Before you’ll ever see shovels in the ground, there is an in-depth application and review process for proposed developments. This public process is essential to ensuring the City is designed and built to serve our growing community.
Looking to submit development applications? Find the forms you need.
The Development Review Process
Development applications undergo a multi-step review process.
The first step in the development application process is a pre-consultation, where the applicant presents their development proposals and concept plans to City staff. This allows for staff to:
- identify key issues and provide preliminary written comments on the proposal;
- clarify the application process and fees for the applicant; and
- identify and confirm the plans, supporting studies, and other information that will need to be provided for the full development application to be considered complete.
The pre-consultation application is circulated to the relevant City departments and external agencies for review and commentary. A technical review meeting between the applicant, City staff, and any necessary outside agencies will be scheduled within a minimum of four weeks from when a complete pre-consultation application is submitted.
The applicant is required to host an informal Neighbourhood Meeting with Planning Services before applying for:
•Official Plan Amendments
•Zoning By-law Amendments
•Draft Plan of Subdivision or Condominum (this requirement was established by Council Resolution 14-G-225)
The meeting gives the public a chance to ask questions and receive information about the proposal. No decisions are made at these meetings.
Notice of the meeting is sent by regular mail to property owners located within 240 metres of the subject lands and emailed to residents of the applicable ward who have signed up to receive corporate e-bulletins. Neighbourhood Meetings are also promoted via:
Addressing the Feedback
Applicants must address the feedback received through the public consultation process in the Planning Justification Report (required as part of a complete application) by:
- detailing how the comments have been addressed in the submission; or
- providing justification as to why comments have not been addressed in the submission.
Following pre-consultation and the Neighbourhood Meeting, City staff will provide the applicant with a list of the studies and reports which must be included with the application for it to be considered complete. These studies help staff assess the potential impacts of the proposed amendment to make an informed recommendation on the application. A list of the studies that may be required can be found in section 6.11 of the Official Plan and below.
Once an application has been received and confirmed as complete, it is assigned to an individual File Manager. This “one-window" approach gives the applicant a single point of contact with City staff during the review process. Details regarding the applications will be listed under Development Projects.
As part of the complete application process, a Public Notice sign must be posted on the subject lands. The Planning & Building Services Department has requirements for positioning the Public Notice sign layout (PDF) and positioning on the property, as well as a guide to the Public Notice symbols (PDF) displayed on the sign. The applicant is responsible for all costs associated with preparing and posting the Public Notice.
A formal Public Meeting about the application will be held in front of General Committee, as required under the Planning Act. At this meeting, the applicant will present the proposed amendment and members of the public will have a chance to speak and ask questions. Members of the public can also make written submissions if they cannot attend the meeting. No decisions are made at this meeting.
Notice of the Public Meeting is sent by regular mail to property owners located within 120 metres of the subject lands and a sign is posted on the subject lands.
In addition to conducting their own technical review, Planning staff circulate the application to other City departments and to relevant outside agencies (such as Conservation Authorities or provincial ministries) for commentary.
Following this review, Planning staff submit a report making a recommendation to General Committee regarding the proposed amendment. General Committee will consider this report and then make a recommendation to City Council, which will decide on the application.
Types of Applications
- to assess whether the proposed amendment is in line with the long-term vision and goals for how our community should grow;
- and to ensure members of the public who may be affected by the proposed amendment have an opportunity to voice their views on the matter.
Dividing a parcel of land into multiple lots (which can then be sold) requires a plan of subdivision or condominium approval. This approval process helps ensure:
- the land in question is suitable for the proposed new use;
- the proposed development conforms with the City's Official Plan, and with provincial plans and policy;
- and residents are protected from development which may be inappropriate or might place strain on municipal services, facilities, or financial resources.
The City of Barrie has been delegated authority by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs to approve draft plans of subdivision (Ontario Regulation 417/01 under the Planning Act). The approval process is provided for under section 51 of the Planning Act. Section 51 also applies to the approval of a Plan of Condominium (under subs.9(2) of the Condominium Act).
Note for Plan of Subdivisions: Once a complete application has been received, processing the application may take six to eight months.
