Development Variance Permits

Development Variance Permit

A Development Variance Permit (DVP) is an approval from Council to vary the bylaw regulation(s) of zoning, subdivision servicing, or signage for non-conforming development approvals. A Development Variance Permit cannot vary use or density of land specified in a bylaw.

Board of Variance

The Board of Variance (BOV) is a quasi-judicial body separate from the Local Government with its own authority under the Local Government Act.

The Board of Variance (BOV) for the Town of Smithers is an appointed body that has the authority to grant a minor variance to certain provisions of Town bylaws cause a person undue hardship. A BOV cannot vary use or density of land specified in a bylaw; result in inappropriate development of the site; adversely affect the natural environment; or substantially affect the use and enjoyment of the adjacent land.

A Board of Variance application must begin with a discussion with the Development Services Department. We can confirm that your proposed variance is a legal option, inform you of the acceptability of the variance, and provide you with details of the process.

What are the provisions of the Town Bylaws that can be varied by the BOV?

According to Section 540 of the Local Government Act, a person may apply to a board of variance if the person alleges that compliance with any of the following provision would cause the person undue hardship:

a) a bylaw respecting the siting, size or dimensions of a building or other structure, OR the siting of a manufactured home in a manufactured home park;

b) a subdivision servicing requirement under section 506 (1) (c) [provision of water, sewer and other systems] in an area zoned for agricultural or industrial use;

c) the prohibition of a structural alteration or addition under section 531 (1) [restrictions on alteration or addition while non-conforming use continued];

d) a bylaw under section 8 (3) (c) [fundamental powers — trees] of the Community Charter, other than a bylaw that has an effect referred to in section 50 (2) [restrictions on authority — preventing all uses] of that Act if the council has taken action under subsection (3) of that section to compensate or mitigate the hardship that is caused to the person

e) The owner of land subject to a bylaw adopted under section 548 [early termination of land use contracts] may apply to the BOV for an order under subsection 5 of Section 543 if the owner alleges that the timing of the termination of the land use contract by the bylaw would cause the owner hardship, and the application is received by the board of variance within 6 months after the adoption of the bylaw. (Section 543 of LGA)

f) A person may apply to the BOV for an order under Sec. 544 (2) if the person alleges that the determination by a building inspector of the amount of damage under section 532 (1) [end of non-conforming use protection if building of other structure is seriously damaged] is in error (Section 544 of the LGA).

As per Section 542 of the local government act, the board of variance must not grant a variance that would do any of the following:

a) be in conflict with a covenant registered under section 219 of the Land Title Act or section 24A of the Land Registry Act, R.S.B.C. 1960, c. 208;

b) deal with a matter that is covered in a land use permit or covered in a land  use contract;

c) deal with a matter that is covered by a phased development agreement under Division 12 [Phased Development Agreements];

d) deal with a flood plain specification under section 524 (3);

e) apply to a property

I. for which an authorization for alterations is required under Part 15 [Heritage Conservation],

II. for which a heritage revitalization agreement under section 610 is in effect, or

III. that is scheduled under section 614 (3) (b) [protected heritage property] or contains a feature or characteristic identified under section 614 (3) (c) [heritage value or character].