On April 26, 2022, Council enacted a new Encroachment By-law and an amendment to the Clean Yards By-law with respect to boulevard encroachments and maintenance. 

Encroachment By-law

The Encroachment By-law will provide permissive rather than restrictive rules pertaining to encroachments on boulevards. 

An encroachment is any alteration done to the boulevard by a home-owner, whether it be planting a garden or installing/placing personal objects.  There are two types of encroachments permitted – Minor Encroachments which are allowed without Town approval (this includes boulevard gardens and tree rings) and Major Encroachments which do need a permit to allow for them to be installed on the Town's Right of Way.

Boulevard Gardens

Boulevard gardens beautify our streetscape and well-chosen, non-invasive plants that are designed to retain moisture can reduce water usage and therefore the need to use mowers and fertilizers. Introducing native and pollinator-friendly plant species can also improve the health of our ecosystem. Boulevard gardens are considered Minor Encroachments and as such, are permitted without Town approval. Home-owners must ensure they comply with the following rules if they choose to plant a boulevard garden:

  1. Must consist of native plants only. Both the TRCA and the David Suzuki Foundation provide insightful guidelines on how to create native pollinator-friendly gardens and their benefits.
  2. Cannot overhang the shoulder, sidewalk or roadway.
  3. Cannot exceed 100 cm or 39 inches in height.
  4. Soil must be at grade with adjacent sidewalk to prevent soil from washing into the roadway and sidewalk.
  5. Must meet setback of 30 cm or 12 inches from any sidewalk or curb.

Tree Rings

Tree rings are also permitted as a Minor Encroachment around the base of trees in the boulevard, as these add a layer of protection and provides a neat and tidy border for the trees that will prevent the movement of any mulch, wood chips or soil. Home-owners must ensure they comply with the following rules if they choose to place tree rings around the base of a boulevard tree:

  1. The height cannot exceed 15 cm or 6 inches.
  2. Must have a minimum radius of 60 cm or 24 inches from base of tree.
  3. Must meet setback of 30 cm or 12 inches from sidewalk.
  4. Must be modular and not rely on a fixed foundation for support, as the tree rings need to be easily removable if tree maintenance is required by Town staff.

For more information on the rules regarding boulevard gardens, tree rings and other Minor Encroachments, please view the Encroachment By-law.

Encroachment Permit

Any encroachment that is not a Minor Encroachment is considered to be a Major Encroachment and is only permitted by obtaining an Encroachment Permit. Major Encroachments may include the installation of entrance gates/pillars, fences or other ornamental type of features such as landscaping rocks, address identifiers, school bus shelters, etc. Encroachment Permit applications are reviewed by the Operations Department and may also require further review from the Engineering Department. Beginning on May 8, 2023, homeowners will be able to apply for an Encroachment Permit by submitting an application that includes a non-refundable $515 fee.

Encroachment Permit Form

Clean Yards By-law Amendment

The Clean Yards By-law (no. 2016-063) regulates the care and maintenance of land. The By-law has been updated to allow for consistency with the Encroachment By-law regarding boulevard maintenance.

The Clean Yards By-law will now require homeowners to maintain the adjacent boulevard free of tall grass (grass exceeding 20 cm or 8 inches in height). This excludes properties zoned Agricultural or Rural.