I had to get a survey as part of a project I'm working on, but because the survey measurements reveal a zoning discrepancy, I now have to get a variance from a “committee of adjustment.” What is the purpose of this committee?

A: All municipalities have parameters that deal with the use of the land, the kind of buildings that can be constructed and where those buildings may be situated on the property. These rules exist to ensure that one building does not adversely or negatively affect any adjoining building. They do not write specifications for every individual property but instead write general guidelines that apply to different neighbourhoods and areas.

You can apply for a minor variance from the zoning by-law by demonstrating that your intended construction project accords with the general nature of the neighbourhood and the overall planning objectives. There will be a formal hearing and your neighbours have the opportunity to provide comment or object.  City staff will provide their comments then the Committee will decide whether the variance is allowed. You may also be required to submit a survey plan to demonstrate the existing and proposed building locations. The purpose of the committee is to allow citizens a means to get around the strict application of the zoning by-law. Note that this exemption applies only to your specific property and not to the entire community at large.