Official Plan & Zoning By-law

Residential Zones Project

Notice of Passing of the By-law

On May 14, 2021, the City of Hamilton Council approved By-laws Nos. 21- 071 to 21-077, inclusive to amend the City of Hamilton Zoning By-law No. 05-200 and Zoning By-laws applicable to the Town of Ancaster, Town of Dundas, Town of Flamborough, Township of Glanbrook, City of Hamilton and City of Stoney Creek Zoning By-laws, to permit:

  • One Secondary Dwelling Unit (SDU) within the principal dwelling and one detached SDU on a lot containing a Single Detached Dwelling, Semi-Detached Dwelling or Street Townhouse Dwelling in the Urban Area;
  • One SDU within a Single Detached Dwelling and a Semi-Detached Dwelling in the Rural Area;
  • Locational, design, parking, and other technical regulations related to Secondary Dwelling Units in the Urban Area; and,
  • Minimum lot area, adequate service, parking, and other technical regulations related to Secondary Dwelling Units in the Rural Area.
  • Introduce new accessory building regulations for Hamilton Zoning By-law No. 05-200.

Also take note that Tariff of Fees By-law 12-282 to add a new fee for a Committee of Adjustment Application has also been approved by the City of Hamilton Council on May 14, 2021 for Routine Minor Variance for Secondary Dwelling Units of $600.00

For more information review the approved by-laws.

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.

Did you miss the virtual public information meeting? Watch the video and review the presentation Q&As.

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.

Public Engagement Feedback Summary

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 including Secondary Dwelling Unit permissions, or if you wish to submit a Building Permit application, please contact:

For zoning information, please contact:
Planning Division
City Hall, 5th Floor
Phone: 905-546-2424 x 2719
Email: [email protected]

For building permit information, please contact:
Building Division
Phone: 905-546-2720
Email: [email protected]

For general questions about the Residential ZonesProject please contact:

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