Written Approvals in Controlled Areas

Pre-Application Check

Section 52 of the Transportation Act defines a controlled area as the radius of 800 metres around an intersection of a controlled access highway with any other highway.

Enquire at the Planning Department of your local government body to see:

  • If the proposed use is permitted in the present zone designation or whether you will need to apply to rezone your property to another category.
  • If you need a development permit for commercial or industrial buildings exceeding 4500 square metres.
  • If a bylaw must be adopted, or if a development variance permit or development permit must be issued.
  • If you require a heritage revitalization agreement or amendment.
  • Find out if the intended land use change is compatible with the community plan for your area.
All these cases require approval from the Ministry of Transportation.


If ministry approval is necessary contact the ministry office early in your design process, prepare plans of your development proposal and make application to your local government to rezone the property. Your local government representatives will refer your application to the appropriate office of the Ministry for our approval.

The ministry staff may require a transportation design report. For information on Transportation design see the ministy' publication Planning and Designing Access to Developments.


(1) Access and Infrastructure Design: Access to the land within the controlled area must not be in conflict with the ministry's Planning and Designing Access to Developments manual and the Transportation Association of Canada Manual (TAC Guide).

The district approvals technician also considers the impact of additional traffic to the current roadway design. The vertical and horizontal alignment of the highway due to topographical constraints may make it very difficult to develop a safe and viable access to the highway system. Specifically, the proposal must satisfy the following criteria for the Ministry to grant approval:
  • Access must join the highway at a safe angle.
  • The design must adequately separate highway access point locations from highway intersections, from other private access points, and from internal driveways within the site, in order to minimize conflicts which could impact the highway.
  • The layout must accommodate turning movements into and out of the site in a manner which does not impact the safety and mobility of the highway (e.g. median treatments, speed differentials, auxiliary lanes, magazine storage, geometry, pedestrians on highway sidewalks).
  • The gradient of the access must allow safe entry onto the highway from the lands in all weather conditions.

(2) Property Development: Property development within the controlled area must not be in conflict with the ministry's Planning and Designing Access to Developments manual and the Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) Manual.

These requirements specifically ask for the following:
  • Internal traffic circulation must minimize conflicts, provide continuity between major circulation aisles, and provide for the mobility of all types of traffic including delivery and emergency type vehicles, transit, cyclists and pedestrians.
  • The development must contain adequate parking consistent with the demand for it.
  • The circulation and parking plan must allow for efficient access between the site and surrounding roads, appropriate driveway geometrics and magazine storage, equitable distribution of site traffic to parking areas, safe and convenient pedestrian access between parking spaces and buildings or associated structures, and clear directional signs.

(3) Infrastructure Capacity: In considering roadway capacity, the district approvals technician contemplates the ability of the highway to accommodate additional traffic as the result of a land use change. Proposed zoning bylaws within the controlled area that the municipality wants rezoned must protect the roadway capacity and must not be in conflict with the the ministry's Planning and Designing Access to Developments manual and the Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) manual. The following criteria meet the requirements:

  • Post-development traffic must not unacceptably diminish roadway capacity
  • Traffic management structures such as traffic signals and existing access locations must not be unacceptably affected by post development traffic
  • Ministry staff will confirm the minimum acceptable roadway capacity to be maintained, in consideration of the highway affected by the rezoning.

Approval of a Bylaw

If the proposal is acceptable, the bylaw will be signed by our appointed representative and returned to the local government office. You will also be asked to sign an agreement to conditions of approval and implementation of the project.

If your local government's elected body supports your proposal and we have approved the bylaw, they may then adopt it.

This guide is a living document; it is subject to change without notice. Please check the Rural Subdivisions Website (http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/permits/Subdibision_Home.asp) to make sure you version is sufficiently current.