Official Plan & Zoning By-law

Residential Zones Project

The City of Hamilton’s Comprehensive Zoning By-law No. 05-200 came into effect on May 25, 2005, and is being implemented in stages. This Zoning By-law applies to the entire City of Hamilton and is replacing the Zoning By-laws of the former municipalities.

The final phase of this project is focused on residential zones in the urban area. The purpose of this project is to implement the policies of the Urban Hamilton Official Plan to create consistent residential zones across the entire urban area of Hamilton.

What does Zoning By-law No. 05-200 represent?

  • A living document that will evolve over time.
  • A flexible, up-to-date document, reflecting current planning trends and priorities.
  • Forward thinking – future ready.

Residential Zoning Engagement Project
Stage 1 Low Density

Additional phases addressing townhouse dwellings and apartment buildings will follow. Currently the Residential Zone Project is in Stage 1 Low Density.

How to participate

Did you miss the virtual public information meeting? Watch the video and review the presentation Q&As. You can also complete the Secondary Dwelling Units (SDU) Survey at

Draft discussion papers

These discussion papers outline the different zoning by-law regulations and options to consider, and a list of the preliminary recommendations.

This project only addresses Zoning By-law regulations and does not affect any licensing by-laws or requirements.

Related projects

A number of related projects are underway or have been completed that will help inform the residential zoning project going forward.

In anticipation of future growth in both new communities and within existing communities, the City is working on several projects related to residential growth:

In November 2018, The City hosted a series of public open houses to talk about planning for future communities:

  • what density looks like
  • how to plan for complete communities
  • how zoning can contribute to making great communities

It’s about imagining new communities and what that would look like for you – how you live now and how you want to live in the future.

Public Open Houses - November, 2018

Open house attendees were asked to provide feedback through a series of interactive activities to inform the projects staff are presently working on. The feedback received will inform the next stages of these ongoing planning projects - the planning of new communities and the residential zoning project. Review the display materials (PDF,  8 MB)

Visual Preference Survey

The Visual Preference Survey presented a series of images which focused on a particular element of residential development (e.g. how a building interacts with the street). The public was asked to rank each photo based on their preference. Visual Preference Survey Results – the results of each open house are shown, along with a summary of the combined results from all open houses.

Things that influence how we feel about the street we live on

At the open houses, attendees were asked to comment on their likes and dislikes about the street they live on. Things that influence how we feel about our street can include:

  • The types and overall look of the houses and other buildings;
  • Landscaping;
  • Outdoor spaces – yards, balconies, porches, and patios;
  • Meeting places, parks, and trails;
  • Streets and parking; and,
  • Sidewalks, bike lanes, and public transit.


A summary of the content of the public open houses and feedback received can be found in Report PED19055 (PDF, 204 KB).

Secondary suites in detached structures are to be permitted in certain areas within the city provided they adjoin a laneway and satisfy a number of other zoning regulations. This pilot project is intended to help inform the residential zoning project.

The approved By-law 18-299 amended regulations of Section 19 of Zoning By-law No. 6593 to allow secondary units within detached structures for existing single detached dwellings within the lower City (parts of Wards 1, 2, 3 and 4) adjoining a laneway. A future information guide will be created to help residents better understand the process and requirements of this pilot project, including a warning advising that continued use and maintenance of the alleyway is not secured or protected.

View the report presented to Planning Committee

In consultation with the Ancaster community, a pilot project for the Existing Residential “ER” Zone was developed that involved changes to the regulations of the “ER” Zone. Zoning By-law regulations establish an as-of-right building envelope that guides development or redevelopment on individual properties. The changes are intended to provide a more sensitive integration of new construction within mature neighbourhoods.

As part of the residential zoning project, we will monitor these new zoning regulations to see if:

  • they are working as intended
  • any changes or new regulations are needed
  • they could be used in other areas of the city with mature neighbourhoods and larger lots

Learn more about the Review of the Existing “ER” Zone in Ancaster

Contact us

For questions about the zoning of a property, or if you wish to submit a Building Permit application, contact:

Building Division
City Hall, 3rd Floor
Phone: 905-546-2720
Email: [email protected]

For general questions about the Residential Zone Project, contact:

Tim Lee
Planner, Zoning By-Law Reform
Phone: 905-546-2424 ext. 1249
Email: [email protected]

Alana Fulford
Planner, Zoning By-law Reform
Phone: 905-546-2424 ext. 4771
Email: [email protected]