Application Procedures and Forms

Rezoning and Official Community Plan Amendment

When a proposed development differs from the current land use and density set out in the Town of Comox, Zoning Bylaw 1377, it must go through the rezoning process. If the proposed development also differs from the future land use proposed in the Comox Official Community Plan Bylaw, 2011 it will also require an Official Community Plan Amendment.

Before you proceed with an application you should contact Planning Department Staff to discuss your proposal. You should also review the following documents in relation to your application:

Town of Comox, Zoning Bylaw 1377
Town of Comox Zoning Map
Comox Official Community Plan Bylaw, 2011
Comox Official Community Plan Land Use Maps
Comox Official Community Plan Development Permit Area Maps

In addition to the documents listed above you should review Landslide and Flooding Hazards for information regarding geotechnical report requirements. If you have any questions regarding whether or not a geotechnical report will be required for your project, please contact the planning department prior to submitting your application.

How long does the application process take?

The rezoning process usually takes between 6 and 8 months from the time a complete submission is received. Complex applications may require additional time. Submitting a complete application is an important part of increased processing times and it is recommended that you contact planning staff prior to submitting an application to ensure any complex issues are identified.

How much does the application cost?

The rezoning application fee varies depending on the type of project proposed. A full fee schedule can be found here: Application Fee Schedule

Who approves the application?

Rezoning and OCP amendments are approved by Council. The application process has several stages and Council can deny approval at any point along the way. Applicants have the opportunity to appear as a delegation at a Regular Council Meeting and present their projects to Council. A detailed Application Flow Chart is included in the OCP/Rezoning Application Form.

Public Consultation

The Town of Comox believes that public consultation is an important part of the development process and individuals and organizations can provide comments and submissions on OCP amendments and rezoning application at various stages throughout the process.

All OCP amendments and the vast majority of rezoning applications must go through a Public Hearing, where Town residents may speak to their concerns or their support of development projects. If Council determines a Public Hearing is not required for a specific development application, citizens will still receive a Notice of Waiver, which details how they can submit comments on the application. Members of the public can appear as a delegation at a Regular Council Meeting and present their opinions regarding development projects to Mayor and Council. They also have the ability to submit written comments, addressed to Mayor and Council, regarding OCP amendments and rezoning applications. For more information regarding the public consultation process and how Town residents can comment on a rezoning/OCP amendment application please contact the Planning Department at (250) 339-1118.

Affordable Housing Contribution

As part of it’s Affordable Housing Strategy the Town requires rezoning applications for more than four units or lots to provide an affordable housing amenity as a component of the rezoning application. The contribution can be made either by a transfer of land to the town, or as a cash payment if a land transfer is not feasible. The formula used to calculate the affordable housing component vary depending on the type of development.

Green Building Certification

The Town of Comox is committed to promoting a wide range of sustainability initiatives that include requirements for green building certification of commercial and multifamily developments. These green building requirements are discussed during the OCP amendment/rezoning application process and are secured as part of a Phase Development Agreement or a Built Green Covenant. For multifamily developments the Town requires they meet or exceed the BuiltGreen Bronze certification standard, a third-party certification system run by BuiltGreen Canada. For commercial developments the Town uses the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Bronze standard, which is administered by the Canada Green Building Council. For more information regarding green building certification please contact the Planning Department at (250) 339-1118.

Application Forms

The Rezoning/Development Permit application form and detailed checklist can be found here: RZ-DP Application Form.

Planning staff should be contacted at (250) 339-1118 to set up a pre-application meeting to further discuss the application requirements and the details of your project.

Development Permits

Development Permit Areas are contained within the Official Community Plan and are a set of development regulations that affect a specific area. In British Columbia, section 919.1 of the Local Government Act allows municipalities to regulate Development Permit Areas for the following purposes:

• establishment of objectives for the form and character of intensive residential, commercial and industrial development
• establishment of objectives to promote energy and water conservation and a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions
• protection of natural environments, ecosystems and biodiversity
• protection of farmland
• revitalization of commercial areas

It is important to note that the Local Government Act prohibits municipalities from using Development Permit Areas to regulate the land use or density of a property. If you have a development project that requires a change to the property’s land use or density an OCP Amendment or Rezoning Application may be necessary. Please contact the Planning Department at (250) 339-1118 if you have any questions about the approvals that may be necessary for your development project.

