Often I have clients asking me what are the permitted uses for a particular property. For a residential property the uses are quite limited. You may be allowed to have a small home based business. Commerical properties may have a wider variety of uses permitted. All property uses are quite clear in your municipality. Here is a good short answer for Canada's LegalLine.ca which answers a variety of legal issues.
Although you may own a particular piece of property, you may not be free to use and develop it as you wish. Zoning by-laws are the ways the government regulates the development and use of land, and the general layout of all townships and municipalities. For example, zoning governs where buildings can be constructed, where residential subdivisions can be developed, and where schools, parks, and factories can be built.
Zoning by-laws also govern the use of each individual plot of land. As a result, you may be required to seek municipal approval before making certain changes to your property. For example, to build a deck, construct an addition, or move your driveway, you will usually have to obtain a permit from your local municipal authority. You will also be limited to certain uses of the property. For example, you will not be able to open a retail business from a residential home.
The law also regulates the subdivision of land. This means that you cannot sell part of your property without obtaining a municipal approval. To subdivide your property, you would need to make an application for severance to your local municipal authority.
A lawyer can provide you with additional information about zoning and other by-laws and assist you to obtain severances or to change the permitted uses.