The City of Cambridge requires Site Plan Review for new development (with a few exceptions). The approval process ensures development of new properties is safe, efficient, and in accordance with our policies and regulations.

View the Site Plan Review Reference Guide for detailed instructions on the Site Plan Review process.

View the sample title block with notes and approval signature blocks. AutoCAD files are available upon request.

Why does the City have a Site Plan Review process?

Site Plan Review helps the City ensure that developments meet the requirements of municipal and provincial building legislations, such as:

The purpose of Site Plan Review is to review the site design and technical aspects of items, including:

  • Quality of building design (massing, conceptual design, exterior design) and site design
  • Impact of the proposal on surrounding land uses (shadows, lighting, massing, fit, compatibility, etc.)
  • Orientation and siting of buildings and relationship to the street and public realm
  • Site access, arrangement of parking facilities, loading facilities, vehicle movement
  • Pedestrian connections and circulation
  • Design of semi-public spaces, such as parking lots
  • Overall landscape design
  • Site engineering (site servicing, site grading, erosion control, stormwater management)
  • Site lighting/photometric
  • Accessibility
  • Sustainable design elements, such as heat island mitigation, bio-swales, green roofs, permeable pavers
  • Heritage conservation
Do I need a Site Plan?

The Site Plan Control By-law requires Site Plan Approval for all development within the City of Cambridge. This includes the following land use types:

  • Multiple-unit residential
  • Commercial
  • Industrial
  • Mixed-use
  • Institutional
  • Some large building renovations or building additions

The following types of development do not require Site Plan Approval:

  • Single detached dwelling
  • Semi-detached dwelling
  • Duplex dwellings
  • Triplex dwellings
  • Farm related dwellings or structures within an agricultural area in the Official Plan

Please note that you still need to apply for the proper permits before building, even if your project does not require Site Plan Approval.

What does the Site Plan Review Committee do?

The Site Plan Review Committee reviews Site Plan applications, as well as any supporting drawings or reports submitted to the City for approval. Members of the Site Plan Review Committee include City Staff (Planning, Transportation, Engineering, Landscape Architecture, Accessibility, Economic Development, Building, Fire, Heritage and Legal Services) and external agencies, including:

Applicable staff review and provide comments related to their respective area of expertise and jurisdiction.

What is the process for Site Plan Review?

Step 1: Pre-consultation Application - initial review of the Site Plan proposal by the Site Plan Review Committee.

Step 2: Submission of complete application form and package of drawings.

Step 3: Review of application by City Staff, including comments and required changes.

Step 4: Update of plans by applicant, in accordance with the comments from City Staff.

Step 5: Review of updated drawings by Staff.  If the drawings require additional changes, staff provide comments to the applicant who must submit an updated set of drawings.

The applicant proceeds to final approval, if the drawings are complete.

Step 6: Final approval, requiring the following:

  • Four original executed Site Plan Agreements
  • Letter of Credit, Bank Draft, Certified Cheque (or approved equal)
  • General Liability Insurance for $5 million, co-insuring the City of Cambridge

Step 7: Proceed with construction once the Site Plan Agreement has been registered on the property title. Please note that a building permit may be required.

How do I arrange a pre-consultation?

Contact the Planning and Development department to confirm if you need to arrange a pre-consultation before submitting a formal Site Plan Application. Complete the Pre-consultation for Site Plan Application to set up your pre-consultation, if needed.

What are the Site Plan Application requirements?

A full list of drawings and plans required for your site plan application will be provided by the Site Plan Review Committee in the pre-consultation meeting. This could include the following:

  • Site plan
  • Site details plan
  • Fire route plan
  • Landscaping plan
  • Building elevations
  • Lighting plan
  • Grading plan
  • Servicing plan

Please ensure your site plan submission is complete. Incomplete submissions may delay the process.

Before receiving final approval of your site plan, you may also need to submit the following documents:

View the Site Plan Review Reference Guide for more information about these forms and when they may be required.  

How do I get the site securities released?

The Site Plan Agreement lists all itmes that are required to be submited in order to recieve a partial or full release of the site securities held for the development.  The following forms generally are required: