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Help: Steps to sever your lot

Nejo

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I'm exploring the option of severing my lot but I'm a total newb. I've visited this link on the cities website http://www.toronto.ca/planning/pdf/cofa-appln-form.pdf but wanted to hear tips/suggestions/referrals from people who might have been through the process, I'm afraid of wasting $2000+ on completing the form incorrectly or lacking useful details to improve the likelihood of it being approved.

Background Info:

- My current property is a corner lot 50 (front) x100 (side)
- I have a detached garage that I'd like to demolish and build a 2 story family home
- My family may expand and outgrow our current bungalow but the lot appears (at least to me) large enough for two or more properties.

Need to know:

- Do most home owners submit the documents themselves?
- Do you need to have an architect complete plans before you submit?
- Who would be the best person to give you an opinion on the probability of an approval before you risk going out of pocket and submitting an application

Any information you could share would be helpful :)

Thanks!
 
The first place I would go would be my Councillor. OK, they are probably in full election-mode now but they do have staff in their offices who have been through the CofA process many times. Thery will also know what the zoning is in the area and whether simply severing the lot is enough (or allowed) or if you actually need to have a re-zoning (which is FAR more difficult and not done through C of A.) They could also tell you the name of the City Planner assigned to your area and you could then talk to them and get an idea of whether they would (or could) support an application to sever at the CofA. Once you know it is really a matter for the CofA you could try talking to the Secretary of your CofA for advice but I'm not sure how helpful they will (or can) be.
 
If your currently lot is more than double the minimum size required by its existing zoning then you can get a simple severance (as long as both the resulting lots are bigger than the minimum size). If the severance makes one or both lots smaller than what is required you will need either a committee of adjustment approval (if they are close to the minimum) or a rezoning if they are substantially smaller than what is currently allowed. My guess is changing one 50 x 100ft. lot into two 50 x 50ft lots is probably going to require a full rezoning.

You should definitely talk to a City Planner before you submit anything. Depending on your location this may be either a simple approval or a big fight. If you are near a major transportation corridor or in an area that is seeing a lot of redevelopment then it will be easier. If you’re in a ‘stable’ neighbourhood it will likely be very difficult. The City Planner will be able to give you an indication of the likelihood of getting an approval.
 
I’ve done a couple severances through the Toronto and East York C of A. Here are my thoughts on the process and your questions.

I agree you should approach the Planner assigned to your area, as well as the Councillor beforehand to see if they would support your application or at least not write a report/letter in opposition.

If you aren’t comfortable drawing plans, you’ll need to hire someone and yes, you need plans at the time you submit.

You’ll need a Draft-R plan from a surveyor showing the new lots. Also, a survey of the property in its original state is often required.

Get a PAL or a PPR done from the Building Dept by submitting your plans to them before submitting to the C of A. This will tell you if you also need variances. If you sever the lot, the existing house may no longer be in conformity with the Zoning By-law and you’ll need variances to have it approved. Same deal with the new house. If you need variances, this will add to the cost of the application.

The C of A form itself is pretty straight forward to fill out. You can always attach a letter explaining what you are doing and why.

If you are really intimidated by the process and the thought of having to stand up and explain/defend your application, you may want to consider hiring a lawyer or a planner, or see if your architect has done it before.

I disagree with people saying you’d need a full rezoning. The range of applications (including severances) that go through C of A in Toronto is amazing. Splitting a lot into two lots is a simple severance in Toronto even if you need variances.
 
Thanks .... Very helpful, still looking into this but your information has been very very helpful.
 
in my opinion .... 50 x 100 isn't exactly a huge lot, to divide that and to make that two 50 x 50 is unrealistically small, for reference a typical parking space is 10 x 20
 
We are similarly looking to sever our 40' x 124' corner lot with a curving chunk out of one corner. The severed parcel would be 63'x40' minus whatever is required between parcels.

We currently have a fence that encroaches on city property by about 6'. It is behind a long-existing hedge and is about 10' from the curb.

If we apply for the severance is the city likely to come down on us regarding this fence and require us to move it?

Is there any process by which we can legitimize this encroachment which does not interfere with any public use?
 
