Planning and Building

Planning Department

The Planning Department is responsible for the Town’s Official Community Plan, Zoning Bylaws and the processing of land development applications including development permits, development variance permits and subdivisions.

Municipal Planner: Marvin Kamenz
Planner II: Gail Andestad
Planner I: Regina Bozerocka
Phone: (250) 339-1118 or Fax: (250) 339-7110
Address: Comox Town Hall, 1809 Beaufort Ave. Comox, B.C. V9M 1R9

Building Department

The Building Department oversees the issuing of building permits and assures compliance with the building codes, regulations and by-laws of both the Province and the Town of Comox.

Inspector:Ian Rogers
Phone:(250) 339-2259
Fax:(250) 339-7110
Address:Lower Floor, Town Hall,1809 Beaufort Avenue, Comox, B.C V9M 1R9
Email:irogers@comox.ca

Building Permit applications are accepted in person at Town Hall.

Downtown Vitalization Program

Click here to download Vitalization Program brochure

Or click here to learn more about the available Residential Tax Exemption

and to download consolidated Downtown Revitalization Tax Exemption Bylaw

Comox Downtown Vitalization was specified as one of the priorities in the 2012-2014 Strategic Plan. A range of incentive tools were chosen, and in June 2014 Council adopted several bylaws, including Downtown Revitalization Tax Exemption Bylaw No. 1784, to encourage Downtown Vitalization.

Key elements of the Downtown Vitalization Program include:

  • Increasing residential density in the Downtown
  • Incentives encouraging mixed-use commercial and residential development to support and increase not only Downtown businesses but also the area's social and environmental vitality.

The Downtown Vitalization Area is shown shaded on the map below.

Downtown revitalization map

DOWNTOWN VITALIZATION PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

Available incentives:
• Priority processing
• Revitalization Tax Exemption for residential component of the development
• Building Permit fee reduction
• Development Permit fee rebate
• Optimized parking requirements and design standards
• No affordable housing contribution for residential projects featuring at least 50% of adaptable units
• Sound attenuation guidelines provided by the Town

The objectives of the Downtown Vitalization Program are to increase the Town’s economic, social and environmental vitality by:
• retaining and supporting existing businesses
• attracting new community investments in the form of multi-family residential development
• concentrating residential development within established areas with full municipal services, and
• encouraging high quality residential development, suitable for citizens aging in place

The Revitalization Tax Exemption is a key component of the Downtown Vitalization Program; the amount of the tax exemption varies according to the ability of a development to meet economic, social and environmental targets. Developments achieving Built Green Silver equivalent and Adaptable Housing standards will receive higher and longer-term exemptions in comparison with other developments, as outlined further. Similarly, as the residential component of the development increases, so does the tax exemption, i.e. 4 storey buildings will receive greater and longer-term exemption, than 3 storey buildings.

The Downtown Vitalization Program does not rezone land and does not amend the Official Community Plan Bylaw, 2011. Rezoning, public notification and public hearing will be required for developments over 3 stories.

TAX EXEMPTION IS AVAILABLE ONLY FOR RESIDENTIAL PART OF DEVELOPMENT

• For projects that are 3 storeys in height that meet the Tax Exemption Bylaw criteria, but do not meet Built Green BC Silver Equivalency: exemption equal to the amount of 50% of the Assessed Value of the residential improvements on the parcel. This Tax Exemption is for a maximum term of 3 years
• For projects that are 3 storeys in height that meet the Tax Exemption Bylaw criteria, and meet Built Green BC Silver Equivalency: exemption equal to the amount of 50% of the Assessed Value of the residential improvements on the parcel. This Tax Exemption is for a maximum term of 6 years
• For projects that are 4 storeys in height or more that meet the Tax Exemption Bylaw criteria, but do not meet Built Green BC Silver Equivalency: exemption equal to the amount of 100% of the Assessed Value of the residential improvements on the parcel. This Tax Exemption is for a maximum term of 5 years
• For projects that are 4 storeys in height or more that meet the Tax Exemption Bylaw criteria, and meet Built Green BC Silver Equivalency: exemption equal to the amount of 100% of the Assessed Value of the residential improvements on the parcel. This Tax Exemption is for a maximum term of 8 years

THE TAX EXEMPTION DOES NOT APPLY TO:

• municipal taxes imposed on the assessed value of land or commercial improvements
• taxes, or charges levied for local area services, specified areas, local improvement districts, or business improvement areas
• municipal fees; or
• taxes imposed by a regional district, board of school trustees or other authority

TAX EXEMPTION ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

In order to qualify for the Tax Exemption, a development has to:
• Be located within the Downtown Vitalization Program Area (as shown on the map above)
• Clearly meet or exceed all applicable development regulations, including Town building design standards , and program criteria
• Be a new construction
• Minimum building height is 3 storeys
• Minimum building coverage is 60%
• Minimum 50% of the total proposed floor area is residential use
• Minimum 50% of residential units are adaptable (to qualify for tax exemption component of the program and to defer affordable housing contribution)
• Provide additional road dedication where required, and
• Provide adequate sound attenuation

Click here to learn more about the available Residential Tax Exemption

FINANCIAL COSTS OF THE DOWNTOWN VITALIZATION PROGRAM

The following aspects of the Downtown Vitalization Program are designed to reduce the financial exposure of the Town:
• $50,000 budget for combined Building Permit and Development application fee reduction;
• $50,000 budget for residential component tax reduction in comparison to predevelopment tax revenue
• Limited time offer and first come-first served approach
• Limitation of the tax exemption to the residential component of the development excluding land: i.e. taxes will be payable on the land value and commercial building component of the property
• Requirement to clearly meet or exceed all applicable regulations and the Vitalization Program requirements reduces application processing costs and time

DOWNTOWN VITALIZATION PROGRAM TIMELINE

• Program start: July 2014 (accepting applications until July 1, 2017)
• Review and re-evaluation 6 months into the Program, including possibility to extend the Program
• Submission of complete development application on or before the 1 year anniversary of the Program start
• Commencement of the construction within 1 year of the development permit issuance
• To qualify for the tax exemption, occupancy permit and exemption certificate before October 31, 2021

Subdivision and Development Servicing Bylaw

The Town of Comox is undertaking a comprehensive review and update of the Subdivision and Development Servicing Bylaw. The purpose of the update is to provide greater clarity and certainty for the development community, staff and end users. The changes will consolidate and streamline the existing bylaws while providing the Town of Comox clarity in administering the development review process. The updated bylaw will make it easier for residents and developers to understand the Town’s development policies and will support the Town’s commitment to building more sustainable infrastructure.

The Town has retained Arlington Group Planners and Civil Engineering firm, R. F. Binnie & Associates, to handle the re-write of the bylaw with a working oversight by the Town of Comox’s planning, engineering and parks staff. The re-write of the bylaw will update specification drawings, revamp the bylaw content and layout so it is easier to navigate and administer. The team will also be revising the application forms to provide consistency, a digital format, and make it easier to fill out and email from a personal computer. During the process the Town will be consulting with stakeholders and holding an Open House for residents and businesses to review and provide comment on the proposed changes. Open House date to be announced in the fall.

Visitable Housing Knowledge, Practices and Policies

People with mobility disabilities often face significant barriers in being able to visit friends and neighbours whose homes have barriers to mobility. This study presents background information on a movement to raise awareness and encourage the construction of dwellings that can be visited by those with mobility challenges. This paper is provided as an information service for residents who may be wondering how they could make their homes more visitable.
To read this study please click on Visitable Housing

North East Comox Stormwater Management Plan

Background
A study is currently underway to create a Stormwater Management Plan for the North East Comox Neighbourhood.
The North East Comox Neighbourhood Study Area is comprised of properties that drain into:
• Queens Ditch Catchment
• Lazo Marsh Conservation Area, or
• down slope agricultural lands adjacent to the Queen’s Ditch
The purpose of the study will be a Stormwater Management Plan that provides a series of development guidelines to mitigate potential negative affects in relation to existing Queen’s Ditch flood frequency and duration, downstream fish habitat, down slope agricultural activities, and Lazo Marsh.

The North East Comox Storm Water Management Plan is being developed in three phases. Refer to the table below for opportunities for public comment; gray shaded items have already occurred.

East Comox Storm Management Plan

REPORTS
Full reports can be accessed via the hyperlinks below as they come available:

Phase 1 Report

Phase 2 Report – To view the Phase 2 Report Appendices A through D please visit the Planning Department at the Town Hall.

Relevant Links