The Town of Comox Official Community Plan Bylaw, 2011 includes 16 Development Permit Areas (See the Development Permit Area Maps for their exact locations)that include special objectives to support the purposes listed above.

Development Permit Areas Regulating Form and Character

During the OCP process, Town residents expressed a strong desire to preserve the Town’s existing form and character, including it’s marine heritage. This lead to the creation of six Development Permit Areas designed to regulate the form and character of development projects. They include building and landscape design guidelines, that regulate elements including building massing, architectural features, colour pallets and finishing materials, to ensure high-quality developments that will fit into their surrounding neighbourhoods and become positive assets to the community at large. In addition to the building and landscape design elements of form and character DPAs, they also contain guidelines to encourage energy and water conservation including the support of green technology like solar panels for electricity or geothermal systems for heating.

DPAs concerned with form and character include Development Permit Areas #1 – 6:

• DPA #1 Downtown Comox
• DPA #2 Ground Oriented Infill
• DPA #3 General Multi-Family
• DPA #4 Mixed Use: Commercial Residential
• DPA #5 Commercial: Neighbourhood and Tourist
• DPA #6 Light Industrial

Please consult the Official Community Plan DPA Maps for exact locations of each DPA. A detailed description of DPAguidelines can be found in the Comox Official Community Plan Bylaw, 2011. If you have any questions regarding the locations or requirements of form and character DPAs please contact the Planning Department at (250) 339-1118 or in person at Town Hall.

Development Permit Areas Regulating Environmental Protection

In addition to form and character DPAs, the Town of Comox also developed a specific set of DPAs to protect the natural environment, biodiversity and sensitive ecosystems that are an important feature of life in the Town. The DPAs include provisions to protect the riparian areas of Brooklyn Creek and Lazo Marsh (DPA 7), Bald Eagle and Great Blue Heron nesting sites and perching trees (DPA 10), existing wildlife corridors (DPA 11) and Garry Oak Habitat (DPA 12). The full list of environmental DPAs and their locations can be found in the Official Community Plan Bylaw, 2011 and the Official Community Plan DPA Maps

Each environmental DPA has a unique set of requirements, depending on its objectives. For example DPA #14 Marine Foreshore protects the sensitive ecosystems of the Courtenay River estuary, Kye Bay and Point Holmes. In this DPA a development permit is required for any alteration of the land – including vegetation – construction or major alternations of a primary building – including decks – and the construction of any accessory buildings. For the guildelines and requirements of environmental DPAs please consult the Official Community Plan Bylaw, 2011 and the Official Community Plan DPA Maps.

While the purposes of most environmental DPAs are to protect and preserve the natural environment, the Town created DPA #13 Hazardous Areas to protect developments from potentially hazardous environmental conditions including flooding, erosion and unstable slopes. If a property is located within DPA #13 a development permit is required for any alteration of the land – including vegetation – to protect against landslides and ensure buildings remain safe and habitable. Please see the Official Community Plan Bylaw, 2011 and the Official Community Plan DPA Maps for the location and requirements for this and all other Town of Comox DPAs. If you think you property may be in DPA #13 Hazardous Areas please contact the Planning Department (either in person at Town Hall or by phone at (250) 339-1118) regarding a development permit prior to commencing any type of onsite works.

If your project is located within a Development Permit Area, you will need a Development Permit before subdividing your property or applying for a building permit. It is recommended that you contact the Planning Department (either in person at Town Hall or by phone at (250) 339-1118) to discuss your project before submitting a development permit application to ensure your application is complete.

In addition to the documents listed above you should review Landslide and Flooding Hazards for information regarding geotechnical report requirements. If you have any questions regarding whether or not a geotechnical report will be required for your project, please contact the planning department prior to submitting your application.

How long does the application process take?

The development permit application process usually takes between 3 and 4 months from the time a complete submission is received. Complex applications may require additional time. Submitting a complete application is an important part of increased processing times and it is recommended that you contact planning staff prior to submitting an application to ensure any complex issues are identified.

How much does the application cost?

The development permit application fee varies depending the value of the proposed development, or if the application is for subdivision only by the number of lots created. A full fee schedule can be found here: Application Fee Schedule

Who approves the application?

