Zone Richmond Hill

The City of Richmond Hill is undertaking a comprehensive review of all the in-force Zoning By-laws. 

What is the Comprehensive Zoning By-law Review

It is the intent that the Comprehensive Zoning By-law Review will culminate in one document that will establish "as-of-right" permissions for all properties in the City and enable residents and landowners to develop their lands in a predictable and consistent manner. 

The New Zoning By-law

  • Conform to the policies and provisions of the City's Official Plan;
  • Provide for a consistent and predictable approach to similar land uses on a City-wide basis;
  • Reflect modern development trends and standards;
  • Provide for appropriate protection for stable neighbourhoods and sensitive areas; and
  • Provide for ease of administration and increased accessibility to the public in a readily available and easily understood web-based format.

Zoning By-laws affect all properties in Richmond Hill and ensure that development occurs in a responsible and predictable manner.

Project Timeline - Current and Future Phases

The Comprehensive Zoning By-law Review project will take place if four phases.

Current Phase 1 - Background Research (Technical Papers and Typology Studies)

Research existing Zoning By-laws and related documents as they presently apply to properties in the City:

  • Undertake a background review to understand the state of the City's existing Zoning By-laws;
  • Undertake an existing zoning and land use analysis;
  • Analyzing opportunities for innovation including new zoning mapping tools and methods to support the Official Plan vision;
  • Undertake Building Typology studies; and
  • Seek stakeholder consultation through staff reports, presentations, workshops and Technical papers.

Technical Papers and Typology Studies

Community Uses Technical Paper 

The City is presently undertaking a technical paper on community uses. This paper will address:
  • public and private schools;
  • places of worship;
  • day nurseries;
  • social services;
  • cultural services; and
  • quasi-public/private uses such as other privately operated public facilities.

The purpose of this technical paper is to inform a zoning approach for community uses in the Comprehensive Zoning By-law project. The new Zoning By-law seeks to permit community uses as-of-right on properties that would conform to the Official Plan and be sensitive to the Richmond Hill context. 

The technical paper is presently in the background research phase. The City will seek input from the public in the near future. The City is aiming to complete this paper by 2021. 

Implementation Tools Technical Paper

The City is presently undertaking a technical paper on implementation tools prescribed by the Planning Act. This paper will address:

  • The form of a Zoning By-law;
  • Community Planning Permit System; and
  • Minor Variance Criteria.

The purpose of this Technical paper is to inform one or more zoning approaches that are appropriate to implement the land use and built form controls in the Comprehensive Zoning By-law Project.

The Technical paper is presently in the background research phase. The City is aiming to complete this paper by 2021. 

Aging in Place Technical Paper

The City is presently undertaking a technical paper on the concept and implementation of Aging in Place from land use and zoning perspectives. This paper will address:

  • emerging trends of the aging in place concept; and
  • considerations for land uses and built forms.

The purpose of this technical paper is to inform a zoning approach in the Comprehensive Zoning By-law project. The new Zoning By-law seeks to permit such uses that would conform to the Official Plan and be sensitive to the Richmond Hill context. 

The technical paper is presently in the background research phase. The City is aiming to complete this paper by 2021. 

Cannabis Cultivation and Processing Technical Paper

The Federal Cannabis Act (2018) created a regulatory framework for the production, distribution, sale, cultivation and possession of cannabis in Canada. For local governments, the Cannabis Act has significant implications for land use regulation. The City adopted a zoning by-law in 2014 to allow medical marijuana production in certain industrial zones in response to the Federal regulations at the time. However, these provisions do not take into account recent Federal Regulations. The purpose of this paper is to inform a zoning approach to address cannabis cultivation and processing in a manner relevant to the City of Richmond Hill. This paper will address:

  • federal and provincial regulatory framework;
  • site design considerations; and
  • form, location and scale of commercial cultivation and processing. 

The technical paper is presently in the background research phase. The City is aiming to complete this paper by 2021. 

Residential Parking and Landscape Requirements Technical Paper

The City is presently undertaking a technical paper on residential parking and landscape requirements for ground related dwellings (single detached dwellings, semi-detached dwellings and street townhouses). This paper will address matters such as:

  • parking in a front yard or exterior side yard;
  • minimum standards for landscaping a front yard;
  • maximum driveway widths;
  • temporary structures for parking and storage; and
  • residential and commercial vehicles parking.

Richmond Hill’s Front Yard Parking and Driveway Apron By-law (By-law 84-03) regulates parking in a front yard or exterior yard, minimum standards for landscaping a front yard, and maximum driveway widths in order to address the needs of residents while maintaining a pedestrian oriented streetscape. The purpose of this paper is to examine residential parking requirements for ground related dwellings and make recommendations for potential updates to these zoning provisions to be included in the comprehensive zoning by-law.

