The City’s Zoning Bylaw regulates development by encouraging land uses and buildings that are in line with community goals and City Council's vision for the future of the city and its neighbourhoods. While the Official Community Plan provides a guide for general long term plans for properties, it is the Land Use Bylaw that establishes what is currently permitted. Rezoning is a legal change to the bylaw to allow an alternate type of development. Council makes all decisions regarding changes to bylaws. View the City's Zoning Map here.
The City's planners are here to help with your rezoning application. They can provide guidance and advice that will save you time and money and help the application process go as smoothly as possible.
To begin the rezoning process, visit or call the City's Planning Department at 250-478-5999.
Staff will research the property, explain related policies and plans and let you know if there are issues you should consider. Review the City’s Land Use Bylaw and Official Community Plan to see how your project fits within those guidelines. A call to the Engineering Department can help you determine what municipal services are available on the property.
Contact nearby property owners to advise them of the proposal and post the notification sign provided by the Planning Department. This helps to identify and resolve concerns at the outset. Planning staff can advise how much public consultation your proposal requires.
Submit your Rezoning Application, including required fees as well as development plans and site maps described in the application. Upon receipt of your application, the Director of Planning may ask for additional information such as density calculations, parking plans, and tree preservation plans.
The Planning Department will guide your application through a review and public hearing process before Colwood City Council makes a final decision. Get a detailed look at the Steps in Processing a Rezoning Application.
Before a rezoning application is approved, it is referred to a public hearing which the public may attend. If you would like to express your opinion about a rezoning application near you, check this list of Current Development Permits and Rezoning Applications for information about the application, when public meetings are being held and the status of the project.
How long will the rezoning process take?
The rezoning process usually takes a minimum of four to six months, but it will take longer if the application is more complicated or insufficient information is provided.
The rezoning process is designed to be fair to the applicant as well as to the greater community, in particular the immediate neighbours. A proposal that is in line with the Official Community Plan and is compatible with the use of surrounding properties will have greater chance of success. The more acceptable the proposal is to nearby residents and businesses, the greater chance of its approval.
Steps in processing a Rezoning Application
- A file is established, location maps are prepared and the application is reviewed by the Planning Department.
- Comments are requested from staff and non-municipal agencies.
- The applicant must erect a public notice sign on the site that is readily visible to the general public passing by. The sign must remain in place until after the Public Hearing is held.
- Adjacent residents and property owners within 75m are notified by the Planning Department of the Advisory Planning Commission meeting being held to consider the application.
- Planning staff prepare a report for the committee which normally examines the nature and background of the application, its relationship to the OCP, the impact of the proposal on the neighbourhood and the suitability of the site for the intended use. The report contains all the information that has been obtained relevant to the application and includes a staff recommendation.
- The applicant presents the application to the Committee and responds to questions. After consideration, the Committee may recommend to Council that:
- a bylaw be prepared,- a bylaw be prepared and that if and when certain considerations are adequately dealt with, Council give further consideration to the proposed bylaw,- the application be denied, or- the application be postponed.
- Council Considers the Committee recommendation. If Council wishes the application to proceed to Public Hearing, a bylaw is prepared and given first and second readings by Council. If Council does not wish the application to proceed any further, the application may be denied.
- Public Hearing notification is done prior to the hearing by:
- sending a notice to property owners and occupations within 75m of the application site, and- publishing a notice in two consecutive issues of a local newspaper.
- A Public Hearing is held. The applicant is expected to present the proposal for the benefit of the public. After the Public Hearing is adjourned, Council cannot entertain further representations concerning the bylaw.
- Council considers further readings of the amendment bylaw. Upon giving consideration to the comments received at the Public hearing, Council may:
- proceed with third reading of the bylaw,- give effect of any representations made at the hearing by requiring that the development plans or amendment bylaw be revised; or
- refuse to proceed with the amendment bylaw, thus denying the application.
After Council has given third reading to the bylaw, any outstanding matters must be resolved prior to the bylaw being considered for final adoption. This may include:
- approval from non-municipal agencies, and
- satisfactory resolution of earlier identified issues and concerns, such as the need for restrictive covenants (also called development agreements)
Council consideration of fourth reading (final adoption). The bylaw may be given final approval or denied.