Burlington vows to fast-track applications for zoning bylaw changes


Published March 8, 2023 at 8:15 pm


Burlington has put in steps to speed up the process that allows changes to local zoning bylaws.

City councillors have approved a plan they hope will cut in half the time it takes for a hearing to go before the Committee of Adjustment.

The committee is an independent decision-making arm of the City that oversees requests for variances on planning items of a smaller scale.

Examples usually involve existing structures or circumstances that include changing the height of a building, expanding a structure closer to a property line, or redesigning parking spaces, among others. Often the committee’s approval is needed for an addition made to a home.

Historically, to go through the process in Burlington has taken about three months. However, it now can take up to six months and currently there is a backlog of applications. This has led to complaints from those in the community who face tight construction and work deadlines.

“This is really to help both sides of the table: staff to clear their desks more quickly, and applicants to be able to get on with their lives, as they’re losing contractors with the delays,” explained Mayor Marianne Mead Ward on her website.

Under the City’s new plan, the expectation is that the backlog will be cleared in the next four months.

A Burlington staff report indicates there are a number of reasons for the backlog including the volume of applications received, the length of time dealing with each application, and a shortage of staff to do the work.

To fix the problem the City plans to shift current resources and focus more staff time on applications before the committee, hire more personnel, and put a large number of simple items before the committee for mass approval rather than looking at them all individually.





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