Board of Variance Committee
Purpose: To adjudicate appeals for minor variance to the Zoning Bylaw and rule on applications as set out in Section 899 of the Local Government Act (RSBC 1996 c.323 Part 26, Division 6).
Municipalities are obligated to establish a Board of Variance (BOV) pursuant to the Local Government Act (RSBC 1996 c.323 Part 26, Division 6). The Board functions as an independent decision making body, with limited powers.
Boards of Variance can grant minor variances to the Zoning Bylaw and other rulings as set out in the Act. The variance must be justified by the presence of “undue hardship” as determined by the board. This hardship must be as a result of aspects of the site, rather than those which are person to, or generated by, the owner. Financial hardship or loss of an amenity is unlikely to be considered a sufficient reason on its own. For more information on BOV powers, readers may wish to refer to the Act itself.
Prior to making a decision, a notice will be sent to adjacent property owners who have the right to support or oppose the appeal. In considering its decision, the Board will consider whether the variance or exception would result in an inappropriate development of the site; adversely affect the natural environment; substantially affect the use and enjoyment of adjacent land; or defeat the intent of the Bylaw. BOV rulings cannot vary permitted uses or density. A decision of the Board is final. Please note that the Board's ruling will expire if not acted upon in accordance with the Act.
Prospective applicants should be aware that City Council is also capable of approving By-law amendments or variances. City Council's decision-making authority is much broader than the BOV. All major variances and changes to use or density should be processed through City Council, not the BOV.