Subdivision and Strata in Port Alberni

Subdivision and Strata in Port Alberni

Subdivision can generally be described as the legal mechanism to create new, titled parcels of land. Where a proposed subdivision complies with the current zoning regulations for the parcel, applications are submitted to the City of Port Alberni Subdivision Approving Officer.  Privately owned land in B.C. is registered under the Torrens land title registration system. Generally, land cannot be conveyed or subdivided without registering the changes in the Land Title Office. 

Subdivision Process 

Where to start:

  1. Read about the City of Port Alberni Subdivision Process
  2. Prior to submitting an Application it is strongly recommended that you discuss your plans with the Subdivision Approving Officer and have an understanding of the specific issues you will need to address in your subdivision application. 
  3. Check the Official Community Plan Future Land Use Map for the designation of your property.  Does your proposal comply with the OCP designation?  If not you may need to apply for an OCP amendment.  
  4. Check the OCP Development Permit Areas Map to find out if your property falls into a designated Development Permit Area.  If it does you may be required to apply for a Development Permit.
  5. Check the Zoning Bylaw Map to find out what zone your property is in and what regulations apply to that zone.  Will your proposal require amendments to the Zoning Bylaw? If so you may have to apply to rezone the property.
  6. Determine whether or not your property falls within the area designated in the Floodplain Bylaw. If it does it may impact your ability to subdivide.
  7. Meet with the Director of Development Services to discuss your proposal and ensure that you have all the information you need to determine what development applications and processes will be required to proceed.
  8. Discuss your proposal with the Engineering/Public Works Department and ask what costs may be payable to the municipality as part of your proposal.  These may include the required sanitary sewer, stormwater, water, roads, sidewalks and street improvements costs. See Development Cost Charges.
  9. Understand the development process that your proposal requires.
  10. Submit a complete application ensuring that ALL required information, signatures and attachments are included.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's):
If I want to subdivide (or consolidate) land how do I start the process?

Subdivision Process 

Where to start:

  1. Read about the City of Port Alberni Subdivision Process
  2. Prior to submitting an Application it is strongly recommended that you discuss your plans with the Subdivision Approving Officer and have an understanding of the specific issues you will need to address in your subdivision application. 
  3. Check the Official Community Plan Future Land Use Map for the designation of your property.  Does your proposal comply with the OCP designation?  If not you may need to apply for an OCP amendment.  
  4. Check the OCP Development Permit Areas Map to find out if your property falls into a designated Development Permit Area.  If it does you may be required to apply for a Development Permit.
  5. Check the Zoning Bylaw Map to find out what zone your property is in and what regulations apply to that zone.  Will your proposal require amendments to the Zoning Bylaw? If so you may have to apply to rezone the property.
  6. Determine whether or not your property falls within the area designated in the Floodplain Bylaw. If it does it may impact your ability to subdivide.
  7. Meet with the Director of Development Services to discuss your proposal and ensure that you have all the information you need to determine what development applications and processes will be required to proceed.
  8. Discuss your proposal with the Engineering/Public Works Department and ask what costs may be payable to the municipality as part of your proposal.  These may include the required sanitary sewer, stormwater, water, roads, sidewalks and street improvements costs. See Development Cost Charges.
  9. Understand the development process that your proposal requires.
  10. Submit a complete application ensuring that ALL required information, signatures and attachments are included.

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What type of Subdivision do I need?

Types of Subdivision and Strata:

Subdivision or Lot Line Adjustment: (Fee Simple): A subdivision application is made when the applicant wants to create two or more properties from one or more existing parcels, adjust or re-align an existing property line, or consolidate two or more properties into one lot. 

Consolidation: Joining two or more parcels into a single parcel is sometimes established as a condition of development permit issuance or a rezoning application.  Consolidation plans can be prepared by a BC Land Surveyor and do not require approval from the Approving Officer, unless a road or lane dedication is also required.  Consolidation plans need to be registered at the Provincial Land Title Office to fulfill a development permit or rezoning condition.

Dedications for Road or Lane:  Dedication of land to achieve road or lane widening is sometimes established as a condition of development permit issuance or a rezoning application.  Subdivision plans for dedications must be registered at the Provincial Land Title Office.

Building Strata Subdivision: A strata development is a development where the building complex is divided into multiple units, with all unit owners having joint ownership of the comment elements and separate ownership of their individual units.

