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Township of Severn

Skip Navigation LinksTownship of Severn > Building Department FAQs

Building Department Frequently Asked Questions​

What can I build on my property and what are the setbacks?

Please refer to the Zoning By-Law maps and guidelines in the Planning section of the website.​

What size of an addition can I build?

Please refer to the Zoning By-Law maps and guidelines in the Planning section of the website. You will have to know the square footage of you existing structure to calculate the lot coverage.​

What size of shed do I require a permit for?

​Any shed over 108 sq. feet. If the shed is under this size you must still meet the property zoning setbacks for placement of the shed. Please contact the Planning Department. There is also a maximum number of sheds allowed for each property.

Where can I find information about my well?

The Township of Severn does not have any jurisdiction over private wells. Please contact the Ministry of Environment at 1-800-890-8511 (you will need to have your tax bill handy with the legal description and possibly the roll number).

Where can I find information about my Septic System?

Septic System permits used to be issued by the Simcoe District County Health Unit in the form of a USE permit. The responsibility was downloaded to the Municipalities and the SCDHU transferred their records to each municipality. However, in some cases, the records are missing. The Township of Severn may or may not have a septic record on your property. Any septic system permits issued and approved by the Township will have a file at the Township office.​

Thinking about buying a piece of property in Severn Township and would like to see the septic plan or any permits that have been issued for the property?

​As per the Freedom of Information Act, we cannot release any information to you regarding a property unless you are the owner. However, you can order a Septic Compliance Letter or a Compliance Letter that covers the Zoning, Building Permits, Septic Permit, Fire Department information, etc. The fee for a Septic Compliance Letter is $40. A full Compliance Letter is $100. A written request must be submitted to the Township with payment. A search of the records and report will be prepared in 7-10 working days. If you are a new owner of the property, you will be allowed full access to any building or septic files on hand at the office. If you require copies, there will be a $.30 per page fee.

I would like to build a fence on my property. Do I need a permit?

If you are building a fence for purposes other than a pool, you do not require a permit. Please refer to the Fencing By-Law with regard to height, materials, etc. There are no set distances for fences from the septic.​

Do I need a permit for a Private Residential Pool?

No. However you do require a pool Fence Permit. ​An application with a site plan drawing showing the pool, fence, septic and other buildings on the property must be submitted with the application. Please refer to the Pool Fence By-Law.

How far should my pool (or building) be from my Septic Bed?

5' (1.5 m) from the septic tank and 16.9' (5 m) from the first run of the tile bed. A fence is to be no closer than 5' from the edge of the pool.​

We are installing a Commercial Pool. Do i need a permit?

Yes and you also need to submit a copy of the pool plans to the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. A pool fence will also be required.​

Does the Township Fire Department fill pools?

No. Please contact a local water hauling service.​

I would like to build a pole barn on my property. Where can I access construction drawings for this?

Three types of pole barn construction drawings are available from the Canada Plans Service.​

I am building a deck which will lie on the ground and is not attached to the house. Do I need a permit?

Yes. This is considered a building regardless of size or height off the ground.​

I would like to build a dock/boat house/boat port. Do I need a permit?

Yes. If your property is also part of the Trent-Severn Waterway, you will be required to get a permit from them first. Visit the Parks Canada Website for more information. Once you receive approval, you can submit your building application to the Township. Please include your TSW approval letter.​

If your property is not part of the Trent-Severn Waterway, you must contact the Ministry of Natural Resources prior to applying for a permit from the Township.

What should the distance of a building be from a Well?

There are no set distances for any well but it should not be close enough to the foundation to cause problems. The Township does not issue permits for a well. Information on wells can be obtained from the Ministry of the Environment.​

How far should my septic be from my well?

100' from a dug well

50' from a drilled well​

What are the setbacks for a septic system from the property lines or water course?

​From your property lines: 3 metres

From any water source: 15 metres

How far apart should Test Holes be for a septic Application?

