You may need to apply for a development variance if your project does not conform to a bylaw. You may apply to vary one or more regulations in the Zoning, Sign, or Subdivision Bylaw. Common variances include setback variances, parking variances, oversized signs, height, and site coverage.
Applications are considered by Council or the Board of Variance on a site-specific basis. A variance permit may not vary density or use. Developments requiring a change to permitted use or density requirements must apply for a Zoning Bylaw Amendment and, in some cases, an Official Community Plan Amendment. There are two options when applying for a development variance.
Development Variance Permit (DVP)
Once your application has been received, staff will review the variance request and make a recommendation to Council. When evaluating a variance permit, Council and Staff consider the scale of variance, how it could impact a neighbourhood, and how it could affect the broader community. Neighbours within 60 meters will be notified of the requested variance and invited to comment. Council will consider the Staff recommendation, public feedback, and long-term planning objectives in coming to a decision.
Board of Variance
The Board of Variance is an independent body, appointed by Council, that hears appeals for relaxation of zoning regulations, the extension of non-conforming uses, relaxation of servicing requirements, reconstruction of non-conforming uses and relaxation of sign bylaw regulations. The Board of Variance may, at their discretion, order that a variance be permitted.
The Board of Variance may only grant a variance where they believe that conforming to Town bylaws would cause the applicant 'undue hardship'. For example, if one property in a neighbourhood has bedrock significantly limiting where development is possible, it may be considered an undue hardship to conform to siting requirements in the Zoning Bylaw. Decisions of the Board of Variance are final, and it is ultimately up to the Board to determine if there is undue hardship.
Neighbours will be notified of the requested variance, and invited to provide feedback.