What is a Holding Symbol?

A holding symbol is a zoning tool, authorize through section 36 of the Planning Act.  A holding symbol is used to put limits on development of land, until certain conditions are met.

A holding symbol might look like -h or -H,  with or without a number attached (for example -h4). If you have one of these symbols on all or part of your property, it may limit buildings, structures or uses in the area the symbol applies. Holding symbols are applied for a number of reasons. Below are just a few examples: 

  • the property is near or contains significant natural features - such as watercourses, wetlands and streams
  • the property was previously subject to a planning approval, but construction cannot begin until entering into a development  with the municipality. 
  • the property is not on a public road and an agreement with the municipality is required before building or adding onto the existing house
  • the property is adjacent to a landfill site (either open or closed) and further study is required before building a house or redeveloping the site
  • the property is adjacent to a sewage treatment plant and further study is required before building a house or redeveloping the site.

Meaford Zoning By-law 60-2009 includes general holding symbol (for example -h or -H) as well as specific symbols such as H1 through H7. You can find out more about each Holding Symbol in the Meaford Zoning By-law 60-2009.

Do I Have to Remove the Holding Symbol on my property?

You only need to remove the Holding Symbol if you are trying to develop your property in the area where the Holding Symbol applies. For example, if you have only a small area of "-H4" you would only need to remove the symbol if you are planning to build in that area of your property. If the entire property has a holding symbol, you may need to remove it if you are building a new house or  adding on to you existing house.  Meaford Zoning By-law provided the regulations for what is required with each type of holding symbol.

You may have been told by Building Services you have a holding symbol that needs to be removed before getting a building permit.  Review the information in the next section about how to remove the holding symbol. If you have any questions about the process, please reach out to Planning Services for more information. 

How to Apply to Remove a Holding Symbol

Before applying to remove a Holding Symbol, confirm the zoning on your property so you know which symbol applies to you. You can access our Online GIS Portal (Zoning Mapping Tool).

Once you have confirmed zoning, contact Planning Services to discuss the process in more detail. Planning staff will assist you with the correct form and what information is required to apply to remove the Holding Symbol. 

You will then fill out the appropriate application form and pay the application fees:

If you have questions about the applying for Holding Symbol removal, please contact Planning staff.

More Information about the H1 Holding Symbol

The H1 Holding Symbol applies to lots on private or public streets which have not been assumed by by-law for year round maintenance purposes by the Municipality. The H1 may be lifted by Council once an appropriate agreement has been entered into to satisfy the considerations outlined in policy D2.5.2 of the Municipality of Meaford’s Official Plan.  

In Meaford, most properties with H1 symbols are in the shoreline area, and many have already been removed. 

The H1 is removed via the following process:

  1. Complete and submit the H1 application form
  2. Staff circulates a Notice of Intention to Remove a Holding Symbol, as required by the Planning Act (20 days' notice)
  3. Staff will work with the Municipal Lawyer to prepare the necessary agreement
  4. The owners sign the agreement and return to Planning Services
  5. The site plan agreement is signed by the Mayor and Clerk
  6. The Municipal Lawyer registers this agreement on title
  7. Staff prepares the H1 removal by-law for Council authorization
  8. The H1 By-law is passed and the Zoning on the property is updated

This process does take time as shown above. Staff work within the required framework of the Planning Act.  You should be prepared for at least 6 weeks to process an H1 Removal Application and pass the necessary by-law. 

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