Land Development can take many forms. It can be the construction of a new house, a large multi-family development, a commercial project, or even the subdivision of land. No matter the size or complexity of the project, Development Services staff will work with you to find the answers to your questions.
The Development Services Department is made up of dedicated professionals belonging to the Planning, Engineering and Building Departments. These customer service-oriented individuals work on behalf of the District to provide you with an application process that is efficient, timely, and accurate. Staff work to ensure projects comply with Council policies, bylaws and provincial and federal regulations in the creation of subdivisions, construction of roads and utilities associated with development, as well as the construction of buildings. Consultation with other District departments and outside agencies is also undertaken by Development Services staff to ensure projects move forward in a smooth and timely manner.
We appreciate your interest in investing in our community and will assist you in taking your project from concept to completion. Our goal is to enhance the quality of life of our residents and visitors by ensuring the provision of safe and exceptional developments while at the same time providing effective management of the development process.
For more information, please contact the District of Sooke at 250-642-1634
In This Department
What are Development Cost Charges?
Development Cost Charges (DCCs) are monies that are collected from land developers by a municipality, to assist in financing the cost of upgrading or providing infrastructure services to support the new development. Imposed by bylaw pursuant to the Local Government Act, the charges are intended to facilitate development by providing a method to finance capital projects related to roads, drainage, sewers, water and parkland.
What Development Cost Charges does the District of Sooke collect?
The District of Sooke currently has Bylaw 202, Development Cost Charge Imposition Bylawin place in order to allow the District to collect DCCs to help fund road and wastewater infrastructure that benefits future growth in the community.
The District also collects DCCs on behalf of the Capital Regional District (Juan de Fuca Water Distribution DCC).
When are DCCs collected?
- Subdivision – at final approval
- Building Permit – prior to building permit issuance for townhouse, apartment, manufactured home or commercial projects (as defined in Bylaw No. 202)
Are there any other charges I should be aware of?
While not technically a Development Cost Charge, the District also collects School Site Acquisition Charges on behalf of School District #62.
Where can I find out more information?
DCCs related to a townhouse, apartment, manufactured home or commercial development (as defined in Bylaw No. 202) – contact the Building Department at 250-642-1634.
DCCs related to a subdivision – contact the Land Development Technician at 250-642-1634.
CRD Water DCC Bylaw – visit the CRD Website at www.crd.bc.ca
Notice to Developers – Forthcoming Amendment to Flood Hazard Area Land Use Management Guidelines
The Provincial Government proposes to update the Flood Hazard Area Land Use Management Guidelines (FHALUMG, 2004) to include guidance on land use and development in areas that will be affected by sea level rise. This update is based on a technical report (Sea Dike Guidelines) commissioned by the Province and published in 2011, which demonstrates how sea level rise will influence setbacks and flood construction levels in coastal areas and recommends incorporating sea level rise into planning and development to ensure a standard of public safety into the future. The Flood Hazard Area Land Use Management Guidelines have been prepared by the provincial government to help local governments, land-use managers, and approving officers develop and implement land-use management plans, and make subdivision approval decisions, in areas subject to flood hazards.
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations – Flood Hazard Land Use Management
This update represents a significant policy change that will impact land use and development decisions made by local governments in coastal areas. The forthcoming Amendment Flood Hazard Area Land Use Management will amend sections 3.5 (The Sea) and 3.6 (Areas Protected by Standard Dikes) of the Environmental Management Act based on a series of technical studies, Climate Change Adaptation Guidelines for Sea Dikes and Coastal Flood Hazard Land Use (Ausenco Sandwell, 2011), as well as discussion with local governments and stakeholders over the past four years. Publication of the final amendment may also be conditional on further analysis and consideration of any policy or technical issues that arise during the consultation process.
The Province recommends that local governments should consider broad flood hazard management tools to ensure that future land use will be planned and buildings constructed in a manner that will reduce or prevent injury, human trauma and loss of life, and to minimize property damage during flood events. When a local government has a designated flood plan, local governments are required to consider the flood plain guidelines. Prudent local land use management decisions regarding hazard lands, that give due regard to such guidance as is contained in the Guidelines may or may not have liability consequences. Protecting the local government and land owner drawing upon proposed and current guidelines, regulations and best practices is the precautionary approach.
Appropriate land use management requirements should be included by statutory decision-makers at certain stages in the planning process including land use patterns (e.g. subdivision), infrastructure, Official Community Plans, Bylaws and Development Permits.
