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OMB Decision clears way for expanded business opportunity in Rural Hamilton

HAMILTON, ON - May 9, 2016 - The City of Hamilton today announced a landmark Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) decision with the approval of the majority of the Official Plan Amendment (By-law 15-172) and Zoning By-law (By-law No. 15-173) for the Rural Area.

Both by-laws dealt specifically with rural Hamilton, and the Zoning By-law intended to harmonize various provisions across the City's former municipalities, including the creation of consistent definitions and permitted activities. The by-laws were originally passed by City Council in July 2015.

The OMB decision, dated May 3, 2016, ratifies the Rural Zoning By-Law which defines uses so that specific activities are clearer (i.e. the definition of agriculture is broader to include washing, sorting, and onsite retailing of agricultural products).

“This is a significant move forward for rural Hamilton. Rural zoning is a major initiative that supports the rural economy by permitting a broader range of agriculture-related and secondary on-farm uses,” says City of Hamilton Chief Planning Official, Steve Robichaud. 

“Now, we may begin to see new types of rural businesses such as agritourism, agricultural processing, and cidery/winery/brewery establishments.”

The Rural Zoning By-law and Official Plan Amendment was under appeal by a list of individual appellants and representatives from the building industry.

There are several appeals that remain outstanding, many of which apply to individual properties. The appeal pertaining to landscape contracting/contractors has not been resolved. 

To view the OMB decision and for more specific details on the parts of by-law still under appeal, visit