The technical paper is presently in the background research phase. The City will seek input from the public in the near future. The City is aiming to complete this paper by 2021. 

Additional Residential Units Technical Paper

The City has undertaken a technical paper on additional residential units (such as secondary suites, basement apartments, granny flats and garden suites). This paper addressed matters such as:

  • legislative and policy context;
  • changes that may be required to the City's Official Plan to implement the 2019 provincial changes;
  • area municipality policy and implementation approaches;
  • land use issues related to additional residential units; and
  • existing zoning and additional unit permissions in Richmond Hill.

In 2012, the Strong Communities through Affordable Housing Act (Bill 140) amended various sections of the Planning Act to require municipalities to establish Official Plan policies and zoning by-law provisions regarding additional residential units. Most recently, the More Homes, More Choice Act, 2019 required additional residential units to be permitted in single detached, semi-detached and row houses and also within accessory structures to these houses.

The purpose of the paper was to inform a zoning approach for additional residential units that is sensitive to the Richmond Hill context. The Additional Residential Units Technical Paper has been completed in support of a City-wide Official Plan Amendment and Zoning By-law Amendment initiated by the City of Richmond Hill. Official Plan Amendment 23 and Zoning By-law 13-21 are now in effect. Please visit the Additional Residential Unit website for information with regards to a building permit application.

Automotive Commercial Technical Paper

The City is presently undertaking a technical paper on automotive related uses ranging from commercial, service to repair type uses.

Amongst others, this technical paper will consider and address the following:

  • the range of and differentiation amongst automotive-related land uses and automotive service commercial uses;
  • appropriate definitions for these land uses;
  • the range, scale, built-form and site design considerations for these land uses that would be appropriate to locate within the Centres and Corridors, Neighbourhood and Employment lands;
  • emerging trends for these land uses including, but not limited to, locational criteria, consideration of co-location, campusing and or/integration of different uses; and
  • any other matters relevant to this scope of work that may arise.

The technical paper is presently in the background research phase. The City is aiming to complete this paper by 2021.

Residential Accessory Structures Technical Paper

The City is presently undertaking a technical paper on residential accessory structures. This study will undertake a review and assessment of residential accessory structures within both the urban and rural areas of the City.  For the purposes of this paper, locational criteria, size and height, along with alternative accessory building structures, such as portable shelters and shipping containers, will be considered. This paper will analyze different definitions, uses and development standards of the City’s Parent Zoning By-laws, of area municipality zoning by-laws and emerging trends as the basis to inform the Comprehensive Zoning By-law review.

The main goal and objectives of this paper is to:

  • inform a zoning approach to address these uses in a manner relevant to the City of Richmond Hill; and
  • establish a framework to develop appropriate performance standards.

The Technical paper is presently in the background research phase. The City is aiming to complete this paper late 2021.

Residential Infill Development Technical Paper

The City is presently undertaking a technical paper on residential infill development. The City’s Official Plan provides policies for infill of low rise low density residential development, such as single detached and semi-detached dwelling types, within the Neighbourhood designation, and specifically, Priority Infill Areas. Over the years, the City has approved many Infill Studies corresponding with these policies and has approved several Tertiary plans to facilitate infill development of built-up neighbourhoods. However, there are other built-up neighbourhoods of the City that are presently experiencing redevelopment pressure where there is a lack of specific guiding documents. This study will focus on infill development within these areas relative to the built context of the Neighbourhood designation and the policies within the Plan.

The following forms of infill development will be reviewed:

  • residential lot creation on existing streets through consent to sever approvals;
  • residential back lot plans of subdivision; and
  • demolition of existing buildings and rebuilding on existing residential lots.

The study, amongst others, will review the current planning approvals for new development in the established neighbourhoods and study current development trends experienced by the City. This will provide guidance for the new Comprehensive Zoning By-law to regulate redevelopment in established neighbourhoods and ensure new development remains compatible with the existing surrounding community.

The technical paper is presently in the background research phase. The City is aiming to complete this paper by 2021.

Residential Short-Term and Shared Accommodations Technical Paper

The City is presently undertaking a technical paper on short term and shared residential accommodations. Short-term accommodations are described as rental accommodation provided for a short period (e.g. less than one month) in existing residential homes. The City is seeking to determine if there is a need to regulate these forms of short-term accommodations. Amongst others, this technical paper will address the question of whether these forms of short-term accommodations are commercial uses or are part of the existing residential use and whether regulations are required.

