Apply to subdivide properties

Talk to our Subdivision staff

Find out if subdividing your property is possible by contacting our Subdivision staff by phone or email:

604-873-7556
604-871-6627

subdivision@vancouver.ca

You will need the property address and legal description so that staff can identify the property and provide specific subdivision information.

This information is provided unofficially, since a full staff review is necessary before the Approving Officer can confirm the feasibility of subdividing your property.

Requests for official information must be made in writing by submitting either a preliminary proposal or a formal subdivision application to the Approving Office, both of which require a non-refundable processing fee.

Types of subdivision applications

Minor subdivisions

Subdivision of existing sites that are less than 4,000 square metres (m²) in total area are considered minor subdivision applications. Usually, minor subdivisions involve the creation of two or more new parcels from one or more larger parcels. If a proposal is supportable, it usually takes between four to six weeks to issue a preliminary approval letter.

Intermediate and major subdivisions

Subdivision of existing sites between 4,000 and 10,000 square metres (m²) in total area are considered intermediate subdivision applications, while sites over 10 000 m² are considered major subdivision applications, if they are likely to require legal agreements to address servicing, soils and access issues. Subdivision staff should be contacted prior to submitting a preliminary proposal for all intermediate and major applications, to confirm which application fee will apply. Processing times for intermediate and major proposals vary with the complexity of the proposal, the number of legal agreements required and the number of other proposals being processed.

Dedications for road or lane

Dedication of land to achieve road or lane widening is sometimes established as a condition of development permit issuance or a rezoning application. Processing time for dedications is usually one to two weeks, unless there are soil contamination issues. Subdivision plans for dedications must be registered at the Land Title Office to fulfill a development permit or rezoning condition.

Joining properties (consolidation)

Joining two or more parcels into a single parcel is sometimes established as a condition of development permit issuance or a rezoning application. Consolidation plans can be prepared by a BC Land Surveyor and do not require approval from the Approving Officer, unless a road or lane dedication is also required. Consolidation plans need to be registered at the Land Title Office to fulfill a development permit or rezoning condition.

Air space subdivision

Air space subdivision has is a volumetric subdivision with both horizontal and vertical dimensions. It is commonly used to separate ownership in mixed-use developments such as buildings with both residential and commercial occupants. It allows each component to be financed and owned independently. Contact subdivision staff prior to submitting a proposal. Most preliminary approvals take approximately 12 weeks to process, and anticipate a similar period to complete various legal agreements established as approval conditions.

Amending Subdivision Categories in the RS Zoning Districts

To reflect the historic and prevailing subdivision patterns of neighbourhoods throughout the City, Vancouver City Council amended the Subdivision Bylaw on January 19, 1988. The amendment creates seven categories of minimum parcel width and area for subdivisions in the RS-1, RS-3, RS-3A, RS-5, and RS-6 Zoning Districts.

Categories range from 30 feet in width and 3,000 square feet in area, up to 150 feet in width and 18,000 square feet in area, and can vary on a block to block basis. Several of the categories have subsequently been assigned to the RS-3, RS-3A, RS-5 and RS-6 Zoning Districts. When Council introduced the categories, they also approved a process to amend or “reclassify” a category to either a larger or smaller standard.

The subdivision approval process

Preliminary proposal

A preliminary proposal establishes whether a subdivision is possible without you having to pay in advance for a subdivision plan prepared by a BC Land Surveyor. Once you have preliminary approval letter, advise your surveyor to proceed with the survey and prepare the necessary subdivision plans.

Formal application

If you submit a subdivision plan prepared by a BC Land Surveyor with the proposal, that's a formal application to subdivide. The submission requirements are the same as for a preliminary proposal, except that a registration set of subdivision plans is submitted in place of a sketch plan.

