The Committee of Adjustment is an independent decision-making tribunal, made up of 5 persons of the community appointed by Cambridge City Council.  The Chair of the Committee is appointed by the members of the Committee. The Committee has been granted authority under Sections 45 and 53 the Planning Act to consider applications for:

  • Minor Variances to the Regulations of Zoning By-laws
  • Changes or Extensions to Legal Non-Conforming Land Uses, Buildings and Structures
  • Interpretations to Generalized Zoning By-laws
The Region of Waterloo has also delegated its authority to the Committee to consider applications for consent, which includes:
  • Severances
  • Lot Additions
  • Easements/rights of way between private property owners
  • Leases for more than 21 years 

How does the Committee make decisions?

Applications are considered (heard) at Committee of Adjustment meetings which are typically held once a month in person at City Hall and are open to the public.  In addition to conducting a site visit of the subject property, the Committee considers the Staff Recommendation Report, Presentations and Comments from the Public, and Information provided by the Applicant.  The Committee may vote to:

  • Approve an application in whole or in part
  • Impose conditions on approval of an application
  • Refuse an application
  • Defer a decision to a future hearing

Where the vote is tied, the Chair will vote to break the tie.   Applicants and/or their Agent should be present at the Committee hearing and prepared to present their application, and answer questions from the Committee. 

Property owners within 60 metres of the subject property will receive a formal notice of the application in the mail.  The Applicant is also required to post notice of the application on the subject property.

The public is encouraged to participate in the process by  providing written comments to the Committee, speaking at the Committee meeting, attending the meeting, and/or inquiring about the application in advance of the hearing.  

Committee Schedule and Documents

The Committee Schedule is available online and includes all application deadlines, hearing dates, agendas, staff recommendation reports, minutes and decisions. If you are interested in receiving a copy of a past Committee of Adjustment record that is not posted online, please submit a Routine Disclosure Request to filerequests@planning.ca, with copy to carlsone@cambridge.ca.  

Application Deadline   Meeting Date Agenda & Summary   Staff Recommendation Decisions

October 19, 2023

November 15, 2023

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November 16, 2023

December 13, 2023

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December 14, 2023

January 10, 2024

CANCELLED

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 -

January 11, 2024

February 7, 2024

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Not Applicable

February 14, 2024

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February 8, 2024

March 13, 2024

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March 27, 2024

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March 13, 2024

April 10, 2024

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April 11, 2024

May 8, 2024

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May 9, 2024

June 12, 2024

 

 

 

June 13, 2024

July 10, 2024

 

 

 

July 11, 2024

August 14, 2024

 

 

 

August 15, 2024

September 11, 2024

 

 

 

September 12, 2024

October 9, 2024

 

 

 

October 10, 2024

November 13, 2024

 

 

 

November 14, 2024

December 11, 2024

 

 

 

December 12, 2024

January 8, 2025

 

 

 

January 9, 2025

February 12, 2025

 

 

 

Fee Schedule


Request Type Fee 
 Minor Variance  $2,100
Consent   $2,800 
Consent for Easement (as follow up to approved severance)  $560 
 Permission to Change a Legal Non-Conforming Use and/or Building   $2,100
 Applicant Initiated Deferral or Renotification  $280
 Cancellation Certificate or Changes to Consent Conditions  $1,200
 Validation Certificate  $2,800
 Issuance of Certificate of Official  $300
 Ontario Land Tribunal Appeal - Minor Variance or Consent where staff supported application  $2,780
 Ontario Land Tribunal Appeal - All Other Requests where staff supported application $8320 
 Ontario Land Tribunal Appeal - Minor Variance or Consent Record Preparation  $240 
 Ontario Land Tribunal Appeal - All Other Requests Record Preparation $560 

 HOW TO APPLY

  • Minor Variance or Consent Applications are to be submitted to planning@cambridge.ca.  Refer to the Complete Application requirements under the appropriate "Types of Applications" section above.
  • Other Requests are to be sent directly to the Secretary Treasurer for the Committee of Adjustment, Edmund Carlson at carlsone@cambridge.ca.   Refer to the Complete Request requirements under the “Other Requests Considered by the Committee” Section above.

