Below are some common questions received by the Planning Department.

Zoning By-law

What size accessory structure/detached garage/shed can I build?

  • The structure must firstly be accessory to a permitted use, like a single detached dwelling.
  • It cannot be built within a minimum front yard.
  • Structures more than 10m2 shall not be located closer than 1.2 metre from an interior side lot line, an exterior side lot line and a rear lot line.
  • Structures smaller than 10m2 can be located adjacent to the interior side lot line, the exterior side lot line and the rear lot line.
  • They shall not exceed 3.8 metres in height in an urban residential zone (Rockland).
  • They shall not exceed 5 metres in height in a community residential zone (villages).
  • They shall not exceed 6 metres in height in a rural and agricultural zone.
  • Accessory buildings and structures shall not occupy more than 8% of the total area of the lot, nor shall it exceed the lot coverage of the dwelling. Rural and agricultural properties can have accessory structure bigger than the house.

For more information, please see Section 4.1 of the Zoning By-law.

Can I operate a business in my residence?

  • Yes, a home-based business is permitted in any dwelling unit or second unit, subject to Section 4.18.1 of the Zoning By-law.
  • A maximum of 1, on-site, non-resident employee is permitted.
  • No client or customer may be attended or served on-site in the case of a home-based business located in a second-unit or apartment.
  • A home-based business located within the dwelling cannot exceed 25% of the dwelling's floor area or 28 m2, whichever is the greater. If within an attached garage or within an accessory structure, the maximum size is 54 m2.

For more information, please see Section 4.18.1, 4.18.2 and 4.18.3 of the Zoning By-law.

Can I have an apartment in my house?

  • Yes, an apartment (second unit) is permitted in any detached, linked-detached, semi-detached or townhouse dwelling as well as accessory structure in any zone where the dwelling type is permitted.
  • A building permit is necessary.
  • The apartment cannot be a stand-alone building.
  • Maximum of one apartment per principal dwelling unit.

For more information, please see Section 4.41 of the Zoning By-law.

For more information about obtaining a building permit, please refer to the Building Permits page.

Can I have chickens on my property?

  • Chickens are not permitted in the urban and community areas, being Rockland and the villages.
  • Chickens are only permitted in the rural and agricultural areas where a hobby farm and agricultural uses are permitted, subject to the Minimum Distance Separation (MDS).

I would like to enlarge my driveway, am I allowed and do I need a permit?

For residential purposes, the maximum width of a driveway is:

  • The lesser of 6.0 metres or 55% of the lot frontage for a lot having a lot frontage of 12.0 metres or less;
  • Equal to 50% of the lot frontage on a lot having greater than 12.0 metres and less than 18.0 metres of lot frontage to a maximum of 7.0 metres; or,
  • 9.0 metres for a lot having a lot frontage equal to or greater than 18.0 metres.
  • No permit is required. However, if a longer culvert is required, then an entrance permit might be required from Public Works.

Am I allowed to park my recreational vehicle on my property?

Yes, as long as you follow the following:

  • Must be located on a lot where a main building exists;
  • From May 1st to October 31st of the same year, a recreational vehicle can be parked within a front yard or exterior side yard and must NOT be within 1.0 metres of a sidewalk or if there is no sidewalk within 2.0 metres of the roadway; and
  • From November 1st to April 30th, a recreational vehicle that does not exceed a maximum length of 6 m, exclusive of the tongue, and a maximum height of 2 metres may be parked within a front yard or exterior side yard if located at 5 metres from the edge of pavement.

Other requirements are listed under Section 5.10.2 of the Zoning By-law.

Fence By-law

Do I need a permit to erect a fence?

  • A permit is not required to build a fence.
  • The maximum allowable height for a fence for a residential property is 1 metre in the front yard and 2.13 metres in any other yard.
  • There is no setback required from a property line as long as the fence is on the subject property.

For more information, please see the Sign By-law .

I think my neighbor's fence is on my property, what can I do?

  • Unfortunately, the City cannot verify the location of the fence. Only a certified surveyor can accomplish this. Since this is a civil matter, you can contact your lawyer for assistance.

Tree-cutting By-law

Do I need a permit to cut down a tree?

A permit is required to cut down a tree in the front yard of a property fronting the following streets/roads that are located within the urban or community areas only:

  • Laurier Street;
  • Landry Road, Labonté Street and Champlain Road;
  • St-Pascal Road and du Lac Road;
  • Laval Road and Champlain Road;
  • Lacroix Road, Gagné Road and Gendron Road; and
  • Indian Creek Road, Drouin Road and Russell Road

What type of tree am I allowed to plant?

We do not have a list of permitted trees but here's a list of trees that are not allowed.


English Common Name

Scientific Name

Poplar / Aspen






Amercan Elm

Ulmus Americana

Manitoba Maple

Acer negundo

Norway Maple

Acer platanoides

Silver Maple

Acer saccharinum

Consents and severances

What are the steps to sever a part of my property?

The approving authority for severances is the United Counties of Prescott and Russell. The landowner can contact the Planning and Forestry Department to obtain the consent application form.

This consent is required in order to create a new lot, enlarge an existing lot, create an easement/right-of-way and a validation of title. The proposed land use must respect the Official Plans and applicable zoning regulations.

A minimum of 90 days is required to complete the land severance process and obtain a decision. A planner from the City of Clarence-Rockland will take part in the pre-consultation with the United Counties Planning department to determine the required studies and conditions that will be imposed in the decision.

Sign By-law

Do I need a permit to erect a temporary mobile sign or banner sign in front of my business?

Yes, a permit is required.

Sign Permit Application Form

How long can my mobile sign or banner sign stay up?

A mobile sign or a banner sign may be permitted for a time period not exceeding 120 days commencing on the date indicated on the permit. A maximum of 4 temporary sign permits may be issued within a one-year period as long as the 120 days is not exceeded.

Can I install an A-frame sign in front of my business?

Yes, A-frame signs are permitted on a commercial property from May 1st to November 1st. The maximum size is 60 cm wide, 75 cm in length, 1 m in height. No sign permit is necessary.

Does my sign need to be bilingual?

Yes. The name of the company can be unilingual. However, the message and content of any new permanent or temporary sign shall be written in both official languages of Canada. The lettering of a permanent or temporary sign (dimension and style) must be identical in French and in English. A double-faced sign may have the message or content written in English on one side and French on the other side.

Can I erect a sign if I have a small home-based business or a bed and breakfast?

Yes, a sign for a bed and breakfast or home-based business may be a wall sign, a window sign, a projecting sign, or a ground sign, provided it is:

  • no larger than 0.5 m2;
  • in the case of a ground sign, no more than 1.5 m in height;
  • in the case of a wall sign, a window sign, or a projecting sign, located on the ground floor of the dwelling or accessory building in which the business is located; and
  • the only sign on the property.

A sign for a bed and breakfast or home-based business shall not be a ground sign if located within the urban area or a community policy area.

Can I apply for a sign permit after I installed my sign?

No person shall erect a sign on private or public property within the City of Clarence-Rockland without first having obtained a permit for the sign.

Can I have more than one ground sign for my business?

No more than one ground sign is permitted relating to the same business or organization on the same property.

Where is it acceptable to install a ground sign for my business?

Every ground sign shall be:

  • at least 1.5 m from any property line;
  • at least 0.5 m from a parking lot or other area usually travelled or used by motor vehicles; and
  • outside of a visibility triangle.

See the Sign By-law for details.


 Where can I get a copy of my survey?
You can get a copy of your survey at the Ontario Land Registry