Where the Past Greets the Fututre

Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is a Zoning By-law?
A: A Zoning By-Law is a document approved by Municipal Council which defines the permitted uses and development standards for specific areas or "zones". The Zoning By-Law is a precise document which must be in conformity with the municipality's Official Plan, the more general policy document of the municipality.

Zoning By-Laws provide municipalities with a way to co-ordinate land uses and protect areas by preventing incompatible uses and establish appropriate standards for development. A typical zone contains a list of uses that are permitted in the zone and regulations related to lot size, lot development standards, setbacks from lot lines, building height and building size. The zoning by-law also contains general provisions which relate to all areas. Typically these regulations contain standards for accessory buildings, building close to hazards such as railway tracks or flood plains and the provision of parking.

Q: What is a Minor Variance?
A: A Minor Variance is the safety valve in the zoning process. It is used to recognize unique circumstances. It is a process for the varying the provisions within a specific zone, but not to change the zone itself. For instance where a residential zone requires a certain minimum lot size, a variance can be used to legalize a minor change to the size. The variance cannot be used to change a residential zone to a commercial zone or to allow a use that is not currently allowed in the zone - that would require a full rezoning.
For more information visit the Citizens Guide Series at the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing Web site.

Q: What Zoning By-law is used by the Municipality of Brighton?
A: There is one zoning by-law in place in the Municipality of Brighton. This By-law (No. 140-2002) is referred to as the Comprehensive Zoning By-law. By-law No. 140-2002 was passed by Council on December 16, 2002. There have been a number of amendments (rezonings) since the original approval.

Q: How do I know which Zone my property is in?
A: To determine the zone which applies to a piece of land, the zone maps are consulted. The maps illustrate the Municipality and the location of the various zones. To determine the requirements of a particular zone, the text of the By-Law is consulted. The Planning and Development Services Department off the Municipality is responsible for verifying the zone which applies to a particular property. The Planning Department is located at 67 Sharp Road, Brighton

Q: What is an Official Plan?
A: The Official Plan is a comprehensive framework containing objectives and policies established by Town Council primarily to provide for the physical development of the municipality. As such, it is the pivotal blueprint for all municipal planning activity. The development and maintenance of these plans as well as working on the new plan for the amalgamated Municipality of Brighton, is the responsibility of the Planning section.

The Official Plan is adopted by Municipal Council and approved by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Generally, the Official Plan consists of both text, which describes the policies of the Municipality on how the land within the community should be used, and a series of map schedules, which delineate the location of the various land use designations or any special policy areas. The Official Plan is prepared with consultation and input from the community and helps to ensure that future planning and development will meet the Municipality's specific needs. The Official Plan deals mainly with issues such as:

  • Where new housing, industry, offices, shops, and institutions will be located and what the general planning policies are for each type of land use;
  • Helping all members of the community to understand how their land can be used now and in the future;
  • What services such as roads, water mains, sewers, parks and schools will be needed and where community facilities should be located;
  • How heritage resources and the natural environment will be conserved and preserved; and
  • When, and in what order, parts of the community will grow to ensure that growth is coordinated and meets the needs of the community.

For more information visit the Citizens' Guide Series at the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing Web site.

Q: What Official Plan is used By the Municipality of Brighton
A: There are currently two Official Plans in effect from the two former municipalities:

Official Plan for the Town of Brighton

Originally approved by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing in July of 1985 and subject to 16 Official Plan Amendments. This Plan is applicable to the lands within the boundaries of the former Town of Brighton.

Official Plan for the Township of Brighton

Originally approved by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing in July of 1985 and subject to 23 Official Plan Amendments. This Plan applies to the lands located in the former Township of Brighton.

These two Official Plans are in place in the Municipality as a result of the amalgamation of the Town and the Township of Brighton at the beginnings of 2001. These Official Plans will remain in force until a new plan for the entire Municipality is adopted and approved to replace them.

Q: How do I know which Official Plan policies apply to my property?
A: To determine the policies of the Official Plan which apply to a piece of land, both the text and map schedules of the applicable Official Plan document should be consulted. The map schedules illustrate the Town and Township and the location and limits of the various land use designations. To determine the policies, objectives and development standards of a particular land use designation, the text of the Official Plan is consulted. For site specific Official Plan Amendments and general policy issues, visit the Planning Department at 67 Sharp Road, Brighton

Although it is recognized that the Plans' policies are essentially sound, Council, Planning Committee, staff and the public have had some concerns following amalgamation regarding the ability of the current Official Plans to meet the City's future land use planning needs. There are concerns that the Plans are aging in terms of the physical, social and demographic changes that have occurred over time within the Municipality.

A single, revised Official Plan is needed to update the Municipality planning strategy, to harmonize the existing policies and to incorporate Provincial policy directions such as the Provincial Policy Statement and the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

Q: What steps are involved in the Brighton Official Plan review?
A: The initial steps of the Official Plan program will require gathering background information from agencies such as various Provincial Ministries, the local Health Unit and Lower Trent Conservation. The existing Official Plans will be reviewed and new policies will be developed as appropriate. It is anticipated that the entire process will take approximately 18 months. During this period there will be consultation with the public, stakeholders and external agencies. It is anticipated that there will be a number of public open houses in addition to the public meetings required under the Planning Act.

It is anticipated that a draft of the updated Official Plan will be available for review during the summer of 2007. This will be followed by agency review and public consultation and presented to Council for the more formal adoption process as set out in the Planning Act.

Following approval of the Official Plan, a program will begin its implementation through updating and harmonizing the regulatory provisions of the zoning by-laws.

Q: What work has yet to be completed?
A: The Municipality's Planning Department has started working towards creating an updated Official Plan for the Municipality of Brighton, which will integrate the two plans currently in existence.

Further studies need to be completed which will address Transportation (Overpass, underpass, bypass), availability of industrial / commercially zoned land and the development / use of the waterfront.

Transportation Study - The Municipality has to address the health and safety issues that delays at the railway crossings pose. Whilst an overpass has been considered for three locations a more integrated study is required which looks at current and future traffic flow through the town.

Waterfront Strategy - The Municipality has little readily available waterfront and it is an important asset to the Town and its residents and contributes greatly to quality of life. The Waterfront Strategy is a first step to "take stock" of Brighton's waterfront. It will provide a framework for waterfront plan(s). The waterfront strategy will build on and provide more detail on the waterfront vision and fundamental principles established through public consultation.

Municipality Owned Industrial Land Development Strategy - Will result in an overall vision and strategy for the long-term development of City owned industrial properties; review the servicing plans (water, sewer, electric, etc.) for existing industrial lots and any required expansion; and make recommendations for the Municipalities policies and the regulations affecting industrial lands. The Municipalities objective is to ensure the availability and accessibility of suitable lands for business and industrial development. This will enable the municipality to attract new businesses to Brighton and promote the expansion of existing local businesses, resulting in new jobs and an increased tax base.