Welcome to the Planning Department

The Planning Department is responsible for the development and implementation of land use policies and provisions including the Township’s Official Plan and Zoning By-law, in accordance with Provincial legislation and the District of Muskoka Official Plan. We work with you to align your development goals with the Township’s in a timely manner through our Pre-Application Consultation process and, where required, planning applications such as minor variances, consents, and zoning by-law amendments, to name a few. 

We are a diverse team of highly qualified individuals with Registered Professional Planner (RPP), Accredited Secretary-Treasurer (ACST) and Certified Planning Technician (CPT) designations who have many years of education and experience. We are members of the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP), Ontario Professional Planners Institute (OPPI), Canadian Association of Certified Planning Technicians (CACPT), and Ontario Association of Committee of Adjustment & Consent Authorities (OACA) who engage in continuous professional learning to expand our knowledge on evolving planning legislation such as the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) and the Planning Act, as well as best planning practices. 


Our Zoning By-law regulates the use, location, size and height of structures, as well as other provisions. Our Zoning By-law complements the Township's Official Plan (which complements the District of Muskoka Official Plan) to ensure thoughtful and sustainable development. Find the zoning of your property using the Interactive Zoning Map or by contacting our Planning Department at planning@gbtownship.ca.

Zoning By-Law Schedules
 Zoning By-Law Appendices 

Planning Application Forms

Sometimes there are situations where the zone of a property doesn't meet the property owner's project goals. In these situations, we encourage property owners to arrange a pre-consultation with our Planning Department to find an application process that fits the property owner's budget, timeline and vision for their project.

Pre-Application Consultation 

Prior to applying for a building permit or submitting a Planning Act application (i.e., minor variance), you are encouraged to take part in the Township’s Pre-Application Consultation process.  Please note that Pre- Application Consultation is mandatory for Official Plan Amendment, Zoning By-law Amendment, Site Plan Approval and Plan of Subdivision/Condominium applications. 

Through this process, Planning Staff will review your development proposal for compliance with the Zoning By-law and conformity with the District of Muskoka and Township Official Plans. Staff may involve representatives from various Township departments and/or external agencies. The purpose of this process is to provide applicants with a detailed memo identifying issues of non-compliance, applicable provisions and policies, required Planning Act application(s) and/or approvals, and to confirm the supporting materials (i.e., site plan, environmental impact study, etc.) that must be submitted with an application for it to be deemed complete. For more complex development proposals, an in-person or virtual meeting will be arranged prior to staff providing a written memo. Pre-Application Consultation Requests are reviewed in order of receipt. The comments generated from the Pre-Application Consultation process do not constitute an approval nor reflect the position of the Township regarding a development proposal.

Consent (Land Severance)

A consent is the legal separation of a piece of land to form a new lot. A consent is not needed if the land is already divided by a railway or public road. You can also apply for a consent for:

  • right-of-way,
  • easements, and
  • any change to your existing property boundaries (e.g. lot addition).


Deeming By-law

A Deeming By-law deems areas of land to no longer be part of a registered plan of subdivision. This type of by-law allows certain lots, or parts of lots, on a plan of subdivision to merge. View our Deeming By-law Application Form for details and fees.

Minor Variance

A Minor Variance Application provides specific relief from our Zoning By-law if the Committee of Adjustment agrees that the request is minor. Minor variances maintain the general intent of our Zoning By-law and Official Plan.


Official Plan Amendment

If your plans for developing your property aren't consistent with the Township's Official Plan, you will need to apply for an Official Plan Amendment. More information on this process is available through your pre-consultation with our Planning Department.

Site Plan Agreement

A site plan agreement establishes both design and technical aspects of development over and above the requirements set out in the Zoning By-law. They can supplement zoning by providing more detailed site-specific requirements. Site plans help:

  • ensure that development projects contribute to attractive waterfronts, streetscapes and the character of the neighbourhood, and
  • protect the environmental features and surrounding land (e.g. wetlands, wild life habitats, water quality).

View our Site Plan Approval Application for fees.

Zoning By-law Amendment (Rezoning)

If a proposed use or structure on a property doesn't meet the requirements of our Zoning By-law, the owner may apply for a Zoning By-law Amendment


Planning Fees
View our planning fees in Schedule J of the Fees and Charges By-Law.
Paying the Fees

Fees are associated with the Planning applications and are identified on the first page of the corresponding application form. An application will not be processed by staff without payment of the applicable fee(s). Payment can be made one of the following ways:

  1. In-person via cheque, debit, or credit card 
  2. Online: https://forms.gbtownship.ca/Payment-Processing-Form 
  3. E-transfer

There is a 2.5% service charge when making payment with a credit card. 


To make an e-transfer:

  1. Send to payment@gbtownship.ca  
  2.  A security question is required, and all answers need to be sent in a separate email to payment@gbtownship.ca which shall include the following details:


    1. Application type
    2. Applicant name
    3. Property address and roll number

Information Guides 

Link to Minor variance GuideLink to Consent Application Guide



Planning Notices

See upcoming Public Meetings, draft Official Plan amendments, and other planning notices in our Document Centre. You can also read documents and presentations specific to Oak Bay DevelopmentSix Mile Lake and Macey Bay

Need a Consultant?

To assist you with your search of professional consultants in the area that you may wish to retain to complete a study, development plans, etc., as may be required, the Township has prepared a Consultant Resource List.



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