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A subdivision alters the legal property boundaries of a parcel of land. Subdivision can include:

  • Dividing a property into smaller lots;
  • Consolidating several lots under different subdivision plans into one lot;
  • Creating a Bare Land Strata; or
  • Changing the alignment of an existing property line.

As required by the Local Government Act and the Land Title Act, all subdivisions must be approved by the City's appointed Approving Officer.

The subdivision application process 
Pre-application 
Application submission 
Application review and circulation 
Technical review team meeting 
Preliminary approval letter
Submission of coordinated plan sets
Servicing agreement 
North Shore Development Authorization/Development Permit 
Final subdivision approval 
Plan signing 
Other development approvals 
How long does the subdivision process take?

The subdivision application process

subdivision application proceeds through a review and approval process that includes the steps summarized below and in this flow chart

Pre-application

Prior to submitting a subdivision application, the applicant is urged to prepare a preliminary development proposal. The applicant should first review the City's Official Community Plan (OCP), Zoning Bylaw, and the Subdivision Servicing Bylaw to determine whether the proposal meets all of the City's requirements and standards. In addition, the applicant should meet with staff to discuss the proposal. 

Application submission 

Once a proposal has been prepared, a completed subdivision application package including the applicable fees is submitted for review.

Application review and circulation

The application is circulated to internal City departments and external agencies as necessary. Staff review the application to ensure that the proposed development complies with the City's development bylaws and policies. The applicant may be requested to submit additional information or revise the proposal as a result of the review.

Technical review team meeting

City staff meet as a Technical Review Team to review subdivision applications and identify items to be addressed to meet City bylaw requirements. 

Preliminary approval letter 

The City's Approving Officer issues a Preliminary Approval Letter which outlines the comments received from circulation and provides a preliminary list of technical requirements for final approval of the subdivision. The requirements may include infrastructure improvements, issuance of a tree removal permit, etc. The technical requirements identified in this letter form the basis for the Servicing Agreement discussed below. The Approving Officer may also issue a letter of rejection of the subdivision and the application is closed.

Submission of coordinated plan sets*

If necessary, the applicant submits coordinated sets of landscape and civil engineering plans to address the Preliminary Approval Letter. The plan submission is reviewed by staff. Re-submission of the plans may be requested to address staff comments. Based on the submission and estimates provided by the applicant, security and fee amounts for off site civil and landscaping works are determined.

*Note: This step is required if associated development permit, development authorization, building permit or development variance permit applications are submitted concurrently.

Servicing agreement

A servicing agreement may be required in support of the civil works. The agreement is in the form of a restrictive covenant prepared by the applicant's Solicitor in accordance with the City's format. Legal documents such as rights-of-way and easements may also be necessary to support the civil works required. The applicant's Solicitor should submit drafts of the documents in accordance with the City's formats.

North Shore Development Authorization/Development Permit

If a property is located within the North Shore 286 Agreement area or Development Permit Area relating to the natural environment or hazardous lands, a development authorization must be issued by Council prior to final approval of the subdivision by the City's Approving Officer.

Final subdivision approval

Once all necessary technical and legal requirements are addressed, and if required, external agency approval received, the applicant pays all necessary fees including City development levies/cost charges and Greater Vancouver Sewer and Drainage District levies and provides required securities. The survey plans are also submitted for signing by the Approving Officer.

Plan signing

If the survey plan is acceptable and all conditions of the Preliminary Approval Letter are fulfilled, the Approving Officer signs the subdivision plans. The applicant or applicant's Solicitor is required to deposit the plans at the Land Title Office within 60 days of the plan being signed by the Approving Officer.

Other development approvals

It may be necessary for the applicant to concurrently address other approval processes including Development Permit, Development Authorization, North Shore Development Authorization, Development Variance Permit and rezoning applications. 

How long does the subdivision process take?

It generally takes two months for the issuance of a Preliminary Approval Letter. The more complex a proposal is, the more time it is likely to require. If the application is submitted concurrently with other development applications (i.e. rezoning), the processing time may be greater.

A Preliminary Approval Letter is valid for six months. Upon expiry of the letter, an application to extend the validity period of the letter for an additional six months may be submitted with the appropriate fee.

If you have any questions or require further information, please contact the Development Services Department at 604.469.4540.

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Subdivision Approval Process
Click to enlarge this flow chart

Last updated: 06/01/2015 3:26:14 PM