Board of Variance
Board of Variance
The Board of Variance is formed pursuant to the provisions of the Local Government Act and deals with applications for minor variances in situations where compliance with a Bylaw will cause undue hardship. The Board may also allow additions and alterations to “nonconforming” buildings.
A person may apply for a Board of Variance Order if;
- there is Undue Hardship caused by a Bylaw regulation as to the siting, size, or dimension of a building, the prohibition against structural additions or alterations to a legal non-conforming use or subdivision servicing requirements in an area zoned for agricultural or industrial use;
- the development is minor in nature;
- an individual feels there has been an error in judgement by the Building Inspector as to the extent of damage to a non-conforming structure.
Applicants should consult with the City Building Inspector to make an accurate determination of the Variance required. More about the Board of Variance Process
Applicants must file an application at City Hall. The Application forms are available online or may be obtained from the Building department at City Hall. An application must be accompanied by the following:
Current copy of Land Title (no older than 30 days)
Letter detailing the hardship involved in complying with the Zoning Bylaw
Detailed sketch or plans showing the lot and all existing structures with appropriate measurements (Site Survey if necessary) and which clearly identifies the requested variance (with elevation view if applicable)
A completed Site Profile if necessary
Signatures of all Registered Owners of the property
What is Undue Hardship?
Hardship is related to aspects of the particular site (i.e. topography) as opposed to general hardships in the area, or hardships generated by the owner. Expense is not a hardship.
What is a Minor Variance?
Minor variances are determined by the Board and are not defined in legislation in British Columbia. Recently, courts have upheld Board decisions where considerable variances from the bylaw were granted. The Board may grant a minor variance provided, in the Board's opinion, the variance does not:
a. result in inappropriate development of the site
b. substantially affect the use and enjoyment of adjacent lands
c. vary permitted uses or densities under the applicable Bylaw
d. defeat the intent of the bylaw; or
e. adversely affect the natural environment
Can decisions be Appealed?
Decisions of the Board are final and cannot be appealed, however a court of law can require a Board to re-hear an appeal on the basis of a “procedural error of law” under the Judicial Review Procedure Act. In the case of an appeal to the Board on the basis of an “error in judgment” by the Building Inspector, the decision of the Board can be appealed to the Supreme Court.