Understanding the Development Variance Permit Process

A Development Variance Permit (DVP) is a critical tool used in construction projects, allowing for flexibility in certain zoning bylaw requirements. This guide provides an insight into the DVP process, its necessity, and the factors affecting its timeline.

What is a Development Variance Permit (DVP)?

A DVP is a permit that allows for deviations from specific zoning bylaw requirements of the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD), such as building height restrictions or setbacks from a lot line. It is issued under Section 922 of the Local Government Act.

When is a DVP Required?

A DVP becomes necessary when the proposed construction does not comply with the requirements of the applicable zoning bylaw, a sign bylaw, or a land use contract. However, it’s essential to note that a variance cannot alter the use or density, nor can it modify floodplain specifications or phased development agreements.

Who Can Apply for a DVP?

The property owner(s) or an authorized agent can apply for a DVP. If a company or society owns the property, a person with signing authority must sign the application.

Process for Applying for A DVP

It involves several steps, each crucial to ensure the validity and legality of the project.

Step 1: Preliminary Discussion

Before you make a formal application, it’s recommended to discuss your project with the Planning Department staff. This discussion can provide valuable insights into the feasibility of your proposal and any potential challenges you might face. 

Step 2: Application Submission

To apply for a Development Variance Permit, you’ll need to submit a completed application form, along with all necessary attachments and fees, to the Regional District Planning Department. The application will only be accepted if it contains all the required information.

Step 3: Application Review

After submission, your Development Variance Application will be assigned to an SLRD staff member who will serve as the file manager. This individual will analyze the application in accordance with applicable SLRD bylaws and regulations. The DVP application may also be referred to various SLRD departments for additional input.

Step 4: Ongoing Communication

Throughout the review process, the file manager may request further information or clarification from you or your coordinating professional. The timing of the review will depend on how quickly the necessary information is submitted for review.

Step 5: Public Notification

When the SLRD staff are generally satisfied with the application, they will prepare a notice describing the proposed variance. This notice will be mailed to property owners and tenants within a 50-meter radius of the subject property approximately twenty-eight days prior to the Board meeting. Any public comments will be added to the SLRD Board report for consideration.

Step 6: Staff Report

Once the staff have completed their review of the application, the file manager will prepare a report for consideration by the Electoral Area Directors and Regional Board.

Step 7: Committee Review

The EAD Committee will review the staff report and recommendations, as well as a draft permit and will make a recommendation to the Regional Board. The report and additional information from the public notification process will then be forwarded to the Regional Board for final consideration.

Step 8: Issuance of Permit

If the Regional Board authorizes the issuance of the DVP, a Notice of Permit will be registered with the Land Titles Office on the Title of the property. Upon confirmation that the Notice of Permit has been registered on the title, the applicant will be notified and sent a copy of the Notice of Registration.

Fees are subject to change. After the DVP is approved, a building permit may be obtained from the SLRD Building Department. The building permit application must align with the approved DVP plans. 

Any request to change the approved design of the building must be brought to the attention of the DVP file manager and may require the submission of an application to amend the DVP. 

Restrictive covenants, rights-of-way, or other legal agreements and documents may be required as part of the conditions of approval for the DVP. It is the applicant’s responsibility to have these documents prepared for the SLRD’s review.

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