Do you need a development permit?

The Official Community Plan (OCP) includes specific development permit areas (DPAs) with guidelines that provide additional direction and guidance for development in that area of the city. If your property is located in a DPA, you need to apply for a development permit before constructing or making changes to new multi-family, mixed-use, commercial, or industrial buildings, and in certain cases, single-family dwellings. There are different types of development permits, and some ‘minor’ development permits may be approved by staff.

To learn which DPA may apply to your property, you can view PDFs of the OCP maps, or use the interactive ViewPort map by turning on/off the visibility of the appropriate layers in the legend. We also recommend that you consult with City planning staff to confirm which, if any, development permits may be required.

Development permit area guidelines

There are two types of development permit areas – the first regulates the form and character of development (DPAs 1,2, 3 and 7), and the second regulates environmental protection and protection against geotechnical hazards (DPAs 4 and 5) . 

To obtain approval for a development permit you must demonstrate that your project addresses the guidelines for the relevant area and type of development. For environmentally sensitive areas, a Qualified Environmental Professional needs to submit a report that outlines how the project satisfies the City’s guidelines and provincial regulation. For hazardous lands, a Geotechnical Engineer is required to provide a report that identifies the relevant hazards and outlines how development can be safely constructed and maintained, taking into consideration the City’s guidelines and provincial regulation. 

Review the Development Permit Area Guidelines below prior to applying for a development permit. You are also advised to consult with City planning staff by phone or email to confirm which, if any, development permits are required for your project.

Laneway homes (DPA 7)

As is the case with most development permits for single-family dwellings, permits for laneway houses are considered ‘minor’ development permits, which means they can be approved by staff, based on the guidelines in our bylaws.

See Laneway Homes for more information on eligibility, development guidelines, and application process for Detached Accessory Dwelling Units (laneway homes).

Apply for a development permit                    

Prior to submitting a development permit application, we recommend that you consult with City planning staff by phone or email to make sure that you have all of the necessary paperwork. This will help you save time during the application process.

Completed application forms and supporting documentation should be submitted by email to If your files are too large for email, staff will provide an online upload link. If you are unable to digitally submit your application, please call or email to schedule an in person appointment.

Submissions will be vetted for completeness before payment is processed. 

Application form and submission requirements
 Your application submission should include:
  • completed development permit application (PDF)
  • application fee – see Fees Bylaw
  • Certificate of Title dated no more than 30 days prior to the application
  • Letter of Intent that outlines the current use, proposed use, and justification for the proposal
  • Site profile, if required by the Environmental Managements Act, Contaminated Sites Regulations, Schedule 2
  • Site Survey, prepared by a licensed BC Land Surveyor
  • Arborist's Preliminary Site Assessment
  • Detailed Site Plan
  • elevation drawings showing all building sides, dimensions, grades, exterior finish details and signage
  • colour perspective drawings illustrating the building form and streetscape
  • Landscape Plan, prepared by a Landscape Designer or Landscape Architect
  • colour photographs of the current site
  • material samples showing proposed exterior finish colours and materials
  • Sustainability Report Card
  • Stormwater Management Plan prepared by a Professional Engineer or appropriately qualified professional
  • Environmental Report by an appropriately qualified professional
  • Geotechnical Report prepared by a Professional Geotechnical Engineer
  • letter from a Registered Professional or Certified Energy Advisor, confirming that the project has been designed to achieve the chosen pathway outlined in the BC Energy Step Code Rezoning Application Corporate Policy (PDF)

Application review

Once your complete application has been submitted, it will be reviewed by a variety of internal city departments and external agencies. As part of this process we may request additional information or revisions to the proposal. Depending on the scale of development and the type of DPA, a development permit may require Council approval, or in the case of a minor development permit may be staff approved.

For larger projects development permits are usually reviewed parallel to the OCP and/or Zoning Bylaw amendment application. If the development permit is not combined with land use changes, the process can take between two to five months, though the timing may vary depending on a number of factors, including: complexity of the applications, quality of submissions, application volume etc.