View the Municipality of Highlands East's Zoning By-law and Official Plan

What is a Zoning By-law?

Zoning by-laws regulate how land and buildings are used, the location, size and height of buildings and other provisions necessary to ensure proper development.

Our Zoning By-law establishes and regulates the use of land by implementing the policies of Municipality of Highlands East's Official Plan. It provides the municipality with a legally enforceable means of regulating land use and scale and intensity of development.

Zoning also serves to protect areas by preventing incompatible uses, and establishing appropriate standards for development. Zoning by-laws contain specific, legal regulations - for example, what uses are permitted, how high buildings can be constructed, the maximum number of residential units allowed and how far away from the water you can build.

How does zoning work?

The municipality is divided into "zones", where different land uses are permitted and the zones are based on the land use designations in the Official Plan. Within these zones specific uses are permitted depending upon the type and location of the zone. These zones include specifications for development standards such as setbacks, lot coverage, service requirements, etc.

In Highlands East there are a number of primary types of zones in the urban area including:

  • Residential
  • Commercial/Tourist Commercial
  • Industrial
  • Institutional
  • Open Space

In the rural and waterfront areas, primary types of zones include:

  • Rural
  • Rural Residential
  • Rural Industrial
  • Tourist Commercial
  • Seasonal Residential
  • Environmental Protection

What happens if my current zone does not allow for a use?

Sometimes there are situations where the zone applied to a property does not meet the intent or the desires of a property owner. An application to amend the Zoning By-law can be made that is evaluated by municipal staff with a decision on the application made by Council.

Zoning Changes

A zoning change (also known as a Zoning By-law amendment or rezoning) may be required to use or develop a property in a way that is not allowed in the Comprehensive Zoning By-law. Council approval is required, but a change can only be considered if the new use is allowed under the Town's Official Plan.

The various steps for a Zoning By-law change/amendment are:

  1. Before submitting an application to amend the Zoning By-law, it is important to first consult with Planning Services staff for information.
  2. Submit a complete application, including all fees and background studies at the time the application is submitted.
  3. Applications are circulated to Town Departments as well as interested external agencies and departments for comment.
  4. Applications are circulated to nearby property owners as required under the Planning Act
  5. A public meeting is held for nearby property owner to provide comments on the application and for the Town's Planning and Development Committee to learn more about the application
  6. Staff prepare a report and presentation for the Town's Planning and Development Committee that includes:
    • all agency comments
    • property characteristics and features
    • policies that apply to the property
    • staff's recommendation on the application

When considering a Zoning By-law amendment, Council evaluates the application based on specific criteria, including:

  • Conformity with the official plan and compatibility with adjacent uses of land
  • Suitability of the land for the proposed purpose, including the size and shape of the lot(s)
  • Adequacy of vehicular access, water supply, sewage disposal
  • The need to ensure protection from potential flooding

After hearing all comments and concerns, Council may decide to pass, change or reject the proposed by-law amendment. Subsequent to any decision, there is the right to appeal to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT).