Policies & Guidelines

Site Plan Guidelines

Hamilton's Site Plan Guidelines are intended to provide guidance to development projects that are subject to site plan approval.  These guidelines convey the City’s preferences and expectations for site and building development.  There is flexibility in the use of these guidelines and the City recognizes the need to co-operatively achieve both municipal objectives and private development requirements.

The City wishes to ensure that new development is accessible, safe and functional and that it integrates with existing natural features and surrounding built form.  

The purpose of this document is to:

  • Indicate the City’s design preferences and expectations for site development through a series of design guidelines. 
  • Provide information to ensure that all aspects of a proposed development are considered in the site design process and provide guidance for the site planning process.
  • Ensure that all new development complies with the Zoning By-law regulations.
  • Assist designers, developers and builders as well as public agencies with the development process and ensure all development supports Hamilton’s desire to create an attractive, liveable and functional community.
  • Outline various technical standards that the City requires all construction to meet.

Site Plan Guidelines

There are 6 sections to the guidelines:

Provides the introduction to this document, including the purpose and intended use, identifies the City’s primary development objectives, review the City’s site plan approval process and submission requirements, and describes how to use this document.

View Section 1 of the Site Plan Guidelines (PDF, 313 KB)

Addresses site context and public space considerations for new development projects. Topics include public realm and streets, neighbourhood character, heritage conservation, and safety and security. All development projects should have regard to these guidelines.

View Section 2 of the Site Plan Guidelines (PDF, 4.3 MB)

Builds on the foundation of public space design to address specific site planning components, including site circulation, landscape design, grading, parking and loading, lighting, signage and stormwater management.

View Section 3 of the Site Plan Guidelines (PDF, 7.9 MB)

Contains direction for building design. Hamilton does not prescribe architectural styles but does provide guidance on relating new buildings to existing neighbourhoods, building mass and rooflines.

View Section 4 of the Site Plan Guidelines (PDF, 2.2 MB)

Provides information on areas of special character. Throughout Hamilton there are areas such as heritage conservation districts, historic town centres and the Niagara Escarpment which requires special attention to ensure that new development respects the character of these areas.

View Section 5 of the Site Plan Guidelines (PDF, 126 KB)

Deals with specific building types that have inherent form and functional characteristics which need to be considered at the site design stage. The guidelines for specific building types should be reviewed in conjunction with the general design considerations. Guidelines have been prepared for the following types of development:  business park & industrial buildings, drive through restaurants and other facilities and multi-residential (apartments, street townhouses, cluster townhouses).

View Section 6 of the Site Plan Guidelines (PDF, 3.2 MB)

Contains the glossary of terms.

View Section 7 of the Site Plan Guidelines (PDF, 195 KB)


  1. City of Hamilton Submission Requirements for Site Plan Control (PDF, 2 MB)
  2. City of Hamilton Letter of Credit Policy (PDF,106 KB)
  3. Downtown Hamilton Development Permit Area (PDF,139 KB)
  4. Site Plan Contact Information (PDF, 230 KB)
  5. Site Plan Control Process Flow Chart (PDF, 77 KB)
  6. Conservation Authority Jurisdiction Boundaries (PDF, 435 KB)
  7. Woodland Conservation By-law No. R00-054 (PDF, 761 KB)
  8. Tree Preservation Details (PDF, 959 KB)
  9. Notice of Intent to Cut, Burn or Destroy Tree Application (PDF, 318 KB)
  10. Barrier Free Signage (Provincial Standards) 
  11. Urban Braille System
  12. Barrier-Free Design Guidelines
  13. Visibility Triangle Requirements (PDF, 66 KB)
  14. Recommended Planting Applications (PDF, 1.6 MB)
  15. Preferred Street Tree Species (PDF, 542 KB)
  16. City of Hamilton Tree Policies
  17. Planting and Paving Details (PDF,2.8 MB)
  18. Fencing Details (PDF, 2.4 MB)
  19. Waste Management By-law No. 20-221 (PDF, 353 KB)
  20. City of Hamilton Waste Requirements for Design of New Developements and Collection (PDF, 1.4 MB)
  21. Landscape and Grading Plan Requirements (PDF, 291 KB)
  22. By-law No. 19-286 for Prohibiting and Regulating the Alteration of Property Grades, the Placing or Dumping of Fill, and the removal of Topsoil (PDF, 176 KB)
  23. Ministry of the Environment, Noise Assessment Criteria in Land Use Planning: Requirements, Procedures and Implementation, LU-131