Update of Retaining Wall Regulations

Retaining Walls

In order to provide clearer guidance on the development of retaining walls within the Electoral Area Zoning Bylaws, the Regional District is proposing a number of amendments related to the following:

1)  the introduction of new definitions related to, amongst other things, “retaining wall”, “structure”,  “parcel”, “parcel coverage”, “parcel area, useable” and “panhandle”;

2)  the introduction of new general regulations governing the development of retaining walls, including:

  1. a maximum height of 2.0 metres outside of prescribed setbacks;
  2. a minimum horizontal separation between retaining walls equal to the height of the lower wall (retaining wall constructed closer than this distance to be considered a single wall for the purposes of determining height);
  3. a maximum height of 1.2 metres inside of prescribed setbacks;
  4. no retaining walls to be constructed within site triangles at road intersections; and
  5. the combined height of a fence and retaining wall not to exceed 2.0 metres when constructed within 1.2 metres of a property line.

Building Height

At present, there is no consistent approach to the calculation of height across the Electoral Area Zoning Bylaws. 

This is seen to create significant challenges for staff when interpreting and applying the bylaws (i.e. advising the public, completing zone checks of building permit applications, etc.) and for the public when attempting to understand and comply with the bylaws (i.e. undertaking projects in different Electoral Areas).

In response, the Regional District is proposing to introduce a standard definition of “height” to the Electoral Area Zoning Bylaws in which finished grade forms the base of measurement:

“height” means the vertical distance from the average finished grade to the highest point of the roof or structure;

This change will require ancillary amendments to the maximum building height permitted in the Electoral Area “F” Zoning Bylaw to reflect the new definition (which has a cascading effect on setbacks for accessory structures in the Small Holdings Five Zone – see annotated version of the draft amendment bylaw below). 

Zoning Bylaw Update (Consistency Amendments)

In addition to the aforementioned amendments to related to retaining wall and building height, the Regional District is also proposing a number of minor amendments to address consistency issues with the Electoral Area Zoning Bylaws.

This includes a basic re-ordering of the bylaw sections related to “Administration”, “Basic Provisions”, “Creation of Zones” and “Subdivision Regulations” in order to improve and clarify the intent of these sections.

The Regional District is also proposing that existing exemptions to the calculation of “height” currently found in some definitions of “height” but missing entirely in other bylaws be moved to Section 7.7 (Projections). 

In amending Section 7.7, Administration also favours clarifying that the ability to project into a prescribed setback also applies to “uncovered decks” (in addition to stairwells, balconies, porches and canopies).

Amendment Bylaw Status: Bylaw adopted January 4, 2018

Draft DocumentsPlanning & Development CommitteeRegional District Board Consideration

Draft Amendment Bylaw No. 2773

(version - 2017-12-07)


Draft Amendment Bylaw No. 2773
(annotated version - 2017-05-04)

Administrative Report
Minutes (2017-05-04)



Public Hearing

Thursday, December 7, 2017 - 9:00 am

RDOS Office, 101 Martin Street, Penticton

Public Notice

Bylaw Introduction (1st & 2nd reading):

Administrative Report


Minutes (2017-11-02)


Public Hearing:




Final Reading (3rd reading):

Administrative Report

Minutes (2017-12-07)



Administrative Report

Minutes (2018-01-04)

Contact Us!

For additional information, or to submit comments, please contact:
Christopher Garrish 
Planning Supervisor