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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions - Zoning, Development Permits and Heritage Conservation


A sign on a lot indicates the owner has applied for a rezoning. How can I get more information about what is being proposed?

When the City receives an application to rezone the applicant is required to install notification signage on the subject property. If the sign just went up, it likely means the application was just received and is under review by the Planning Department. For additional information stop by the Planning Department to review the proposed plans, or Contact Us. Once a date for the public hearing is established, it will be included on the sign.

I just received a notice of a public hearing for a rezoning. What should I expect if I decide to attend?

The public hearing is open to any person who feels that they have an interest in the proposed rezoning. The hearings are attended by Council and chaired by the Mayor.

After the application is introduced the applicant is given an opportunity to outline the proposal, and answer any questions that Council may have. In Nanaimo, there is no 'speakers list' for public hearings, so once the applicant is finished the floor is open to anyone who wishes to speak to Council regarding the proposal.

If you decide to address council you will be asked to provide your name and address, and indicate if you are for or against the proposal.

Remember, the Public Hearing is the final opportunity to provide input to Council on the rezoning proposal. Council makes no decisions at the hearing; all applications are considered at the next Council meeting.

Development Permits

What Zoning Bylaw requirements can a development permit not vary?

The development permit application cannot vary permitted uses or density listed in each zone.

Does the City have design guidelines?

Yes. The majority of the City is within Development Permit Area No. 9 and subject to the "General Design Guidelines." Other guidelines that may need to be considered include:

For a copy of any of these guidelines, please contact us.

How long is an approved development permit active?

A development permit is valid for two (2) years. If a significant portion of the project is completed (i.e., a phased development), the development permit is active until the project approved by the development permit is completed.

Are development permits renewable?

Yes. Development permits are renewable in increments of two (2) years. The application fee is $750.00 for each renewal period.

Heritage Conservation

Does the City of Nanaimo have a Heritage Register?

Yes.  In 1998, the City published an inventory of heritage resources entitled “The Heritage Resources of Nanaimo.”  Approximately 125 historic buildings were included on this inventory plus 6 historic cemeteries, 15 historic structures, sites and objects, and an assortment of historic landscape features.  In 2001 an additional 17 buildings were added to the inventory.  On 2002-Oct-07 a modified version of this inventory was adopted by City Council as the City's official Community Heritage Register.

Since 1998, the Nanaimo Community Heritage Commission has been maintaining the inventory list and recently completed a review of the downtown core that resulted in 10 new buildings being added to the inventory. Click here to view the Inventory.

Does the City of Nanaimo Offer Financial Incentives for Building Conservation?

Yes.  The Local Government Act permits local governments to provide financial assistance to owners of properties with recognized heritage value.  The City currently offers the following incentive programs:

How can I find out more about the City's heritage conservation program?

For more information, please contact the City of Nanaimo's Heritage Planner at 250-755-4472 or visit the Heritage Web page.


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