Zoning Verification

Before you open your business, particularly before you sign a lease or buy a property, you need to make sure your type of business can operate at that location. The way you determine if you can open or expand at a certain location is to understand what the zoned property allows, and if there are any additional requirements such as parking and how far the building needs to be from the road.

Zoning regulates:

  • Where buildings and other structures can be located.
  • Types of buildings such as commercial, industrial, residential that are permitted at a particular address.
  • How the property may be used such as lot sizes and dimensions, parking requirements, building heights, and distance from the street.

Purpose of a Zoning Verification

A zoning verification will tell you if the zoning of the property will permit your proposed business and what other requirements you need to follow. It will also provide you with the required documentation to:

  • Specific details about the proposed use for the property. The more specific you are in your application, the more detailed response you will receive.
  • Example: if you want to open an office you should be specific as to what type of office it is such as a law firm, consulting or health because there are different requirements you need to meet. These requirements are listed in the response you get back.
  • Example: There are different requirements for take-out counters, restaurants with drive-thru’s and eat-in restaurants. The type of restaurant and the capacity such as number of seats in your restaurant can impact the number of parking spaces you need.
  • Proposed address.
  • Site plan drawing showing a bird's eye view of the property.

There are two different way to request a zoning verification on a property, depending on if you:

1. Plan to open an existing business at a specific address

If you want to open an existing business at a specific address, there are two ways that you can apply:

In person

You can complete the Zoning Verification application form (PDF, 27 KB) and submit it in person to:

One Stop for Business
City Hall, 71 Main Street West, 1st Floor
Hamilton, Ontario. 

Accepted method of payment: Cash, debit and cheque. You can also pay by VISA or Mastercard by completing a credit card payment form (PDF, 58 KB) and submitting along with your application.

Online

You can apply online for a zoning verification.
Accepted method of payment: VISA or Mastercard.

2. Plan to open a new business at a specific address

If you are starting a new business that needs to be licensed with the City of Hamilton you should submit your Zoning Verification application form (PDF, 27 KB) in person at the same time as your business licence. Refer to Business Licences to determine where you need to submit your zoning verification and business licence applications.

There are two different service fees depending on how fast you need the zoning verified:

Regular service fee (10 days)


To get zoning verified in 10 business days for:

  • Single & Two Family Dwellings, Townhouses - $113
  • Non-Residential / Multi-Residential - $232

Express service fee (2 days)


To get zoning verified in two business days for:

  • Single & Two Family Dwellings, Townhouses - $172
  • Non-Residential / Multi-Residential - $351

You can pay by cash, cheque, VISA, MasterCard and Interac at City Hall.

Express service for an entire property containing a large-scale or multi-tenant development is not available, as the review for these types of properties takes longer than two business days.

If you have questions about a particular address that you wish to make an application for, call 905-546-2720.