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If a property owner wants to use or develop his or her land in a manner that is not permitted under the present zoning, a change in the zoning classification of the property is required. This process is called rezoning. A property owner begins by submitting a rezoning application to the Planning Department. The process is not completed until City Council has given Final Adoption to the amending rezoning bylaw.

In Burnaby, there are typically two types of rezoning: Standard Rezoning and Comprehensive Development (CD) Rezoning. While the two processes are basically the same, the CD rezoning process is more involved. Major commercial, institutional, industrial, multi-family residential or mixed-use developments usually require CD rezoning where the specifically approved development plan of the project becomes part of the Zoning Bylaw.

The Rezoning Approval Process

The rezoning process enables Council to thoroughly examine the potential impacts that a change in land use or density may have on the local neighbourhood and on the city at large. By using the professional resources of the City staff and by providing the general public an opportunity to express its view on a proposed change, City Council can ensure that rezoning proceeds in a manner consistent with long-term community goals.

A zoning change can only occur by approval of a Zoning Bylaw Amendment by Council.  Council determines whether or not the rezoning bylaw will or will not be approved.

Who is involved in the Rezoning process?

Planning Division coordinates the rezoning process, reviews the application in view of existing policies and provides recommendations to Council on its technical and planning aspects. Another major role that this Division plays is to assist the applicant in satisfying the various requirements of the process. Depending upon the nature of the proposed rezoning, various departments including Engineering, Environmental Engineering, and Parks will be asked to provide input to the Planning Division.

Since all rezonings require a public hearing, the members of the general public who believe that their interests are affected by the rezoning are given an opportunity to comment on the proposal at a public hearing before final adoption of the Rezoning Bylaw is given by Council. Adjacent property owners and occupants are notified of the public hearing by mail and advertisements in the local newspapers, then presented at a the scheduled public hearing where a "Suitable Plan of Development" (including an illustrative perspective) is presented for discussion.

What is the Process?

The City of Burnaby has prepared this Rezoning Brochure to assist you in understanding the City’s Rezoning procedure. The intent is to provide a straightforward outline of the rezoning process. Upon review of the material, anyone intending to submit a rezoning application is urged to contact the Planning Division of the Planning and Building Department for further information.

Prior to Submitting a Rezoning Application Form Consider the Following:

Related Policies:

Useful links:

How Much Time Does the Process Take?

The amount of time to process a rezoning application is largely dependent upon the complexity of the application. The time frame is affected by how well you respond to meeting the prerequisites as established by Council and the Planning Division. On average, a Standard Rezoning takes 4 to 6 months to process once an application has been submitted. A Comprehensive Development Rezoning, being more complex, may take 6 to 10 months. It must be recognized that the process could take longer, again depending upon the intricacies of the application and the developer’s own timing.

Single and Two Family Residential Area Rezoning Process

The single and two family residential area rezoning process was established to provide property owners with an opportunity to propose and initiate changes to the land use zoning of their neighbourhoods that:

  • introduce potential for small lot development (i.e. R4 or R5 Districts to R12 or R12S Districts, R4 to R5 District);
  • protect single family neighbourhoods from larger houses (i.e. R10 and R11 Districts);
  • consider an adjustment in zoning boundaries where development is inconsistent with existing zoning (i.e. R2 to R3).

The area rezoning process is initiated by property owners.  The process begins by contacting the Planning Department about the type of area rezoning requested and whether the neighbourhood is considered appropriate for an area rezoning.  Staff review the neighbourhood context including the current Official Community Plan (OCP) designation, prevailing zoning, width and size of the existing lots, age of the existing houses, pace of redevelopment, and the proposed zoning district.  If the proposal meets the guidelines for an area rezoning, staff provide advice on the process and a suggested boundary of the area for advancement as part of the next step in the process. For more information on the process, please see the Single and Two Family Residential Area Rezoning Process brochure.

What are the next steps in the development approval process:

Every development proposal will require additional approvals before development can proceed. You should make note of the following:


In many cases, development proposals will require subdivision approval prior to final adoption of the rezoning bylaw. More information »

Preliminary Plan Approval (PPA)

PPA is required for all multi-family residential, commercial, industrial and institutional developments. An application for PPA can be submitted prior to Final Adoption of the rezoning bylaw, but will not be issued until the bylaw has been adopted.
More information »

Building Permit

A Building Permit is required for the construction of all buildings. More information »

Property Address Change

The owner or applicant must submit this application to the Planning Department to commence processing. If there is more than one owner on title, the Change of Address Authorization Form must be completed and attached to your application. This request for property address change is of a personal preference and fees do apply.

More information?

If you have questions on the Rezoning process, please contact the Planning Department.

While every care is taken in the preparation of this webpage, the City of Burnaby assumes no responsibility or liability in respect of this content. This information is intended as a guide only and is not a legal document. The public is advised to review the applicable legislation and bylaws and conduct its own enquiries with City staff.
Rezoning Approval Guide
Rezoning Procedure and Schedule
Rezoning Application Form
  • Engineering Development Review Process

    Pagelet TemplateMoreReview Engineering Department requirements and process.