Development Regulations

Development Regulations

All development within the City of St. John’s is carried out and maintained with by-laws enacted by the St. John’s Municipal Council and in accordance with The St. John’s Development Regulations.

The St. John's Development Regulations set out standards and land-use zones for the City of St. John's. They implement the policies of the St. John's Municipal Plan. The Development Regulations regulate the use of all land and property in the City of St. John’s -- both privately and publicly owned -- including residential, commercial, industrial, open space, institutional, agricultural, and other land uses, and protect environmentally valuable areas, significant waterways and wetlands, flood-risk areas, and heritage areas.

The current Development Regulations were approved by Council in 1994 under the authority of the Newfoundland and Labrador Urban and Rural Planning Act. They have been amended from time to time since then.

Development is defined quite broadly by the Development Regulations. The definition includes the carrying out of any building, engineering, mining or other operations in, on, over or under land, or the making of any material change in the use or the intensity of use of any land, buildings or premises.

Two Divisions of the Department of Planning, Engineering and Regulatory Services are responsible for the administration of the Development Regulations:
1. The Inspection Services Division, (3rd floor, St. John’s City Hall Annex) deals with standard applications for development. This would include the following:

  • Applications for interior and exterior renovation;
  • Applications for improvements and extensions to a residence;
  • Applications for Accessory Buildings and Fences;
  • Applications for residential development on an approved Building Lot; and,
  • Applications to occupy a building for the same or different type of occupancy as the last approved use.

2. The Planning & Development Division (4th floor, St. John’s City Hall Annex) deals with all applications that are not approved by the Inspection Services Division. This would include, but not necessarily be limited to, the following types of applications:

  • Applications to subdivide or consolidate property;
  • Applications for Home Based Business;
  • Applications to construct commercial, industrial or institutional buildings or to construct extensions to these types of buildings;
  • Applications to rezone property; and
  • Applications to change the type of occupancy in a building if the building is not zoned to allow the proposed use.

Decisions related to certain types of applications processed through the Planning & Development Division can be made by the City’s Development Officer. Other applications that are processed by the Department of Planning, Engineering and Regulatory Services must be referred to the St. John’s Municipal Council for consideration of approval.