Development Permits Areas

 A Development Permit Area (DPA) is a set of development regulations pertaining to a specific area in an Official Community Plan (OCP).  These designated areas protect development from hazardous conditions in the environment (such as flooding, erosion, land slip, rock falls, fire hazard) and protect the natural environment, its ecosystems and biodiversity. It is important that these matters are considered when developing in DPAs.

Development Permit Areas that have been designated in the RDCO include:

  • Aquatic Ecosystem Development Permit Areas
  • Sensitive Terrestrial Development Permit Areas               
  • Hillside Development Permit Areas
  • Wildfire Development Permit Areas

Each OCP and the Joe Rich Rural Land Use Bylaw indicate the conditions under which each specific Development Permit (DP) is required. There are maps in each document as well as text stating the conditions when a Development Permit application is required.  In an area where a DPA is designated, a development permit must first be obtained prior to subdividing land, construction, or land alteration. Some DPA guidelines require a report from a qualified environmental professional (QEP) such as a biologist or engineer, or other supporting information.  The permit itself includes conditions that must be adhered to during and after development.

Development Permit Areas FAQ

What is a development permit area?

A Development Permit Area is a set of development policies and guidelines pertaining to a specific area in an Official Community Plan.  DPA’s protect development from hazardous conditions in the environment (such as flooding, erosion, land slip, rock falls, fire hazard) and protect the natural environment (including sensitive ecosystems and biodiversity).

what is the purpose of a development Permit?

A development permit is a permit that is approved by the Regional District of Central Okanagan setting out conditions under which development may occur. The purpose of these permits is to ensure that how a development is constructed responds to a set of guidelines to meet specific objectives. These guidelines are most commonly associated with protection of the natural environment, hillside development and the protection of construction from wildfire.

When is a development permit required? 

A development permit is required when the property to be developed is located within a Development Permit Area designated by an Official Community Plan.  If this designation exists, a development permit must be obtained before subdividing land, construction of, addition to or alteration of a building or structure, and any type of land disturbance.

There are exemptions for some activities where a Development Permit is not required. Exemption criteria vary depending on the Development Permit Area within each Official Community Plan.

How do i know if i need a development permit?  

Any property owner that is considering construction, addition, or alteration of a building or structure, or subdividing or engaging in land altering activities is encouraged to contact RDCO Planning staff to discuss requirements related to a Development Permit application.  If a property owner is unaware that their property is located within a Development Permit Area and applies for a building permit, they will be notified either at the time of submission or when the application is reviewed outlining any additional requirements.

What are the steps involved in obtaining a development permit?  

To obtain a Development Permit, a property owner must first submit a Development Permit application with applicable fees and all supporting documentation indicated on the application form. It is advised that applicants meet with Planning staff before submitting a formal application. Once the application has been received by the RDCO, Planning staff will review the application and a decision will be made. If approved, a Development Permit is prepared, indicating any special requirements associated with issuance of the permit. The Development Permit is then sent to the property owner and a letter is sent to the Land Tittle Office to register a Notice of Permit on title.

what is a qualified environmental professional? 

A qualified environmental professional (QEP) is an applied scientist or technologist who is registered and in good standing with an appropriate B.C. professional organization constituted under and Act. Examples could include a professional biologist, Agrologist, Geoscientist, Engineer, or Technologist.

When is security required for a development permit?  

If development conditions include mitigation, maintenance or monitoring plans, the applicant shall post a maintenance/monitoring bond or other security in a form and amount determined by the qualified professional and deemed acceptable by the RDCO. The bond shall be sufficient to guarantee that all required mitigation measures will be completed and furthermore continue to function properly as prescribed.

how is security calculated?  

Bonding requirements are split into two (2) components: Performance Bonds and Maintenance Bonds. Performance bonds guarantee the faithful performance and that work will be completed according to the contract terms and conditions. Maintenance bonds may be required after construction to guarantee the performance/proper functioning of the works. The owner/agent shall provide a security deposit in the amount of 125% of the estimated cost of the works (including monitoring) prior to issuance of a DP.

What is required after development? 

After development is complete a substantial completion report is to be submitted to the Regional District by a QEP. Also, all items included in Schedule ‘A’ must be completed. After these are completed, to the satisfactory of RDCO, 90% of the bond amount will be returned. After two full grow seasons, the site will be inspected by a QEP or RDCO staff to verify maintenance. At this point the remaining 10% of the bond amount may be returned.


Regional District of Central Okanagan | 1450 KLO Road | Kelowna, BC V1W 3Z4
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