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The Board of Variance is an independent appeal body which consists of five persons appointed by Council in accordance with the British Columbia Local Government Act (the "Act"). The Board, which deals primarily with matters pertaining to the City’s Zoning Bylaw (as amended), hears and makes decisions on minor variances only regarding the siting, size and dimensions of buildings.
The Act allows property owners to appeal to the Board if compliance with the Zoning Bylaw will cause an "undue hardship".
The Board may not alter land use or density provisions of the Zoning Bylaw nor does it replace the Building Permit process. Other technical requirements beyond the Board’s authority such as BC Building Code regulations and standards will also need to be satisfied before a building permit is approved and issued.
The Board meets on a monthly basis except for August and December. If there are no applications to be heard the Board does not meet. It is necessary for a quorum of the Members (3) of the Board to be in attendance at a meeting for the meeting to proceed, therefore, meeting dates and times may also vary based on the availability of the Board Members. Please contact the City Clerk’s Office at 604-927-3010 if you have questions regarding the meeting schedule.
The Board’s authority is limited to hearing cases and granting variances based on undue hardship. There is no one definition of undue hardship because each applicant has their own unique set of circumstances. Traditionally, hardship has resulted from specific site and/or building characteristics or aspects (e.g., irregular shape, slope) as opposed to those which are personal or generated by the owner. It is the applicant’s responsibility to clearly state the basis for the appeal in their application submission and demonstrate the "hardship" that would result from full compliance with the City’s Zoning Bylaw regulations.
Please contact the Clerk’s Office by email or call 604-927-3010 if you have further questions relative to ’undue hardship’.
Before an application to the Board is made, you should review your plans and drawings with the City’s Development Services staff located on the Main Floor at City Hall (Building Permits counter). Staff will inform you if a variance is required for building permit approval. Board of Variance application forms and other related materials, including a submission checklist, are available at the Building Permits counter as well.
We encourage you to engage the services of a building design professional to assist you in preparing your plans submission if you are unfamiliar with building permit processes and construction matters. It is critical to submit as much detailed relevant information as possible to assist staff and the Board in completing their review of your application. Completed application forms and submissions are to be provided in person to the Building Permits counter. Applications must be signed by the property owner or a person authorized by the property owner. If the applicant cannot attend the meeting and would like to appoint a person to represent them at the meeting it will be necessary for the applicant to provide a letter authorizing the representation.
This letter should be submitted to the Building Permit’s counter as soon as possible after the application has been submitted. A non-refundable application fee is required at the time your application is submitted. For current fee information, please refer to Schedule B of the City's Fees and Charges Bylaw (PDF).
At an appointed time, the Board will meet to consider the application and receive verbal and written presentations from the applicant and neighbouring residents. The Board meeting must be conducted pursuant to rules set out in the Local Government Act and as interpreted by the Courts. The meeting will cover each item listed on the Agenda and will be conducted according to the following procedures:
Decisions are made during the Board meetings. Any interested parties can contact the City Clerk’s Office on the day following the Board meeting at 604-927-3010 to receive the Board’s decision if they would rather not attend the meeting or cannot stay to hear the decision. Applicants will receive a formal notification of the decision in the mail. Neighbours do not receive a formal notification of the decision of the Board.
Please note, all decisions of the Board are final.
In accordance with "the Act", construction must start at least two years from the date that the variance was granted. If the two year time frame has passed and construction has not started, the applicant must re-apply to the Board.
As noted, the Board’s authority is limited to hearing cases of undue hardship relating to minor variances from the City’s current zoning regulations. Zoning Bylaw amendments (e.g., rezoning) and/or development variance permits are alternative processes for property owners to pursue in cases where the requested variance is not minor in nature.
Please contact the City Clerk’s Office at 604-927-3010 or email the City Clerk if you need more information regarding the consultation process and Board of Variance meetings.
Please contact the Building Permits Division at 604-927-3441 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you need more information regarding the application process.
A non-refundable application fee is required at the time your application is submitted.
For current fee information, please refer to Schedule B of the City's Fees and Charges Bylaw (PDF).
Board of Variance meetings are generally held on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers at Coquitlam City Hall (meetings are not typically held in August or December).