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Getting in the Zone


Published: 06/27/2012

by Bruce Cromie

Once you know what your basic concept will be for your proposed dream renovation, the first step is to check out local zoning requirements to see if your dream can become a reality. You can do this by bringing in a copy of your survey directly to the Zoning Desk at the local city Building Department. These guys do not bite! In fact, they are only there to help give you the proper information that will be needed to check out the feasibility of the proposed renovation.

The type of information that they will provide you with includes: allowable lot coverage, front yard setbacks, rear yard setbacks, side yard setbacks, height restrictions, zoning restrictions, and the actual zoning of your property. These factors are different in every neighbourhood and city, so it is impossible for even the most seasoned builder/renovator to know all of them for every project. Once you are armed with the zoning information, you are ready to proceed to the design stage of the proposed project.

 At this point you will find out if your project will require Committee of Adjustment Approval or Site Plan Approval. These two  processes are not always necessary. If they are necessary, they are nothing to be afraid of. What it means is that your

 approval process is going to take a little bit longer and cost a little bit more. It’s a small price to pay in order to gain approval  to build your dream renovation exactly the way you want it. In basic terms, the purpose of the Committee of Adjustment or Site Plan approval process is to help you and your neighbourhood. They act as a forum to give neighbourhoods some  type of conformity. They can prevent an uncaring neighbour from constructing an eyesore on his property or a property  being used for some purpose other than something the entire neighbourhood would appreciate. It gives neighbourhoods and neighbours an opportunity to discuss projects that may have an  impact on the area.

I have only touched on a small portion of the process that ensues when starting a renovation. The bottom line is to have a  reputable builder/renovator to help guide you through it. If you start with a solid foundation, then you can pretty much be  assured that you are going to be 99 per cent happy with the finished product when everything is said and done.

If homeowners started with the right process and the right people right from the beginning, then the majority of the horror  stories that you have heard about renovations would not have happened.


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