In planning, starting and operating a business there are a number of regulatory requirements, federal, provincial and local, that must be considered.

Provincial and federal regulations

Business License

Business licenses are not required on Hornby Island.

Local regulations

Regulation of land use and businesses

Business permits are not required on Hornby Island. However, businesses do need to be in compliance with land use regulations. Land use comes under the jurisdiction of the Islands Trust. Regulations are contained within the Hornby Land Use Bylaw and are based upon the Hornby Island Official Community Plan, are both of which were adopted by the Hornby Island Local Trust Committee after community consultation. An objective of the Official Community Plan is "to encourage a self-reliant community based on agriculture, low-impact businesses and home occupations that are sustainable and non-polluting".

Policies and Bylaws

There are two documents you should become familiar with: the Official Community Plan and the Land Use Bylaw. The Official Community Plan (Bylaw 104) contains objectives, policies and designations for land use. The Land Use Bylaw (Bylaw 86) contains general regulations and the regulations for each zone. These documents can also be down-loaded from the Islands Trust web site: Please also visit Official Community Plan and Land Use Bylaw for more info.

How businesses may be permitted

There are four ways in which a business land use can be permitted on Hornby Island:

Home occupations

The Official Community Plan provides for residents to conduct limited businesses on the property of their principal residence. Activities are limited in order to retain the residential and/or rural character of neighbourhoods. The Land Use Bylaw includes a definition of "home occupation" and the regulations governing how such an occupation should be carried out. Key provisions require that the occupation be carried out by a resident of the lot entirely within a dwelling unit or permitted accessory building. Regulations address the number of employees, parking, signage, screening, sale of goods, outdoor storage, and limitations on the nature and scale of a home occupation. A Bed and Breakfast, confined to a resident's dwelling unit, is permitted as a home occupation in most residential zones. Regulations address the level of occupancy. A permit is not required for a home occupation. However, such an operation must be in compliance with the regulations. Please read these carefully and contact the Islands Trust if you need help in interpreting them.

Commercial zones

The Official Community Plan supports four locations for retail and personal services: one major centre at the Co-op, two lesser centres at Ford Cove and Shingle Spit and a limited centre at Syzygy. In addition, other properties have been designated for commercial visitor accommodation.

Community Trades and Services

Community trades and services (involving the creation of artisan products or the provision of services such as personal, business, food preparation, repair and professional services and may include associated retail sales) are permitted in the part of the Public Use zone in the central part of the Island. There is potential for establishing a Community Trades and Services Centre in this area which would require obtaining use of Crown land through acquisition or lease.

Temporary Commercial and Industrial Use Permits

An application to amend the Land Use Bylaw or the Official Community Plan is a major step. An appropriate interim step may be to apply for a Temporary Use Permit. The Official Community Plan enables Temporary Use Permits to be considered on most lots. Such a permit provides for a temporary, site-specific amendment to the zoning regulations to allow an otherwise unpermitted commercial or industrial use. Such an application is subject to referral to neighbouring property owners and to the Advisory Planning Commission. Concerns that arise may be addressed through conditions contained in the Permit. Permits can be issued for up to two years and then renewed for up to two more years. A subsequent Permit can be applied for following expiration. A Temporary Use Permit can be a valuable process to allow a commercial use that exceeds what is permitted as a home occupation without altering the permanent zoning of a property. However, if a proposed commercial use requires a significant investment in structures, an applicant may want to consider a rezoning application to pursue long-term security.

Before making an application

The first step is to be sure you are familiar with the applicable policies and regulations. Consult with Islands Trust staff if you are unsure. You will also need to check out the requirements of other agencies, such as the Agricultural Land Commission (if the property in question is in the Agricultural Land Reserve), the Ministry of Transportation, the Ministry of Environment and the Vancouver Island Health Authority. As an early step, you may want to discuss your proposal with people in the neighbourhood. Hornby has well-established neighbourhoods; residents and property-owners can be very protective of the valued ambiance and character of their neighbourhood. Applications to amend the Land Use Bylaw and Official Community Plan are subject to a public process and thus a great deal of scrutiny. It can be helpful if applicants first provide good information to neighbours and the public to identify concerns and then address these in the application.

Making an application

Application forms can be obtained from Islands Trust offices or down-loaded here . Consult with Islands Trust staff to ensure you are submitting the appropriate application and required information and apply well ahead of when you need to know whether or not your application is successful. Applications that involve a public process usually take months rather than weeks until a final decision is made.