The City of Hamilton's By-law 19-286 applies to all land within the City of Hamilton in respect of:
- excavating, depositing or stockpiling fill or topsoil,
- removing topsoil, and
- altering the grade of land.
No person shall undertake site alteration or cause site alteration to be undertaken unless a site alteration permit has been issued to undertake such site alteration.
Apply for a Site Alteration Permit
The permit process takes approximately four to six weeks from the time a complete application is received to the time conditional permit approval is issued, provided resubmission(s) is not required in response to the review of the application.
Before submission of an application, a self-assessment against the Pre-Screening Checklist and Exemption Criteria is required.
1. Is your proposal subject to an exemption per the Exemption Criteria?
- Yes. You will need to email [email protected] the application form, drawing(s) with details of the proposal and specify the applicable exemption criteria, as well as the intended start and end dates of alteration.
- No. Proceed to question 2.
2. Is your proposal a result of an Order to Comply?
- Yes. You will need to provide a copy of the Order and proceed to question 3.
- No. Proceed to question 3.
3. Does your proposal require a building permit application?
- Yes. Learn more about Residential Building & Renovation
- No. Proceed to question 4.
4. Is the property subject to Site Plan Approval (SPA) or zoned (or is it adjacent to) an Open Space Zone, per Section 7 of Zoning By-law No. 05-200?
- Yes. Site Plan Approval may be required from the Planning Division, contact [email protected] to either start the SPA application process or obtain SPA Exemption. Please note: If Site Plan Approval is required, a Site Alteration Permit will not be required (lot grading will be reviewed through the SPA process).
- No. Proceed to question 5. Please note: if Site Plan Exemption is granted, a copy of the Site Plan Exemption letter from the Planning Division is required with the Site Alteration Application.
5. Is your property covered by a regulated area of the Conservation Authority?
- Yes. You will need to consult with the applicable Conservation Authority and provide any correspondence with the application for Site Alteration, then proceed to Step 2: Complete the Application Form, Requirements Checklist & Fees.
6. Has your proposal for Swimming Pool Enclosure Permit been flagged for possible site alteration by the Building Division under their review process?
- Yes. Please submit drawings with the swimming pool enclosure grading review checklist for review to [email protected] for review.
If an exemption from a Site Alteration Permit is not applicable (as per Exemption Criteria listed below), please complete the application form in accordance with the Site Alteration Permit Requirements listed under Sections 14 & 15 of Site Alteration By-law 19-286 (PDF link above). Upon receipt, Staff will review the application for completeness and advise for fee payment.
All submissions are subject to the standard review timeline minimum of 3 weeks. This may be further extended due to operating conditions, workloads, and conflicting priorities.
Requests for updates can be sent to [email protected] and will be answered at our earliest opportunity, confirming either that the application remains under review or that comments have been provided.
Where there is a dispute as to whether a Site Alteration Permit is required, it shall be the responsibility of the property owner to provide evidence showing none of these limits have been exceeded.
1. No permit is required for site alteration undertaken,
- for the purposes of lawn maintenance, landscaping or gardening, provided that:
- i. the depth of fill deposited on the site does not exceed 15 centimetres at any location;
- ii. there is no change in the location, direction or rate of drainage to neighbouring properties; and
- iii. there is no change or blockage of any swale.
- for the installation of a pool where a permit has been issued pursuant to By-law No. 16-184, provided that:
- i. any previously approved grading plan is maintained or if there is no previously approved grading plan applicable to the property, a minimum 60 centimetre strip of undisturbed ground remains along the rear and side property lines within the rear yard; and,
- ii. any retaining walls are limited to 0.5 metres in height, measured from existing ground elevations.
- incidental to the construction of a building for which a building permit has been issued by the Chief Building Official, provided that the accompanying application provides sufficient information for the Chief Building Official to determine that such site alteration conforms with this By-law.
2. No permit is required for site alteration undertaken in the Rural Area,
- for the purposes of improving site drainage or soil quality provided that:
- i. the site alteration involves a maximum of 500 cubic metres of fill or topsoil, which may include imported fill or topsoil only from within the City of Hamilton;
- ii. the Director of Growth Management & Chief Development Engineer is notified of the intended site alteration at least 48 hours in advance of commencing site alteration; and,
- iii. this exception may be used only once with respect to a property, and otherwise a permit is required.
- for the purposes of dredging existing ponds provided that:
- i. the surface area of the existing pond is not increased;
- ii. the depth of the existing pond is not increased beyond its original depth; and,
- iii. where possible, dredged fill is deposited on the same property without altering existing drainage patterns, and piles or berms of dredged fill are not created adjacent to the pond.
