Zoning Bylaw

*Updates*

On July 25 2022, a number of changes were made to the Zoning Bylaw No. 2500:

  • Development Permit Area Guidelines are now located in the Zoning Bylaw. See Development Permit Area page for more information.
  • Secondary suites (contained within the same building as the primary residence) are permitted within nearly all zones that permit a single residential dwelling.
  • Bike parking standards have been added, and vehicular parking standards reduced, for new multi-residential dwellings.

General Information

The Zoning Bylaw is the key tool used in implementing and regulating land use in the City of Courtenay. The Zoning Bylaw establishes where uses and buildings can occur, and at what densities.  Regulations are also created for different uses, locations and siting requirements.

The approach taken in recent years has been to only rezone properties based on a proposal presented to and accepted by Council. This provides a greater level of certainty to Council and to the public and has allowed the City to achieve significant amenities, particularly for parks and open spaces, and for affordable housing.

Quick Reference

How to Make a Zoning Bylaw Amendment Application

A zoning amendment application is required when you want to propose a land use, development, business or type of housing that is not permitted under the current zoning for the property.

Step 1 - Research

Familiarize yourself with the zoning regulations of the subject property and what you wish to amend, as well as applicable development guidelines, regulations, and amendment process:

  • Check the zoning for the subject property and determine what zoning regulations you wish to amend. Refer to the Interactive Zoning Maps above.
  • Check what land uses are supported for the subject property. If your proposal is not consistent with the land use designation, then an Official Community Plan (OCP) amendment will also be required. (See the Land Use Designations Map on the Official Community Plan page).
  • Make sure that your development proposal meets the required 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 by Council to support a zoning amendment. 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 (referrals@cvlandtrust.ca) 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 https://komoks.ca/department/lands-program/.
    • 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.
  • Review the procedures required to process a zoning amendment application: Development Application Procedures Bylaw [PDF - 3.6 MB] 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 1 as it lays out the steps for a zoning amendment application in more detail.
  • Prepare a detailed description of your proposal.

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: planning@courtenay.ca

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 Zoning Amendment Application Form and Guidelines to understand the application process and required submissions.

Complete the application form, 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.

Step 4 – Submit Your Application

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

ONCE YOUR APPLICATION HAS BEEN SUBMITTED AND IT IS CONFIRMED TO BE COMPLETE THE NEXT STEPS ARE AS FOLLOWS

Step 5 – Public Notice Sign

You are required to post a public notice on the development property. Read the following information handout to become familiar with the requirement for installing a Public Notice Sign on the property. Staff will provide the applicant with the sign details and information for sign construction. 

Step 6 – Public Information Meeting

Read the following information handouts to become familiar with the requirements. This step takes place after an application has been submitted. It is required for all zoning amendment applications. Staff will provide the applicant with the required list of notification labels for who they are required to notify for the Public Information Meeting or the Alternative Public Information Mailout Process. The Director of Development Services will determine which process will be followed for your application.

Step 7 – 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 Council’s consideration, incorporating feedback received from the referral process, the community and any recommendations from Council committees.

Your application will now proceed through the Council review and bylaw adoption process.

Step 8 – Council Review and Bylaw Adoption

Staff prepare the detailed staff report and a draft bylaw. These are presented to Council at a regular meeting. If Council determines the proposal is consistent with the OCP, zoning bylaw and other policies and regulations Council may give the bylaw first and second reading. Or Council may request more information or deny the application.

After second reading and before third reading a public hearing may be scheduled and held.  The applicant is encouraged to attend the public hearing.

Following third reading of the bylaw, where applicable, any legal documents such as covenants and statutory rights of way shall be registered on title, and if applicable subdivision agreements completed, and final technical documents submitted for review and consideration.

When the applicant has adequately addressed all the conditions identified at third reading (if any), Council will consider adoption of the bylaw(s) at the fourth and final reading of the proposed bylaw.