Planning applications are formal requests by land owners to make changes to a property such as rezoning a property, developing a property or proposing to use a property in a way that is outside the regulations of formal land use plans such as the Zoning Bylaw No. 520 and Rural Comox Valley Official Community Plan. All planning and development applications within the Comox Valley Regional District are subject to the Comox Valley Regional District Planning Procedures and Fees Bylaw No. 328.

The information below provides an overview of the types of planning applications. Please visit Submit a Planning Application to see information about process and fees, as well as a more detailed timeline.

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Types of Applications

Rezoning Application 

An applicant can submit this application to propose a change to the land use of a property. For example, to change from a residential zone to a commercial or industrial zone, or to increase the density (i.e. number of permitted dwellings on a lot).To submit this application, an applicant must supply the following documents:

  • Pre-application consultation request form
  • Completed application form
  • Land title: CVRD staff will pull the land title
  • Proposal including any applicable professional reports and site plans: an applicant can hire a surveyor or other professional to create the reports/site plans that are required

Development Permit (DPs)

Development Permits are generally required to either ensure the protection of the natural environment from development, protect development from hazardous conditions or ensure a consistent approach to the form and character of certain developments.

Below you can find out about each development permit, and what you need to submit the application. All requirements are listed in more detail in the Rural Comox Valley Official Community Plan. Applicants are encouraged to discuss any specific needs/questions with a member of the Planning team.

Types of Development Permits
Aquatic and Riparian Habitat

An applicant will need this development permit if the proposed development or land alteration is within 30 metres of a watercourse, such as a stream, ditch, wetland, lake, pond or the sea. This application is considered internally by CVRD officers and does not go to the Board of Directors for approval.

To submit this application, an applicant must supply the following documents:

  • Completed application form
  • Site plan: an applicant can either create a site plan themselves or hire a surveyor or other professional to create one
  • Land title: CVRD staff will pull the land title
  • Biophysical assessment, drainage report: an applicant must hire an appropriate professional(s) to create these reports
Eagle Nest

An applicant will need this development permit if the proposed development or land alteration is within:

  • 60 metres of an eagle nest, when the nest tree is on a lot smaller than one hectare;
  • 100 metres of an eagle nest, when the nest tree is on a lot larger than one hectare but smaller than five hectares; or,
  • 200 metres of an eagle nest, when the nest tree is on a lot that is equal to or greater than five hectares in size.

This application is considered internally by CVRD officers and does not go to the Board of Directors for approval.

To submit this application, an applicant must supply the following documents:

  • Completed application form
  • Site plan: an applicant can either create a site plan themselves or hire a surveyor or other professional to create one
  • Land title: CVRD staff will pull the land title
  • Biophysical assessment: an applicant must hire a professional to create this report
Blue Heron Nest

An applicant will need this development permit if the proposed development or land alteration is within:

  • 60 metres of a blue heron nest, when the nest tree is on a lot smaller than one hectare;
  • 200 metres of a blue heron nest, when the nest tree is on a lot larger than one hectare but smaller than five hectares; or,
  • 300 metres of a blue heron nest, when the nest tree is on a lot that is equal to or greater than five hectares in size.

This application is considered internally by CVRD officers and does not go to the Board of Directors for approval.

To submit this application, an applicant must supply the following documents:

  • Completed application form
  • Site plan: an applicant can either create a site plan themselves or hire a surveyor or other professional to create one
  • Land title: CVRD staff will pull the land title
  • Biophysical assessment: an applicant must hire a professional to create this report
Shoreline Protection Device

An applicant will need this development permit if the proposed development or land alteration includes a shoreline protection device, whether they are considered soft (greenshores) or hard (seawall or riprap). This application is considered internally by CVRD officers and does not go to the Board of Directors for approval.

To submit this application, an applicant must supply the following documents:

  • Completed application form
  • Legal survey: an applicant can hire a professional surveyor to create this
  • Land title: CVRD staff will pull the land title

Engineers report, biophysical assessment, geotechnical report (if near a steep slope), archaeological assessment (if near a known or potential archaeological site): an applicant must hire professionals to create these reports

Note: If submitting for this development permit, an Aquatic and Riparian Habitat permit is not required.