- for the purpose of maintaining existing granular driveways, roads, farm field access roads, or parking areas with appropriate imported granular material including native granular, recycled aggregate, recycled asphalt or recycled concrete provided that previously existing grades are being re-instated and provided the material is obtained from a commercial supplier.
Exemptions must be confirmed in writing by City staff with requisite notice of commencement. Please email [email protected] and include the application form, drawing(s) with details of the proposal, specify the applicable exemption criteria, as well as the intended start and end dates of alteration. Any exemption must be issued an exemption permit. No fee is required for Site Alteration Exemptions.
In addition to the materials identified under Step 1:
- Submit an electronic copy of the requisite plans (certified by a qualified person in accordance with the Application Requirements, as per Section 14 & 15 of By-Law 19-286)
- Pay the permit fee (fees can be paid by cheque or credit card, cheques must be made payable to the City of Hamilton)
- Have a cost estimate completed and stamped by a qualified professional to determine the security deposit which will be required to be posted, being a minimum of 50% of all earth works and 100% of any restoration works, to be held until certification of completion of works by a qualified professional and subsequent inspection and release by a City Inspector
|4th Submission & Thereafter||$760|
|Permit as a Result of Contravention & Issued Order||2x the amount otherwise payable fee|
|Site Alteration Exemption||No fee|
Fees can be paid by cheque or credit card. Cheques must be made payable to the City of Hamilton.
Submit the completed application form, requirements checklist, supporting documents and fee(s) by one of two ways:
- Via email to [email protected] with Site Alteration Application and the municipal address in the subject line.
- In person delivery or by mail to:
City of Hamilton
71 Main Street West, 6th Floor
Hamilton, Ontario, L8P 4Y5
Attention: Site Alteration Application
I plan on landscaping my property by constructing a swimming pool, building a retaining wall and/or accessory building, installing hard surfaces and/or fixing a drainage issue. Do I require a Site Alteration Permit?
Possibly. You will need to review ‘Step 1: Pre-Screening Checklist & Exemption Criteria’ prior to submitting a grading plan for review to [email protected].
Ensure you have a plan that contains this information:
- Existing grading details with proposed amendments to existing conditions
- Property lines
- Existing and proposed retaining walls
- Existing swales, catch basins, and proposed modifications to the existing drainage pattern
- Current and proposed hard surface landscaping
Any missing information will result in our inability to properly assess your circumstances and may result in delays processing your Pool Enclosure Permit. Once your plan has been prepared, email it directly to [email protected] with the subject line reading “SITE ALTERATION – (municipal address)”.
Note: if the final grading of your property has not been certified (CLOSED) you will require a site alteration permit (no exceptions). Please proceed to ‘Step 2 Complete the Application Form, Requirements Checklist & Fees’.
You submitted for a Building Permit and the Building Division has advised you a Site Alteration Permit is required, what are my next steps?
Follow the steps noted above.
There is an easement on the property, where can I get the details?
The ditch and/or culvert in front of my house is blocked, my property is getting flooded, who do I contact?
Contact Public Works - Roadway Maintenance by connecting with the general help line at 905-546-2489 or [email protected].
How do I get a copy of my properties grading plan?
Only the current property owner (or authorization from the current property owner) is permitted to request grading plans. You will need to email [email protected] with the subject line reading “GRADING RECORD SEARCH - (municipal address)”.
For access to information about a property in which you are not the current owner (or don’t have authorization from the current owner), you may file a Freedom of Information Request with the Office of the City Clerk.
I would like information with respect to the municipal services fronting my property or servicing of my property, where can I get this information?
Contact SPIDER (Spatially Indexed Engineering Records) at https://arcg.is/1HnHqm. Available drawings include:
- Road, Water and Sewer Drawings sheets
- Large Service Plans
- Inspectors Reports
- Private Drain Reports (only available up to year 2000)
What is the size of the water line servicing of my property?
Contact Hamilton Water at 905-546-4426. Learn more about Water Line Service Replacement
I would like to widen or alter my existing driveway (or add a new driveway), who do I contact?
Ensure the proposed adjustment to parking is in compliance with your properties applicable zoning regulations prior to contacting the City.
If approved, all Site Alteration Permits will be approved with conditions, including Prior To Any Work Conditions, as well as standard Conditions of Approval.
A Site Alteration Permit is valid for two years from the date of approval by the Director of Growth Management & Chief Development Engineer or designate. If works are not completed and certified during this time, the Site Alteration Permit is deemed to have lapsed and is void.
A request for extension of Site Alteration Permit approval may be made directly to the Director of Growth Management & Chief Development Engineer a minimum of one month prior to the lapsing of the permit approval. Written justification for the extension and the required fee shall be provided with the request for extension.