A specific construction, alteration or occupancy proposal for an immovable (SCAOPI) is a regulatory tool that enables the Municipal Council to authorize a project that is at variance with the City’s urban planning by-laws, without it being necessary to modify applicable standards for the particular zone or for the entire territory. Nevertheless, the proposal must be in conformity with the objectives of the City’s Planning Programme. If the project requires demolition in whole or in part, it may be subject to the Demolition By-law.

A Specific Proposal is an exceptional procedure adapted to major projects and those that present complexities inherent to their particular features. In principal, this tool provides a framework for urban development on a case-by-case basis and facilitates the development of problematic sites.

An application for authorization of a Special Proposal is limited to the following:

  1. the siting, the construction, the extension, or the renovation and redevelopment in respect of a proposal for a residential, multifamily immovable with six (6) or more units, a commercial immovable, an institutional immovable or a combination of at least two (2) of the aforementioned uses.
  2. the extension or the alteration of a non-conforming building or the establishment of a non-conforming development on a site.
  3. the reconversion or change of use of a building.
  4. the replacement of a variant use protected by vested rights by another variant use.

An application for authorization of a SCAOPI must be preceded by a preliminary study conducted by the City of Westmount’s Urban Planning Department.

The City Council may grant or refuse an application for authorization of a proposal submitted to it pursuant to the By-law only after it has received the opinion of the departments concerned and of the Planning Advisory Committee (PAC). In addition to the requirement to consider Planning Programme objectives, the application for authorization of a Special Proposal will be assessed in accordance with the following criteria:

  • conformity with the general volume, height, siting and density of the existing and proposed constructions on the land and, integration into the built environment;
  • conservation and enhancement of the original architectural elements:
  • preservation of a heritage building;
  • enhancement of the immovable and the neighbouring sectors with careful and adapted landscaping treatment and high quality construction;
  • impact on the urban environment
  • ecological design and integration of sustainable environmental features
  • quality of the functional organization of the proposal
  • balance between individual and collective interests
  • advantages of the cultural and social components of the proposal

A project submitted for SCAOPI must obtain a satisfactory evaluation grid for its approval at City Council. Generally, a satisfactory grid consists of criteria with “High” or “Very High” levels of consideration.

Given the derogatory nature of a special project, it is important that all concerned parties (owner, neighbours, city) must benefit from an improvement upon the current situation or at the very least not experience any additional inconvenience.


To apply for a SCAOPI or to inquire about the procedure, please contact the Urban Planning Department of the City of Westmount.

Before submitting a SCAOPI request, it is recommended to submit an preliminary study request in order to assess, on the one hand, the admissibility of the request and, on the other hand, whether other urban planning tools could be considered for carrying out the project.

A request for a preliminary study, although optional, makes it possible to assess the admissibility of an application before it is officially submitted. The preliminary study, carried out by the Urban Planning Department, also provides guidance to applicants at the start of their project. This procedure enables applicants to assess whether or not to proceed with their project, without having to file a formal application and pay the associated fees.

Important notice

The opinion issued by the Urban Planning Department is for informational purposes only and in no way guarantees a favourable decision on the project by the municipal council following the submission of a formal application, where applicable. It is also possible that the opinion of the Urban Planning Advisory Committee, when applicable, may differ.


The application fee for a preliminary study is laid out in the by-law establishing tariffs for the current fiscal year. This fee may be deducted from the applicable fee for a formal application if the application is filed within twelve (12) months following the preliminary study.


Depending on the type of project, it may take between one (1) and four (4) months to obtain a preliminary opinion from the Urban Planning Department following the submission of a request for a preliminary study.

1-3 Hillside SCAOPI – Timeline

Date Steps
December 17, 2019 Opening of the SCAOPI application
Project: Construction of a new 8 storey residential building
February 11, 2020 Public presentation of the project
Under the SCAOPI by-law 148
Spring 2020 to Fall 2020 Review of the project by the Planning Advisory Committee
Evolution of the project: building height changed from 8 to 5  floors
1-3 Hillside (2)
Winter 2020 to Spring 2022 SCAOPI application on hold
In order to advance the demolition request, which was authorized by the Demolition Committee on February 17, 2022
July 14, 2022 Presentation to the Planning Advisory Committee
July 18, 2022 A petition entitled “Petition for a more adequately set back and limited height 1 Hillside construction project” is tabled at City Council meeting
October 18, 2022 Favorable recommendation of the project to council by the Planning Advisory Committee
Project revised since the July version: additional setback of the front and side wall and modification to the garage entrance
1-3 Hillside(3)
November 21, 2022 Adoption of the 1st draft resolution by the municipal council
November 29, 2022 Public notice and posting on the building
Announcement of a public consultation meeting
December 13,  2022 Public consultation meeting
January 16, 2023 Adoption of the 2nd draft resolution by the municipal council
January 24, 2023 Public notice
announcing the possibility of submitting a request to open a register
TBA Opening of a register
TBA (if required) Referendum
TBA (if required) Adoption of a resolution