Proposal review

Our Subdivision and Strata Title team review all proposals. In our review, we:

  • Consider the proposed parcel size dimensions, the configuration, and the intended use
  • Determine compliance with all applicable City bylaws
  • Get comments and advice from other City departments, provincial authorities, and neighbouring property owners, as required
  • Make a recommendation, based on the results of the review, to the approving officer for a decision

Public notification

Most subdivisions do not require a public notification, but the approving officer may choose to notify neighbouring property owners if there is a concern that they may be detrimentally affected by a proposed subdivision. In these cases, neighbours are encouraged to comment on the proposal, and the approving officer considers these comments, in conjunction with the staff analysis, and other relevant information before making a decision.

Approval of a proposal

If your proposal is accepted by the approving officer, we issue you a letter outlining conditions that must be met before approving the final subdivision plan. For preliminary proposals, the preliminary approval letter is valid for 120 days from the date of approval, but in general the application will be kept active as long as the subdivision plan is submitted within that time.

Refusal of a proposal

If your proposal is refused by the approving officer, we issue a letter outlining the reasons for the refusal. There is no appeal process for a preliminary proposal that is refused. A formal subdivision application must be filed, and refused in writing by the approving officer before an appeal can be made. Subdivision appeal provisions are outlined in both he Land Title Act and the Vancouver Charter, which are both provincial legislation. Appeal a subdivision refusal to the Supreme Court of British Columbia. Neither City Council nor the Board of Variance has any jurisdiction in subdivision matters.

Obtaining final plan approval

Before a subdivision plan can be signed by the approving officer, satisfy all the conditions in the letter of preliminary approval. Have all the owners, mortgage lenders, and any other charge holders sign all the copies of the subdivision plan before obtaining final approval from the approving officer.

Once those conditions have been met and the approving officer signs the subdivision plan, you have the two months to deposit the plan for registration at the Land Title Office. If this has not been completed, you need to re-submit the plan to the approving officer for re-approval.

Subdivision of industrial or commercial lands that may have contaminated soils

Under provincial legislation, the City must collect a site profile as part of an application to subdivide. If you haven’t submitted a site profile as part of a related rezoning or permit application, our Environmental Protection team will request one as part of your subdivision application. If your site meets the criteria, you can submit a site profile exemption form.

Depending on the BC Ministry of Environment response to your site profile submission, you may be required to enter into a remediation agreement with the City as a condition of the subdivision.

Registering subdivision plans

All subdivision plans must be deposited for registration at the Provincial Land Title Office.

Subdivision Bylaw 5208

Subdivision Bylaw 5208

Schedule A: Standards for Minimum Parcel Size and Configuration

Schedule B: Standards for Street Configurations

Schedule C: Standards for Clearing, Grading, Draining, and Surfacing Streets

Schedule D: Standards for Water Distribution Systems

Schedule E: Standards for Sanitary Sewage and Storm-Water Collection Systems or Combined Sewer Collection Systems

Schedule F: Fees

Appendix A: List of Amending Bylaws to the Subdivision Bylaw

BC Land Title and Survey Authority

Land Title and Survey Authority of British Columbia

The LTSA is a statutory corporation formed in 2005 responsible for administering the land title and survey systems of BC. These systems provide the foundation for all real property business and ownership in the province.

Contact our subdivision and strata team

Phone
604-873-7556
604-871-6627

Hours
Monday, Wednesday, Friday
8:00am to 4:30pm

Tuesday, Thursday
8:00am to 4:00pm

Location
Development and Building Services Centre
515 West 10th Avenue
Ground floor

Free 2-hour parking
West 10th Ave parking lot,
between Cambie and Yukon

Mailing address
Subdivision and Strata
453 West 12th Ave
Vancouver, BC V5Y 1V4

Contact Environmental Protection

EnvironmentalProtection
@vancouver.ca

Phone: 3-1-1 (604-873-7000 outside Vancouver)

Mailing address
City of Vancouver
Environmental Protection
453 West 12th Avenue
Vancouver, BC V5Y 1V4

Minor subdivisionIntermediate subdivisionMajor subdivisionRoad or lane land dedicationAir space subdivisionAmend subdivision by-law categories