Residential Subdivision FAQs

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Presented below are answers to a number of frequently asked questions (FAQs) about residential subdivisions in Whitby.

What is a Subdivision Agreement?

A "Subdivision Agreement" clearly states the developer's obligations to the Town of Whitby for the construction of roads, sewers, watermains, parks, open spaces , and other services in your subdivision. This agreement between the Town of Whitby and the developer contains clauses that require the developer and the builder of your home to incorporate some clauses and warnings into your "Agreement of Purchase and Sale".

What are "purchaser warning" and "advisory clauses"?

All "Builder/Homeowner Purchase and Sale Agreements" include purchaser warning clauses that alert new homeowners of potential issues regarding their subdivision (noise, odour, tree preservation warning clauses, etc.). Purchasers should carefully review these clauses. When in doubt, homeowners should contact the Town's Public Works - Development Engineering Division for clarification.

What is the developer's responsibility?

The developer is responsible for overall site grading (not pertaining to individual building lots) and drainage; construction of sewers, watermains, roads, curbs and sidewalks; street lighting; boulevard trees and perimeter fencing in the subdivision. Landscaping of public areas and noise reduction fencing is also included in some subdivisions. The details of the developer 's responsibilities are laid out in the subdivision agreement. Town inspectors verify that the developer has completed the subdivision and met the Town's standards before releasing the developer from the obligations of the Subdivision Agreement.

What is the builder's responsibility?

The builder is responsible for constructing your house and driveway, and the grading and sodding of your individual lot. Typically, the builder must also pave the apron of the driveway from the sidewalk to the curb. The builder and the developer may be the same company or the developer may sell building lots to builders. The Town of Whitby requires the developer to obligate the builder to the same standards through the original Subdivision Agreement.

What does "final acceptance" or "assumption" of a new subdivision mean?

Final acceptance and/or assumption of a subdivision occurs when the municipality assumes responsibility for the maintenance of all municipal services. This typically occurs within three to six years after the registration of the subdivision, or when all obligations of the developer have been fulfilled.

How do I know if my subdivision has been assumed?

You may contact your builder or contact the Public Works Department. Please include your lot number and municipal address when inquiring.

What does final lot grading certification mean?

When sodding has been completed around your new home, your developer's/builder's engineer will verify that the design has been followed. Once the engineer is satisfied, the Public Works Department will be contacted to confirm. A Town of Whitby inspector visits each new lot to ensure compliance. Once the Town's inspector is satisfied, the Town will then grant final lot certification. If a lot is in non-compliance with Town standards, the builder is notified, and once the necessary repairs are performed, the lot is re-inspected for final grading certification. Depending on the time of year your home was constructed, it may take over a year for this process to be completed.

How do I know if my lot has been certified?

You may contact your builder and ask for written confirmation from the Town of Whitby or contact a member of the Town's Public Works - Development Engineering Division at 905.430.4307 or engineering@whitby.ca . Please include your lot number and municipal address when inquiring.

After certification, is there a warranty on grading/sod issues?

The Town does not provide or warranty grading/sod. Please contact your builder's customer service department.

How can I obtain the plans for my house and/or lots?

For all new subdivision draft plans that are approved by Council after 2016, it will be the Developer's responsibility to provide a copy of the approved individual house siting plan to the homeowner/purchaser prior to closing. For subdivisions approved prior to 2016, homeowners may request a copy of their own house siting from the Public Works Department via e-mail: engineering@whitby.ca and include the following information:

  • Your name (you should be the registered property owner)
  • Your address

I gave my builder a deposit when I bought my home. When do I get my money back?

While the Town of Whitby does not require it, builders often collect deposits prior to closing to ensure that new homeowners do not alter the grading of their lot prior to final certification. Homeowners should check their "Agreement of Purchase and Sale" to determine when the builder is to return the deposits. The builder is legally responsible to refund the deposit to the new homeowner as per your agreement. Typically, the agreement indicates the refund upon assumption of the subdivision. Homeowners may contact the Town's Public Works - Development Engineering Division to verify your lot certification or assumption at 905.430.4307 or engineering@whitby.ca . Please include your lot number and municipal address when inquiring.

What if I alter the drainage patterns on my property?

Modifying the drainage patterns on your own property may have a negative impact on your neighbour's property. Once you start to landscape your property, be mindful of how the drainage patterns work and try to maintain these drainage patterns that carry water away from your home and those of your neighbours. Do not fill in ditches, move your downspouts or cause more water to run onto your neighbour's property. Damage to neighbouring properties resulting from significant modification of drainage patterns can result in civil lawsuits between private homeowners under the Drainage Act.

Why is there a half-round swale across my back yard?

Your lot drains from your backyard property line to the municipal road at the front of your house. This apron swale is installed to distribute water from the rear yard to the side-yard swales to keep drainage away from your house and help prevent flooding of your basement.

I have a catch basin in my back yard. What can I do with it?

The catch basin and the surrounding drainage cannot be altered as it will affect the drainage pattern within your neighbourhood. The Town may have an easement over your property which provides Town staff with access to maintain the catch basin periodically. If necessary, the Town can request that homeowners, at their own expense, dismantle structures, sheds, etc., that cover the catch basin easement.

What is an "easement"?

The municipality will obtain an easement on your property if a storm sewer, watermain or sanitary sewer crosses your property. The easement allows you to have the use of the property but gives the Town of Whitby or the Region of Durham the right to access, maintain or reconstruct the services within the easement. You should not build additions, garages, sheds, decks or other structures in the easement. Although you may install a fence across the easement, you should locate the fence posts outside the easement. View Transfer of Easement Information .

