What is a Zoning By-law?

    Zoning By-laws are legal documents that divide a municipality into different land use zones. Zoning By-laws specify permitted uses (e.g. commercial or residential) and required standards (building size and location). They provide a legal way of managing land use and future development and can protect you from conflicting and possibly dangerous land uses in your community. 

    What will be the result of the Zoning By-law review?

    A new Zoning By-law for the entire Municipality will be created. The new Zoning By-law may change various land use permissions and regulations that currently exist for some lands. A new Zoning By-law may also include a zone change for various lands to implement the new Official Plan. 

    Why is new zoning necessary?

    The new zoning is intended to implement the policies of the new Official Plan approved in 2021 and guide the use of land, buildings and structures. Without the proposed changes to zoning, new development in the existing zoning framework may not achieve the intent of the new Official Plan.

    How does the Municipality enforce and implement its Zoning By-law?

    When an individual applies for a building permit, staff are required to ensure that the proposed use, building or structure complies with the Zoning By-law. If the proposed use, building or structure does not comply with the Zoning By-law, the building permit cannot be issued. 

    How may the new Zoning By-law affect landowners?

    The new Zoning By-law may have one of three effects: 

    1. The existing zones and/or special provisions are renamed or reclassified such that it is administrative in nature and does not impact existing zoning permissions or regulations;
    2. The change in zoning allows for additional uses and built forms that are currently not permitted by the existing Zoning By-law; or, 
    3. Uses and built forms that are currently permitted under the existing Zoning By-law may no longer be permitted. 

    When the new Zoning By-law results in a legally existing use no longer being permitted, these uses and/or buildings may be considered to be legal non-conforming (see explanation below). 

    What is legal non-conforming?

    Legal non-conforming status is applied to legally existing land, buildings and uses that do not comply with the new zoning. 

    Legal non-conforming land, buildings and uses will continue to be permitted, provided that the land owner does not change the use of the property/building or location of the building(s). If new buildings, additions to existing buildings, or a change in use is proposed, the new zoning requirements would apply. In the long-term the intent is that all legal non-conforming uses will convert to the uses permitted in the Zoning By-law and thus implement the vision of the Municipality of Kincardine Official Plan. 

    What happens if my property's current zoning is changed and deemed legal non-conforming?

    The proposed new zoning has no effect on the continued use of any property. If and when the proposed new zoning comes into effect, there will be no change to the requirements imposed and you can continue living in your home and/or operating your business without any implications. It will be business-as-usual. The zoning requirements will only apply to new development or change in use of the property. 

    What impact may the new Zoning By-law have on the value of my property and property taxes?

    The zoning of properties has little to no impact on the assessed value of properties. The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) assesses the value of properties based on as many as 200 different factors. Five major factors usually account for 85% of a property's value including location, lot size/dimensions, living area, age of the house, and quality of construction. More information on MPAC's property assessment valuation process can be obtained by visiting https://mpac.ca/en/propertytypes/residentialpropertyassessments/howweassessresidentialproperties

    Property taxes are not calculated based on the market value but rather the assessed value of the property. The market value of a property depends on a host of factors including the state of the economy and the individual purchaser's preferences. 

    What if I don't want the new Zoning By-law to apply to my property?

    A property owner is not able to 'opt-out' of a Zoning By-law since it is meant to apply to all properties within a Municipality. However, we encourage you to submit comments to the MHBC team and Municipal staff related to the proposed Zoning By-law as it is developed. Staff welcome all input on the proposed new zoning by-law and will review all comments received prior to making a final recommendation to Council. 

    How do I read a Zoning By-law?

    The Zoning By-law consists of two parts. 

    First, use our interactive map to find out what zone your property is in. 

    Next, find your zone in our Zoning By-law.

    What do the letters mean after my zone?

    The Zoning By-law is comprised of primary zones, such as A1- General Agricultural or R1 - Residential One. These primary zones have rules regulating land use, as well as building setbacks, heights, accessory structures, etc. 

    Sometimes there are letters that follow the primary zone. These letters represent a special provision that's been applied to a specific site following an approval process. Sometimes these special provisions allow certain types of development, or reduced lot sizes, reduced yard setbacks, etc. Sometimes these special provisions might restrict the type of development permitted on this site.