Development Variance Permits

General Information

A Development Variance Permit is issued by the Delegate or Council, and allows variations of zoning, subdivision, sign, or other bylaw provisions. It cannot vary the use of land, density or floodplain specification established in applicable City bylaws. A variance permit is granted for a specific purpose and the development must conform to the specifications set out in the approval. Most permits deal with setbacks and height.

How to Make a Development Variance Permit Application

Step 1 - Research

Identify the regulations in the associated bylaw that you are requesting variances for (example: Zoning Bylaw, Sign Bylaw or Other Bylaw).

  • Check the zoning for the subject property and confirm what regulations you want to vary. A Development Variance Permit (DVP) cannot vary use or density. To change use or density you must apply to amend the zoning bylaw.
  • Make sure that your development proposal meets other applicable guidelines and regulations which include, but are not limited to:
    • Development Application Related Policies from the OCP.
      The OCP is the City’s growth management policy document and will influence the decision a DVP application. OCP policies that inform development proposals and requirements are listed in this 14-page Development Standards Policies Reference Guide.
    • If your development proposal is on land containing or adjacent environmentally sensitive areas, steep slopes, or agricultural land, additional development guidelines will apply. Visit the Development Permit Areas page for maps and more information.
    • 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.
  • Prepare a detailed description of your proposal.
  • Review the procedures required to process a DVP application:
     Development Procedures Bylaw No. 3106, 2023.pdf [PDF - 4 MB] This bylaw outlines the process and some of the requirements for your application. Review Schedule D as it lays out the steps for a DVP application in more detail.

Step 2 -Pre-Application Consultation

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 a meeting 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 Variance 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.

Step 4 – Application Submission

When you feel that you are familiar with the requirements for making a Development Variance 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 – Referrals

Staff will send your application submissions to all applicable City departments, and external agencies and organizations for 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 deficiencies.

After the additional information and studies have been submitted and the application is determined to be complete staff will begin to prepare the report.

Step 6 – Community Information Meeting

This step may take place after an application has been submitted, in accordance with Part 7, Development Procedure Bylaw No.3106.

Step 7 – Council 1st Review and Public Notice

Staff review the application for a Delgate Minor Development Variance Permit or Development Variance Permit approved by Coucil and If applicable provide notification in accodance with the Local Government Act.

Staff prepare the detailed staff report for the Delegate or Council’s review at a regular Council meeting. The applicant is encouraged to attend the Council meeting.

The Delgate or Council decides whether the application is ready to be approved or if it should be referred back to staff and the applicant for more information.  If the application is ready to approve, official notice of the application and pending decision is sent to neighbours telling them about the application and invites comments.

Step 8 – Council 2nd Review and Approval

Once all comments are received, staff prepare a defect report for the Delgate or Council.

The Delgate or Council determines if the proposal is consistent with the OCP, zoning bylaw and other policies and regulations and considers approving the DVP or denying the application.

If approved the Development Variance 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.