Steep Slopes

An applicant will need this development permit if the proposed development or land alteration is within 7.5 metres of the top or bottom of a steep slope.

A steep slope is defined as “areas with average slopes greater than or equal to 30 per cent for a vertical distance of three metres or more” or if deemed to be a hazardous slope by a geotechnical engineer. This application is considered internally by CVRD officers and does not go to the Board of Directors for approval.

To submit this application, an applicant must supply the following documents:

  • Completed application form
  • Site plan: an applicant can either create a site plan themselves or hire a surveyor or other professional to create one
  • Land title: CVRD staff will pull the land title
  • Topographic site survey, geotechnical report, rainwater management plan (drainage plan): an applicant must hire professionals to create these documents
Commercial and Industrial (Form & Character)

An applicant will need this development permit for any development within a parcel that is zoned commercial or industrial. The application will be considered by the Advisory Planning Commission, Electoral Area Services Committee and the Board of Directors.

To submit this application, an applicant must supply the following documents:

  • Pre-application consultation request form
  • Completed application form
  • Site plan: an applicant can either create a site plan themselves or hire a surveyor or other professional to create one
  • Land title: CVRD staff will pull the land title
  • Elevation drawings, professionally-prepared landscape plan, rainwater management plan: an applicant must hire professionals to create these documents
Farmland Protection

An applicant will need this development permit for any construction or renovation of any structures within 30 metres of land that is designated as Agricultural Area or land within the Agricultural Land Reserve. The application will be considered by the Advisory Planning Commission, Electoral Area Services Committee and the Board of Directors.

To submit this application, an applicant must supply the following documents:

  • Completed application form
  • Site plan that demonstrates that all requirements are met: an applicant can either create a site plan themselves or hire a surveyor or other professional to create one
  • Land title: CVRD staff will pull the land title
Union Bay Tourism Highway Commercial

An applicant will need this development permit for any development or construction within the Development Permit Area as shown on Map 4 of the Rural Comox Valley Official Community Plan. The application will be considered by the Advisory Planning Commission, Electoral Area Services Committee and the Board of Directors.

To submit this application, an applicant must supply the following documents:

  • Completed application form
  • Site plan that demonstrates that all requirements are met: an applicant can either create a site plan themselves or hire a surveyor or other professional to create one
  • Land title: CVRD staff will pull the land title
Kensington Comprehensive Development

An applicant will need this development permit for any development or construction within the Development Permit Area as shown on Map 5 of the Rural Comox Valley Official Community Plan. The application will be considered by the Advisory Planning Commission, Electoral Area Services Committee and the Board of Directors.

To submit this application, an applicant must supply the following documents:

  • Completed application form
  • Site plan that demonstrates that all requirements are met: an applicant can either create a site plan themselves or hire a surveyor or other professional to create one
  • Land title: CVRD staff will pull the land title
Variance & Types of Variances

Variances are requests to make exceptions to the rules and regulations set out in the Comox Valley Zoning Bylaw No. 520. Below you can find out about variances, and what you need to submit an application.

Development Variance Permit (DVP)

A DVP can vary the Zoning Bylaw as it pertains to a specific property as long as it does not vary anything to do with the use of the land or its allowed density. Common variances sought include: reducing setback requirements (i.e. minimum distance from the property line to a building wall), increasing the maximum allowable accessory building floor area and increasing the lot coverage requirement.

To submit this application, an applicant must supply the following documents:

  • Completed application form
  • Site plan: an applicant can either create a site plan themselves or hire a surveyor or other professional to create one
  • Land title: CVRD staff will pull the land title
  • Write up providing justification for why the variance is needed

The application will be considered by the Advisory Planning Commission, Electoral Area Services Committee and the Board of Directors. Feedback will be solicited from adjacent property owners by the CVRD prior to the Electoral Area Services Committee meeting.

Board of Variance (BOV)

If an applicant would like to vary a requirement of the Zoning Bylaw, they can appeal to the Board of Variance (BOV). This is an option for minor variances – where proceeding without a variance creates undue hardship for the applicant – not for more impactful changes such as use of the land or its allowed density.