City Application Fees can be paid in one of the following ways:

  • Online payments should be made for fees under $10,000. Please visit the Online Application Portal and select Make a Payment to pay with your invoice number using VISA or MASTERCARD. Please note there is a 1.75% service fee.
  • In Person payments can be made in the form of a cheque (payable to the City of Cambridge, with the file # listed beside Notes), cash or debit at the Service Cambridge Desk located on the ground floor of City Hall at 50 Dickson Street.  If you are paying an invoice, please bring a copy of your invoice.
  • Mail or courier payments in the form of a cheque (payable to the City of Cambridge, with the file # listed beside Notes) or cash to:

Cambridge City Hall                                                                                                              
Attn: Development Planning
50 Dickson Street
P.O. Box 669
Cambridge, ON N1R 5W8

 

Incomplete applications will not be placed on the upcoming agenda.   The application may be held for a limited period of time until the outstanding information or payment is received, after which the application will  need to be resubmitted.  

*COMING SOON* Minor Variance and Consent Applications will exclusively be submitted through the City’s On-line Application Portal.  All Other Requests will continue to be directed to Edmund Carlson, Secretary-Treasurer of the Committee of Adjustment at carlsone@cambridge.ca

Types of Applications & Requests

Minor Variance

A Minor Variance Application:

  • Is required for a minor change to a performance standard under the Zoning By-law.  For example, a small change to a building setback or parking requirement.
  • Cannot be used to allow a new land use or building type that is not permitted under the Zoning By-law or to make major changes to regulations of the Zoning By-law.  If you are uncertain whether a minor variance or zoning by-law amendment is required, contact planning@cambridge.ca to arrange a consultation with staff.

 

Evaluation

Under Section 45(1) of the Planning Act, the Committee of Adjustment may authorize a minor variance only if in the opinion of the Committee, the request:

  • is minor in nature;
  • maintains the general intent and purpose of the Official Plan; 
  • maintains the general intent and purpose of the Zoning By-law; and
  • is desirable for the appropriate development or use of the land, building or structure.

 

  A Complete Application includes:

  • Required documentation:
  • Other Recommended (but not mandatory) Material or Information to submit, which assists staff in their review and the Committee in their decision, includes:
    • Cover letter describing the application and its purpose
    • Building Plans, particularly including: 
      • Floor Plans 
      • Building Elevations
    • Reference Plan or Plan of Survey prepared by an Ontario Land Surveyor

Tips & Reminders

  • Ensure your application includes:
    • The applicable section of the Zoning By-law from which relief is being sought
    • The Zoning requirement IN METRIC
    • What is being proposed IN METRIC
  • Multiple variances for the same property, or proposed lot, may be considered in one application.  
  • Variances should only be sought where there is compelling rationale to support the case that a lot or building cannot be developed in compliance with the by-law.  For example, where a property has an irregular lot line, a minor variance to a building setback may be appropriate.
  • Staff are not responsible for errors or deficiencies in the application, including the identification of all zoning deficiencies.
  • A formal site plan application cannot be advanced until the subject property has been created and the lands are in full zoning compliance.
Permission to Change a Legal Non-Conforming Use and/or Building 

A Permission to Change Application is required, under Section 45(2) of the Planning Act:

  • To Enlarge or Extend a building or structure that is legal non-conforming, or
  • To Enlarge or Extend the legal non-conforming use of a property or building
  • To Change a Legal Non-Conforming Use to Another Legal Non-Conforming Use Where the new Use is similar and/or deemed to be more compatible with other permitted uses

Legal non-conforming status is applied to a land use, building or structure when:

(a)   the use of land or the building/structure itself is not permitted by the regulations of the current zoning by-law in effect, and

(b)   it can be verified that the use of land, or the building/structure has existed continuously since it was legally established under a previous by-law that is no longer in effect. 

Evaluation

Under Section 45(2) of the Planning Act, the Committee of Adjustment may authorize an alteration of or extension to a legal non-conforming use or building, where the change is:

  • desirable for the appropriate development or use of the land, building or structure; and
  • does not create excessive negative impact.


A Complete Application includes:

  • Required documentation:
  • Other Recommended (but not mandatory) Material or Information to submit, which assists staff in their review and the Committee in their decision, includes:
    • Cover letter describing the application and its purpose
    • Legal Non-Conforming status verification letter 
    • Building Plans, particularly including: 
      • Floor Plans 
      • Building Elevations
    • Reference Plan or Plan of Survey prepared by an Ontario Land Surveyor


Tips and Reminders

Consent

A Consent Application can be used for:

  • Severances:  The division of a single lot to create multiple lots.
  • Lot Line Adjustments: The transfer of a portion of land between adjacent properties.
  • Easements: Creation of the right to cross/use another’s land for a specified purpose (i.e. right-of-way, access or servicing)
  • Leases over 21 years: An agreement that grants the use of land for 21 years or more.


