Do I Need Development Approval?

Does your proposed project conflict with ground rules laid out by the Kitimat Municipal Code and Official Community Plan? Is it located within a development permit area? If you answered yes to either, please consult the Community Planning & Development Department. Staff will help you fine tune your proposal and provide the information you need to complete your application.

The following application processes are managed by Community Planning & Development. Applications become public once they are presented to Council, Board of Variance, or Design Panel. The decision process generally involves neighbourhood consultation and may include advertising. Fees vary to compensate for different advertising and processing costs.

Before finalizing your proposal or applying for any of the listed permits, we encourage a pre-meeting with District of Kitimat Planning Department staff. Pre-meetings provide a means to ask questions and discuss issues. Planning staff can coordinate with Building and Engineering to ensure your questions are answered. Please call 250-632-8910 to book an appointment or e-mail dok@kitimat.ca.

Development Applications

Official Community Plan Amendment

Kitimat's Official Community Plan (OCP) establishes the overall development pattern, priorities and policies for a community or neighbourhood. A project which is not initially in compliance with the plan can proceed only if Council first amends the OCP. It may be necessary to amend both the OCP and Zoning. If so, both applications are considered at the same time.

Building permit application and plan review may be concurrent.  However, planning approval is necessary prior to Building Permit approval.

The decision process requires preparation of a bylaw; consultation with area property owners, tenants, the community, and Kitimat's Advisory Planning Commission; consideration of a bylaw; and a public hearing. A final decision may take sixteen weeks or more; and could be delayed if the application is complex or is modified in response to feedback received during the review process.

Please note the requirement for a site plan and a description of your project. You are encouraged to provide a cover letter, elevation drawings, and relevant technical reports.

Zoning Amendment

There are 13 commercial, 13 residential, 11 greenbelt and 6 industrial zones in Kitimat. Each of these zones allows a different mix of activity.

If your proposal falls outside the scope of current regulations you may apply for a zoning amendment. This type of application can add a new activity or new activities to the list of permitted uses in a zone; it can "move" a property from one zone to another zone; or it can establish a new zone customized for a particular proposal. A zoning amendment can also be used to modify Conditions of Use such as minimum lot area or lot frontage, maximum lot coverage, or maximum building height in any zone.

Zoning amendments will apply universally to all properties in the zone. The decision process requires preparation of a bylaw; consultation with property owners, tenants, the community, and the Advisory Planning Commission; consideration of a bylaw; and a public hearing. A final decision could take as many as 16 weeks. A decision may be delayed if the application is complex or is modified in response to feedback received during the review process.

Please note the requirement for elevation drawings and site plan. The site plan should accurately outline your existing and new buildings in relation to property line and yard setbacks.  Landscape plan may also be required.

Temporary Use Permit

A Temporary Use Permit can allow a land use - not otherwise permitted by zoning - to occur on a plot of land; either Crown or privately owned, for a maximum of three years. One common use is for a "home occupation" business at a dwelling in the R1-A residential zone.

Temporary Use Permits are granted by Deligate Approval or Mayor and Council. Permits may be renewed once. Applicants must re-apply to continue use after the renewal permit expires.

Please indicate if the application is new or renewal.

Board of Variance Appeal

A Board of Variance Appeal is one of two ways a property owner can obtain approval to vary siting or setback regulations. If, for example, zoning regulations require a side yard of 1.8 metres and you want to build a garage within 1.2 metres of your property line, you need to obtain special permission in advance. The Board of Variance can grant this approval. Your other option is a Development Variance Permit (DVP). Receiving a DVP involves a meeting with Mayor and Council. 

Please note the requirement for elevation drawings and site plan. The site plan should accurately outline your existing and new buildings in relation to property line and yard setbacks. You may find that drawing on a digital photo is a good way to prepare an elevation drawing. A survey may be required to determine location of property lines.

