A Guide to the Municipal Approvals Process in Chilliwack

Development and Regulatory Enforcement Serivces Department


The City of Chilliwack is providing this information, to assist you in understanding the process of subdivision.  This information describes:

  • Subdivision
  • Subdivision Approval Process
  • Where to obtain additional information

Upon review of the following information anyone intending to submit a Subdivision Application is urged to contact the Development and Regulatory Services Department, Land Development Division, for assistance.

What constitutes a Subdivision?

Subdivision is the legal mechanism used to create new parcels of land.  The subdivision of a property or properties may involve one of the following procedures:

  • Creating several parcels from one or more existing parcels
  • Consolidating two or more parcels into one parcel
  • Adjusting or realigning an existing property line
  • Creating bare land strata lots from one or more existing parcels

What is the purpose of the Subdivision process?

The Provincial Government has granted municipalities the power to regulate the process of subdivision of land.  Prior to registering the subdivision plan in the Land Title Office, it must first have the approval of the City’s Approving Officer.  The Approving Officer ensures each Subdivision Application is evaluated with respect to:

  • Provincial statutes such as the Local Government Act, Land Title Act and related Regulations
  • Municipal Zoning Bylaw, "Land Development Bylaw 2014, No. 3055"
  • Safety
  • Floodplain construction requirements as applicable
  • Necessary utilities, services and access
  • Environmental sensitivity
  • Community compatibility
  • Long-term plans for surrounding properties including the Official Community Plan (OCP)

The Approving Officer may refuse to approve a subdivision plan if he considers the proposal is against the public interest.

Subdivision Approval Process

1. Pre-application stage

Prior to submitting an application of Subdivision, contact the Development and Regulatory Services Department, Land Development Division, to discuss the feasibility of your proposal with respect to:

  • current Municipal Bylaws and Community Plan designation of subject parcel(s) – the correct zone for the use intended must be in place before an application for Subdivision may proceed;
  • Local Government Act, Land Title Act and other Provincial legislation requirements, e.g. if the property to be subdivided is within the ALR an application to subdivide or exclude property may have to be submitted and approved by the ALC;
  • type of information that is required in support of an application; and
  • whether there are any other municipal plans which conflict with proposed Subdivision (e.g. future road network, future trunk sanitary sewer).

To assist staff in this preliminary discussion, submit a sketch of your property.  The sketch should:

  • Be no larger than 8 ½ x 14 (22 cm x 36 cm)
  • Show location of all buildings, septic fields/tanks and other features of land
  • Indicate proposed changes you wish to make through the subdivision process

Please use a convenient scale for the sketch.

2. Application Subdivision

A completed Preliminary Application for Subdivision is submitted by the Applicant to the Approving Officer with the Development and Regulatory Services Department and includes the following:

  • a Subdivision (preliminary) Application form identifying name and status of application, purpose of application, subject property or properties civic addresses;
  • Tree and Green Space Management Plan; in accordance with Tree Management (Land Development) Bylaw 2008, No. 3585;
  • proof of ownership as evidenced by a Tax Assessment Notice or State of Title Certificate;
  • letter of authorization from the owner if applicant is operating as agent for owner;
  • registered Right to Purchase the property which substantiates the right to subdivide the property if applicant is intending to purchase the property;
  • an application fee for preliminary approval to subdivide.  Please note that the application is not accepted until the fee is paid; and
  • 2 paper prints of preliminary subdivision plan.

The Preliminary Subdivision Plan should detail:

  • the metric scale of the plan and the direction of north thereon;
  • the arrangement of all parcels (including remainders), roads, easements, and right-of-way to be created;
  • the metric dimensions of all parcels (including remainders) and roads including: the length of all property boundary lines and arcs; the width of all roads, easements and rights-of-way; and the area of all parcels (including remainders);
  • all water courses or water frontage within or adjacent to the land to be subdivided indicating the natural boundary and top of banks;
  • all buildings, sources of domestic water, and sewage disposal fields, identified and approximately located, existing within the land to be subdivided and the setback distances from existing and proposed property lines;
  • any existing property lines or roads to be extinguished; and
  • a unique number or letter identifying each lot being created.

3. Application Review and Reporting

The Subdivision Approving Officer coordinates the review of your Application, which involves other Municipal Departments and outside agencies.  For example:

Municipal Engineering Department - The Engineering Department reviews the proposal with respect to servicing requirements, including roads, water, sanitary sewer and drainage.

Fraser Valley Health Unit - Application will be forwarded to the Health Unit if a community sanitary sewer is not available to the property (approval time 3 – 4 weeks or longer if the Environmental Health Inspector requires additional information).

