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Advisory Planning Commissions


One of the main services provided by local governments is land use planning and decisions are enacted in several documents such as an official community plan, zoning bylaw, development permit, or development variance permit. Some local governments feel that their decisions could benefit from receiving recommendations from an independent body composed of local residents. This can be accomplished establishing an Advisory Planning Commission (APC).

An APC considers proposed land use bylaws or permits that are referred to it by a municipal council, regional board, or electoral area director. A regional district can create APC’s for one or more electoral areas or portions of an electoral area.

The legislation does not stipulate the number of members for an APC but at least two-thirds must be residents of the municipality or the regional district electoral area. There is no length of term stipulated for members of an APC but the bylaw establishing the APC often defines the term as well as the composition and method of appointment.

A council member, regional board member, employee, approving officer, or other officer of a local government is not eligible to be a member of an APC, but they may attend a meeting of the commission in a resource capacity.

Meetings of the APC are open to the public and if the commission is considering an amendment to a plan, bylaw, or permit, the applicant is entitled to attend the meeting and to be heard.

APC’s are advisory in nature and as such, they do not have any direct approval, ownership, or authority over matters that are referred to it.


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