Development Permits

*New Development Permit Area guidelines were adopted on July 25, 2022 with the new OCP and Zoning Bylaw. The website is being updated to reflect the updated information. There may be some webpage sections that are still under construction. If you require additional information, please contact planning at / 250 703 4839


General Information

Development Permits regulate form and character, signage, siting, landscaping, screening, lighting and parking. They also provide conditions for protection and restoration of the natural environment, protection of farming, and protection of development from hazardous conditions such as steep slopes where applicable.

Development Permits are binding on the local government as well as on the holder of the permit. They may impose conditions including bonding, timing of construction and sequence of construction. They cannot vary the use or density allowed by the particular zoning of a property.

Designated uses and areas within the City are subject to the issuance of Development Permits. The Official Community Plan (OCP) designates the areas and uses that are subject to Development Permits. See maps contained and conditions contained in the section called 'Development Permit Areas in the City of Courtenay' below. This information is also available in Maps D-1 through 7 in the OCP (pages 202 – 212) or in the City of Courtenay GIS Map Viewer.

Each Development Permit Area (DPA) has guidelines that guide development and construction in the specific DPA. The guidelines are located in the Zoning Bylaw and these must be followed when designing and constructing new developments.

Five (5) Development Permit Areas (DPAs) are designated for the following land uses or:

1. Commercial, industrial, mixed-use developments and any multi-residential developments with three units or more.

2. Intensive residential development including: duplex, detached secondary residences, single-residential homes in areas with special heritage considerations as well as bare land stratas and mobile home parks.

3. Farm protection.

4. Environmental.

5. Protection of development from hazardous conditions: steep slopes.



When is a Development Permit Application Required?

A development permit is required for the following activities within the established Development Permit Areas (one of the five above):

  • Subdivision (for farm protection, environmental and hazardous condition Development Permit Areas)
  • Construction of, addition to or alteration of a building or structure, land or parking area
  • Any form of alteration of land in an environmentally sensitive area or land that is subject to hazardous conditions

General exemptions for Development Permits are listed here. [PDF - 73 KB]

There are also specific exemptions detailed for each DPA and these can be found with the specific DPA guidelines.

Development Permit Areas in the City of Courtenay

For more information on each Development Permit Area (DPA), and the guidelines for development, see the following information:

(*page numbers listed in Development Permit Area attachments match the page numbers in the Division 10 Schedule A - Development Permit Area portion of the Zoning Bylaw)


How to Make a Development Permit Application

Step 1 - Research

Identify the Development Permit Area (DPA) that applies to the use or the land you wish to develop.  See maps contained and conditions contained in the section called 'Development Permit Areas in the City of Courtenay' above. This information is also available in Maps D-1 through 7 in the OCP (pages 202 – 212)or check the subject property in the City of Courtenay GIS Map Viewer.

Review the DPA guidelineslisted under the Development Permit Areas Section above. Ensure that your development proposal meets the development permit guidelines.

  • Review the procedures required to process a development permit application:
    Development Application Procedures Bylaw  - this bylaw outlines the process and some of the requirements for your application. Review Section 6.1 of the bylaw as it lists the types of reports that could be required as part of your application. Review Schedule 2 as it lays out the steps for development permit applications in more detail.
  • Review the Zoning Bylaw to confirm that your proposal is consistent with the zoning regulations. If not, you may have to request a variance to these regulations. Review the process for Development Variance Permits.
  • If your development proposal is on land containing or adjacent environmentally sensitive areas, steep slopes, or agricultural land, additional development guidelines will apply. Review the specific guidelines for that DPA.
  • If your development proposal is on land containing or adjacent environmentally sensitive areas, staff and Council encourage applicants to work with the Comox Valley Conservation Partnership ( early in the design stages of a project to obtain valuable feedback on design options that could help mitigate, improve or adapt to environmental conditions of the development site.
  • Environmental Impact Assessments are required as part of applications for Environmental Development Permits.
  • Note - K’ómoks First Nation (KFN) has enacted a Cultural Heritage Investigation Permit (CHIP), which is required for development works within a certain proximity of watercourses and all areas having a high archeological potential. Where applicable, staff and Council advise applicants to contact KFN directly to learn if a CHIP is required. The CHIP is administered by KFN. For more information contact the KFN administrative office at 250-339-4545 extension 112, or visit
  • Review the Specifications for Development Engineering Drawings document as it provides more information on what is required to be included in your application. For example, frontage improvements and servicing upgrades are common requirements of new development.

Step 2 - Discuss with Staff

Meet or correspond with staff to discuss your proposal.

This is strongly advised before the City of Courtenay accepts your application. Specific application requirements, required studies, fees, and policy support for the application will be discussed. Contact planning staff to arrange an appointment at:

Please prepare proposal concepts and questions as comprehensively as possible to make the best use of everyone’s time.

Depending on staff availability, generally only two pre-application meetings will be arranged before an application has been accepted.

Step 3 - Prepare Your Application

Read the Development Permit Application Form and Guidelines to understand the application process and requirements.

Complete the application form below, site disclosure statement and sustainability evaluation check list and compile the required application submissions prior to sending your application to the City using the information below and as required from Step 1.

Agent Authorizaton Form (to act on behalf of the property owner.)

Step 4 - Submit Your Application

When you feel that you are familiar with the requirements for making a Development Permit application and have completed and compiled all of the required application submissions, contact Planning staff for a final review of submissions. If you have a complete application submission staff will forward a link for you to upload your submissions and provide you with the required application fees and methods available for payment.


Step 5 - Application Referral

Upon receipt of an application, staff will send your application submissions to all applicable City departments, Council Committees, Senior Governments, First Nations, and external agencies and organizations for their review and comments.

Once all referral comments have been received and staff have reviewed the application in detail, staff may request that you provide additional information and studies to address these comments or information gaps.

After the additional information and studies have been submitted and the application is determined to be complete staff will begin to prepare the technical report for review by the Director of Development Services.

Step 6 – DP Approval

Once the technical staff report is reviewed by the Director of Development Services it should be ready for final approval. The Development Permit is issued and often has conditions that may need to be addressed before you can submit a building permit application or start the project. Staff will register a Notice of Permit against the title of the property at the Land Title Office.