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Board of Variance

The Board of Variance is an independent body that considers variances to the Surrey Zoning Bylaw. The Board has the authority to grant variances in situations where compliance with the Zoning Bylaw would cause a person undue hardship. Open meetings are held once per month.

View the 2017 Board of Variance meeting schedule.

Permitting variance

A minor variance may only be permitted if the Board finds undue hardship; and if the variance does not:

  • Result in inappropriate development of the site or adversely affect the natural environment;
  • Substantially affects the use and enjoyment of adjacent land;
  • Vary permitted uses and densities under the applicable bylaw; or
  • Defeat the intent of the applicable bylaw.

Jurisdiction and limitations of the Board of Variance

Within Board Jurisdiction:

  • Variance of zoning regulation relating to the size, dimensions on siting of buildings or structures;
  • Structural addition of non-conforming buildings and structures;
  • Relaxation of certain limited subdivision servicing requirements;
  • Determination of the percentage of destruction of a non-conforming building or structure (a matter relevant to whether it can be rebuilt).
  • Variance of certain tree protection requirements; and
  • Granting an extension of the effective date of a Land Use Contract termination.

Outside Board Jurisdiction:

  • Conflict with a registered covenant or Section 219 of the Land Title Act
  • Deal with a matter that is covered in a permit or land use contract;
  • Deal with a flood plan specification;
  • Apply to a property where authorization for Heritage Conservation alterations are required;
  • Apply to a property where Heritage Conservation is scheduled or contains a feature or characteristic of Heritage Conservation;
  • Apply to a property where a Heritage Revitalization Agreement is in effect.

Appealing to the Board of Variance

Board of Variance Appeal Application Process:

  • Pre Application Requirements – The application process to appeal to the Board of Variance is quite extensive. In making your application you should have a working knowledge of all relevant local zoning bylaw and maps, the Official Community Plan, and any special restrictions (e.g. heritage, land use contracts, development permits areas and restrictive covenants). Before submitting the application for a variance you may want to contact the Planning Department to determine whether a bylaw variance appeal is valid.
  • Submitting an Application – Once it has been determined that by-law variance appeal is required, applicants must complete and submit the BOV appeal application to the City Clerk’s Office, and provide all supporting documents.  For additional information on the application process and all corresponding documentation required please consult this BOV appeal application guide.  A BOV appeal checklist is contained in the guide to help organize the application package.
  • The Board has been granted the authority to consider the extension of the effective date of a Land Use Contract termination.  Detailed information on restrictions and how to apply to the Board can be found on our Land Use Contract Termination Appeals page.

Complaining about the process or a Board of Variance decision

A decision made by the Board of Variance is final. However, judicial review of Board decisions is available through the Judicial Review Procedure Act.

Judicial review may occur when it is suspected that the Board exceeds its jurisdiction, breaches the rules of procedural fairness in reaching its decision, or makes an unreasonable decision.

Board of Variance Minutes