Ministry of Transportation and Highways (MOTH) -  If the property lies adjacent to the Trans-Canada Highway, the Application will be forwarded to appropriate Ministry for comment and approval with respect to the Highway Act (approval time 1 – 2 months).

Ministry of Environment (MOE) - If property lies within a Provincially designated floodplain, and is not exempted, then the Water Management Branch will be requested to comment upon the proposed Subdivision.  The property owner(s) will be required to enter into a Restrictive Covenant with the City and subsequently to construct to the Flood Construction Levels specified (approval time 2-4 months).

Agriculture Land Commission (ALC) - If the property lies within the Agricultural Land Reserve, it may be necessary to first acquire the approval of the ALC prior to submitting the application for Subdivision (approval time 2 – 4 months).

Once the approval/comments and requirements are received from Municipal Departments and outside agencies, the Approving Officer will issue a letter for the following:

  • tentative approval to the proposed Subdivision;
  • rejection of the proposed Subdivision in its present form and request that the applicant provide further information or revise the proposal; or
  • rejection of the Subdivision proposal.

4. Conditional Approval – Preliminary Letter of Approval (PLA)

When the Approving Officer is satisfied that preliminary approval may be given to a proposed Subdivision, a Preliminary Letter of Approval is sent to the applicant listing all of the requirements and conditions which must be met prior to the Approving Officer granting final approval by signing the legal survey plan (and thus permitting its registration).  Examples of requirements which must be fulfilled could include:

  • preparation and submission of a legal survey plan by a British Columbia Land Surveyor (BCLS);
  • preparation and submission of Restrictive Covenants (3 copies if applicable);
  • preparation and submission of design drawings by Professional Engineer as required in the PLA;
  • installation of complete engineering works and services prior to final approval or entering into a Subdivision Servicing Agreement (SSA) with the City wherein the developer guarantees the completion of the engineering works and services by a specified date.  The SSA is secured by a Commercial Irrevocable Letter of Credit in the amount specified by the Approving Officer;
  • compliance with the minimum area, frontage, width, and depth requirements of the City’s bylaws;
  • compliance with the specific requirements of such agencies as the Fraser Valley Health Unit, the Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Transportation and Highways; as applicable;
  • compliance with other requirements depending upon the particular characteristics of the Subdivision, e.g. hillside properties may require the submission of a Geo-Technical Report; and
  • payment of required fees such as:
    • administrative levy - $55.00 (2015);
    • current year’s taxes on the original parcel and the following year’s estimated taxes if final approval is granted after November 1st of the current calendar year and before the issuance of next year’s tax notices;
    • sanitary sewer, storm sewer and water connection for each lot created (as applicable) as “sales and service”;
    • development cost charges; and
    • tree and green space management security.

5. Final Approval and Registration

Once all the requirements set out in the PLA have been satisfactorily completed, the Approving Officer is able to give final approval to the Subdivision by signing the final legal survey plan.  In accordance with the Land Title Act the registration of the Subdivision plan at the Land Title Office in New Westminster must take place within 60 days or the re-approval of the Approving Officer must again be obtained.

How much time does the process take?

The amount of time to process a Subdivision Application is largely dependent upon the complexity of the Application.  In addition, the time frame is affected by how long it takes you to meet specific servicing and other requirements detailed in the PLA.  On average, a Subdivision Application takes 3 to 6 months to receive Final Approval once an Application has been submitted.

Upon registering the plan in the Land Title Office additional approvals may be required prior to beginning construction.

Building Permit Approvals – Building Permit approval is required prior to starting construction of all buildings.

Development Variance Permits – a Development Variance Permit may be required to vary a provision of City Bylaws.

For information related to your specific application and the time it will take to process your proposal for Subdivision, contact the City of Chilliwack, Development and Regulatory Services Department, Land Development Division, at 8550 Young Road, Chilliwack, B.C. V2P 8A4.   Phone (604) 793-2902  Fax (604) 793-2285.

General Subdivision Process

This information has been prepared to provide guidance only. It is neither a bylaw nor legal document. Please consult the Local Government Act and its Regulations and the City of Chilliwack Bylaws and applicable Codes for definite requirements and procedures.

Description Date File Size
Subdivision Application 2019-11-08 99KB
Letter of Authorization 2018-10-10 33KB

Tree & Green Space Management Plans

The City of Chilliwack has prepared this brochure to assist you in understanding “Tree Management (Land Development) Bylaw 2008, No. 3585” and the submission requirements for Tree and Green Space Management Plans.