When council decides to pass a zoning by-law, it must first give as much information as possible to the public. There must also be at least one public meeting before a by-law is passed and everyone who attends the meeting must have a chance to speak. Notice of this meeting is given at least 20 days in advance, either through local newspapers or by mail and posted notice. An open house information session is also required for a by-law being brought into conformity with an official plan which has been updated as part of the official plan’s five-year review update. The municipality is required to update its zoning by-law no less than three years after the approval of an official plan five-year review. The Planning Act encourages early involvement and the use of mediation techniques to resolve any conflicts. Make sure you make your views known early in the planning process by making an oral submission at the public meeting or a written submission to council before it passes the by-law. If you don’t, you are not entitled to appeal a by-law after it is passed.

Council may also consult with interested agencies before it makes a decision. After hearing everyone’s concerns, council may decide to pass, change or reject the proposed by-law. If it decides to make some changes, it may also decide to hold another public meeting.

Once council has passed the by-law, it must give notice of the by-law’s passing within 15 days. Any person or public body that meets certain requirements may, not later than 20 days after the notice of the passing of the by-law is given, appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board by filing a notice of appeal with the municipal clerk. The appeal should set out the objections to the by-law and the reasons in support of the objections. The fee required by the Ontario Municipal Board must be paid at the same time.