How Development Decisions Are Made

Before the shovels hit the ground, development proposals must go through the following four-step review and decision-making process:


  1. Pre-Application Consultation: In advance of submitting an application, the landowner must consult with the City’s Development Planning department. They may also meet with the local Councillor, residents, ratepayer’s associations and other interested community members to share and discuss the plan they want to put forward. Once the application has been submitted to the City, a sign is posted on the site to let the community know what is being proposed. The sign is only posted for Official Plan Amendments, Zoning By-laws Amendments or Draft Plans of Subdivisions, not Site Plans or Part-lot Control Exemptions.
  2. Public Meeting: It’s vital that Council hears from the community to inform their decision-making. Interested community members are invited to provide input to Council at a Committee of the Whole Public Meeting. A written notice is sent a minimum of 20 days before the public meeting to all residents living within 150 metres (sometimes more) of the site in question. At the public meeting, the landowner will present their plans, Councillors may comment or ask questions and members of the public may share their feedback if they have pre-registered to speak at the meeting. The purpose of this meeting is to inform and solicit feedback from Council and the community, including residents, businesses and interest groups – no decision is made at this time. Public meetings are not held for Site Plan Applications, Draft Plan of Subdivisions and certain types of Condominium Applications. More information about speaking live during a Public Meeting can be found at
  3. Review of the Development Application(s): Following the Public Meeting, City staff review the application(s), including supporting materials and all comments made at the meeting or submitted in writing. Development Applications may also be reviewed by external parties including York Region, neighbouring municipalities, the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and the Province, depending on the nature of the application. The landowner may be required to provide additional information if necessary. Once all issues have been resolved to the satisfaction of City staff, a comprehensive report is prepared for Council to review at a Committee of the Whole meeting. If outstanding issues are not resolved, staff can recommend refusal of the Development Application(s).
  4. Council makes a decision: After receiving the report, Vaughan Council may discuss the merits at a Committee of the Whole meeting. Interested community members have an opportunity to share their thoughts with Council, live, during this meeting, or they can submit a written response to provide their feedback on the application. At the Committee of the Whole meeting, a recommendation on the application will be made and forwarded to Council for final approval. At the following Council meeting, Vaughan Council will ratify the decision to approve, amend or refuse the application.

    This is when the decision is ratified by Council.

What if I don’t agree with Council’s decision?

The individuals who made an oral submission at a public meeting, or made written submissions to Council prior to Council’s decision, can appeal Council’s decision regarding Official Plan Amendments or Zoning By-law Amendments to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) within 20 days of the formal notice of decision. The decision of the OLT is final. Third parties are not permitted to appeal decisions made on Site Development Applications. Appeal rights regarding decisions made on Plans of Subdivision and condominiums are limited to specific parties and a limited group of third parties, which do not include local residents.