The Local Government Act sets out the following:
|S. 910||a local government may adopt a flood plain bylaw that designates an area as a flood plain, specifies development levels and setback requirements in a designated area and enforces these conditions;See Flood Regulation Bylaw|
|S. 919.1||a development permit areas may be designated in an OCP for the protection of development from hazardous conditions;|
|S. 920||where a development permit area has been designated under the provisions of Section 919.1 a development permit may specific areas of land that may be subject to flooding, mud flows, torrents of debris, erosion or tsunami that must remain free of development except in accordance with any conditions contained in the permit;|
|S. 903||can regulate parcel configuration, the density of the land use, siting and standards of buildings and structures;|
|S. 694||where building regulations are established or under S.699 where the building inspector considers that construction would be subject to flooding and flood proofing conditions are not established in any of the above.|
|Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations||Coastal Floodplain Mapping – Guidelines and Specifications (June, 2011 – PLEASE NOTE: this is a large file and may take time to download)|
|BC Ministry of Environment||Sea Level Rise Adaptation Primer (January 2013)|
|Fisheries and Oceans Canada, BC Ministry of Environment||Factors Affecting Relative and Absolute Sea Level in Coastal BC (2008)|
|BC Ministry of Environment (June 30, 2014)||Professional Practices in Assessing Flood Protection Guidelines|
The best way to start gathering information on whether your development proposal is viable is by speaking with District staff. To make this quest for information more efficient, we encourage potential applicants of any type of development proposal to bring their proposal and/or questions to a Pre-Application Meeting.
Held each Thursday (by appointment), these meetings offer potential and existing applicants the opportunity to bring their questions before various department representatives at one convenient location. Here you can ask your questions, bring your ideas, and share your development proposals either before applying, or if your application is in mid-stream, you can bring your more detailed issues before the District team.
At the meeting, you may present information to staff on your proposal in person, or staff will discuss your proposal/questions in your absence based on information you provide to us in advance, and provide answers to your questions following the meeting. We encourage all potential applicants to come share their ideas with staff prior to applying for any development so they will be aware of what requirements they may have to meet.
To have your ideas reviewed at a Pre-Application meeting please complete the application form and you will be contacted with an appointment time. If Thursdays just won’t work, please let us know and we will make other arrangements to meet with you.
We look forward to meeting with you!
A Guide to Subdividing Property in the District of Sooke
Subdivision is the process of dividing a parcel of land into two or more parcels or the consolidation of two or more parcels into a lesser number of parcels. It can also include the realignment of property lines. The subdivision process is controlled by the Subdivision and Development Standards Bylaw, Sooke Zoning Bylaw, in addition to other municipal and provincial policies, regulations and legislation.
The Land Title Act allows for the appointment of an Approving Officer who is responsible for the approval of subdivision plans. District of Sooke Council is not responsible for approval of this type of application. Before subdivision approval, the Approving Officer will consider a number of factors, including, but not limited to:
- Size and shape of lots and adequacy of building area;
- Adequacy of roads, lands and emergency vehicle access (refer to Memorandum of Understanding and Amendment Feb 20 2013 with Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure);
- Preservation of the natural environment such as ravines, creeks, streams and trees;
- Compatibility of overall subdivision pattern with the neighbourhood; and,
- Adequacy of sewage disposal, water supply and other services;
The general process for approval of subdivisions both under the Land Title Act and the Strata Property Act is outlined below:
Step 1 – Preliminary Inquiry
At the Planning Department:
Find the zoning designation for your property. This can be done through the Zoning Map on our Online Services webpage. Once you know what your current zoning is, visit the Sooke Zoning Bylaw to find out what standards are applicable for your zone. The Planning Department can also assist in determining your zoning and what the bylaw requirements are for that zone, whether a Development Permit is required, as well as the process for applying to amend the zoning on your property to accommodate a subdivision application (if required).
At the Engineering Department:
All development must be provided with adequate sanitary sewer, rain water management, water servicing for both domestic consumption and firefighting purposes, access, and other utilities, at the developer’s cost. Check the location of existing services for rain water management, sanitary sewer, and street lighting with the Engineering Department to see how much servicing your development may require. The Subdivision and Development Standards Bylaw is an excellent reference at this stage of your planning. Information on water supplied by the Capital Regional District may be obtained from CRD Integrated Water Services.
Before submitting a subdivision application you are welcome to meet with staff to discuss your proposal during a Pre-Application Meeting. These meetings can be arranged through the District of Sooke main office at 250-642-1634.
Step 2 – Application Submission:
Ensure your application form is signed by all owners listed on the Certificate of Title for the property. Your proposal to subdivide should be submitted in the form of a subdivision sketch plan. Your proposal should adhere to the requirements of density, lot size, lot dimensions, road width and length as identified in the Sooke Zoning Bylawand Subdivision and Development Standards Bylaw. Application submission requirements are outlined in a separate Approving Officer checklist.
Step 3 – Preliminary Review:
Once a completed application is received, it will be reviewed by internal departments and the Approving Officer. Referral to external agencies may also be considered by staff. The Approving Officer may then issue a Preliminary Layout Assessment (PLA) letter indicating the action you must take for your subdivision application to proceed to final approval.
