Delegation of Authority for Minor Variances

On May 24, 2022 Council adopted a new Delegation Bylaw  that gives staff the authority to approve a specific set of minor variances. This new process is expected to drastically reduce the amount of staff time spent on these applications, and subsequently reduce wait times for the issuance of permits.

The opportunity to create this change has just become possible due to updated Provincial legislation. Council may now consider delegating (giving) the authority to approve a specific set of variances to staff.

In order to delegate this authority, the set of variances must first be defined, and then if an application requiring variances fits within that definition it can be processed through staff authorized by Council.

  • Definition of “minor” variance – a proposed variance must meet this definition to be delegated, otherwise, it must proceed to Council:
    • Setbacks greater than or equal to 1.5 metres from property line
    • Building / Structure height up to 10% over allowable height in the Zoning Bylaw
    • Parcel coverage up to 10% over allowable parcel coverage in the Zoning Bylaw
    • All projections into the required setback
  • Guidelines under which the delegate (Director or Manager of Planning) must consider when deciding on the issuance of a variance (Is there a high degree negative impact?):
    • Appropriateness of the development
    • Affects on the natural environment
    • Use and Enjoyment of adjacent lands
    • Changes in use / density
    • Intent of the Zoning Bylaw

Read the report on this initiative and how it ensures the opportunity for public participation while reducing time spent per application and per Council meeting on these "minor" variances.

Old Process Overview:

New Process Overview:

 This is one of several short-term projects the Planning Department has been working on that are intended to help increase dwelling units in the City's affordable housing fabric. For more on other initiatives underway visit our Housing and Development Project Page on Let's Talk Fernie.