A local government that has adopted a Zoning Bylaw must establish one or more Boards of Variance (BOV). A person may apply to the BOV for a minor variance if they feel compliance with the bylaw would cause them a hardship. For example, if a big rock in their yard made it a hardship to site the house in conformity with the normal setbacks, a person could apply for a minor variance.
The BOV cannot vary the permitted uses, densities, or parking under the Zoning Bylaw, nor does it to deal with major variance applications. Major variances require a Development Variance Permit application.
In a municipality, a BOV will consist of three persons. Each member is appointed for a three-year term by the municipal Council or regional board but members of an Advisory Planning Commission or an officer or employee of the local government are prohibited from being appointed to a BOV. An appointment can be rescinded at any time. Review their terms of reference within the Board of Variance Bylaw.
Meetings of a BOV must be open to the public. The BOV may grant a variance if they have considered the following factors and are of the opinion that the variance does not:
The BOV focuses primarily on hardship relating to matters such as siting, dimensions and size of buildings. They cannot conflict with other matters such as Land Title Act covenants, permits or land use contracts or floodplain bylaw specifications.
A decision of the BOV is final. However, there may be an appeal to the Supreme Court in the specific case where a person alleges that there has been an error by the Building Inspector in the determination of the amount of damage to a non-conforming building above its foundation (75% or more of its value).
A decision by a tribunal like a BOV may be assessed by the Courts under the Judicial Review Procedure Act if it alleged that proper procedure was not followed.