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Subdivisions & Condominiums

What is a subdivision?

When you divide a piece of land into three or more parcels in order to sell one or more, you are subdividing property, and the provisions of the Planning Act come into play.

To subdivide land you need approval of a plan of subdivision from the City of Kenora Planning Advisory Committee. Subdivision approval ensures that:

  • the land is suitable for its proposed new use
  • the proposal conforms to the official plan as well as to provincial legislation and policies you, your neighbours and the City are protected from developments which are inappropriate or may put an undue strain on community facilities, services or finances

If your proposal involves creating only one to three lots, you may look for approval for a “land severance”, or consent, instead.

Are Condominiums a form of Subdivision?

Yes. Condominiums are a form of property ownership in which title to a unit, such as an individual residence or an apartment in a high-rise building, is held by an individual together with a share of the rest of the property, which is common to all of the owners.

What are the different types of condominium descriptions?


A form of ownership where a unit is owned by the occupant, while the condominium corporation can lease the land and a third party can retain ownership of the land. Public Consultation is not required.

Vacant Land Condominium

A Plan of Condominium, in which common elements and units are created, but no buildings or structures have been constructed at the time of registration of the condominium plan. Provides flexibility for unit purchasers to choose their own building design, while still benefiting from common services/facilities. Public Consultation is required.

Common Elements Condominium

A Plan of Condominium where the condominium corporation retains ownership of the common elements portion of the condominium. Owners of freehold properties will have common interests in the common elements. Public Consultation is required.

Standard Condominium

A form of ownership in which title to a unit is held together by share in the rest of the property, which is common to all of the owners. Public Consultation is not required.

Phased Condominium

A form of condominium that can be developed in phases; typically in clusters of townhouses and multiple apartment buildings. New units or common elements can be added without Planning Act or Condominium Act approval. A phased condominium can assist developers with completion of sales of units while other areas of the development are still under construction. Public Consultation is not required.

Conversion from Rental to Condominium Status

An owner of a rental building can apply to convert existing rental units to condominium tenure (status) in order to sell the units as separate entities. Public Consultation is not required.

*Condominiums are only permitted where municipal services are available

Condominiums can involve a brand new development, or an existing rental project which is converted to condominium ownership. Condominium conversions are governed by policies dealing with the local rental vacancy rate, as well as the Ontario Building Code and Home Warranty Program.

Condominium descriptions can apply to any type of residential building as well as commercial and industrial areas.

A condominium plan is like plan of subdivision in that it is a way of dividing property. Similarly plans of condominium must be approved by the City of Kenora Planning Advisory Committee.

Applications for draft plans of condominium are not subject to the requirements of giving notice of application and holding a public meeting. However, the Planning Advisory Committee is still required to give a notice of decision and the 20 day appeal period following the giving of the notice of decision applies.

You must contact the Planning Department before proceeding with land development in order the specific information required for a draft plan of subdivision can be determined. Please call 807-467-2059 or email to make an appointment or for further information.

How are applications for subdivision or condominium evaluated?

In considering a plan of subdivision, the Kenora Planning Advisory Committee evaluates the merits of the proposal against criteria such as:

  • conformity with the Official Plan and compatibility with adjacent uses of land
  • compliance with City of Kenora Zoning By-law and
  • regard for Provincial Policies and those described in Section 51 (24) of the Planning Act.

