Board of Variance
The Board of Variance is an independent review board that can help with zoning relaxations.
Pursuant to Section 536 of the Local Government Act, the Board of Variance was established by Surrey Board of Variance Establishment Bylaw, 2010, No. 17282.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. Generally, open meetings are held once per month.
Learn more about the Committee's function in the BOV Terms of Reference.
Board of Variance meetings are scheduled for the first Tuesday of each month, except in August and December; however, meetings only occur when there are applications ready for the Board's consideration.
The 2023 Board of Variance meeting is scheduled as follows:
- January 18
- March 14
- June 13
- October 10
- November 14
Board of Variance meetings are held in person. Please refer to the agenda for the meeting location.
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
Please review the BOV appeal application guide for detailed information on the application process.
General Board of Variance Appeal Application Process:
Submit a BOV Inquiry form to BOVInquiry@surrey.ca. The Planning Division will conduct a preliminary review to determine whether an appeal to the BOV is recommended, or if a Development Variance Permit process should be undertaken. If an appeal to the BOV is recommended, the Planning Division will request that you proceed to the next step, which is to submit a BOV application.
- Submitting an Application
Submit a Notice of Appeal Application form, along with all supporting documents, to firstname.lastname@example.org. The requisite supporting documents are listed in the BOV appeal application guide, and include, but are not limited to the following:
- a copy of the certificate of title for the property (not older than three months), as well as copies of any covenants, easements, rights-of-ways, building schemes, and design guidelines, that are referenced on the certificate of title.
- a letter addressed to the Board members, explaining in brief a description of the variance, why the variance is required/justified, and, in particular why there is undue hardship.
- site plan, floor plans, elevations, etc.
- a letter of authorization if an agent will be acting on behalf of the owner(s).
- Payment of Fees
You will be contacted by the Board Secretary to arrange for payment of the application fee. The 2023 application fee is $504.75 and must be paid by cheque payable to the “City of Surrey”. Please email email@example.com to advise when you will be attending City Hall so that staff are available to meet with you.
- Application Review
The Building Division will conduct a comprehensive review of the application and will work the applicant/agent to resolve any outstanding issues. Once the review has been complete, the Planning Division will advise the Board Secretary that the application can proceed to the next available meeting.
- Public Notification
The Office of the City Clerk will send out notices to the neighbours and the applicant of the appeal, and will publish an agenda on the City's website.
- Consideration of the Appeal at a Board Meeting
The appeal will be considered at the scheduled meeting and the applicant will be provided an opportunity to explain the variance requested as well as the undue hardship. The Board will also consider any submissions made by neighbouring property owners. The Board will then deliberate and make a decision to approve, deny or defer the appeal at the meeting. The Office of the City Clerk will also mail a letter to the applicant to confirm the decision.
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.
For questions regarding the Board of Variance, please contact Lauren Blake by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.