Local government advisory planning commissions

Municipal councils and regional district boards may establish advisory planning commissions to get advice on planning and land use matters.

Advisory planning commissions can only provide advice on matters that have been referred to them. The authority for establishing advisory planning commissions is slightly different between municipalities and regional districts.

Municipal advisory planning commissions

Municipal advisory planning commissions may consider all matters that have been referred to them by council respecting land use, community planning or proposed bylaws and permits.

Regional district advisory planning commissions

Regional district advisory planning commissions may consider all matters that have been referred to them by the regional district board or an electoral area director, respecting land use, preparation and adoption of official community plans, or proposed bylaws or permits.

A regional district advisory planning commission may be established for one or more electoral areas, or portions of an electoral area, and the commission may advise the board or an electoral area director.

Establishing bylaw

In both cases, the bylaw establishing an advisory planning commission must specify:

  • The composition of the commission and the manner to appoint members
  • Procedures governing the conduct of the commission
  • Referral of matters to the commission

Advisory planning commission requirements

The number of members for an advisory planning commission is not defined in legislation, however at least two-thirds of the members must be residents of the municipality or the regional district electoral area.

Advisory planning commission members must serve without remuneration, however they may be paid reasonable and necessary expenses for their work on the commission.

Certain people are not eligible to be a member of an advisory planning commission, however they may attend a meeting of the commission in a resource capacity:

  • Council member
  • Regional board electoral area director
  • Local government officer or employee
  • Approving officer

Advisory planning commission meetings

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