Board of Variance

A Board of Variance is an independent decision making body with limited powers, established in accordance with Part 14 of the Local Government Act. Boards of Variance can grant minor variances to Zoning Bylaw and other rulings as set out in the Act. The variance must be justified by the presence of “undue hardship”, as determined by the Board.

In the City of White Rock, the Board of Variance Committee is comprised of three volunteers that are appointed by City Council for a three year term.

The Board is an avenue for appeal on the application of certain local government bylaws in specific circumstances defined in the Act. The Board of Variance is not an appeal board for local government policy decisions and it cannot replace the decisions of elected officials. A person may appeal to the Board for a variance only if the application of the regulations to their particular site would impose undue hardship upon them.


What can the Board of Variance vary?

The jurisdiction of the Board is set forth in Section 540 of the Act. The Board may only order a minor variance or permit an exemption in relation to circumstances that include, but are not limited to the following:

  • The siting, size, and physical dimensions of buildings and structures (such as lot coverage or setbacks) as
    regulated under the Zoning Bylaw; or
  • Prohibitions on structural alterations or additions in relation to buildings containing lawful non-conforming uses

Additionally, the Board cannot order the issuance of a minor variance or a permissible exemption if the proposal would, in the Board’s opinion, result in the following:

  • result in the inappropriate development of the site;
  • adversely affect the natural environment;
  • substantially affect the use and enjoyment of adjacent land;
  • vary permitted uses and densities on the site; or
  • defeat the intent of the bylaw

Only the Board of Variance may determine what constitutes a minor variance or a permissible exemption, and whether or not undue hardship has been demonstrated.

Board of Variance Application Process

The Board of Variance application is fully detailed in the White Rock Planning Procedures Bylaw. For reference, a general overview of the Board of Variance application process is provided below:

Frequently Asked Questions


If you have any questions, contact or call 604-541-2277.