Minor Variances

The application for minor variance is a relief procedure by which Council may approve planned work or may legalize work that is under way or already completed and that does not meet all the provisions of the urban planning by-laws.

When is a minor variance needed?

A minor variance may be granted when a resident applies for a permit and the work is not fully compliant with the zoning by-law. Before proposing the minor variance, the municipal inspector will carefully consider all of the solutions that would bring the work into compliance. The minor variance is a measure of last resort.

In other cases, a resident may request a minor variance for work already performed in good faith. For example, this could be a building built at a time when certain by-laws were not in force, or perhaps a mistake was made during construction.


A minor variance must be in line with the objectives of the urban development plan. It will be granted only if the lot configuration does not allow compliance with the municipal planning by-laws and if enforcement would cause serious harm to the applicant. Moreover, it must not affect the neighbours’ right to enjoyment of their property.

For more information, see By-law No. 1272 on minor variances to the urban planning by-laws.

Application evaluation

Each application for a minor variance must be studied by the Planning Advisory Committee. The process usually takes about six weeks. There is a fee of $1,000, of which $500 is reimbursed if Municipal Council rejects the application.

The Clerk must publish a notice at least 15 days before the meeting during which Municipal Council is to rule on the application. After receiving the opinion of the Planning Advisory Committee, Council will make a decision by resolution during a Council meeting.

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