This page provides a summary of what one can generally expect at a Committee of Adjustment Hearing and how to participate at a meeting.
This page will also briefly address and discuss roles and responsibilities of:
the Committee of Adjustment;
the Applicant and/or Agent; and
Members of the Public.
Here is a brief summary of how a typical COA meeting occurs:
Once a Consent or Minor Variance application is received and staff determine it is complete, a sign will be posted on the subject property and a Notice of Public Hearing will be sent to surrounding residents.
Members of the public, if they want, can then provide written comments or choose to attend the upcoming COA meeting to provide their comments to the Committee directly.
At the COA meeting, the Committee will typically then decide to approve or refuse an application. The applicant and other ‘interested parties’ are requested to attend the COA meeting.
The application could be deferred by the applicant if additional information is needed for the application or if other issues come up. Members of the public who had requested information will be notified of the application and will be contacted once the application is ready to be brought back to another COA meeting.
If the application is approved or refused at the hearing (with no deferral), it is then subject to a 20 day appeal period where any interested party (applicant or other members of public who provided comments) could appeal the application to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT). A decision form is sent to applicant and interested parties.
If appealed, it would then be up to the OLT to determine if the decision on the application (by the Committee) should be upheld or overturned. City of Markham would have to adhere to whatever decision the OLT makes. Once appealed, all inquiries on this should be directed to the OLT. The City no longer has authority here.
If, after 20 days, if there are no appeals, then the decision is ‘final and binding’. If the application was approved with conditions, then the applicant has to work to clear those conditions. If there were no conditions, then the application is closed.
After all of this, typically the applicant then proceeds with a building permit with Building Standards Dept.
The province of Ontario permits the holding of virtual meetings if a Municipality chooses to proceed as such. On Tuesday, May 26, 2020, Markham City Council approved the holding of virtual COA meetings. These meetings will continue to be held at 7 PM. Established public notification procedures such as posting of signage on the respective properties and Notice of Public Hearing sent by mail to properties within 120 metres of subject property will continue. Applicants and registered interested parties will be notified as to which meeting date their application has been assigned to. Information on upcoming scheduled meetings and related materials can be found in our 'Meeting Agendas, Minutes, Notices of Public Hearing and Staff Reports' page.
Virtual meetings will be conducted on the ZOOM platform. Those who wish to participate in the meeting, will need to fill out the Interested Party Comment Form.
Please download the Interested Party Comment Form, fill it out, save it to your computer and then send by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. This form should be completed and submitted back to COA staff at least 2 days before the scheduled meeting date in which the application in question is to be heard. Even if you are only providing written comments (support, oppose or provide other relevant comments on an application) it is requested that this form be used.
Note: Applicants do not need to fill out this form. Only members of the public interested in a specific application and/or meeting are required to. ZOOM access information will be provided to these parties by e-mail prior to the scheduled meeting date. Applicants will automatically be provided this information. The instruction guide posted below will further assist parties in participating in the meeting. COA staff will also be available remotely to assist as well.
The ZOOM platform typically requires computer access. Those who do not have such access can participate through the ZOOM phone function. Staff will be administering the virtual meeting on this platform and will be available to provide assistance with virtual meeting participation. Information on how to access the virtual meeting will be sent directly to the applicants and registered interested parties and will not be posted on the website. Please checkout the Participating in virtual meeting guide.
The virtual meeting will also be livestreamed. The link will be posted on the City's main webpage. Scroll down to find the 'Upcoming Events' section and click the related meeting date for 'Electronic Committee of Adjustment Meeting'. You will be taken to another webpage. Scroll to the bottom of that page and click on the 'View video' button. An 'Upcoming Meeting' page will now appear. Find the related 'Committee of Adjustment' listing and click the 'Video' icon associated with it. A video interface window will open. Click the 'Play' icon to commence the videostream. Those observing the livestream will not be able to participate in the meeting directly. To participate in the meeting please contact COA staff immediately to obtain the ZOOM access information.
The Committee of Adjustment is made up of an elected body of officials, appointed by City Council. The Committee of Adjustment is an arm of Council, and makes decisions on Consent and Minor Variance applications, under the relevant sections of the Planning Act R.S.O. 19990, c. P.13, as amended.
Four possible decision outcomes at the hearing include:
Approval: The Committee of Adjustment has approved the application request, and the application is now subject to a 20 day appeal period from the date the decision was made. If the application is not appealed, the decision becomes final and binding.
Partial Approval: The Committee of Adjustment has partially approved an application, and only that portion of the application which has been partially approved is subject to a 20 day appeal period from the date of the decision. The applicant can appeal this decision, or return with a new application for the denied portion of the application.
Deferral: The Committee of Adjustment deferred the application, and the applicant will have an opportunity to return with a new or old proposal.
Denial: The Committee of Adjustment has denied the application. The applicant either has 20 days to appeal the decision, or accept the decision as final and binding.
City of Markham staff will be in attendance at the meeting, and are there to provide support to the Committee of Adjustment, and answer any questions related to technical matters. Staff encourage applicants making development applications to discuss the development proposals with their immediate neighbours and those within the surrounding community in advance of the hearing.
Property owners can make applications to the Committee of Adjustment. These applications are land development applications which ask for relief or variations from the By-law requirements. Applicants or property owners can be represented by their Agent acting on behalf of them.
At the hearing, the application is heard by the Committee of Adjustment. The applicant will usually have an opportunity to speak and present the application to the Committee of Adjustment, and any members of the public who may be in attendance. The applicant or agent may be asked to answer, confirm, or verify certain questions from the Committee of Adjustment to help.
Committee of Adjustment hearings are intended to be a forum opened to all members of the public. Members of the public within 120 m of the subject application will be circulated and notified of the development application request via mail or e-mail. Hearing attendance is not mandatory, but the public can choose to simply attend the hearing, or attend and express their support or concerns related to the development application.