Development Permit Areas

The Local Government Act (LGA) enables local governments to designate areas of land known as a development permit areas (DPA) for one or more purposes. These purposes include:

  • protection of the natural environment, its ecosystems and biological diversity;
  • protection of development from hazardous conditions;
  • protection of farming;
  • revitalization of an area in which a commercial use is permitted;
  • establishment of objectives for the form and character of intensive residential development;
  • establishment of objectives for the form and character of commercial, industrial or multi-family residential development;
  • in relation to an area in a resort region, establishment of objectives for the form and character of development in the resort region;
  • establishment of objectives to promote energy conservation;
  • establishment of objectives to promote water conservation;
  • establishment of objectives to promote the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
If a local government designates a DPA in its Official Community Plan (OCP), the OCP must describe the special contributions or objectives that justify the DPA designation. Guidelines for how development proposed for that area can address the special condition or objectives must also be specified.  Here is the link to the OCP.  Please refer to Chapter 11 for details about each development permit area:  OCP

Within a DPA, a property owner must obtain a development permit before subdividing land or constructing, adding to, or altering a building.  These maps show generally where the development permits area are in relation to Highlands properties: 
OCP Map 11.1 - Steep Slopes; Water and Riparian Areas:  OCP Map 11.1
OCP Map 11.2 - Sensitive Vegetation:  OCP Map 11.2.  The determinant for whether an area is subject to a development permit will be dictated by what is on the ground.  Typically, this has to be verified by an appropriately qualified professional.

The Following are established Development Permit Areas in the District of Highlands and attached are their Guidelines.


Development Permit Areas for Climate Action



In 2008, the provincial government amended the LGA to enable local governments to establish development permit areas for climate action. These additional purposes include: establishing objectives to promote energy conservation, water conservation and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction. 

The District of Highlands has established Development Permit Area #6 for these purposes.
  • DP Area #6 - Energy and Water Conservation and Reduction of Greenhouse Gases