a heritage building’s character.
If your property has heritage building status, you cannot, for example, add a patio enclosure without seeking planning permission.
What Happens If You Build Without Planning Permission?
No permit can be issued for work that was done without the necessary permits and which does not meet zoning restrictions. If your structure meets planning permission requirements, you may escape with a fine, on top of the planning permission fee.
If you decide to build your enclosure without planning permission and the city finds out and determines you should have, you will be asked to take it down.