Site Development Application Approval Process

What is Site Development Application?

The City is subject to By-law 123-2013 (PDF) which designates the City as a site plan control area. This by-law allows City staff and Council to assess matters such as, but not limited to, building design, site design, landscape and access. When a landowner wishes to develop a property with one or more buildings, the Site Plan Control By-law (PDF) requires the landowner, subject to certain exceptions, to enter into a Site Plan Agreement or a Letter of Undertaking with the City – following Council approval – before a building permit is issued by the City. This agreement and/or undertaking outlines the conditions of development approval to ensure the new building(s) is designed in a way that is appropriate, safe and functional, and the impact on neighbouring properties is minimized.


A Site Development Application (PDF) can be obtained through the Development Planning department or on the City's website at the planning forms centre. Information related to the Site Development Approval process can be obtained by calling 905-832-2281. Ask to be connected with the City planner assigned to the file or the community area.


Site Development Application approval process

Pre-application consultation

Prior to submitting a Site Development Application, the landowner must arrange a Pre-application Consultation (PDF) meeting with the Development Planning department. The purpose of this meeting is for the landowner to present a proposal and for City staff to identify, on a preliminary basis only, the required information for a full and complete Site Development Application.


Submitting an application

Upon submitting a Site Development Application, the landowner must pay a fee in accordance with the applicable Tariff of Fees for Planning Applications By-law (PDF).


The planner assigned to the file will send an acknowledgment letter to the landowner advising the file number and setting out any additional requirements to be completed by the owner. In addition, the City is required to send a "Notice of Complete Application" within 30 days of receipt of the application, if all application requirements are satisfied. If all application requirements are not satisfied, a "Notice of Incomplete Application" will be sent to the applicant and processing of the application will not commence until the application requirements are fully satisfied. The application will be circulated to all internal departments and external agencies as affected.


A typical Site Plan Approval process requires three to five months to reach registration of the Site Plan Agreement and/or execution of the Letter of Undertaking, depending on complexity. Upon registration, the building permit can be issued.


Committee of the Whole

City of Vaughan Council approves Site Development Applications for high density residential developments, commercial development, employment development on arterial roads or abutting a highway and street townhouse dwellings. The Development Planning department will prepare a Technical Report with a recommendation to the Committee of the Whole. The recommendation of the Committee of the Whole is then forwarded to the following Vaughan Council meeting for approval.


The Deputy City Manager, Planning and Growth Management or designate, approves Site Development Applications for all other development types.


To avoid review duplication and unnecessary revision to the Building Permit Plans, the Site Development Application should be submitted well in advance of the Building Permit Application.


Site Plan Agreement/Letter of Undertaking

After Vaughan Council approval, Development Planning staff will prepare a draft Letter of Undertaking or Site Plan Agreement, which is circulated to internal departments and external agencies that requested conditions be included in the Undertaking/Agreement.


After the undertaking/agreement has been finalized, the landowner must execute the document and return it to the Office of the City Clerk for execution by the City. A Letter of Undertaking is not registered on title, however a Site Development Agreement must be registered on the title of the lands before a building permit can be issued.


York Region

If the property subject to a Site Development Application is located on a road under the jurisdiction of York Region, the landowner may be required to enter into a Site Plan Agreement with York Region. For further information, please contact York Region at 1-877-464-9675.