Building Permit & Development Application Fee Review 2021

The District of Squamish is updating its application fees for Building Permit and certain land development applications and we are looking for your feedback or ideas.


On March 31, 2021, staff held a virtual drop-in session with interested members of the public to present and discuss the application fee changes and receive public feedback before the changes are brought forward for Council's consideration.

Review the presentation on the fee changes from the virtual session here


Development-related application fee updates are necessary from time to time to ensure that the permitting services are mainly funded by development application fees rather than taxation and that the District’s capacity to review an increasing volume of applications can keep up with community expectations. This does not mean that all development application fees are going to increase, some fees are proposed for reduction to ensure that fees are distributed fairly. The last major update to building permit application fees was done in 2016.

Proposed fees changes were presented to Council Committee of the Whole on November 10, 2020 (see staff report for detailed background).

Leave a comment about the proposed fee changes below.

For more information, contact:
Jonas Velaniskis, Director of Community Planning
604.815.5017

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Permit Fee Changes

  • Building Permit Application Fee Changes

    The volume of building permit applications that the District receives has substantially increased in the last two years. For instance, in 2019 the District received approximately 200 building permit applications and 219 building permits were issued. In 2020, 300 applications were received and 230 building permits were issued. The gap between how many applications are received and how many permits are issued has grown resulting in longer wait periods to receive a permit and requiring additional resources to be injected in the review services. 

    The following changes are proposed to Building Permit application fees:  

    1. Increase Building Permit Fees from $9 per $1,000 of development value to $11 per $1,000. This would increase the fees for some building permit applications by up to 20%.  
    2.  Reduce Building Permit Fees for Tenant Improvements from $9 per $1,000 to $7 per $1,000. Depending on the level of improvements, this would reduce building permit fees for commercial, industrial, institutional tenants by up to 20% from current fees. 
    3. Reduce Building Permit Fees for Low Carbon Self Sufficient developments from $9 per $1,000 to $7 per $1,000 of development value. Depending on development value, this would reduce building permit fees for qualified developments by up to 35%.  
    4. Increase Plan Processing Fee from $90 to $200 for all applications.  
    5. Increase Plan Processing Fee from $90 to $500 for applications with development value above $100,000 except for non-residential tenant improvement applications and accessory dwelling units.  
    6. Increase Plan Processing Fee from $90 to $1,000 for applications with development value above $1 Million except for non-residential tenant improvement applications.  
    7. Increase Plan Processing Fee from $90 to $3,000 for applications with development value above $5 Million except for non-residential tenant improvement applications.  
    8. Increase Building Permit Extension/Renewal Fee from $50 to $500 for applications with development value above $100,000.   
    9. Increase Building Permit Extension/Renewal Fee from $50 to $1,000 for applications with development value above $1 Million.
    10. Remove Partial Permit Fee.  
    11. Increase Moving Permit from $100 per building to $200 per building.
    12. Exempt Building Permit Fees for publicly funded affordable housing developments.
    13. Exempt Building Permit Fees for District Facilities when funded by the District.  
  • What are Low Carbon Self Sufficient Buildings

    Low Carbon Self Sufficient buildings qualify for a reduced building permit fee under the proposed permit fee changes. In order to qualify for the lower fee, residential buildings would need to meet the following two energy requirements:

    A. Energy for cooking and heating must come from a renewable energy source. This requirement is measured by Greenhouse Gas Intensity performance, which is in the process of being established in the District’s Zoning Bylaw. Greenhouse Gas Intensity (GHGI) performance is confirmed in a Pre-Construction Compliance Report and As-Built Compliance Report by an energy advisor. 

    Type of Building Maximum GHGI
    (kgCO2e/m2/y)
    Accessory Dwelling Unit, Cottage 2
    Single Unit Dwelling, Two Unit Dwelling, Triplex, Townhouse 1
    Apartment 6

    B. The building’s energy efficiency needs to be one energy step above the applicable base step under the BC Energy Step Code requirements, or for buildings that are already required to meet the top step, 20% of the estimated annual energy consumption of the building has to be generated from on-site renewable energy sources. 

  • How do the Proposed Fee Changes Compare to other Municipalities

    The current building permit fees in Squamish are similar to those in the Resort Municipality of Whistler and the City of North Vancouver. Squamish building permit fees are approximately 30% lower than fees in the District of West Vancouver and approximately 40% lower than the fees in District of North Vancouver.

    If the proposed fee changes are approved, for a regular residential building permit the fees would be similar to the fees in the District of West Vancouver, approximately 30% higher than current fees. Proposed changes that lower fees for Low Carbon Self Sufficient buildings and Tenant Improvements would result in fee reductions from current level by approximately 20% to 35%.

  • Development Application Fee Changes

    Other fee changes are proposed for land use development applications such as Official Community Plan amendments, Rezonings, Development Variance Permits, Temporary Use Permits, and Subdivision applications. The fee changes in this category aim to increase revenue as the current fees for those applications don’t cover the resources spent on processing such applications.Other fee changes are proposed for land use development applications such as Official Community Plan amendments, Rezonings, Development Variance Permits, Temporary Use Permits, and Subdivision applications. The fee changes in this category aim to increase revenue as the current fees for those applications don’t cover the resources spent on processing such applications.The following changes are proposed to Planning and Land Development Permit applications:  

    1. Increase OCP amendment fee for Sub Area Plan applications from $22,000 to $100,000. The current fee does not cover significant planning staff resources required to process Sub Area Plan applications. A Sub Area Plan application involves large land areas and is a first step for area-wide growth consideration. These applications normally take over a year to process and involve significant staff resources to coordinate the review and public engagement. The proposed fee would allow for hiring an additional staff person on contract in order to process a particular application. Currently, additional resources are negotiated with the applicant after the application is made, this change would mean that those additional resources are provided up front. 
    2. Remove OCP amendment fee discount (25% discount on OCP amendment fees) for concurrent OCP and rezoning applications. This change is proposed because Rezoning and OCP amendment fees are not achieving cost recovery for the service provided. 
    3. Remove discount for residential rezonings and development permits above 3 units. This will maintain the initial $300 per unit/lot charge, which is currently reduced to $100 per unit/lot after 50 units resulting in increases to large rezonings. This change is proposed because Rezoning and OCP amendment fees are not achieving cost recovery for the service provided. 
    4. Increase variance notification fee from $250 to $500 to account for actual notification costs. 
    5. Remove separate fee structure for delegated and non-delegated Temporary Use Permits (TUPs). Currently delegated TUPs are charged $500 versus non-delegated which are charged $700. This change is  proposed to ensure that as more TUPs become delegated, the provision of the service can operate closer to full cost recovery.
    6. Remove separate fee structure for delegated Development Permits (DPs) where development exceeds 3 residential units or 300 square meters of non-residential floor space. This change is required to align the DP application fees with the recent changes to delegated DP criteria. 
    7. Remove discount for subdivisions above 50 lots. This will maintain the initial $1,000 per lot charge, which currently is reduced to $100 after 50 lots resulting in increases for large subdivision applications, which are extremely rare.
    8.  Increase minimum fee for subdivision applications from $1,000 to $3,000 to reflect the minimum amount of staff resources required for processing a subdivision application.
    9. Exempt development fees for publicly funded affordable housing developments.

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