Beware of Zoning and Heritage Awareness

Zoning and Heritage Awareness

Ottawa is a historic city, and as a result, many properties within the greater Ottawa area have zoning restrictions and heritage designations.

For example, one property may have zoning allowing the owner to rent rooms to students. It is not necessarily the same zoning for an adjacent property that is now for sale. Many properties are grandfathered for zoning but once the property changes hands, the new zoning takes effect. This could have serious implications for a potential buyer looking to purchase an investment property.

The same is true for heritage designations. There are different types of designations and each of them will have restrictions imposed by the City on the buyer regarding any renovations/changes to be completed, and the process for acquiring approval to proceed. This could pose a serious problem if a buyer purchases a property with the intention of completing a major change to the exterior only to find out after the work is completed that the property has a restriction due to heritage designation and the property must be returned to its original state.

Zoning and heritage designations apply not only to the city core, but to other municipalities outside the core as well. Check before you list!

The process for determining zoning and heritage designations is simple. Call the City of Ottawa at 613-580-2424 and speak with someone in the Planning Department. Alternatively, check out the City of Ottawa website at (proceed to Planning) where there is plenty of useful information. An example: When searching a property for heritage designation using the eMap feature on the City of Ottawa website, the property area will be shaded as per the map legend and the zoning will be indicated. However, when in doubt, it is always recommended to call the City to confirm zoning or heritage questions.

To use the City of Ottawa's eMap application to find a property's zoning information: from the MLXchange home page, in the Resources box, click on City of Ottawa Resources, the click City of Ottawa E-Map service. Then, follow these steps:

Start the eMap application and click OK when the Terms of Use pop up.

Select -Address in the "Search by" drop-down field located on the Search panel on the left side of the screen. (Address should be the default.)

Enter the Street Number and Street Name in the appropriate field (do not include "street" or "avenue" etc.), or just type the first couple of letters of the street name and click on the Lookup button.

Click on the Search button. (The Result table lists the matches found.)

Click on the Zoom to Address link to zoom to the location on the map. Once zoomed in, ensure that the Zoning By-law box is ticked in the white "Map Options" menu.

Record the zoning code for future reference.

Mouse over the zoning area until the selection pointer changes to a "pointing finger". Double click and the link will bring you to the pertinent section of the zoning by-law.

To find zoning for properties in Renfrew County, contact the Planning and Land Division at 613-735-7288. For Smiths Falls, call 613-283-4124. For Carleton Place, call 613-257-6200. For Mississippi Mills call 613-256-2064. For Clarence-Rockland call 613-446-6022. For Casselman call 613-764-3139.


Stephen George

Stephen George

CENTURY 21 Action Power Team Ltd., Brokerage*
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