>> Encroachments
>> Setbacks

If you have or plan to build a structure within 4.5 metres of the right-of-way, you will need a permit for setback or encroachment. Please note, however, that the Ministry of Transportation discourages new structures built within these margins.

Provide the following information on the application form:

  • the size and type of structure
  • the reason you require relief from encroachment and setback limitations.
  • the proposed distance of the structure from the property line and the name of the highway fronting the property


Plans shall be metric, drawn to scale, and show:

  • The exact offsets of the foundation and overhang of proposed or existing structures from the right-of-way boundary and the nearest internal property line
  • Any feature or structure which limits the placement of the subject structure from being constructed at the required setback distance
  • Any other structure on the subject property within the setback requirement area
  • An inset or additional plan showing the profile of the structure and terrain to the traveled road edge
  • The nearest edge of shoulder of the physical road
  • The road name, legal description, any property pins evident and a north arrow

Submit three copies of the plans if they are larger than 11" x 17"

In cases where the proposed setback or encroachment is to legalize and/or add to an existing structure, a BC Land Surveyor is to prepare the plans.

The applicant is responsible to assure that design and construction of the structure conform to all applicable legislation, bylaws and codes, and that all other necessary permits are applied for.

Provide a certificate of title and a letter of authorization from the registered owner(s) where the applicant is not the owner.

In addition, you may be required to have the property lines and extremities of the proposed structure's footings clearly flagged on site prior to Ministry inspection.



To apply for a permit for a structure encroaching onto the right-of-way:

  1. Submit your application, with a supporting plan and details, to the Ministry of Transportation.
  2. Your proposal will be reviewed, including a site visit and consultations if necessary.
  3. Ministry staff will contact you with a decision, or a request for more information.
  4. If your proposal is successful, you will receive a permit.

Apply for an encroachments permit.



The Province has specified a minimum setback of 4.5 metres, for any building, mobile home, retaining wall or other structure, from all highway rights-of-way under Ministry jurisdiction, unless you have access from another street, in which case the allowed setback is 3 metres.

Check with your local government to see:

  • what their requirements are for siting of a building back from the road or highway right-of-way
  • if you can build your proposed development within the terms of their codes
  • if a variance will be required
  • what procedure is established by the local government body to obtain approval for a variance from their setback requirements

If the local zoning and building codes allow a setback of less than the provincial minimum, or if the local government is prepared to grant approval for a variance which would enable you to construct your building below the minimum provincial standard, or if a structure might interfere with the safe and efficient operation of traffic on the adjacent highway, then you must apply to the Ministry for consideration of relief from the minimum setback.


Prepare plans showing the siting of the building within your property and distance from the front property line to the closest portion of your proposed building.

Plans should be drawn to scale with your property dimensions noted.

The legal description of your property should be noted on the application form as well as being illustrated on the plan.

Complete the application forms. Guide notes on the form will assist you in providing the necessary information.


Submit your application, including plans, to the local District Transportation Office.


The District Development Technician will coordinate the review process for your application. You may be contacted by that office for the purpose of obtaining further information, discussing areas of concern with your proposal, or to arrange a meeting to discuss the application.

The review process will consider:

  • sufficiency of the present highway right-of-way to contain planned road improvements
  • compatibility of a reduced setback with the Ministry's transportation objectives
  • safety concerns associated with locating a building in close proximity to the front property line.


Following a favourable review a permit will be issued to you setting out the terms and conditions under which the reduction to the minimum setback has been granted. Should the application be denied you will receive notice in writing outlining the reasons for refusal. If, after reviewing any reasons for refusal, you believe the objections to your plans can be overcome, contact the District Development Technician to discuss the matter.


Once you have your permit you may proceed with plans to construct the proposed building at the specified setback subject to the terms and conditions of the permit. You are advised to check with the building department of your local government body to obtain whatever permits they issue in conjunction with the building's construction. Our permit to you is not an authorization to build your proposed building. That approval rests with the local government. The permit we issue simply indicates our agreement to waiver the minimum setback standards adopted by the province.

Apply for a setback permit.

This guide is a living document; it is subject to change without notice. Please check the Rural Subdivisions Website ( to make sure you version is sufficiently current.