Step 4 – Referral to Other Departments/Agencies
In conducting the application review, the Approving Officer may make referral to other agencies and District departments whose interests may be affected.
Step 5 – Preliminary Layout Assessment Letter
Once the Approving Officer has reviewed all pertinent information and believes the application meets all requirements, a Preliminary Layout Assessment letter may then be issued. The letter outlines all the requirements to be satisfied before the Approving Officer’s consideration of final approval of the subdivision plan.
After receiving a PLA letter, you will work to complete the requirements as set out in the letter. The PLA letter may include construction and servicing requirements, layout changes, parkland dedication, as well as legal document requirements.
Step 6 – Design Acceptance
In order to receive final subdivision approval, works and services may be required. The Approving Officer may require the Owner to submit detailed engineering drawings for staff review. Design drawing requirements are outlined in the Subdivision and Development Standards Bylaw.
Step 7 – Highway Use Permit and Insurance
Before any construction commences within the District’s road right of way, a Highway Use Permit must be obtained from the Engineering Department. The permit will also require the provision of liability insurance.
Step 8 – Permission to Construct
Once all bylaw requirements have been met, permission to construct may be granted.
Step 9 – Construction of Works
The Owner proceeds with construction in accordance with the accepted design drawings and specifications and District bylaw requirements.
Step 10 – Inspection of Works
During construction the Owner’s Consulting Engineer is responsible for inspecting the Works and Services and certifying that they are completed in accordance with the design drawings and specifications and District bylaw requirements. District staff may also attend the site, however, their presence does not relieve the Owner and the Owner’s Consulting Engineer from their responsibilities to certify that the Works and Services have been constructed in compliance with the accepted design.
Step 11 – Construction Completion Certificate
Upon completion of the Works and Services the Owner’s Consulting Engineer will issue a Construction Completion Certificate for underground, landscaping, surface works and streetlights. Acceptance of the CCC starts the process for the one year Maintenance Period.
Step 12 – Maintenance Period and Security
The Owner will provide a maintenance security of 10 percent of the off-site construction cost estimates. This security is held by the District for one year following acceptance of the Construction Completion Certificate. During the one year period, the developer will maintain the Works and Services and remedy all defects and deficiencies that become apparent during that maintenance period. Security deposits are not required for works on private property.
Step 13 – Subdivision Approval Before All Requirements Met – Security
Should the Owner seek subdivision approval prior to the construction of all required works and services, the Owner may enter into a Works and Services agreement with the District. The Owner will also provide security in the amount specified in the District Subdivision and Development Standards Bylaw. Once an agreement has been completed, and security provided, the Approving Officer may then consider final subdivision approval.
Step 14 – Final Subdivision Approval With All Requirements Met and Registration
Once all works and services have been completed and accepted by the District of Sooke and all other requirements have been met, you may apply for final subdivision approval. The final approval package will include a subdivision plan prepared by a registered B.C. Land Surveyor, any other legal documents required as the process continued, as well as subdivision fees and charges. The Approving Officer will review your request for final approval and if satisfied that all requirements have been met, will sign the subdivision plan. The plan and any other legal documents can then be registered at the Victoria Land Title Office.
Step 15 – Final Acceptance Certificate
After completion of the one year maintenance period, the Owner’s Consulting Engineer will submit the Final Acceptance Certificate to the District of Sooke and arrange for a Final Acceptance inspection. Once all defects and deficiencies have been remedied, the District will accept the Final Acceptance Certificate and return the maintenance security.
On October 14, 2014, District of Sooke Council adopted Bylaw No. 404, Subdivision and Development Standards Bylaw, 2014. This bylaw applies to the subdivision or development of all lands within the District of Sooke, and includes improvements to multi-family residential, commercial, industrial, institutional or agricultural lands, highways or rights-of-way, including the construction or alteration of a building as authorized by a building permit. The following links provide direct access to the various forms and schedules for use when developing in the District of Sooke.
Bylaw No. 404, Subdivision and Development Standards Bylaw (full document)
On June 22, 2009 District of Sooke Council adopted Bylaw 408 Sooke Town Centre Revitalization that will provide incentives to revitalize the Sooke Town Centre Area in an environmentally sound manner.
Maureen Enser, Executive Director of the Urban Development Institute (UDI) states “ UDI is very supportive of Sooke’s Town Centre Stimulus Program. These are the types of incentives that the industry has been requesting from local governments for sometime. They not only support job growth: they are also targeted to sustainable development practices and affordable housing. It cannot be forgotten that for every million dollars spent on construction, 15 jobs are created. This is a win-win for everybody.”
If you are interested in more information on the vision of Sooke we encourage you to contact the District of Sooke.
For more information, contact:
District of Sooke
tel: (250) 642-1634
fax: (250) 642-0541