Who do I contact about problems or deficiencies in my new home?

Your builder is responsible for any deficiencies in your new home. First, give your builder a chance to act on your complaints. Then, if the builder fails to respond, notify TARION (formerly Ontario New Home Warranty Program) and request assistance within the proper timeframe of your warranty. It is important to record all complaints in writing to both your builder and TARION. For more information contact the offices of TARION at 1 .800.668.0124, visit the TARION website (www.tarion.com) or email info@tarion.com.

Who do I contact regarding construction nuisances?

All new subdivisions have construction nuisances such as noise, truck traffic, dust, and debris. While these are an annoyance to homeowners, the Town does require the developer/builder to reduce these nuisances and to avoid them when possible. Concerns can be directed to the Towns Public Works -Engineering Services division at 905.430.4307 or engineering@whitby.ca . If the nuisance is a housing/builder related responsibility/issue please contact Building and By-Law Services at 905.430.4305.

Who is responsible for the cleaning of the roadways (mud/dirt)?

The developer is responsible for maintaining clean and safe roads throughout construction. Please call the Development Engineering Division at 905.430.4307 or engineering@whitby.ca if you have any concerns.

Will there be a hydro box, sidewalk, community mailbox, or lamppost in front of my property?

Information regarding the placement of hydro boxes, sidewalks, community mailboxes, lampposts, and other utilities abutting your property, may be obtained from either the developer or builder of your subdivision. Drawings are also available for public viewing at the Town 's Municipal building (575 Rossland Road East) in the Public Works Department.

When will the permanent mailbox location be provided?

Temporary locations will be provided by Canada Post until the subdivision is substantially complete. Canada Post may send out a notification letter indicating where your permanent mail box location will be. During the original subdivision design, the Town coordinates the utility locations to achieve as safe a location as possible subject to the needs of Canada Post and other utilities.

Who do I contact to get information about storm sewers?

For storm sewers within a Town road, please contact the Public Works Engineering staff at 905-430-4307 or engineering@whitby.ca . For storm sewers within a Durham Regional road, please contact the Region of Durham at 905.668.7711 or visit the Region of Durham website. The developer is responsible for the construction and maintenance of storm sewers until the subdivision is assumed by the Town.

Who do I contact to get information about water or sanitary sewers?

The Region of Durham is responsible for all services related to water and sanitary sewers However, the developer is responsible for construction and maintenance of water and wastewater services until the subdivision is assumed by the Town and the Region. For more information , please call the Region of Durham at 905.668.7711 or visit the Region of Durham website .

Who is responsible for planting street trees?

If you live in a new subdivision development, your developer is responsible for planting new street trees within the Town's road allowance of your subdivision. A streetscape design provided by the developer is approved by the Town of Whitby Planning Department. A copy of the approved Streetscape Landscape Plan is available for public viewing at the Municipal building (575 Rossland Road East) in the Planning Department. For more information, contact the Planning Department at 905.430.4306.

If you live in an established area of Whitby, street trees are inspected, pruned, and replaced by the Town of Whitby Forestry staff. For more information, contact the Operations Centre at 905.668.3437.

When can I install a fence, patio, deck, pool, or shed on my property?

When your lot grading has been certified by the Town, your builder will allow you to make changes to your property. For common fences between properties, both properties must be certified. If you install a fence or make other changes before the lot is certified, the builder may require that the changes be removed. For information about any permits that may be required, please contact Building and By-Law Services at 905.430.4305.

There is a landscaped pond in my subdivision. What is its purpose?

Most new subdivisions include a stormwater management facility, which often appears as a landscaped pond. These naturalized ponds are designed to collect runoff after a heavy rainfall, treat it for impurities, and discharge cleaner water into rivers and creeks. Stormwater management ponds are routinely monitored and maintained by the developer until the Town assumes the subdivision. Please note that these facilities are not intended for recreational use. Water levels and ice thicknesses are not monitored and will vary. The Town assumes no liability or responsibility for unintended uses. View Stormwater Management Ponds for more information.

When will my driveway be paved?

Driveway construction within the public road allowance is the responsibility of the developer. It is often recommended that paving a driveway be delayed so that natural settlement may occur. Always refer to your "Agreement of Purchase and Sale" with regard to construction responsibility and timing of completion.

Can I pave/landscape the area between my driveway and my neighbour's driveway?

The small area between adjacent driveways is required to drain the back yards in many properties. If you raise this area , you will block the flow of water and cause water to flow across your driveway, which will ice in the winter and create a winter hazard. You should always maintain the existing drainage pattern on your property.

Can I install a gate in the black vinyl fence located at the rear of my property?

Gates are permitted within the line fence as long as the property backs onto a park. Gates are not permitted where the property backs onto to environmentally sensitive areas such as woodlots, hazard or creek areas subject to flooding or erosion, and where other jurisdictions such as Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority or the Region of Durham may have restrictions.

If your new subdivision has not yet been assumed by the Town, and the black vinyl chain link fencing has not yet been installed, contact the Planning Department at 905.430.4306 for information about having a gate installed. Once the subdivision has been assumed by the Town, the gate permit is processed through the Community and Marketing Services Department, Parks Division, which can be reached at 905.430.4310.

Who can I call regarding school issues such as construction of new schools and bussing?

Please contact the applicable School Board for information regarding schools and bussing. School locations and potential sites are determined by each school board. Future schools identified on maps or signs in subdivisions are not guaranteed to be built. Should the boards declare any site surplus, the lands can be developed for other purposes depending on the zoning of the lands.