The Process
Municipal Plan Amendments

Further Information and Staff Assistance

The St. John's Municipal Plan contains the policies adopted by the St. John's Municipal Council for land-use and development. The regulations that implement these policies are contained in the St. John's Land-Use Zoning and Subdivision Regulations, commonly called the St. John's Development Regulations.
The Development Regulations contain a series of zoning maps, a list of uses permitted in each zone, and standards for development (such as lot sizes, yard sizes, building heights and more).
Anyone who needs information on zoning should first determine the zone in which the property is located and then see what uses are permitted and what development standards apply. City staff can help.  Zoning information is available on our Map Centre.

Occasionally, a development may be proposed which does not meet the requirements of the City’s Development Regulations. Applicants for such developments are advised to discuss them with the Planning and Development Division before seeking an amendment. Two types of amendments are recognized:
1. Rezoning - Changing the zoning (changing the Zoning Map), and in some cases, changing the Municipal Plan designation, to allow a proposed development to proceed which otherwise would have been turned down.
2. Text Amendment - Changing the text of the Development Regulations, and in some cases changing the Municipal Plan, which would allow a proposed development to proceed which otherwise would have been turned down.

Planning and Development staff can advise on the amendment procedure. Applications for rezoning are site-specific and therefore usually initiated by the applicant for a specific development. Applications for a text amendment often have an effect on many properties.

The Process
 Once the application has been officially accepted for processing, the following steps occur:

  1. The Planning and Development Division gathers background information and refers the application to other departments and public agencies as required.  We maintain written contact with the applicant throughout the amendment process.
  2. Staff submits a report to Council’s Planning and Development Committee, which normally meets monthly. As an applicant, you can ask to speak at the Committee's meeting when your application is considered. 
  3. The Planning and Development Committee brings its recommendations to the next Regular Meeting of Council for consideration. Council then decides whether to accept the recommendations.
  4. If Council decides to consider the application, the City publishes a public notice of the proposed amendment in a local newspaper, and mails notices to property owners and tenants within a 150-metre radius of the subject property. Council usually sets up a Public Meeting to discuss the application.
  5. The general public is invited to attend the Public Meeting, which is organized by City staff and chaired by a Councillor.  It is advertised in the newspaper at least 10 days beforehand. Notices are mailed at least 14 days beforehand. The applicant is asked to attend and present information about the application. City staff will also be present to discuss the proposed amendment.
  6. The minutes of the Public Meeting are forwarded to Council for consideration. If Council agrees to proceed, Council will adopt the amendments and forward them to the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Municipal Affairs for review.
  7. When Municipal Affairs confirms that there is no provincial interest involved, and if an amendment to the Municipal Plan is required, the City will appoint an independent Commissioner to convene a Public Hearing, as required by the Urban and Rural Planning act.
  8. The general public is invited to attend the Public Hearing. It is advertised in a local newspaper and by mail-out notice at least 14 days beforehand. The applicant will be asked to attend and present information on the application. City staff will also be present.
  9. The general public is invited to send in written comments. In the event no written objections or concerns have been received by two (2) days before the date of the Public Hearing, the Hearing may be cancelled.
  10. After the Public Hearing is held, the Commissioner submits a written report to Council, normally within thirty (30) days. The report will note people’s comments and concerns and make a recommendation to Council on whether the amendment should be approved, modified, or rejected. Council is not bound by the recommendations of the Commissioner but does consider them fully.
  11. The Commissioner’s report is tabled at a Regular Meeting of Council. Council then decides whether to approve the amendments. Approved amendments are forwarded to the Minister of Municipal Affairs for registration. The amendment comes into legal effect when the Minister’s notice of registration is published in The Newfoundland and Labrador Gazette.

Municipal Plan Amendments
Some rezoning applications and text amendments to the Development Regulations require an amendment to the Municipal Plan, as noted in step seven above. The Planning and Development Division will advise if this applies to a specific application.

A non-refundable Development fee is required to submit a rezoning application or an application for a text change to the Development Regulations. This fee must be submitted before the application can be officially accepted by the Planning and Development Division for processing.  

Where the proposed rezoning or text change also requires an amendment to the Municipal Plan, an additional non-refundable fee must be submitted with the application (see development fee link above).

Further Information and Staff Assistance
Specific questions pertaining to rezoning can be directed to the Planning and Development Division.

Planning and Development
Fourth Floor, St. John’s City Hall
P.O. Box 908
St. John's, NL, A1C 5M2
Phone: (709) 576-8220   Fax: (709) 576-8625