Board of Variance

Applying for a Board of Variance

As every property and development proposal is unique, and application requirements can vary, we encourage Applicants to contact Planning Staff to discuss their project at an early stage. Planning Staff will then be able to advise if a Pre-Application Meeting is required prior to application submission. The meeting will help to determine what supporting documents, reports, etc. will be needed.  Planning staff will provide you with a checklist of items that will be necessary to make a complete application and provide you with the correct fee amount that accompanies your proposal.

Applications Forms & Guide

To request a minor variance or exemption to a Bylaw regulation to relieve hardship you may apply to the Board of Variance.

About the Board of Variance

In accordance with the Local Government Act, every local government in British Columbia that adopts a Zoning Bylaw must also establish a Board of Variance.  The Municipality of North Cowichan’s Board of Variance is comprised of five members, each appointed by Council for a three year term.

The Board of Variance is an avenue for appeal on the application of certain local government bylaws in specific circumstances defined in the Local Government Act. The Board of Variance is not an appeal board for local government policy decisions and it cannot replace the decisions of elected officials. A person may request relaxation of bylaw requirements to the Board of Variance only if the application of these regulations to their particular site would impose undue hardship upon them.  The Board of Variance may also decide on certain issue associated with non-conforming use.

Board of Variance or Development Variance Permit

The Board of Variance addresses appeals for variances that are considered “minor” and where compliance would cause “undue hardship” to the property owner.  In order for the Board of Variance to grant a variance, it must be of the opinion that the variance does not:

  • Result in inappropriate development of the site;
  • Adversely affect the natural environment;
  • Substantially affect the use and enjoyment of adjacent land;
  • Vary permitted uses and densities under the applicable bylaw; or
  • Defeat the intent of the bylaw;
  • Vary the application of an applicable bylaw in relation to residential rental tenure.

 If your request does not meet the above conditions, a Development Variance Permit is another application process that may be more suitable.  Planning Staff can help you determine your best option before submitting your application.

A Development Variance Permit (DVP) is required when a property owner wishes to vary provisions of the Zoning Bylaw and is not as result of “undue hardship”.  A Development Variance Permit cannot change land use or density.  The Municipality’s Council approves or denies a Development Variance Permit application.

Application Process Time

The application processing time for Board of Variance applications is two to four months.  This timeline can vary depending on the completeness and complexity of the application. 

Meeting Location and Dates

Meetings are held bi-monthly on the last Wednesday of the month in the Maple Bay Room (off of main lobby) commencing at 2:00pm on the first floor of the Municipal Hall located at 7030 Trans-Canada Highway, Duncan, BC.

Meeting schedule is subject to change depending on the number of BOV applications.

Contact Us:

  • By Email:
  • By Phone:         250-746-3119
  • By Fax:               250-746-3154
  • By Mail:             7030 Trans-Canada Highway, Duncan BC, V9L 6A1
  • In Person:         Planning Department – 7030 Trans-Canada Highway, Duncan, BC