Development Approvals and Variances

Land development in Kitimat often requires approval before work begins. The approval process is often straightforward. Where you want to do something different than what is designated by zoning,  you will require a variance or zoning amendment. In some cases you may also require an Official Community Plan (OCP) amendment.


Kitimat has three types of development permits. Before finalizing your project or applying for a permit, please meet with staff to review your application and identify any potential issues or challenges. Please email or call 250-632-8910 to book an appointment.

Delivering Your Application

Completed application and fee payment can be delivered to the District of Kitimat reception desk. Payment can also be made by mail or phone.

For more information on development applications please review  Part 9, Division 2 of the Kitimat Municipal Code.

Development Permits

Downtown Revitalization Area (DP-DRA) Development Permit

Our Official Community Plan (OCP) sets the Downtown Revitalization Area (DRA) boundary.

Development permits for this area help ensure all projects contribute to the vision of a revitalized downtown core by following Kitimat's Downtown Design Guidelines and recommended colour palette.

Exterior renovations, new construction and most signs require review by the Downtown Design Panel. The panel evaluates the aesthetic components based on standards set in the guidelines and provides recommendations to Kitimat Council or delegate. 

Downtown Revitalization Area Development Permit (DP-DRA)

Multi-Family Residential Development Permit

A development permit is required for construction or exterior renovations of multi-family developments, including, in some cases, accessory buildings 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".

Development Permit Application 

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

Kitimat's 2008 Official Community Plan (OCP) established a new development permit area for purposes of development approval information. This permit applies to all land in Kitimat; see OCP sections 4.4.1 - 4.4.6 and maps labelled Schedules A and C.

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

A permit under this designation is not required if a permitting or approval process has already been required:

  1. Federal, provincial, or joint federal-provincial environmental impact assessment
  2. Community consultation, and
  3. Impact mitigation.

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

Variances and Amendments

Do you want to do something different than what the ground rules set by the Kitimat Municipal Code and Official Community Plan suggest? Is your site located in a development permit area?

If you answered yes to either question, please consult the Community Planning & Development Department. Staff can confirm if development approval is required, help fine tune your proposal and provide some of the information that may be needed to complete your development application.

Development applications allow property owners to bring forward an idea that may not follow Kitimat's current regulations. Each approval process is a bit different.

All applications include neighbourhood and/or community consultation; and advertising opportunities for public comment on our municipal website and municipal bulletin boards. Some approvals require newspaper ads. OCP and zoning amendments almost always require a bylaw, a public hearing, and consideration by the Advisory Planning Commission. Fees vary to reflect advertising and other costs.

Applications may take 16 weeks or more to process. Complex proposals or applications that are changed during the review process, in response to public comment or other reasons, may take longer.

Building permit applications may be submitted and reviewed while a development application is under consideration. A building permit will not be issued, however, until development application approvals are complete.

Before finalizing your project or applying for a permit, we encourage you to meet with staff to review the application and identify any potential issues or challenges. 

Official Community Plan Amendment

Kitimat's Official Community Plan (OCP) establishes the overall development pattern, priorities and policies for our community. A project that does not follow the OCP must have Kitimat Council approval to amend the plan before moving forward. In some cases it may be necessary to amend both the OCP and zoning map.

Official Community Plan Amendment Application

Staff can provide an overview, review steps, key dates and general timelines at a pre-application meeting.

Zoning Amendment

Land within the District is divided into four land groups: residential, commercial, industrial, and greenbelt. There are many different zones within each group. Each zone allows different land uses and may establish different limits for lot coverage, density, and more. To determine which zone applies to a specific property, look at Kitimat's zoning maps.

If your project does not satisfy current zone regulations you may apply for a zoning amendment. A zoning amendment may change the regulations for all properties in the zone or it may “move” your property to a different zone.

Zoning Amendment Application

Staff can provide an overview, review steps, key dates and general timelines at a pre-application meeting.

The process to amend zoning requires community consultation. If you have received a letter inviting comment on a pending bylaw to change current zoning, please remember that Kitimat Council welcomes public comment on development applications.

Siting, Setback or Height Variance

There are two ways a property owner can request a variance to siting, setback or maximum height regulations: Board of Variance Appeal or Development Variance Permit.

An example of when you may need a variance is if the regulations for your zone require a side yard of 1.8 metres and you want to build a garage 1.2 metres inside your property line; you must obtain permission.

Variance approval must be obtained before a building permit is issued or construction is started.

Board of Variance Appeal
  • Board of Variance members are appointed by Kitimat Council. All three members have construction expertise or experience.
  • Your neighbours will be notified of your application and provided with an opportunity to provide comment.
  • At your Board of Variance hearing you can speak to board members about your project.
  • The Board will look at options for you to build in compliance with siting regulations; they may approve the project as presented, or as modified to satisfy Board or neighbourhood concerns.
  • The Board must determine that undue hardship will result if a variance is not granted.

Board of Variance Application

Development Variance Permit

Development Variance Permit applications are brought forward to Kitimat Council. The process includes neighbourhood consultation and speaking to the Advisory Planning Commission and Kitimat Council about your proposal.

Development and Development Variance Application

Temporary Use Permit

Temporary Use Permits (TUPs) allow a short-term land use not otherwise permitted in the zone. For example a TUP may allow a home-based business to operate in the R1-A Residential Zone.  Find a zoning map here.

TUPs are approved by Kitimat Council or by the Director of Community Planning and Development through delegate approval. A permit may be issued for up to three years and renewed once. 

Find the Temporary Use Permit Application on this page.

For more information contact Community Planning and Development by email or call 250-632-8910.

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