When is a Variance Permit Needed?

When a particular application by virtue of a site regulation such as a setback, site coverage, height or other regulation will not comply with the Zoning Bylaw, a variance may be requested. With the exception of “use” and “density”; Zoning, Subdivision and Sign Bylaw regulations may be varied by Council. Development Variance Permit applications are usually considered where the site characteristics or other unique circumstances do not permit strict compliance with an existing regulation. In some cases, where a zoning regulation may impose hardship on the owner/developer, the application falls to the Board of Variance for approval.

  1. A Development Variance Permit application applies when:
    • the development is not considered minor in nature; and/or
    • the applicant is requesting relief from a Zoning Bylaw regulation as to the siting, size or dimension of a building, or to the prohibition against structural additions or alterations, or to the subdivision servicing requirements in a particular area.
  2. A Development Variance Permit proceeds through an agency circulation and requires a decision through Council with a staff report providing recommendations.

  3. A Board of Variance application applies when:
    • there is undue hardship caused by a Zoning Bylaw regulation as to the siting, size or dimension of a building, the prohibition against structural additions or alterations to a legal non-conforming use
    • the development is minor in nature
    • an individual feels there has been an error in judgement by the Building Inspector as to the extent of damage to a non-conforming structure.

For a more complete explanation of the differences please refer to the Variance Application Package linked below.

You may wish to present your proposal to the Development Review Committee before submitting your formal application The Development Review Committee is made up of various departmental staff members and meets every two weeks. This provides an opportunity for applicants to present a development proposal and discuss with staff the feasibility of the proposal before submitting formal applications.

To assess what applies to your proposal please set up an appointment for a pre-application meeting with the Development Services Staff who will be happy to assist you in filling out your formal application.


Although the City of Campbell River tries to assure the accuracy of all information here, you should confirm all information with the staff at the Development Services Department.

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