Kingston Bylaws

by-lawA couple of weeks ago Harvey and I were walking down our street and noticed a mattress that had been discarded and placed on a lawn outside someone’s home.  The mattress had a “free” sign on it.  After a couple of days, I passed by again and noticed that it was still there, only now the mattress had been rained on twice and appeared to have squirrels living in it.  After another couple of days I’d had it.  Harvey and I, and most of our neighbours, take great pride in making our homes look nice so we feel kind of put off when we see something like this going on.  Accordingly, I made a call to the City of Kingston Bylaw office to ask for their advice and assistance.

This situation, along with other issues we’ve noticed in our neighbourhood (dogs barking all night, people not mowing their lawns, late night partying etc…) got Harvey and I talking about bylaws in Kingston.  We quickly realized that we aren’t very informed when it comes to this topic and we suspect that some of our readers may feel the same way.  In an effort to familiarize everyone with local bylaws, we’ve decided to create a series of posts based entirely on answering your bylaw-related inquiries.

When I called the City of Kingston bylaw office about the aforementioned mattress/squirrel nest, I got an answering machine and although no one ever returned my call, I’m happy to report that the mattress was gone two days later.  So the system sort of works. Upon further investigation, I uncovered bylaw 2005-100, which prescribes standards for the maintenance and occupancy of property withing Kingston. Therein, para 4.42 backs up our feelings about the abandoned couch:

Yards, compounds and lands whether vacant or not shall be kept clear and free
from any furniture that is manufactured for interior use.

While the City maintains a webpage that’s dedicated to bylaws, we’d like to help you wade through this information in an open forum. What are your bylaw-related questions and experiences?  Whether they are related to your home or neighbourhood directly, or are more general, please share your questions and anecdotes by way of commenting below.

Special thanks to LexnGer for today’s photo.

Danielle Lennon

Danielle Lennon is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. She was the Editor, Community Event Coordinator and Contributor at-large (2008-2018). She is otherwise employed as a section violinist with the Kingston Symphony, violin teacher, studio musician and cat lover. Learn more about Danielle...

15 thoughts on “Kingston Bylaws

  • Good to know. Does the bylaw imply that the City will pick up the furniture, or that it's the responsibility of the owner? Just wondered who took care of that mattress…

    • Good question. I'm not sure to be honest. I remember having a conversation with a landlord back in May when the students were leaving and he said the City had made it mandatory that all garbage and discarded furniture be removed from the property within 24 hours of people moving and that it was the responsibility of the landlords to do so. So that being said, I would imagine the residents were told to remove the mattress. I'll see what I can find out!

  • We were recently given a ticket for parking our car on the boulevard (the stretch of grass between the sidewalk and the road, in front of our place). We parked there instead of the road because of the garbage pickup the next morning. It seems silly not to be able to park there, and I don't understand the issue. So I would say this is one example of a bylaw we should get rid of.

    • I'm pretty sure boulevards are considered City property, hence the ticket. Of course they won't come and mow it for you…

    • just to update this … about a week after our first ticket, we got another one! This time, our wheels were barely on the grass. It seemed like we were being targeted, as other people on the street do this without being ticketed. Anyway, what's relevant here is that I contested the ticket, explaining about our other ticket, the unfairness of it, etc, and the ticket was rescinded! So the message is that you can fight tickets … all I had to do was email the city with the details and reason for contesting, and it was done the next day. They did say when they phoned that the bylaw was to protect the grass …

  • I'd like to know more about the bicycling, inline skating and skateboarding bylaws. Where can each ride, park etc? What are age restrictions? For example, in Calgary kids can ride their bikes on the sidewalk up until age 12 without fear of a ticket. Can I inline skate in a bike lane? Can I skateboard there too?

    • See By-Law No. 2004-190 A By-Law to Regulate the Use of City Streets

      Bikes are vehicles under the Highway Traffic Act and follow the same rules as motor vehicles (can't be on sidewalk unless being walked).

      Skateboards and roller skates (not blades) are only allowed on the sidewalk. In-Line skates (i.e., rollerblades) are not allowed on the sidewalk and are pretty much resigned to side streets only and no major thoroughfares. See Schedule 'B' for a map that shows which streets are allowed and prohibited for in-line skates.

      Sections 4.27 to 4.33 are the ones that are most relevant in this case.

      Here's the link: .

      Hope this helps.

  • No the city won't remove the furniture UNLESS it is on city property (like the boulevard probably in this case). If someone dumps that couch on your lawn you are stuck with the effort of removing it yourself. and you probably didn't get a call back because well.. why? they likely ran out the next day, saw it and took care of the matter along with the dozen other calls they had to look into on thier shift.

  • I was wondering if large institutions like colleges and universities are exempt from the watering bylaw? If they are, why are they exempt as they are large consumers of water. And either way, should they not be forced to practice smart watering techniques to reduce their consumption or use the water wisely? There is a certain college that is consistently watering fields using sprinkles between 1pm and 4pm, which is a poor use of water, not good for the grass, and against they bylaw that public has to adhere to. Why is this allowed?

    • You make a very good point, especially for large consumers. I don't know if it is allowed or not, but clearly, all it would take is a timer to turn on the sprinklers in the middle of the night.

      I would suggest calling the City when you see it happening. That is what Bylaw Enforcement is for.

  • I'm curious about by-laws in relation to fireworks and similar products. In my neighborhood it seems like every weekend someone is lighting them and I can hear the bangs. This is very disruptive when I am trying to put two curious children to bed.

  • I live in a small 8 tenant apartment building. 2 tenants in my building continually go out of their apartments and smoke underneath my living room window. They smoke at the front of the building, right in front of the main entrance, I'm on the second floor. Due to the wind often blowing towards my window, their smoking heads right into my living room and I have asthma issues already. Is their a bylaw that says a tenant cannot smoke within a certain distance of an apartment building? I've been getting really frustrated. Thanks everyone for your potential help.

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