Subdivision FAQs

What is the difference between rezoning and subdivision?

A rezoning involves a request to change the allowable use or density of a parcel and must be submitted to Council for approval. It involves the creation of a bylaw, a public hearing, and 4 readings of the bylaw by Council. A rezoning can only be approved by Council and cannot be delegated to another authority.

A subdivision is the creation of new parcels or lots. It is considered by the Subdivision Approving Officer who is appointed and governed by the Land Title Act.

Can the Approving Officer refuse a subdivision application?

Yes, however, Provincial Statutes outline the specific grounds upon which the Approving Officer may refuse an application for subdivision. Unlike a Municipal Council's broad authority to reject any application for rezoning, the Approving Officer can only lawfully reject a subdivision application for the reasons specified in the Provincial legislation. The primary reason for rejecting a subdivision is if it is deemed not to be in the public's best interests, or it does not meet the regulations.

If neighbours in the vicinity of a proposed subdivision write in opposition to the subdivision application, will it be rejected?

The input of neighbours is one of many elements the Approving Officer may choose to consider. However, it would not be appropriate for the Approving Officer to reject an application solely on the grounds that the subdivision is not supported by the neighbourhood. 

Can the decision of the Approving Officer be appealed to the Municipal Council?

No, the Provincial legislature purposefully separated the role of Municipal Council from that of the Approving Officer. It would not be lawful for a Councillor or Municipal Council to unduly influence the Approving Officer for or against a subdivision application. The appeal must be made to the BC Supreme Court.

Why don't Municipal Councils make all the decisions on land use?

Municipal Councils set overall land use policies in their Official Community Plans and Local Area Plans. They also have the full authority to pass and change regulatory bylaws such as the Zoning Bylaw that create different zones, densities and lot sizes for different areas within the community. These bylaws are enacted through a mandated public hearing process. However, once a parcel is zoned for a specific use and minimum lot size, the Municipal Council can not be involved in the subdivision approval process as this is governed by the Land Title Act and not municipal bylaw.

How do I find out what services will need to be provided for my proposed subdivision?
  • Contact the Development Engineering Branch 250-469-8649 for information on servicing
  • Contact the local water provider and/or electrical provider
  • Contact the Community Planning Department at 250-469-8626 or email us at  planninginfo@kelowna.ca .
Can I subdivide my property?

The subdivision regulations are outlined in the Zoning Bylaw and differ for each zone. Your property must meet the minimum lot width and depth, lot size, and adhere to all setbacks in order to subdivide. Alternately, you may have to rezone to make subdivision possible.

You can learn more about what you can do with your property on our Property Development page. Or come visit the 2nd floor of City Hall and speak with one of our Planning Technicians at the application centre. You can also call us at 250-469-8626, or email us at planninginfo@kelowna.ca.