Shared accommodations offer affordable housing and needed services, where residents live within a building comprised of units or suites, which have either a kitchen or bathroom, but not both. Some of these facilities, or common areas, are shared by the residents. Examples include rooming houses, boarding houses, lodging houses and institutional housing. The technical paper will explore this form of accommodation and determine how it fits in with the character of surrounding neighbourhoods and whether regulations are required.

The study, among others, will serve to:

  • inform a zoning approach to address short term and shared residential accommodations in a manner relevant to the City of Richmond Hill;
  • establish a framework to develop appropriate performance standards in conformity with the City’s Official Plan; and
  • inform an implementation framework.

The Technical paper is presently in the background research phase. The City is aiming to complete this paper late 2021.

Home Occupations Technical Paper

The City is presently undertaking a technical paper on home based businesses, including home occupations, home businesses, home industries and live-work units. Presently, the Plan policies prescribes locational, scale and design criteria for such uses. This technical paper is to provide an analysis of these policy prescriptions that will serve to inform the Comprehensive Zoning By-law review.

This study, among others, will consider and address the following:

  • the type of use, range of scale and location on a property that are deemed appropriate;
  • consideration for the nature of the uses and their associated impacts;
  • emerging trends for these uses; and
  • any other relevant matter that may arise.

The Technical paper is presently in the background research phase. The City is aiming to complete this paper late 2021.

Low Rise Building Typology

The Official Plan designates residential areas in the City as Neighbourhoods. Low rise medium density residential uses such as townhouses, apartments, and mixed use residential and commercial buildings are permitted in the Neighbourhoods subject to detailed policies such as location and compatibility.

The City is presently undertaking a Low-Rise Medium Density Building Typology Study which will consider low rise medium density residential uses in residential-only and mixed use building forms. The Study will focus on:

  • the placement of building forms appropriate in the Neighbourhoods; and
  • the site design considerations to implement the building forms.

The Study findings will inform the Comprehensive Zoning By-law with: 

  • the opportunity to pre-zone lands for low rise medium density uses; and
  • to establish appropriate zoning standards related to the building forms. 

The Study is presently in the background research phase. The City will seek input from the public in the near future. The City is aiming to complete this paper by 2021. 

Centres and Corridors and Employment Corridor Building Typology Study

The Official Plan designates certain areas along Yonge Street, Highway 7 and Major Mackenzie Drive as Centres and Corridors and lands within the business parks as Employment Corridor. A mix of low-rise, mid-rise and high-rise buildings are permitted in these designations subject to detailed policies such as location and compatibility.

The City is presently undertaking a Centres and Corridors and Employment Corridor Building Typology Study. The Study will focus, amongst others, on the following matters:

  • the placement of building forms such as low-rise, mid-rise and high-rise uses that are appropriate within the urban structure along major corridors in the City;
  • the site design considerations to implement the building forms within the focus area; and
  • the establishment of appropriate zoning standards related to the building forms.

The Study is presently in the background research phase and the City will be seeking input from the public in the near future.

Phase 2 - Strategic Directions

 Seek direction from Council on the development of the new Comprehensive Zoning By-law:
  • Prepare draft Strategic Direction Report(s) based on background information compiled in Phase 1;
  • Obtain stakeholder and Council feedback and utilize these comments in developing the final Strategic Directions Report(s), including public workshops and presentations to the business and building groups and organizations; and
  • Updates and development of Infill Studies and Urban Design Guidelines will be developed during this phase and will include stakeholder engagement through public workshops.

Phase 3 - Development of New By-law

 Draft the new Comprehensive Zoning By-law document, including structure and content:
  • Prepare the Key Directions Reports, Individual Discussion Papers and Digital Visualization Tool for the various components of the City's new Comprehensive Zoning By-law;
  • Prepare the draft Comprehensive Zoning By-law and arrange stakeholder workshops/open houses to obtain input on the various components of the draft Zoning By-law; and
  • Prepare a User's Guide on how to read and use the draft Zoning By-law and release as part of this stage.

Phase 4 - Approval of New By-law

Approval and Implementation of the new Comprehensive Zoning By-law

  • Submit a final draft of the new Comprehensive Zoning By-law and a draft of the Digital Visualization Tools through the Statutory Council Public Meeting;
  • Arrange stakeholder meetings following the Council Public meeting to discuss further issues that may arise during Phases 1 through 4;
  • Submit final draft of the new Comprehensive Zoning By-law for Council approval;
  • Update a series of complimentary implementation tools including existing City rules, regulations and standards; and
  • Submit an Implementation Tools Report to Council in tandem with the final draft of the Zoning By-law for approval.