Evaluation

To approve a Severance or Lot Line Adjustment, the Committee of Adjustment must be satisfied that:

  • A Plan of Subdivision is not required; and
  • The criteria of Section 51(24) of the Planning Act are met, including whether the proposal conforms to the Official Plan and adjacent Plans of Subdivision, whether municipal services are adequate to service the proposal and whether the proposed land division is premature or in the public interest.

 

A Complete Consent Application includes:

  • Required documentation:
  • Other Recommended (but not mandatory) Material or Information to submit, which assists staff in their review and the Committee in their decision, includes:
    • Cover letter describing the application and its purpose
    • Draft Transfer Document
    • Building Plans, particularly including:
      • Floor Plans
      • Building Elevations
    • On the Scaled sketch of the site, the building envelope permitted under the Zoning By-law, and any variances
    • Reference Plan or Plan of Survey prepared by an Ontario Land Surveyor

 

Tips and Reminders

  • Anticipate conditions will be imposed.  Refer to Step 9  of the Process below. 
  • The Committee will typically grant 2 years for clearance of conditions from the date of decision. 
  • A conveyance authorized by consent must be completed within 2 years from the date of the Certificate of Official. 
  • Where variances are required on multiple lots resulting from a consent application, each lot shall have a separate minor variance application. 
  • Each lot to be conveyed by consent must have a separate consent application. 

Other Requests Considered by the Committee

Applicant Initiated Deferral

Where an application has been placed on an upcoming agenda, an Applicant may submit a request to defer the application to a future meeting directly to Edmund Carlson at carlsone@cambridge.ca along with the following:

  • Committee of Adjustment File #,
  • Address of the subject property,
  • Requested date of the meeting to be deferred to,
  • City Application fee of $280. 


Cancellation Certificate or Changes to Consent Conditions

A request for a Cancellation Certificate or changes to previously approved Consent conditions is made directly to Edmund Carlson at carlsone@cambridge.ca, along with the following:

  • Cover Letter, including:
    • original Committee of Adjustment File #,
    • address of the subject property, and
    • explanation of the nature and purpose of the request.  
  • Other Legal Documentation may be required, subject to consultation with staff, 
  • Cancellation Certificate or Amendment to Consent Conditions fee $1,200.

 

Validation Certificate

A Request for a Validation Certificate is made directly to Edmund Carlson at carlsone@cambridge.ca, along with the following:

  • Cover Letter, including:
    • any original Committee of Adjustment File #,
    • address of the subject property, and
    • nature of the request,
    • explanation of the defect. 
  • Consent Application Form
  • Other Legal Documentation may be required, subject to consultation with staff,
  • City Application fee $2,800,
  • Regional Review $350.

The Process

1.  Pre-consultation (recommended, not mandatory)

It is recommended that each application be discussed with Planning staff prior to submission.    Request a meeting or send questions to Edmund Carlson at carlsone@cambridge.ca or call (519) 623-1340 ext. 4697.
2.  Complete Application 

The Committee of Adjustment process begins with the submission of a complete application or request.  Once an application has been submitted and deemed complete, the Applicant receives a confirmation email from Planning Staff that includes sign posting instructions,  the tentative hearing date, and an overview of the process.  

 

Reminder: All Committee of Adjustment Applications must be signed by a Commissioner of Oaths.  The City can provide this service for a fee.  Please see the Commissioner of Oaths webpage.

3.  Agenda Preparation

Applications are assigned to a meeting agenda depending on the date it was received, in accordance with the Committee schedule and application volume.  Agendas are typically for no more than 10 properties (each may have multiple related applications) to ensure the length of the meeting is reasonable and in accordance with the Committee’s Operating Procedures.  Where the number of properties for which applications are received exceeds 10, the Secretary Treasurer may place those applications received last in sequence on the following meeting agenda.

4.  Notice of Application

A written notice is mailed out to all property owners who appear on the last assessed tax roll within a 60 metre radius of the subject property depending on the application. The applicant is also required to post a sign on the subject property, which is provided by the City of Cambridge.