Phased Building Strata: This is an application for a strata complex that is built out over several phases.

Strata Title Conversion of Existing Dwellings: This is an application for conversion of a previously occupied building (e.g. apartment building) to strata titled ownership of individual units.

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Is a Public Notification process involved in the subdivision process?

Public Notification:

Most subdivisions do not require a public notification, but the Approving Officer may choose to notify neighbouring property owners if there is a concern that they may be detrimentally affected by a proposed subdivision. In these cases, neighbours are encouraged to comment on the proposal, and the Approving Officer considers these comments, in conjunction with the staff analysis, and other relevant information before making a decision. 

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Who approves my Subdivision?

Role and Authority of the Subdivision Approving Officer

In almost all cases, the Land Title Office will not register new parcels that are created through subdivision without the signature of a Subdivision Approving Officer on the plan of subdivision.  The Land Title Act requires that City Council appoint an Approving Officer as the statutory official responsible to ensure that subdivision applications comply with provincial statutes, regulations and local government bylaws regulating subdivision. Provincial statutes establish the Approving Officer role as a quasi-judicial position whose discretion is separate and independent from elected officials and municipal staff.  

In the case of a previously occupied building to be subdivided into strata lots, City Council is the “approving authority”.  Section 242 of the Strata Property Act provides the criteria that Council must take into consideration when assessing applications.   

The subdivision of land within the City of Port Alberni is regulated by Bylaw No. 4130 "A Bylaw to Regulate and Require the Provision of Works and Services in respect of the Subdivision and Development of Land" and cannot be approved if the resulting properties will not meet the requirements set out in the Zoning Bylaw.   Different zones (see the Zoning Bylaw)  have different subdivision requirements.  

Obtaining final Plan Approval

Before a subdivision plan can be signed by the Approving Officer, all conditions established in a Preliminary Layout Approval letter must be satisfied. All copies of the subdivision plan must be signed by all owners, mortgage lenders, and any other charge holders, prior to obtaining final approval from the Approving Officer.

Once those conditions have been met and the Approving Officer signs the subdivision plan, the applicant must deposit the plan for registration at the Land Title Office. 

Please see Street Naming for information on the naming of streets in a new subdivision and Street Addressing for information regarding the assignment of civic addresses in Port Alberni.

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If my land is Industrial or Commercial land with Contaminated Soil what do I need to know?

Subdivision of Industrial or Commercial lands that may have contaminated soils:

If you contemplate subdivision of a site previously occupied by uses included in Schedule 2 of the Contaminated Site Regulation, you will be required to complete a Site Profile.   The Ministry of the Environment will determine any requirements that will be necessary for your subdivision to proceed. 

The City of Port Alberni undertakes no responsibility for advising applicants as to the condition of soils or construction materials present on any site. Authority for assessing potential hazards associated with soil contamination lies with the Provincial Ministry of Environment. For more information, contact the BC Ministry of the Environment.

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What if my subdivision is not approved?
 

Refusal of a Proposal

If your proposal is refused by the Approving Officer:

  1. A letter outlining the reasons for the refusal is issued.
  2. There is no appeal process for a preliminary proposal that is refused. A formal subdivision application must be filed, and refused in writing by the Approving Officer before an appeal can be made.
  3. Subdivision appeal provisions are outlined in the Land Title Act (Division 4, Section 89).
  4. Appeal of a subdivision refusal must be made to the Supreme Court of British Columbia. Neither City Council nor the Board of Variance has any jurisdiction in subdivision matters.

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Are there other considerations that may apply to my subdivision? ​

Other Considerations

If your proposed development or use does not conform to the regulations set out in the Zoning Bylaw there are several options that may be considered:

  • If the required variance does not alter use or density, the applicant may apply to Council for a Development Variance Permit .
  • Apply to the Board of Variance (such a variance must be minor, and based on a hardship)(Refer to application below)
  • Apply for a change in zoning in order to change the use or the density permitted on a property.

Who is responsible for assigning street names in Port Alberni?

Who is responsible for assigning civic addresses in Port Alberni?

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For more information, please contact
Scott Smith, MCIP
Director of Development Services, Subdivision Approving Officer

City Hall, 4850 Argyle StreetPort Alberni BC V9Y 1V8

Telephone: 
250-720-2808
Mobile: 250-206-0027