Rezoning Property

Red Tape

Want to Rezone Real Estate? Diligence Is Crucial!

From time to time, my clients come in and they’re all excited! They’ve found a piece of property and it’s zoned for one use, but it would be so much better if it was zoned for a different use. For example, a property zoned for duplexes would be way better if you could build a 4 plex.

“Barry, how much trouble is it to rezone this property so I can build a 4 plex? There are already a couple of 4 plexes on the block. Give me an estimate of how much time it will take, how much it will cost?”

My response is that, generally, the very first step for any thoughts on rezoning are to contact the municipality and find out the rules. Actually get and read a copy of the zoning bylaw. And, I always say that in my experience, rezoning takes a bunch of time, trouble and money and is NEVER guaranteed.

I was reminded of rezoning issues when I read a story in the Globe and Mail on Saturday, April 28, 2012 entitled, “Toronto hospice all tangled up in red tape“. The Toronto Commandery Hospice had been trying for eight years to get permission to build a critically needed 10 bed hospice to provide palliative care for terminally ill patients. Along with the 10 palliative care beds there would be a garden, a large kitchen for families to cook and meet, a room to sit and contemplate, and a prayer room. The land has been donated and they have provincial funding for nursing staff. Their location is in an industrially zoned area (so they need rezoning) very near an existing long-term care home and there is no opposition from local businesses.

But, after eight years, they were no closer to obtaining the rezoning that would allow the project to go ahead. There is no actual zoning category for a hospice, bureaucrats throw up endless red tape and no one is helpful. Folks, we’re talking about your sister or my father having a dignified, pain free death. You would think that with the land available, funding and no objections from residents, rezoning would be a snap. Not so and it’s worthwhile reading the article.

Keep this in mind before buying any property with thoughts of rezoning: NEVER go hard on a deal unless you KNOW you can re-zone.


Contact Barry McGuire now.
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“Paper tape table dispenser” image by Lilly M via Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0