Before submitting a planning application to the City, you can meet with City staff to discuss your proposal to get a clearer understanding of what is required to submit a formal application to the City for an efficient evaluation of the proposal.
Consulting with the City is not a required component of the Development Review Process but it is encouraged in accordance with Section 5.5 of the City’s Official Plan to assist applicants and the City in defining the requirements for application submission ahead of time.
Enhancement to the Pre-Application Consultation process were made to improve the experience for everyone involved. The new process is a more structured approach with submission requirements, a clear understanding for both the applicant and staff on what the Pre-Application Consultation meeting will entail and finishes with an anticipated outcome of what materials the applicant needs to provide to the City to submit a complete application.
All of these steps will add clarity around the expectations and added benefits of taking advantage of the Pre-Application Consultation ahead of entering the Development Review Process.
What Do I Need?
A request for Pre-Application Consultation meeting is made by a requestor who has a proposal to develop lands that require City Planning approval. The requestor is not required to be the owner of the lands.
To request a Pre-Application Consultation meeting, you will need to prepare a submission package including:
- Completed Pre-Application Meeting Request form
- Survey (if available), identifying any City owned lands if known
- Concept Site Plan, fully dimensioned in metric showing all proposed setbacks, entrances, parking areas, landscaped and hard surface areas, and existing public and private trees and/or significant vegetation
- Concept Elevations or Renderings, fully dimension in metric showing proposed height, building materials, window and entrance locations, and any balconies or roof amenity areas
- Any additional information you wish to include which may better assist staff in the review of your proposal
This material can either be emailed to the Planning Consultant or submitted in person with a DVD/CD in pdf format. Please see the submission requirements included in the Pre-Application Meeting Request form or more details.
What Can I Expect?
After your Pre-Application Consultation request has been accepted, you will receive an email from the area Planner assigned to your request to confirm a meeting date within 5 business days. You can expect this meeting date to be approximately 15 business days from the time you submitted your request. You will be asked to confirm this meeting.
You can expect to meet with various members of City staff, including the area Planner to discuss the requirements for a formal submission. You also may be instructed to contact outside agencies that will be affected by your proposal to discuss any additional requirements such as permits or approvals needed when submitting your formal application. These agencies can include the Toronto Region Conservation Authority or the Ministry of Transportation.
The Pre-Application Consultation meeting is not an opportunity for you to receive any comments respecting the merits of your proposal. A full evaluation of your proposal will be conducted when a formal application is submitted, at which point staff will render their opinion and provide their recommendations to the appropriate approval authority (ie. Council or the Chief Planner). Nor is it an opportunity to discuss/negotiate potential conditions. Any comments received from a Pre-Application Consultation meeting are strictly intended for advising on what is required to submit a Complete Application as prescribed under the Planning Act, and the City’s Official Plan.
What Happens after the Meeting?
After the meeting has concluded, you will receive a Pre-Application Planning Checklist, which will identify what materials you will need to submit with a formal application. You will be left to decide if submitting a formal application is a good investment for you. At the meeting, you may be advised to obtain the support of outside professionals such as Planners, Engineers, Architects, Lawyers, etc in order to complete the necessary materials required for a formal application. Preparing the required materials may take some time depending on your motivation and the support you have obtained. Take time to review our Application Forms and Fees prior to preparing your materials to ensure you understand the submission requirements.
Once you have prepared your formal submission, you will contact the district Planning Consultant to set up an appointment to submit your application. This will officially begin the process of formally reviewing your proposal to reach a decision. You will work one-on-one with the area Planner assigned to your application who will act as the Team Lead for coordinating all of the aspects of the Development Review Process. For information on the steps involved with your specific type of application(s) please see our Development Guide.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a fee for Pre-Application Consultation?
No, there is no fee for a Pre-Application Consultation meeting.
Is there a need to hire professionals?
No, you do not need to hire a professional to submit a request for a Pre-Application Consultation meeting.
Depending on your motivation to develop your proposal, you may choose to work with a professional to assist with the drawings and materials required, but the submission only requires concept plans. Concept plans need to be prepared according to the submission requirements set out by the Request form and need to be legible in a digital format. The only plan which must be completed by a professional would be a Survey, which can only be prepared by an Ontario Land Surveyor, however we only require this plan if you have one available.