Site Plan Control
Site Plan Control helps ensure development in the urban environment takes place in a safe, efficient, convenient, and aesthetically pleasing manner, and new development is compatible with existing neighbouring properties (provided for under section 41 of the Planning Act). Site Plan Control regulates the placement of buildings and structures on a lot, the relationship of structures to adjacent properties and streets, and matters of exterior design.
A significant portion of land within the City is subject to Site Plan Control. If a property is located within a designated Site Plan Control area (PDF), then an application for Site Plan Approval is needed before any development can take place on the property. (For the purposes of Site Plan Control, “development" includes erecting new buildings, adding to or altering an existing building in a way that substantially increase its size or usability, and establishing a commercial parking lot.)
Development or alteration of any lands within a Site Plan Control Area are subject to the Site Plan Approval process, unless otherwise exempt by the Director of Planning and Building Services. Learn more about the process in the Site Plan Application Manual (PDF).
Exemptions from the Full Site Plan Approval process may be considered for minor development and/or site alterations on lands subject to Site Plan Control, in accordance with this process and at the discretion of the Director of Planning and Building Services, or their designate. Within the City, minor development and/or site alterations may include, but are not limited to exterior building façade improvements/alterations, minor building additions, exterior patio additions, minor parking lot additions/alterations and temporary sales trailers.
If the property is not located within a Site Plan Control area, then the owner can proceed to apply for a building permit (subject to zoning confirmation and other applicable municipal requirements).
In some cases, you may need to apply for:
- Consent to subdivide land without the requirement of a plan of subdivision;
- or a minor variance for permission or relief from the requirements of the City's Zoning By-law where circumstances make it difficult to comply with the specific zoning standards.
Visit the Committee of Adjustment page for more information.
Please note, applications for telecommunications facilities follow a different review process than the above process.
The City of Barrie's Role
Cellular towers and other telecommunication facilities are regulated by the federal government through Industry Canada. Municipalities, such as the City of Barrie, are provided an opportunity to comment on the location of new telecommunication facilities as input into the decision making process but the final decision rests in the hands of Industry Canada. Being under federal jurisdiction, telecommunication facilities are not subject to regulation under the Ontario Planning Act through the City’s Official Plan, Zoning By-law, or Site Plan approval process.
Industry Canada’s current protocol requires public consultations for telecommunication towers give people an opportunity to ask questions, provide comments and share their concerns.
However, Industry Canada permits Municipalities to develop their own “protocol,” within specific parameters, to address how new cell towers are reviewed at the local level. The City of Barrie has developed a Protocol for Consideration of Telecommunication Facilities
Applications (PDF) which includes requiring cell tower proponents to conduct a public review process for all towers, including those less than 15 metres in height as well as identifying specific areas and zones within the City where these facilities should be restricted. Read the Telecommunication Facilities Protocol Staff Report for more information.
While the City cannot enforce the protocol, it is hoped that cell tower proponents will agree to undertake this local requirement in the spirit of cooperation and good corporate citizenship.
The City does not have the authority to stop the construction of a tower and can only provide its comments to Industry Canada for consideration.
In 2013, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association established a Siting Protocol (PDF) requiring consultation on proposed cell towers less than 15 metres in height.
For additional resources please visit Industry Canada online.
Related Requirements: Studies & Reports
As part of the development applications process, City staff may request that specific studies & reports be completed. Staff have compiled terms of reference for each potential study/report required.
- Affordable Housing Report (PDF)
- Archaeological Study (PDF)
- Deep Drilling (PDF)
- Environmental Impact Study (PDF)
- Functional Servicing Report (PDF)
- Geotechnical Study (PDF)
- Heritage Impact Assessment (PDF)
- Historic Neighbourhood Character Impact Evaluation (PDF)
- Hydrogeological Study (PDF)
- Illumination Study (PDF)
- Market Study (PDF)
- Noise-Vibration Impact Analysis (PDF)
- Planning Justification Report (PDF)
- Shadow-Shading Study (PDF)
- Stormwater Management Report (PDF)
- Transportation Impact Study (PDF)
- Transportation Impact Study Guidelines (PDF)
- Tree Preservation Plan (PDF)
- Urban Design Report (PDF)
- Wind Study (PDF)