Development Procedures & Approvals


We are here to assist you with your development plans prior to starting any formal application processes. Please contact us to discuss your proposal prior to applying.

Staff are happy to speak with you in person, through phone, or e-mail. Pre-development conversations are important in order to inform you of all City requirements prior to commencing the development process. Staff will review your proposal and provide this information for you. In addition to the development applications below, which may or may not be required, staff will also look into other factors such as fees, archaeological and heritage restraints, servicing restraints, emergency services, etc

Below is a list of common applications required for new developments.

Building Permits & Sign Permits

New construction and new signage is regulated through the Building Inspection Department


Subdivision of property is a process that includes the division or adjustment of lot lines.  
Official Community Plan
The Official Community Plan (OCP) is the guiding document for land use and development within the City.  All lands are designated within the City for certain uses, under the vision of the OCP.  All new development must conform with the land use designation and general goals, objectives, and policies set out in the OCP.  In some cases an amendment to the OCP may be required.


Zoning is a way of regulating the use of land by designating properties for a specific range of permitted uses, densities, siting and building form.  In Williams Lake, all properties are assigned a specific zone, which is described in the Zoning Bylaw.  Some developments may require an amendment to the zoning bylaw or property zone.

This bylaw is enforced by the City’s Bylaw Enforcement Department.

Development Permits

The Official Community Plan (OCP) regulates Development Permit Areas and requirements.  Many developments will require a Development Permit.  Development Permit Areas include Wildfire Protection, Downtown and Highway Commercial, and Neighbourhood Centres.

Geotechnical Hazard Areas

The City has undertaken studies to identify geotechnical hazard areas.  These areas include steep slopes, active landslides, ancient landslides, rockfall/rolling rock hazard areas, and the Williams Lake River Valley Escarpment.  In order to accommodate new development, properties within these areas may or may not require special treatment and/or investigation.

Development Variance Permits

Minor adjustments to certain development regulations may be required in exceptional cases for some development.  The Development Variance Permit process allows for these minor variances on a case-by-case basis.

Temporary Use Permits:

In some cases, a permanent rezoning may not be appropriate for certain development proposals.  A Temporary Use Permit is issued through a council bylaw for a period of up to three years, with the possibility of one renewal.  
If you are considering a Temporary Use Permit, please contact our staff for more information.

Board of Variance:

The Board of Variance is established to allow leniency to certain city regulations in extraordinary cases where undue hardship is demonstrated by the applicant.
If you are considering Board of Variance, please contact our staff for more information.

Contact Us

  1. Planning Department 


    450 Mart Street
    Williams Lake, BC 
    V2G 1N3 

    Ph: 250-392-1765
    Fx: 250-392-4408