The area Planner assigned to your request will circulate your submission package to internal City departments to obtain their feedback on what they would require from you when you submit a formal application. They will also identify any conflicts with City Development Policies and Standards that might exist with your proposal in order for you to address them in your formal submission.
Can I submit my request on paper?
No, you cannot submit your request on paper. The Customer Service team will only accept your Pre-Application Meeting Request form on a CD/DVD or via email as set out by the submission requirements on the form.
The City is moving forward with its commitment to Electronic Service Delivery, and the Pre-Application Consultation process will be one our first steps to a completely electronic and paperless process from beginning to end. In the near future you can expect to see more of the Development Review Process move toward electronic and paperless processes.
What are the benefits of having a Pre-Application Consultation meeting?
There are multiple benefits of having a Pre-Application Consultation meeting with the City in advance of submitting a formal application. When a formal application is submitted, the process of deeming it complete is the first step toward moving your application forward in the Development Review Process. Any delays at this stage, such as not having all the required information, will hinder the review and evaluation of your application. Having a Pre-Application Consultation meeting will give you an understanding of:
- Type of planning application(s) required for your proposal
- Required drawings to accompany your proposal
- Required studies and reports to accompany your proposal
- Development Review Processes, timelines and steps
- Any key policies or standards that your proposal does not comply with
Having this information will enable you to prepare a complete application package to avoid delays in the evaluation of your submission.
Why does it take 15 business days to meet with Staff?
It will take 15 days to meet with staff because the Area Planner assigned to your request will circulate your submission package to internal City departments to obtain their feedback on what they would require from you when you submit a formal application. They will also identify any conflicts with City Development Policies and Standards that might exist with your proposal in order for you to address them in your formal submission.
Will the City support my application at the Pre-Application Consultation meeting?
No, the City will not comment on support or objection to your proposal at this meeting. Every applicant has the right to submit an application to the City for an evaluation. The purpose of the Pre-Application Consultation meeting is to identify what is required for both application type and materials for a formal submission and to assist in managing any expectations you may have of the Development Review Process. Staff may indicate to you the policies and standards that the proposal does not comply with creating a list of obstacles your application may face. This is for you to evaluate if pursing the submission of a formal application is in your best interest. Staff will also advise if reaching out to the Public is suitable in advance of your application, as per Section 5.5 of the Official Plan.
The Pre-Application Consultation meeting is not an opportunity for you to receive any comments respecting the merits of their proposal or negotiate conditions. A full evaluation of your proposal will be conducted when a formal application is submitted, at which point staff will render their opinion and provide their recommendations to the appropriate approval authority, ie. Council or the Chief Planner. Any comments received from a Pre-Application Consultation meeting are strictly intended for advising on what is required to submit a Complete Application as prescribed under the Planning Act, and the City’s Official Plan.
What if I change my proposal after the meeting?
If you choose to modify your proposal after the meeting, a new Pre-Application Consultation may be required. Contact the Planner to confirm if the changes to your proposal will result in changes to the Pre-Application Consultation Checklist that was provided to you. If there is a change to the Checklist, a new meeting might be required. This helps us to maintain records of the requests and responses to each of the proposals that are discussed.
Is the Public involved?
No, the Public is not involved in the Pre-Application Consultation meeting because it is not a public process. A Pre-Application Consultation meeting is an administrative process to identify to the applicant what is required to submit an application. It is not a meeting to indicate any support or objection for the application. If a formal application is submitted, whether a Pre-Application Consultation meeting occurred or not, the Public will have an opportunity to participate in the decision making process for that application by providing their feedback and comments on the application. Staff use these comments when formulating their opinion and recommendation on the application. To participate in the review of active planning applications please visit our Application Information Centre, and for more information on how we are improving our public engagement practices please visit our Growing Conversations initiative.
Staff will highly encourage the applicant to reach out to the local community in advance of the formal application being submitted in accordance with Section 5.5 of the Official Plan. However, it is at the discretion of the potential applicant to pursue a meeting with the community in advance of a formal application being submitted.
Do I need to meet with Staff before submitting my application?
No, you do not have to meet or discuss your proposal with Staff before submitting a formal application, but it is highly encouraged. The Pre-Application Consultation meeting is an optional step in the Development Review Process which can save you time and money on your path to having your proposal realized, from planning approvals to building permits. Discussing your proposal with either the Planning Consultant or the area Planner can make you aware of different components of the Development Review Process that you might not be aware of, such as fees, outside agency permits, and time-frames.