The key steps in the process

  • Pre-consultation with City Planning staff and applicant is mandatory
  • Submit complete application, other required documents, and fee to City Planning Department
  • After accepting the completed application, the Planning Department will confer with other departments, ministries, commissions and authorities and with others who may be concerned, to obtain information and recommendation
  • After an evaluation of the plan and of the recommendations from other bodies as noted above,
  • conditions may be imposed in granting approval of the draft plan (draft approval). The conditions of the draft approval must be fulfilled prior to the approval of the final plan. The agencies affected by the conditions must indicate that they have been fulfilled.
  • Statutory public meeting held; report reviewed; conditions recommended
  • Kenora Planning Advisory Committee makes decision; grants draft approval
  • Applicant proceeds to fulfil conditions, including a subdivision agreement with the City of Kenora
  • Register plan of subdivision

Applicant’s Role and Responsibilities

Each person and/or agency has defined roles and responsibilities. An application will move through the process quickly if the applicant:

  • submits a complete application
  • submits a subdivision plan which conforms to the City’s policies and has regard for provincial and federal policies
  • has formulated a proposal with an understanding of existing standards and requirements of the City of Kenora Official Plan and Zoning By-law
  • provides full and reasonable information throughout the process; and
  • sets out the purpose for the application, including an assessment of any impacts (positive or negative) on the affected neighbourhood and City as a whole, in the form of a planning rationale.

Evaluation Criteria

Subdivisions are evaluated on Provincial, City and site-specific circumstances. A subdivision application considers the health, safety, convenience accessibility for persons with disabilities and welfare of the present and future inhabitants of the municipality and to;

  • the effect of the development on matters of Provincial interest;
  • whether the proposed subdivision is premature or in the public interest;
  • if it generally conforms to the Official Plan and any adjacent plans of subdivision
  • the suitability of the land for the purposes for which it is to be subdivided
  • the number, width, location and proposed grades and elevations of highways, and the adequacy of them, and the highways linking the highways in the proposed subdivision with the established highway system in the vicinity and the adequacy of them;
  • the dimensions and shapes of the proposed lots;
  • the restrictions or proposed restrictions, if any, on the land proposed to be subdivided or the buildings and structures proposed to be erected on it and the restrictions, if any, on adjoining land;
  • conservation of natural resources and flood control;
  • the adequacy of utilities and municipal services;
  • the adequacy of school sites;
  • the area of land, if any, within the proposed subdivision that, exclusive of highways, is to be conveyed or dedicated for public purposes;
  • the extent to which the plan’s design optimizes the available supply, means of supplying, efficient use and conservation of energy; and
  • the interrelationship between the design of the proposed plan of subdivision and site plan control matters relating to any development on the land, if the land is also located within a site plan control area designated under subsection 41 (2) of the Planning Act

Submission Requirements

Please consult with the City’s Planning staff for a pre-consultation appointment and review of your proposal to ensure all matters are addressed and the application proceeds in a timely manner. The basic submission requirements include:

  • a complete application and fee
  • Planning Rationale
  • a deed for the subject property; and
  • all required drawings and necessary studies

What could affect the outcome of my application?

  • Valid objections from neighbours
  • Comments/concerns from one or more departments or agencies such as:
  • Northwestern Health Unit (if applicable)
  • Roads
  • Operations
  • Building Services
  • Ministry of Transportation
  • Kenora Hydro (if applicable)

If someone objects, is my application automatically refused?

NO. The Kenora Planning Advisory Committee must weigh all the evidence presented at the public hearing and make a determination on that basis. The Committee must also find your request to be minor in nature and desirable from development and use perspectives. Conformity with the general intent of approved planning documents i.e. the Official Plan and Zoning By-law, is also essential.

Do I get my money back if my application is refused?

NO. Staff time and costs are incurred regardless of the outcome.

What can I do if my application is turned down?

You can file an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board You have twenty days following the date the of the notice of Planning Advisory Committee’s decision is issued to file an appeal with the Secretary-Treasurer.  The City of Kenora charges a processing fee in accordance with Tariff of Fees By-law.

What if my application is approved and my neighbour strongly objects?

The neighbour has the same appeal rights as you do.

How long does the application process take?

The Planning Advisory Committee will hold a statutory public hearing will take place approximately six weeks from the day your application is accepted by the Committee staff. Your approval is not in effect until the 20 day appeal period following the notice of decision. In cases where an appeal is lodged, the decision is not final until it has been dealt with by the Ontario Municipal Board.