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Planning, Property & Development

Development Application Notification Review

The Development Application Notification Review is looking at ways to improve public notification of land development so processes are as open and transparent as possible. The review will do this through investigating best practices with advertising, signage, and content and collecting input through public engagement. Land development includes variances, conditional uses, rezoning, and subdividing of land. The public is currently notified of land development through newspaper advertisements and on-site postings, depending on the type.

Notifying the public of land development applications gives residents the opportunity to provide input as part of development processes that shape the future of their communities. Members of Council, the public, and the Public Service recognize the importance of updating our public notification processes to reflect changes in residents' expectations and changes in communications technology.

Go to Public Engagement Projects Listing.


We want to hear from you!

Stakeholders in land development such as residents groups, developers, and community members have expressed an interest in a predictable and consistent process, and this review will make recommendations to work towards that goal.

We have heard from you in response to land development and other processes (such as the Residential Infill Strategy and the OurWinnipeg Review) that the land development application notification process requires improvements.

What is on the table for input? What is not on the table for input?

Notification of land development applications:

  • On-site Postings (like this)
  • Notification through social media, in the mail, email, newspapers
  • Online information

Guidelines for notification/engagement and participating in processes:

  • Updating existing guidelines (like this)
  • Creating new guidelines and information
  • Public engagement guidelines
  • Land development applications (the Public Service was directed to look at the notification  process, rather than applications)
  • The City of Winnipeg Charter Act (this is Provincially controlled)
  • The Planning Act (this is Provincially controlled)

In May 2018, stakeholders from residents groups and land developers were invited to a workshop to discuss notification for land development applications. This workshop provided an opportunity for different stakeholders with different perspectives to discuss their common values and areas for improvement and provided valuable input for the review.

Thank you to the stakeholders who participated in our workshop and to the over 300 participants who completed the online survey. We are currently analyzing the input we received to prepare recommendations for Council review.

For inquiries, please call 204-986-4243 or email .

If you would like to stay updated on City of Winnipeg public engagement events, follow the City on Facebook and Twitter, or sign up for the City of Winnipeg public engagement newsletter.

Project Timeline




Land Development
Land development can take many forms. It could be the conversion of a greenfield or infill land into construction-ready housing, multi-family development, a commercial project, or an industrial building site. Sometimes, developers and builders seek to modify their zoning rights on the land or to change their zoning districts to build their proposed project.

The most common land development applications include:

  • Conditional Use: Application for a permit to allow the property owner use of his land in a way not otherwise permitted within the particular zoning district.
  • Rezoning: Application to change a zoning designation and regulations on a parcel of land.
  • Subdivision: Application to divide a lot, tract, or parcel of land into two or more lots, plots, sites, or other divisions of land for the purpose of creating new titles.
  • Variance: Application to request to modify those Zoning By-law standards as applied to a specific property.

Current approach to Public Engagement

  • Informal: Developer-led public engagement (usually an open house)
  • Formal: Public hearing

The type of informal public engagement carried out for a land development application is up to the discretion of the applicant. An open house allows the developer to inform citizens regarding the details of a project before a public hearing.

Where a developer led public engagement occurred, applicants are asked to provide a summary of the public engagement when submitting a formal application, including:

  • Number of people consulted as well as their addresses;
  • Copies of all letters and other written communications received;
  • If an event is held: a list of attendees, including names, addresses and phone numbers (where provided voluntarily);
  • If an event is held: how people were notified of the event (i.e. newspaper advertisement, flyer in mailbox, etc.);
  • A letter of response outlining how all the concerns and issues raised by the public were addressed.

Public hearings are a required part of the process for some types of applications. In those cases the applicant is required to pay fees for newspaper advertisements and signs on the site to inform the neighbourhood about the application and the upcoming public hearing.

Learn more about the public hearing process.
Learn more about Subdivisions, Rezonings and the Development Application Process.

