Planning Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Building

Can I live in a trailer while building my home?
Can the District of Sechelt identify my property lines or pins?
Do the drawings for a building permit require an engineering stamp?
How long does it take to issue a building permit?
How tall can I build a fence around my property?
I do not have all the documents on the Building Department Application Checklist - can I still submit my application so it gets put in the queue?

Land Use

Are tiny homes or homes on wheels permitted in the District of Sechelt?
Can I build a basement suite or secondary suite on my property?
Can I build a suite on top of my garage?
Can I put a shipping container on my property?
Can I put a yurt on my property?
Do I need a tree cutting permit to cut down a tree on my property?
Does the District of Sechelt allow coach/laneway houses?
How do I pay for my development application? (OCP, Rezoning, Subdivision, Development Permit, Development Variance Permit, Building Permit)
Is cannabis production and/or retail permitted in the District of Sechelt?
What can I build on my property?
What is a Section 219 Covenant?
What size of garage can I build?
When may a Section 219 Covenant be required?

Subdivision

Can I subdivide my property?

Utilities

How can I get an address for my property?
How can I get my property connected to the municipal sewer line?
What is the process to install a septic tank on my property or locate the current septic field?
Where is the nearest gas line in relation to my property?
Where is the nearest water connection to my property?

Building


Q: Can I live in a trailer while building my home?

Yes, you can live in a trailer (or temporary structure) while building your primary dwelling but it requires a temporary building permit. A temporary building may only be erected on a lot if it is in conjunction with the construction of a primary dwelling. A permit for the temporary building may be granted for up to six (6) months, with the option to renew the permit once for an additional six (6) months. Once the temporary building permit has expired, the structure must be removed. A security deposit of $2,000 is required.

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Q: Can the District of Sechelt identify my property lines or pins?

No, a certified BC Land Surveyor must identify property lines and pins. A list of certified professionals can be found on the following website: https://www.abcls.ca/

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Q: Do the drawings for a building permit require an engineering stamp?

An engineering stamp is required if the structure is greater than 55 square metres or if the property is located in a development permit area.

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Q: How long does it take to issue a building permit?

A building permit can take anywhere from 2-6 weeks, possibly longer, to issue depending on how many applications are in the queue. We will call you when your building permit is ready.

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Q: How tall can I build a fence around my property?

In any residential (R) zone, fences constructed on the front lot line cannot exceed 1.3 metres in height. Fences constructed between the front parcel line and front building line cannot exceed 1.3 metres in height. Fences constructed on a side lot line and rear lot line cannot exceed 2.0 metres in height.

For further information, refer to section 313 in Zoning Bylaw No. 25, 1987.

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Q: I do not have all the documents on the Building Department Application Checklist - can I still submit my application so it gets put in the queue?

No, the District of Sechelt only accepts complete applications for building permits with the exception of the Home Protection Office Registration form as that is sent to us directly. Please click here to review the Building Department Application Checklist.

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Land Use


Q: Are tiny homes or homes on wheels permitted in the District of Sechelt?

No, tiny homes are not permitted as they do not meet the minimum zoning requirements for building width “No building containing a dwelling unit shall have a width less than six (6.0) metres, of which at least seven point three (7.3) metres (twenty-four (24.0) feet) or forty (40%) percent of the building length (whichever is greater) is enclosed climate-controlled habitable living area.”

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Q: Can I build a basement suite or secondary suite on my property?

Yes, secondary suites are permitted on all residential zoned properties. Click here to read the requirements to build a secondary suite.

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Q: Can I build a suite on top of my garage?

A suite on top of a garage may be permitted if the property meets the zoning regulations for a guest cottage. A guest cottage cannot be larger than 55m2. Parking space must be provided for the additional dwelling.

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Q: Can I put a shipping container on my property?

A shipping container requires a building permit and must comply with the zoning regulations.

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Q: Can I put a yurt on my property?

Yes, yurts are permitted. They must comply with the zoning setbacks and regulations. Yurts can be used for storage but may not be inhabited or used as a dwelling.

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Q: Do I need a tree cutting permit to cut down a tree on my property?

Please click here to read our brochure on when a tree cutting permit is required. Tree cutting is regulated by Environmental Management and Protection Bylaw No. 484, 2009

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Q: Does the District of Sechelt allow coach/laneway houses?

The zoning bylaw currently does not allow laneway houses. Laneway houses are being proposed in the new zoning bylaw (Bylaw 530) which is being drafted.

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Q: How do I pay for my development application? (OCP, Rezoning, Subdivision, Development Permit, Development Variance Permit, Building Permit)

To pay for your development application, please come to the District of Sechelt Municipal Hall. We accept payment by cheque, cash, bank draft, debit and credit card (Visa and Mastercard only). A credit card may be used for payments up to $5,000. The District of Sechelt does not accept e-transfers.

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Q: Is cannabis production and/or retail permitted in the District of Sechelt?

Information on cannabis retail can be found here.

Cannabis production is currently permitted in the following industrial zones under certain conditions: I-3, I-5, I-6 and I-7.

Visit our zoning webpage for more information.

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Q: What can I build on my property?

Please review the zoning map here to see what the zoning is for the property in question. Next, you can find the zoning regulations and permitted uses here.

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Q: What is a Section 219 Covenant?

An agreement between a local government and the owner of land, where the owner’s rights to use the land, build upon the land, or subdivide the land are limited to further some public purpose.

Authorized by Sec. 219 Land Title Act, restrictive covenants are one of many tools used by local government in the regulation of land use and building use.

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Q: What size of garage can I build?

Please click here to refer to Part Three General Provisions of the District of Sechelt Zoning Bylaw 25, 1987 on Accessory Buildings and Structures. The maximum size of an accessory building is determined by the size of the property. The permitted size of an accessory building ranges from 55 m2 to 250 m2. Accessory buildings must not be located within 1.0 metre of any property line and cannot be greater than 6 metres in height. Accessory buildings are captured in the calculation for the maximum lot coverage that is permitted on the property. Please refer to the zoning requirements to determine the maximum lot coverage allowed for the property in question.

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Q: When may a Section 219 Covenant be required?

Geotechnical Hazard – A Section 219 Covenant restricting the use of the land in accordance with a qualified professional’s report may be required if a property is subject to a geotechnical hazard.

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Subdivision


Q: Can I subdivide my property?

Many factors must be considered when determining if a property can be subdivided. Please call the planning department to make an appointment with a planner to discuss whether the property in question has subdivision potential.

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Utilities


Q: How can I get an address for my property?

The Sunshine Coast Regional District assigns all the addresses for the Sunshine Coast. Contact the SCRD at 604-885-6800 or go to https://www.scrd.ca/Addressing.

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Q: How can I get my property connected to the municipal sewer line?

Confirm with Engineering or the Public Works department whether sewer service is available at your property. If sewer service is available, fill out the following application located here.

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Q: What is the process to install a septic tank on my property or locate the current septic field?

Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) regulates all septic fields and has the files for septic systems installed on the Sunshine Coast.

Contact VCH at 604-885-6101.

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Q: Where is the nearest gas line in relation to my property?

Use FortisBC's interactive map to determine whether natural gas is available in your neighbourhood.

FortisBC phone number: 1-888-224-2710.

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Q: Where is the nearest water connection to my property?

Contact the Sunshine Coast Regional District Water Services Division at 604-885-6800 or https://www.scrd.ca/Water.

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