2 Holes - 5' deep and 30' apart.​

What are the costs of permits?

Please refer to the fee guide.​

How do I get a culvert installed?

If you are building a new house/cottage, this is coordinated with the Public Works Department as part of your application.​

If you are just requesting a culvert extension or a Closed Drain, please contact the Public Works Department.


My property is located on a County Road. Where do I get a driveway entrance permit?

Please contact the County of Simcoe Transportation & Engineering Department for an application.

My property is located on a Provincial Highway. Where can I obtain a driveway entrance permit?

Please contact the  Ontario Ministry of Transportation​.

How do I get my water meter installed?

Please contact the Public Works Department.​

If I demolish my cottage or house, do Development Charges apply to any new construction?

Yes, but only if a permit has not been issued for the new construction within 36 months of Demolition. A site inspection is required when the demolition is completed in order to establish a time line.​

Does a concrete slab require engineering?

Yes. Any slab that supports the superstructure (a building regardless of size) requires a design.​

How long does it take to get a permit?

i) House/Cottage - 10 days from the time that all of the paperwork that the Planning & Building Department requires is received.​

ii) Septic - Usually issued with a new house or cottage. If submitted separately, approximately 5 business days.

iii) Pool Fence & Demolitions - Up to 3 business days

iv) Simple Applications (deck, garage, renovation) - 10 business days or less

v) Commercial/Industrial/Institutional - up to 30 business days.

Why are Development Charges applied to Vacant land?

Development charges (in addition to a building permit) are payable on land that has been vacant for more than 36 months. These are charged by the Township of Severn, County of Simcoe and both school boards. In some areas of the Township, an Area Specific Development Charge is also due if the property is on Municipal Services (i.e. Water or Water & Sewer services).​

Development Charges assist in financing capital projects required to meet the increased need for services resulting from growth and development such as:

Library Services, Paramedic Services, Long Term Care, Social Housing, Public Works, General Government, Roads and related services, Acquisition of school sites and related costs to accommodate growth-related pupil needs.

How do I pay for my permit?

The permit fee is not payable until it has been reviewed by the Planning & Building Departments. The applicant will be contacted with the permit cost which is payable by cash, cheque or debit. The Township does NOT accept credit cards or $100 bills.​

Why do I need an Engineered Lot Grading Plan for constructing a new dwelling?

The Township of Severn's Council decided in late 2008 that lot grading plans should be submitted with building permit applications to avoid problems with drainage on neighbouring properties.​

How do I get my Lot Grading Refund?

Once your lot grading has been completed, contact the company who designed it and ask for an inspection and confirmation letter. Some companies require that the property be seeded or sodded.

*Please note: If your contractor or authorized agent paid for your building permit, the refund will be payable to him. In order to have the refund payable to the owner, the owner must obtain a signed letter from the Contractor/Agent to the Township to instruct the refund be paid to the owner.​

Is there an expiry date for permits?

Yes. Usually one year. Permits can be extended if they are being actively worked on. In some instances, a site inspection is required to extend a permit. You may eventually be required to apply for a new permit to complete the project.​

How much notice do you require for an inspection?

A minimum of 24 hours. In the summer months there is a heavier volume of inspections requested and we are short-staffed due to vacations and long weekends. During this time period you may wish to book an inspection more than 24 hours ahead of time. During the summer months we are unable to offer an morning or afternoon time frame. Inspections are undertaken Monday to Friday from 9 A.M until approximately 3:30 P.M.

*If your project is located on an island reached only by boat, then 3 days' notice is required.​

I have amended my drawings that were approved for my permit. How should I proceed from here?

Please provide 2 sets of amended drawings to the Building Department for review. In some cases, and additional fee is payable.​

How do I obtain an electrical inspection?

Usually your electrician will arrange for this. However, you can contact the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA).​

Where do I obtain information about the home warranty program in Ontario or if my contract is registered?