Land use policies and development requirements are set out in a number of policy documents such as the City's development plan OurWinnipeg, Complete Communities and Local Area Plans that establish a vision and provide policy direction to guide how our city grows and develops over time. Zoning By-laws are regulatory tools that help implement these policy documents and contain specific provisions to regulate the use of land and dimensional regulations. The City of Winnipeg Charter Act is the provincial legislation that ensures all plans and decisions are aligned with the City's adopted plans, By-laws and policies.

On December 5, 2016, the Standing Policy Committee on Property and Development, Heritage and Downtown Development (SPC) passed a motion directing the Winnipeg Public Service to do the following:

  1. A cross jurisdictional analysis in the view of finding best practices for the public posting and advertisement of development applications, specifically with a view to improving the quality, attractiveness & accessibility of on-site signage, media advertising, including but not limited to such features as visual representations of the proposed development, plain language description, and appropriate City of Winnipeg and Corporate branding.
  2. How the Planning, Property and Development Department, in collaboration with the Office of Public Engagement, can expand their required advertising toolkit to include social media, improve website advertisement of development applications and consider mandatory notification of development applications.
  3. A review of the public hearing process with respect to all communication once a public hearing has concluded, by all stakeholders, including what role the Integrity Commissioner will have on these matters.
  4. If and how any information with respect to public hearings can be made public prior to the 96 hour agenda publication requirement.
  5. A way to communicate with Council and the public when a development application has been submitted to the City.

Following the motion, the Public Service has been working on a cross jurisdictional scan to determine how other Canadian municipalities have updated their public notification processes associated with land development applications. Best practices from other jurisdictions include a broad range of notification tools and approaches to reach the public. The goal of these changes is to better inform residents about the public hearing process and how they can get more engaged in participating in a process that helps them shape the future of their communities.

Following the cross-jurisdictional scan, the project will also look more closely at improving the advertising toolkit to include social media, improve website advertisement of development applications and consider mandatory notification of development applications. Prioritization of improving the toolkit will be done through engagement with internal and external stakeholders and the public.


Document Name Date Type
News Release 05-28-2018 News Release
Standing Policy Committee Minutes 12-05-2016 Minutes

Frequently Asked Questions

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Why is the City looking into public notification land development applications?

On December 5, 2016, the Standing Policy Committee on Property and Development, Heritage and Downtown Development (SPC) passed a motion directing the Public Service to conduct a scan of best practices with public notification of land development applications. The City would like to hear from residents about how the City of Winnipeg can improve how it communicates to residents regarding land development applications.

Date added: May 2018

Is this project going to influence the public hearing process?

This project will help improve how the City communicates to residents about opportunities to become involved in land development applications that require a public hearing.

Date added: May 2018

Is land development signage going to change as a result of this project?

Signage associated with land development applications may change as part of this project. Further consultation would be required.

Date added: May 2018

How can I get involved?

Please visit the Engage tab to learn more.

Date added: May 2018

How much is this project going to cost?

Once the City has completed research and public engagement and has determined recommended changes, cost estimates will be available as part of a final report to Council.

Date added: May 2018

Glossary of Terms of Terms

A Land Development Application is made to the City to change the regulations for how a particular area of land can be used or developed and may include one, or any combination of, a rezoning application, a conditional use application or a variance application.  The change is usually initiated by the property owner or a developer.

A Conditional Use is when a property owner is given permission to use land in a way not otherwise permitted within the particular zoning district.

A Variance is a modification of Zoning By-law standards as applied to a specific property.

A Subdivision is the process where a parcel of land is divided into two or more parcels in order to obtain separate legal titles for each parcel.

Rezoning is the process of changing the zone that applies to a specific area of land and requires approval through a City Council Public Hearing. Rezoning is required if you wish to develop your site in a manner that is not allowed by a Zoning By-law.

An Appeal is the review of a decision by a higher decision-making body.

Last update: June 18, 2018