A minor variance is a tool that can be used by landowners when the requirements of the Zoning By-law cannot be met for one reason or another. These reasons are an important part of what staff and Committee think about when reviewing an application. Minor variances are reviewed and decided upon by the Committee of Adjustment, a Committee appointed by Council for this purpose. An application may be approved, approved with conditions, or denied. Ultimately, all decisions are at the discretion of the Committee.
The Committee of Adjustment considers the merits of an application based on four tests:
- That the variance conforms to the Township Official Plan;
- That the variance conforms to the general intent and purpose of the Township Zoning By-law;
- That the variance is minor in nature; and
- That the variance is desirable for the appropriate development and use of the lands.
Each minor variance is considered on a site-by-site basis, and every application is unique. The process for a simple minor variance application typically take two to three months. This process includes a 20-day appeal period, which begins after the decision of Committee has been made. Like other Planning Act applications, minor variance decisions can be appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board.