Did You Do Your Due Diligence? #5: Zoning Check

Home / Building a Pharmacy in Ontario / Did You Do Your Due Diligence? #5: Zoning Check

At O’Connell Store Fixtures, installing store fixtures is the smallest part of what we do. Our team is here to launch your new pharmacy on the path to success — and that begins with proper planning.

Our new blog series, “Did You Do Your Due Diligence?”, will showcase real life stories of pharmacy owners in Ontario who failed to plan properly. Read our blogs to learn how to avoid their mistakes and develop strategies for doing ‘due diligence’ when building a pharmacy!

This edition of “Did You Do Your Due Diligence?” will discuss the importance of a proper zoning check in the construction of your new pharmacy. Pharmacies can have very specific zoning requirements. For example, if you have both a doctor’s office and a pharmacy, you will need to be zoned for both retail and medical.

Pharmacies also have specific legal requirements for patient parking. Make sure you have enough parking spots for your pharmacy! It can cost you thousands to buy a parking spot from the city of Toronto.

So what’s the first step? Do a zoning check yourself!

Don’t trust what the landlord tells you — we’ve seen too many cases where landlords give tenants the wrong information. The best idea is to submit a zoning check through the local municipality, either online or in person. In some cases, you can check zoning maps online, but you should not rely on this resource.

If you have the incorrect zoning, you may need to apply for a zoning variance or a zoning amendment (commonly called a ‘re-zoning’). A zoning variance is a minor change to something like parking requirements or building setback, which can take 6 months or more to process.

A zoning amendment involves major changes to the municipal bylaw. For example, changing the actual use of the land from residential to medical would require a zoning amendment. A zoning amendment can take over 1 year, costing up to $100,000 and potentially requiring buy-in from local neighborhood groups to pass.

What’s the takeaway? Get a zoning check done for your new pharmacy location. It can be incredibly costly to change even minor zoning laws. Do your due diligence!

Looking for help with the zoning check process? Contact the team at O’Connell Store Fixtures in Ontario today.

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Doctor's office hallway, view of consulting roomsPeople waiting in line at city customer service desk