Development Permits

When a new building is proposed in any of the District’s Development Permit Areas (DPA), or if the building is a multi-unit residential building, a Development Permit is required prior to any construction. The Development Permit ensures the new project is consistent with DPA criteria, as established in the OCP.

A DP is formal approval from Council for the built form, character, function, or layout of a proposed new development. DPs address the siting, massing, form, and character of buildings, environmental protection, landscape plans, parking layout and requirements, and other items depending on the project.

A Development Permit is a permit that approves the form, character, location and physical impact of a new building or renovation. Development Permits can also be used as a way to protect different areas and activities within a community. Provincial legislation gives municipalities the ability to require development permits through Development Permit Areas (established in the Official Community Plan), and also more generally for commercial, industrial or multi-unit buildings. Development Permits are required before Building Permits can be issued.

Municipalities are not empowered to require Development Permits for single-detached or two-unit (duplex) dwellings.

If you have a proposed project that is a commercial, industrial, or multi-unit residential building, or your project is adjacent to a watercourse, you will most likely require a Development Permit (or DP). Your project may also be located in one of Squamish’s Development Permit Areas. 

Thinking of applying for a Development Permit?

If you have a project you think needs a Development, the best place to start is by preparing a conceptual plan based on Development Permit Area (or DPA) Guidelines. The conceptual plan should be consistent with the zone your property is located in, and should include:

  • Total existing lot area;
  • Proposed new building(s);
  • Setbacks between structures and lot lines;
  • Proximity to any adjacent watercourses (if applicable);
  • Building height, number of stories, number of units;
  • Parking layout (parking should be calculated to Section 40 of the Zoning Bylaw 2200, 2011);
  • Building materials and colours;
  • Landscape plan, lighting and signage; and
  • Any other information you think is relevant.

Applying for a Development Permit can often be a technically demanding exercise. Some DP Areas in the OCP also require that plans are prepared by a member of the Architects Institute of BC (AIBC). Depending on the complexity of your proposal, you may choose to have an architect or building designer assist you early in your project design process.

If you have questions about Development Permit Areas, Zoning, or questions about applying for a Development Permit, please contact a Development Services Clerk at 604-815-5002 or

Find out more about applying for a Development Permit by visiting the Application Guides & Forms section.