In addition to adequate drawings, you must also explain why you need a variance. The Board must be convinced you will suffer hardship if the variance is denied. The Board will look at what other options you have to build in compliance with siting regulations.

Development Variance Permit

A Development Variance Permit is one of two ways a property owner can obtain approval to vary siting or setback regulations. This route involves appearing before Kitimat Council at a regular meeting. Your other option is appearing before the Board of Variance.

Please note the requirement for elevation drawings and a site plan. The site plan must be a scaled drawing which shows all existing buildings in relation to property line and yard setbacks; and your proposed new building or proposed addition. An elevation drawing could be a pencil or ink drawing or a marked-up digital photo. Your drawings must communicate your intentions to Council members and your neighbours.

In addition to adequate drawings, you must also explain why you need a variance. Council must be convinced your request is reasonable and will not adversely impact neighbouring properties.

Development Permit: Downtown Revitalization Area (DP-DRA)

A development permit (DP-DRA) gives a property or business owner permission to commence a specific project, and outlines what, if any, exemptions to design guidelines or the Kitimat Municipal Code requirements have been approved. A colour palette for downtown buildings is available.

All DP-DRA applications are reviewed by the Downtown Design Panel. The Panel evaluates the aesthetic component of all downtown projects and provides recommendations to Staff or Mayor and Council.

Please note the requirement for elevation drawings and a site plan (paper or pdf). At least one colour set of your proposal drawings, up to 11 x 17 inches in size, must be submitted. A landscaping plan should also be included, if applicable. A sample board which displays new exterior finish materials is also appropriate.

Development Permit: Multi-Family Residential Project

A Development Permit is required for the construction or major exterior renovation of a multi-family dwelling, or an accessory building on land in a multi-family zone. A multi-family dwelling is defined in the Kitimat Municipal Code as "a dwelling containing three or more dwelling units." Such dwellings may be located in, or proposed for, the following residential zones:

  • R3-A: Multi-Family Residential (apartment or terrace);
  • R3-A1: Special Multi-Family Residential (terrace);
  • R4-A: Multi-Family Residential (boarding or rooming houses);
  • R4-B: Bed and Breakfast Inn Residential;
  • R5-A: Special Residential (welfare or rest homes);
  • R6-A: Special Residential (manufactured); and
  • R6-B: Mobile Home Parks

Be sure to indicate in section 1 that you want a Development Permit.

Development Permit: Development Approval Information Area (DP-DI)

Kitimat's 2008 Official Community Plan (OCP) established a Development Permit Area for purposes of Development Approval Information. The whole of the municipality lies within this DP DI area. See OCP Sections 4.4.1 to 4.4.6 for rationale and guidelines, and Schedules A and C.

This permit process ensures that protected areas include key environmentally sensitive areas and important fisheries and wildlife habitats. This permit process also ensures that development is protected from natural hazards such as land slip and flooding.

A permit under this designation is not required if project permitting or approval process has required: (1) federal, provincial, or joint federal-provincial environmental impact assessment (2) community consultation, and (3) impact mitigation.

OCP Schedule A and Schedule C will be updated as new information on environmentally sensitive lands and hazard areas becomes available. Any proposal to remove hazard land designation status will consider existing hazards, potential impacts and proposed mitigation measures.

An application form is in development.

Delivering Your Application

Before you submit an application you should discuss your proposal with Planning Department staff. Please call 250- 632-8910 to book an appointment or e-mail dok@kitimat.ca.

Completed applications and fee payment can be submitted to the DOK reception desk at 270 City Centre during regular business hours: 8:30 am to Noon and 1:00 to 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday. The District office is closed weekends and Statutory Holidays (including Easter Monday). Payment may be made by mail, phone or in-person. Cash, personal cheque, debit card, MasterCard or Visa are accepted.

For more information on development applications, please review section Part 9, Division 2 of the Kitimat Municipal Code, or call Community Planning & Development at 250-632-8910.