There are several types of special by-laws that can be used to control land use: Holding by-laws allow future uses for land or buildings but delay development until, for example, local services, such as roads, are in place. The municipality cannot use these by-laws unless it has holding policies in its official plan.

Interim control by-laws put a temporary freeze on some land uses while the municipality is studying or reviewing its policies. The freeze can be imposed for only a year, with a maximum extension of another year. The Planning Act provides that an interim control by-law would remain in effect past the two-year period if the new zoning by-law which replaces the interim control by-law is appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board. The new by-law does not become law until the Ontario Municipal Board hears the appeal and makes a decision.

Temporary use by-laws zone land or buildings for specific uses for a maximum period of three years at a time, with more extensions possible. When the temporary use of a garden suite (i.e. a one-unit detached residential structure containing bathroom and kitchen facilities that is ancillary to an existing structure and that is designed to be portable) is authorized, the temporary by-law may allow it for a period not exceeding 10 years, with more extensions possible.

Increased height and density by-laws allow buildings to exceed permitted standards, but only if the developer provides certain services to your community in return, such as parkland. The municipality cannot use these by-laws unless its official plan includes policies allowing increases in height and density.