PO Box 3681 Station Terminal, Vancouver, BC, V6B 3Y8



Office Hours: Weekdays 9AM-5PM

The Burnaby Board of Variance Timeline

jerrimae gutierrez

    Jun 17, 2022

    10 min


There are no specific formula to shorten the board of Variance process but learning from the timeline of others may help.


The pre-construction stage is very crucial in determining the success of the project. Without the approval of the city in charge of the building and development, the whole project will not materialize and all the planning will turn into waste. If you’re planning to build a single family home in Burnaby, Lucullan Properties highly suggests that before you plan with your architect and contractor, let them visit your site first to review all the requirements as well as the do’s and don’ts to prevent paying the high cost of doing major revisions or incurring heartbreaks because you have to compromise your house plan. 

Success is not guaranteed though. There’s going to be some obscure and minor fine print in the city bylaws that make no logical sense. Sometimes, even if you’ve done many tasks with your contractor, unforeseen issues may still come up resulting in the rejection of your house plan. But don’t worry! In case you encounter this type of issue, there’s still a solution for your permit to be approved. We, at Lucullan Properties, have experienced this issue first hand and in the next three blogs, we will be sharing with you what we did to have our permit approved including the timeline, the struggle, and the Board of Variance process. 

In one of our current projects, we encountered some trouble in getting a permit due to the measurement set for the front yard and vision clearance intersection which went beyond the requirement set by the City of Burnaby. Please note that these happened due to the unique circumstance of the property and did not cause any negative impact on others. For these reasons, our next step was to appeal to the Board of Variance. The Board of Variance is the governing body in charge of the relaxation of the zoning by-laws that may conflict with a property. The process with the Board usually takes a month but coincides with the Board of Variance’s meeting. We had to submit our proposals at least 2 weeks prior to the meeting to get on their meeting’s agenda.  And if the variance is not approved, you cannot apply for a variance for another year. When we had ours, thankfully, only took us about one month and we were approved. Thanks to our team who worked passionately and wisely to ensure that all the requirements were complied with, and to the Board of Variance, for considering our appeal to have our permit granted. 

If you’re wondering how it’s done, let’s now dive into the details of our Burnaby Permit Process for our Watling St. project. 

The timeline

Last February 15, we received an email from the City of Burnaby’s representative stating that the plan we submitted had some deficiencies. According to her, the design isn’t complying with quite a few of the bylaw requirements and she recommended we go to the Board of Variance. The city’s response was immediately brought up to the Watling St. team to be addressed. The team carefully reviewed the comments revised the plans and studied the requirements needed to deal with the Board of Variance successfully. To get started with the Board of Variance process, we put together a hardship letter (letter of appeal) based on the recommendations and suggestions made by the representative and our team. Here’s what happened after: 

March 5: The hardship letter, along with the revised plan was sent to the Board of Variance.

March 17:  Lucullan Properties received the Board of Variance’s response regarding the hardship letter we sent and advised us about the schedule of the zoom conference where our appeal of variance will be presented and judged. 

April 7:  The meeting with the Board of Variance was held, we argued our case, and thankfully, our appeal was considered, and finally, we had our permit*! 

The timeline above may seem fast and smooth but in reality, it’s not. We encountered many struggles related to our property overall through the permitting and variance process and we will be sharing them with you in the coming blogs. Stay tuned. 

*Overall, it took us six months including the five-month waiting period prior to the Board of Variance process which just took a month. 

This article was last updated on May 26, 2023