5.   Submit Written Comments, Register to Speak at Committee Meeting or Request Notification

Please direct the following to Edmund Carlson, Secretary-Treasurer of the Committee of Adjustment at carlsone@cambridge.ca with copy to planning@cambridge.ca:

  • Written comments for Staff and Committee consideration.   These comments will be circulated to the Committee upon receipt.
  • Requests to speak at the Committee meeting.  Alternatively, you can make this request in person at the Committee meeting.  
  • Requests to give a digital presentation with images and/or slides at the Committee Meeting.  This request must be made, along with a copy of the digital presentation, in advance of the meeting. Please attempt to provide 24 hour notice.  
  • Requests to receive notifications on a particular application (ie. notice of decisions, appeals, etc).  
6.   Circulation and Review

Each application is circulated to internal staff and external agencies for their review, comments and conditions. Planning staff take all agencies’ comments into consideration before making a recommendation to the Committee of Adjustment.

Planning Staff will prepare a Recommendation Report for each application. These reports are circulated to the Committee and posted to the webpage in advance of the meeting and are available at the Committee meeting. 

7.   Committee Hearing and Decisions

Committee of Adjustment Meetings are held in person in the Bowman Room on the ground floor of Cambridge City Hall 50 Dickson Street.  Meetings begin at 6:00 pm and public access to the Bowman Room is open at 5:30 pm. 

Each application is heard in order of the agenda.   Staff begin with a brief presentation to the Committee. . Following staff, the Applicant and/or their Consultant is strongly advised to be present to either give a presentation and/or respond to Committee questions.

The Committee will also hear anyone else who has concerns or comments regarding the application.  All presenters will be required to state their name, address and if they are representing for someone else.  The Committee may ask questions of the applicant or other interested parties. Each presenter is granted 5 minutes to speak.

Speaking at a Committee of Adjustment meeting is not an opportunity ask questions about the application. Rather, questions should be directed to staff in advance of the hearing.

Once all speakers have presented, and there are no further questions of the presenters, the Committee will close the hearing and may discuss the application before proceed to a decision. A decision is then made with respect to each application, through a majority vote to:

  • Approve an application in whole or in part
  • Impose conditions on approval of an application
  • Refuse an application
  • Defer a decision to a future hearing

The decisions of the Committee are signed and final upon the closing of the meeting. 

8.   Notice of Decisions and Appeal Period

Committee decisions are posted to the website here, and mailed to the applicant and all others who provided their name at the public meeting or submitted written comments.  

  • For consent applications, the appeal period is 20 days from the date that the Committee’s decision is provided to the applicant and all others who provided their name at the public meeting or submitted written comments. 
  • For minor variance applications, the appeal period is 20 days from the date of the Committee’s decision (being the date of the meeting).  

Only the Applicant, the Minister or a specified person or public body that has an interest in the matter may appeal the decision to the Ontario Land Tribunal. A "specified person" does not include an individual or community association. 

There is an appeal fee of $400 plus a $200 processing fee for each application. All appeals must be filed with Edmund Carlson, Secretary-Treasurer of the Committee of Adjustment, carlsone@cambridge.ca (with a copy to planning@cambridge.ca) within 20 days of the notice of decision being sent for consent and within 20 days from the date of decision (hearing date) for minor variances.

The OLT is an independent tribunal established by the province for hearing and deciding on a variety of land use matters.  If the decision of the Committee of Adjustment is not appealed, it becomes final and binding following the closing of the appeal period.

For more information on the Ontario Land Tribunal and the appeal process, please visit their website at: https://olt.gov.on.ca/ 

9.   Satisfying Conditions and Certificate of Official

The Committee of Adjustment is authorized to impose conditions on its decisions. This is referred to as a "provisional consent".  Examples of common requirements include preparation of survey and engineering plans, payment of parkland dedication fees, utility service connections, tree protection measures and registration of agreements for warning clauses, access and easements.

All costs associated with satisfying conditions will be the sole responsibility of the Applicant. 

You will typically have two years from the date of decision to satisfy these conditions . Once you have satisfied the conditions, the City will issue a Certificate of Official.  If these conditions are not fulfilled within two years from the date of the notice of approval, the provisional consent will lapse and a new consent application would be required. 

The following must be provided to the Secretary-Treasurer of the Committee of Adjustment before the Certificate of Official is issued:

  • Appropriate documentation providing that all conditions of approval have been fulfilled within one year from the date of the notice of approval,
  • Draft Certificate of Official that includes a complete and registerable description of the land that is the subject of the consent,
  • Desired legal description of any retained lands,
  • Deposited Reference Plan for the subject property that accurately reflects the approved Consent application.

After the City issues the Certificate of Official, you have two years from the date of its issuance to carry out the necessary legal transaction (i.e., the registration of the deed), otherwise the consent will lapse. 

Public Record Notice:   The information collected on the Committee of Adjustment application form is a public record as defined by section 27 of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.