Development Permits can be issued by either Council or the Municipal Planner. For form and character Development Permit Areas (Development Permit Areas 1 – 6. See the Official Community Plan DPA Maps for exact locations of each area.) the permit is approved and issued by Council. The Municipal Planner has the authority to approve and issue environmental development permits (for projects located in Development Permit Areas 7 – 16. See the Official Community Plan DPA Maps for exact locations of each area). A detailed Application Flow Chart is included in the Development Permit Application Form.

Public Consultation

The Town issues a public notification of Development Permit applications that includes details on how Comox residents can provide comments on the application. This includes information on how residents can register to appear as a delegation at a Regular Council Meeting and the deadline for submitting written comments to Council. In accordance with the Town of Comox Development Application Procedures Bylaw, 1996 written notifications are mailed to all property and owners and tenants within a 75 meter radius of the proposed project. For more information regarding the public consultation process and how Town residents can comment on a Development Permit application please contact the Planning Department at (250) 339-1118.

Green Building Certification

The Town of Comox is committed to promoting a wide range of sustainability initiatives that include requirements for green building certification of commercial and multifamily developments. These green building requirements are discussed during the development permit application process and are secured as part of a Built Green Covenant. For multifamily developments the Town requires they meet or exceed the BuiltGreen Bronze certification standard, a third-party certification system run by BuiltGreen Canada. For commercial developments the Town uses the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Bronze standard, which is administered by the Canada Green Building Council. For more information regarding green building certification please contact the Planning Department at (250) 339-1118.

Application Forms

The Development Permit application form and application requirements can be found here: Development Permit Application.

In addition to the application forms you must include a Sustainability Statement with your application. The Sustainability Statement will help Council and staff evaluate your project in relation to the Town’s sustainability objectives.

Planning staff should be contacted at (250) 339-1118 to set up a pre-application meeting to further discuss the application requirements and the details of your project.

Development Variance Permits

If a development project does not comply with the zoning or subdivision bylaw, the applicant can apply to Council for a Development Variance permit. These are site specific variances to certain provisions of the Zoning Bylaw and are most typically issued for height and setbacks. A Development Variance permit cannot vary the use, density or flood plain specifications set out in the Town of Comox, Zoning Bylaw 1377 (If your project requires any modification to these categories please see the section on Rezoning and OCP amendments above). It is recommended that you contact the Planning Department to discuss your project to ensure a variance is necessary prior to submitting your application.

In addition to the Zoning Bylaw you should review Landslide and Flooding Hazards for information regarding geotechnical report requirements. If you have any questions regarding whether or not a geotechnical report will be required for your project, please contact the planning department prior to submitting your application.

How long does the application process take?

The development variance permit application process usually takes between 3 and 4 months from the time a complete submission is received. Complex applications may require additional time. Submitting a complete application is an important part of increased processing times and it is recommended that you contact planning staff prior to submitting an application to ensure a variance permit is required and to identify any complex issues.

How much does the application cost?

The development variance permit application fee is $500.00 for single or two-family dwellings and $1,075.00 for all other applications. A full fee schedule can be found here: Application Fee Schedule.

Who approves the application?

Development Variance Permits are issued by Council. You will have the opportunity to appear as a delegation at a Regular Council Meeting and present your project to Council. A detailed Application Flow Chart is included in the Development Variance Application Form.

Public Consultation

THe Town issues a public notification of Development Variance Permit applications that includes details on how Comox residents can provide comments on the applications. Citizens can appear as a delegation at a Regular Council Meeting and submit written comments to Council regarding the variance permit application. In accordance with the Town of Comox Development Application Procedures Bylaw, 1996 written notifications regarding variance permit applications are mailed to adjacent property owners and tenants. For more information regarding the public consultation process and how Town residents can comment on a Development Variance Permit application please contact the Planning Department at (250) 339-1118.

Application Forms

The Development Variance Permit application form and application requirements can be found here: Development Variance Permit Application.

In addition to the application forms you must include a Sustainability Statement with your application. The Sustainability Statement will help Council and staff evaluate your project in relation to the Town’s sustainability objectives.

Planning staff can be contacted at (250) 339-1118 to set up a pre-application meeting to further discuss the application requirements and the details of your project.