A minor variance is a special permission that may be granted to a property owner upon application to the Township. A variance, in effect, excuses a land owner from a specific requirement of the Zoning By-law.

Section 45(1) of the Planning Act states that the Committee of Adjustment (Council) may authorize a minor variance from the provisions of the Zoning By-law. This authorization can occur “in respect of the land, building or structure or the use thereof, as in its opinion is desirable for the appropriate development or use of the land, building or structure, if in the opinion of the committee the general intent and purpose of the By-law and of the official plan, if any, are maintained.”

In accordance with the Planning Act, when evaluating an application for minor variance, Staff and the Committee of Adjustment (Council) must consider how the proposal meets the ‘four tests' of a minor variance. Each test must be met in order for the Committee of Adjustment (Council) to approve an application.

Should you be interested in submitting an application for Minor Variance, you are highly encouraged to pre-consult with planning staff.

A minor variance application seeks permission to vary from the requirements of the Zoning By-law. Common variance applications seek minor relief from a side yard or front yard requirements. The Planning Act establishes four tests that the Committee must consider when arriving at a decision.

Four Tests

  1. The variance must be minor.
  2. The variance must be desirable for the appropriate development or use of the land, building or structure.
  3. The general intent and purpose of the Zoning By-law must be maintained.
  4. The general intent and purpose of the Official Plan must be maintained.

Minor Variance Procedures

Receive and review application

  • Be sure everything is complete and check the Official Plan designation and Zoning policies.
  • Review with the Planner and Chief Building Official.

Cheques to be submitted with the application

  • Township of Alnwick/Haldimand: $750.00
  • County of Northumberland (Planning comments): $250.00
  • County of Northumberland (Health comments): $300.00
  • Lower Trent Conservation Authority: $265.00

Public Meeting

  • A Public Meeting is to be scheduled no sooner than ten (10) days and the Notice of Decision is to be circulated to the following:
    • Owner of property
    • Property owners within 200 feet (approximately 60 metres) of the subject lands
    • Affected agencies

If the Committee of Adjustment (Council) approves

  • If the Committee of Adjustment (Council) approves the Minor Variance, the Notice of Decision is to be sent within ten (10) days to the following:
    • Owner of property
    • Any person or agency who requested, in writing, to be notified of the decision.

Appeal Period

  • There is a 20-day appeal period from the date of the decision made by Council.
Minor Variance
Township of Alnwick/Haldimand Application for Minor Variance $750.00
County of Northumberland Review Fee $300.00
Lower Trent Conservation Review Fee $305.00
Ganaraska Conservation Review Fee $350.00