We are similarly looking to sever our 40' x 124' corner lot with a curving chunk out of one corner. The severed parcel would be 63'x40' minus whatever is required between parcels.

We currently have a fence that encroaches on city property by about 6'. It is behind a long-existing hedge and is about 10' from the curb.

If we apply for the severance is the city likely to come down on us regarding this fence and require us to move it?

Is there any process by which we can legitimize this encroachment which does not interfere with any public use?
If you draw attention to your encroachment by applying to the C of A for a severance it is quite likely the City will take action to have the "illegal" fence removed and the City are not likely to sell you the land unless it is 'isolated' and not part of a strip (the street allowance). I would have a chat (informally) with staff in the community planning section for your area to see what they say.
 
Can be done I'm sure, but 50x100 is normal sized lot for a lot of neighbourhoods with detached homes. 50x50 is quite small.
 
If you draw attention to your encroachment by applying to the C of A for a severance it is quite likely the City will take action to have the "illegal" fence removed and the City are not likely to sell you the land unless it is 'isolated' and not part of a strip (the street allowance). I would have a chat (informally) with staff in the community planning section for your area to see what they say.

Looking around the neighbourhood, I see that encroachment of varying degrees is not unusual. Will an 'informal' chat with staff obligate them to order my fence moved or do they generally act on the basis of complaints? I'd hate to be told 'no' to the severance and thanks for letting us know... now move the fence...

I realize no one know for sure but can you give me some idea of how encroachments are generally regarded by the City. Strictly the letter of the law and enforced whenever they come across them or a little more leniently?

Also, I see that someone nearby with a similar but smaller lot has demolished their house and is digging a basement for two houses so there is precedent.

Thanks for any and all insights...
 
Looking around the neighbourhood, I see that encroachment of varying degrees is not unusual. Will an 'informal' chat with staff obligate them to order my fence moved or do they generally act on the basis of complaints? I'd hate to be told 'no' to the severance and thanks for letting us know... now move the fence...

I realize no one know for sure but can you give me some idea of how encroachments are generally regarded by the City. Strictly the letter of the law and enforced whenever they come across them or a little more leniently?

Also, I see that someone nearby with a similar but smaller lot has demolished their house and is digging a basement for two houses so there is precedent.

Thanks for any and all insights...
Unless your encroachment is very dangerous or very new - which does not seem to be the case - I doubt that talking to a City Planner will result in enforcement. (Apart from anything else the City is organised in silos and the Planners are NOT the enforcers!) The City is not very proactive about these things and generally only investigates complaints, as they must.
 
I'm also looking into the necessary steps to sever my lot into 2 & a bit confused whether it's even possible. My situation is that my lot is 20 x 100. I have a 10 x 20 right of way easement on the end of the lot giving access to the neighbour's garage. This is part of my existing driveway, which is about 30 x 20 including the easement. I'd like to sever the 10 x 20 section of the lot & sell it to my neighbour, giving him dedicated parking (right now it's just a right of way to access his garage, it can't be blocked by either of us). If anyone had a similar experience, it'd be great to hear your opinion on the process
 
I'm also looking into the necessary steps to sever my lot into 2 & a bit confused whether it's even possible. My situation is that my lot is 20 x 100. I have a 10 x 20 right of way easement on the end of the lot giving access to the neighbour's garage. This is part of my existing driveway, which is about 30 x 20 including the easement. I'd like to sever the 10 x 20 section of the lot & sell it to my neighbour, giving him dedicated parking (right now it's just a right of way to access his garage, it can't be blocked by either of us). If anyone had a similar experience, it'd be great to hear your opinion on the process
Go and talk to the Planner assigned to your area.
 
I am currently in the process of severing a 50'x100' into two lots (25'x100') to build two detached units in Toronto. If anyone is interested, please let me know and I will tell them of my experience as I move ahead with the process. I have done this before in Niagara Falls/Fort Erie and succeeded.
The posts here seem to be pretty old. I guess, these projects may have taken off. Just in case they are yet pondering, then my experience may help them and others who may need some guidance. (Currently - everything is on hold at the city due to COVID-19 as you know... maybe when better days come, we can connect on this forum to help each other)
Cheers
 

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