Feedback will be solicited from adjacent property owners by the CVRD and, with that feedback collected, the application will be considered by the BOV. The BOV can decline an application if it is considered to be a major variance or if it is quite contentious. If this happens, the applicant will need to submit a standard Development Variance Permit application, pay the additional fee and proceed in that regard.

To submit this application, an applicant must supply the following documents:

  • Completed application form
  • Site plan: an applicant can either create a site plan themselves or hire a surveyor or other professional to create one
  • Land title: CVRD staff will pull the land title
  • Write up providing justification for why the variance is needed and why proceeding without the variance places undue hardship on the applicant

The Comox Valley Regional District Board of Variance Bylaw No. 8, 2008, which establishes the BOV, also sets out the procedures to be followed by the BOV and requires that a record of all of its decisions be maintained and available for public review.

Other Permits
Temporary Use Permit

An applicant should submit this application to allow for a use of land, on a temporary basis, not otherwise permitted in the Zoning Bylaw. The ability to obtain a Temporary Use Permit depends on the land use designation within the Regional Growth Strategy and Rural Comox Valley Official Community Plan. The application will be considered by the Advisory Planning Commission, Electoral Area Services Committee and the Board of Directors. Feedback will be solicited from adjacent property owners by the CVRD prior to the Electoral Area Services Committee meeting.

To submit this application, an applicant must supply the following documents:

  • Pre-Application Consultation Request Form
  • Completed application form
  • Land title: CVRD staff will pull the land title
  • Written statement explaining the temporary nature of the proposal, a rationale for the requested duration, any alterations to land, buildings, or structures, any expected phases that will change the intensity or scale of the use, and the condition of land expected following the expiration of the permit
Home Occupation

The CVRD does not provide business licenses, however a Home Occupation permit is required to operate any type of job from a residential dwelling. Applicants must adhere to the limitations of their zone, as identified within the Zoning Bylaw, as well as all stipulations within Section 305 of the Zoning Bylaw (plus Section 306 if a Bed and Breakfast, and Section 307 if a domestic industrial use).

To submit this application, an applicant must supply the following documents:

Exemption from the Floodplain Bylaw

An applicant should submit this application to allow for relief from the Flood Construction Level (FCL) or floodplain setback specified within the Floodplain Management Bylaw.

The new Floodplain Management Bylaw was adopted by the CVRD Board on April 28, 2020. The bylaw was updated to incorporate amendments made to the Provincial Flood Hazard Land Use Management Guidelines “Provincial Floodplain Guidelines”, which now consider sea level rise into the determination of floodplain setbacks and flood construction levels in coastal areas.

If you are constructing habitable space within 100 metres of the sea, you will need to provide a report from a qualified professional engineer that determines the floodplain setback and flood construction level in accordance with the provincial floodplain guidelines. Please contact the Planning Services Department to confirm the requirements. The application will be considered by the Electoral Area Services Committee and the Board of Directors.

To submit this application, an applicant must supply the following documents:

  • Completed application form
  • Site plan: an applicant can either create a site plan themselves or hire a surveyor or other professional to create one
  • Land title: CVRD staff will pull the land title
  • Geotechnical report: an applicant must hire a professional to create this report

Please note: The updates to the bylaw are considered an interim measure to reflect new provincial standards and provide clarity to land owners and developers. The Comox Valley Regional District’s (CVRD) Coastal Floodplain Mapping project will produce new coastal mapping that identifies where and how deep the water will be during a flood event and how this might change with sea level rise. The maps will also identify where and how high the buildings, structures and infrastructure should be constructed to mitigate flood damage. The next step of this project (dependent on grant funding) would be risk and adaptation planning, which may include more comprehensive updates to the Floodplain Management Bylaw.

Subdivision

The CVRD’s subdivision Approving Officer is the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI); therefore, subdivision applications should be made directly to MOTI.

MOTI will then send out referrals to affected agencies, one of which will be the CVRD. The CVRD will list the requirements to support the subdivision, including possible variances or development permits required.

If you’d like more information about a planning application not listed here contact the Planning & Development Services department by phone at 250-334-6006 or online.