Site Plan Approval

A site plan approval is a required process that you must follow for most developments including major building renovations or additions. 

The purpose of a site plan approval is to review site design features and coordinate the following:

  • High quality building design
  • Impact of the proposal on surrounding land uses
  • Placement of buildings
  • Overall site design
  • Landscaping
  • Pedestrian movement and barrier-free design
  • Grading, drainage and storm water management
  • Parking, loading layout, vehicular access and maneuvering

Site plan approval ensures City of Hamilton design requirements are met concerning site layout, street widening, parking, drainage and landscaping improving the quality and appearance of the development.

The entire city of Hamilton is designated as a site plan control area. You will need final site plan approval before applying for a building permit for major building renovations, additions or for new construction related to these land use types:

  • Industrial
  • Institutional
  • Commercial
  • Multiple residential
  • Agricultural greenhouses

The following exceptions require site plan approval:

  • Single, duplex or semi-detached dwellings located on Beach Boulevard Road
  • Single, duplex or semi-detached dwelling within or adjacent to major open space areas environmentally significant areas, or provincially significant areas
  • Multiple, single, duplex or semi-detached dwellings within innovative house groupings
  • Any street townhouse in a registered plan of subdivision

​Generally site plan approval does not apply to single detached dwellings, semi-detached dwellings and duplex dwellings.

Submit an application for Site Plan Approval

The site plan control process usually takes four to six weeks from the time you submit your application to the time you receive conditional site plan approval. The amount of time required to get final site plan approval will vary depending on whether there are any major design issues to resolve and on how quickly you satisfy all pre-building permit conditions. 

Before submitting an application, a Formal Consultation is often required.

This consultation allows staff to review the proposed project prior to submitting an application and assist you in providing required information, including:

  • Ensuring technical requirements are met such as road widening, encroachments and conservation matters
  • Ensuring that the Design Guidelines are implemented
  • Compliance to the Zoning By-law
  • Identifying any other required information and materials.

Design Review Panel (RRP)

The Design Review Panel is generally limited to complex Zoning By-law Amendments and Site Plan applications in the following Design Priority Areas:

  • Downtown Hamilton Secondary Plan Area
  • Areas of Major Change and Corridors of Gradual Change within Setting Sail Secondary Plan Area
  • Any other large scale project that has the potential to significantly impact the physical environment functionally and aesthetically.

Applications subject to the DRP will be identified at the Formal Consultation stage including any additional submission requirements.

You will need to complete the Site Plan submission requirements and application form (PDF, 2.1 MB).

Minor Site Plan

A Minor Site Plan Control application is for detached and semi-detached dwellings. Commercial, industrial and institutional uses (new development and/or revisions to existing development) under 100 square metres may be considered a Minor Site Plan Control application. However, if during the site plan review stage it is determined that the proposed development requires changes to the approved grading plan or may have off-site impacts, then the application will be “bumped-up” to a full application and the additional fee will be required.

You will need to complete the Minor Site Plan application form (PDF, 357 KB).

The fee is required to be submitted with the application or resubmission on the fourth occasion and for each subsequent resubmission.  

Fees can be paid by cash, cheque or credit card. Cheques must be made payable to the City of Hamilton.

Application type/fee

  • Full application - $9,275
    • Agricultural uses - 1/2 of Applicable Fee (DAR) - $4,640
  • Amendment to an Approved Site Plan - $2,240
    • Agricultural uses - 1/2 of Applicable Fee (SPAR) - $1,200
  • Minor Application - $1,150
    • Agricultural uses - 1/2 of Applicable Fee (MDAR) - $575
  • Preliminary Site Plan Review - $2,240
  • Resubmission (on the 4th occasion and thereafter) -  $2,970
  • Site Plan Approval Extension - $1,515
  • 1 & 2 Family Residential on the Hamilton Beach Strip (outside of Heritage Conservation District) - $2,170
  • 1 & 2 Family Residential within or contiguous to Major Open Space Areas, Environmentally Sensitive Areas - 1/2 applicable fee
  • Plus per unit Residential charge for first 10 units - $540/unit
  • Plus per unit Residential charge for additional units (11-50 units to a  max of 50 units) - $325/unit
  • Plus per m2 new gross floor area for non-residential developments, prior to the Issuance of final site to a maximum of 5,000 m2 for industrial and 50,000 m2 for commercial approval - $5/m2

The total fees will be reduced by 25% if you are filing a joint application where applications are made for an:

  • Official Plan Amendment
  • Zoning By-law Amendment
  • Approval of a Draft Plan of Subdivision
  • Condominium description
  • Any combination thereof

Conservation Authority plan review fee

The Conservation Authorities within the City of Hamilton charge fees for their review of Planning Act applications.

Once you submit your application, City staff will advise you if your application requires Conservation Authority review, and if so, which Conservation Authority your project falls within:

The fee is to be made payable to the appropriate Conservation Authority and you will have to pay the fee to the City upon request. We will forward the fee along with the application to the Conservation Authority.

Combined applications will only be charged at the highest rate. The Conservation Authority reserves the right to request additional fees should the review require a substantially greater level of effort.

Submit the completed request form, supporting documents and fee(s) in person to:

City of Hamilton
71 Main Street West, 5th Floor
Hamilton, Ontario, L8P 4Y5
Attention: Development Planning

The complete submission should include:

  • Five (5) copies of a survey plan of the property (folded legal size)
  • Nine (9) copies of the site plan (folded legal size)
  • Nine (9) copies of the building elevations (folded legal size)
  • One copy of the site plan and building elevations (reduced to 11x17")
  • One electronic copy of all plans and drawings in PDF locked file format
  • One electronic copy of all information/reports/documents as outlined in the Formal Consultation document, if applicable in PDF locked file format
  • One electronic copy of the application form without signatures in PDF locked file format
  • Nine (9) copies of the completed application form with signatures

All plans must be folded with maximum size of 8 1/2" x 14" (legal size) and in separate sets with the title block visible in the lower
right hand corner of the drawing sheet. Plans will not be accepted if this requirement has not been complied with. Rolled up plans will not be accepted.

Please provide separate files for all of the required documents or plans and use the following naming convention examples for the electronic files:

  • Application.pdf
  • Site_Plan.pdf
  • Landscape_Plan.pdf
  • Urban_Design_Report.pdf
  • Grading_Plan.pdf
  • Servicing_Plan.pdf
  • Traffic_Study.pdf
  • Noise_Study.pdf
  • Elevation_Plan.pdf

Validity

Site Plan approval is valid for one year from the date of approval by the Manager of Development Planning. If a Building Permit is not issued during this time, Site Plan approval is void.

A request for extension of Site Plan approval may be made directly to the Manager prior to the lapsing of the one year approval. Written justification for the extension and the required fee shall be provided with the request for extension.