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Subdivision and Development

About the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (SDAB)


What is the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board?

The SDAB hears appeals with respect to decisions of the Town of Bon Accord's Development Authority and renders decisions based on relevant planning matters.

The Town of Bon Accord, like other Alberta municipalities, is responsible for reviewing and approving applications for land to be subdivided and for different types of development within the municipality. Part of the process includes the opportunity for decisions made by the Developing Authority to be appealed.

The Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (the SDAB) is a quasi-judicial board established under the Municipal Government Act of the Province of Alberta. It is a tribunal, consisting of up to 1 member of Council and members of the public-at-large. Council members are appointed annually while Public members hold three year terms.

The board meets as required and only if appeals are filed. 

Why apply to be a board member?

  • Learn more about municipal property development 
  • Learn how various boards and committees support Council
  • Board experience is an impressive addition to your resume
  • Members are compensated for their time at meetings

Interested in becoming a member of the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board? Here’s what we look for in a candidate:

  • Resident of Bon Accord
  • Keen interest in learning about Bon Accord’s Land Use Bylaw, Municipal Development Plan, as well as the Municipal Government Act and other pertinent legislation
  • Availability to attend meetings during the day
  • Ability to exercise impartiality

If this sounds like you, then apply today!

SDAB Member Application Form

The next training intake begins in February 2024. Please visit https://www.alberta.ca/subdivision-and-development-appeal-boards-training for full details, including dates and times.

  • A decision of the Subdivision Authority concerning a subdivision application.
  • A decision of the Development Authority concerning a development permit application.
  • A Stop Order order issued by the Development Authority

Subdivision appeals can be filed by:

  • the applicant for subdivision approval;
  • government departments to which subdivision applications are required to be referred for comment; and
  • school authorities on limited issues relating to municipal and school reserves.

The Municipal Government Act of Alberta does not provide for adjacent owners to appeal but they are entitled to be notified of an appeal and to be heard at the Board hearing.

Development appeals may be filed by:

  • the person applying for the permit or affected by the stop order; and 
  • anyone who is affected by a decision of the Development Authority in relation to a development proposal. 

Appeals may not be filed for a permitted use unless the Development Authority relaxed, varied or misinterpreted the Land Use Bylaw.

Anyone wishing to appeal must complete a Notice of Appeal form. The appeal must contain the following information:

  • legal description and municipal location, if applicable, of the land proposed to be developed or subdivided;
  • the reasons for the appeal, including the issues in the decision or the conditions imposed in the approval that are the subject of the appeal;
  • applications must be accompanied by the applicable fee.
  • If someone is acting on behalf of the appellant, then a letter of authorization must also be submitted.

In accordance with the Municipal Government Act, an appeal to the SDAB must be received on or before the final date for appeal. Any appeal received after the deadline will not be considered by the SDAB. The appeal deadlines are as follows:

Development Appeals - If the development permit was approved, the applicant has 21 calendar days from the date they were notified of the approval.

If you are considered an affected person, you have 21 calendar days from the date the approval was advertised in the local paper.

If the development permit was refused, the applicant or owner of the property has 21 calendar days in which to file the appeal, based on the date they were notified of the refusal.

Subdivision Appeals - Only the applicant can file an appeal with respect to a refusal of a subdivision application or on the conditions of approval of the application. The appeal must be filed within 14 calendar days after receipt of the written decision. An affected person cannot file an appeal.

Stop Orders - The owner of the land, the person in possession of the land or building, the person responsible for the contravention or any person considered affected by the Order can file an appeal within 21 calendar days from the date the person was notified of the Order.

Note: the Municipal Government Act presumes decisions sent by regular mail or email are received 7 days from the date they are sent.

In accordance with the Municipal Government Act, a hearing will be arranged within 30 days. Written notice of the hearing will be provided as follows:

Development Appeals:

  • the appellant;
  • the Development Authority;
  • adjacent landowners and any other person the Board considers to be affected.

Subdivision Appeals:

  • the applicant for subdivision approval;
  • the Subdivision Authority;
  • other municipalities, if the subject land is adjacent to another municipality;
  • school authority to whom the application was referred;
  • adjacent land owners;
  • each municipal, provincial and federal government department that receives a copy of the original subdivision or permit application.

Appellants are not to contact members of the Board regarding their appeal, as this will disqualify members from participating in the hearing. Board members do not discuss appeals with the Development Authority prior to hearings.

The SDAB Clerk assembles a report consisting of the appeal form, submissions from the Development Authority and the appellant/applicant/owner. The report is distributed to the SDAB members for review prior to the hearing and is available to the parties involved prior to the hearing.

All written materials submitted as part of the hearing process, including the appeal form, become part of the report prepared for the SDAB and are made available to the public. Personal information is collected under Section 33(c) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and Sections 678 and 685 of the Municipal Government Act, . If you have any questions regarding the collection of information, please contact the FOIP Coordinator at 780-391-3550 or lscoordinator@bonaccord.ca.

The SDAB does not, on its own initiative, seek information or evidence. The SDAB relies on the written evidence presented, as well as verbal submissions at the hearing, as the basis for their decision. Therefore, it is critical that persons appearing before the SDAB ensure that sufficient evidence is presented to support their respective positions.

Listed below are some suggestions that may assist you in preparing your presentation to the SDAB:

  • Contact the file manager or applicant of the development permit to clarify and discuss the proposed development under appeal.
  • Obtain a copy of the SDAB report for the item from the Appeal Board office.
  • Understand the legislation governing the Board including the Municipal Government Act and the land use of the site
  • Determine the relevant planning issues relating to the appeal.
  • Review the relevant planning documents such as the Land Use Bylaw , Area Redevelopment Plan, Area Structure Plan, Municipal Development Plan and Intermunicipal Development Plan.
  • Prepare a written presentation to ensure that key issues are not overlooked and that your presentation to the Board will be complete, clear, concise and logical. You may be requested to leave a copy of your written presentation and all materials with the Appeal Board staff after you have presented.
  • Consider taking photographs of the site and the surrounding area. This may give the Board a visual perspective of what you are referring to.
  • Consider asking persons affected by the appeal (neighbours, neighbourhood association, etc.) to:
    • attend and speak at the hearing,
    • write letters outlining their position, or
    • compile a letter of objection signed by affected parties.
  • While it is important to obtain support for your position, the Board considers each application on its own merits and weighs all planning evidence presented. It does not make its decision solely based on the support or opposition from affected parties.
  • Familiarize yourself with Board procedures by attending an SDAB hearing prior to your presentation, if possible.

Please see the SDAB Clerk for assistance with the equipment in the room.

If you will be presenting your arguments by means of an electronic presentation (on a laptop or a tablet) you must leave a hard and electronic copy of your presentation with the SDAB Clerk.

When you are preparing your presentation, consider asking these types of questions:

Development Potential

  • What are the range of uses available or allowed on the subject site?
  • What density, height and form are possible?

Policy Considerations

  • Determine the relevant policy plan for your community.
  • Does the project meet those expectations?

Impact of Potential Development

  • What would be the impact caused by traffic, parking and on-site activities generated by the proposed development or business?
  • What would be the impact from the height, massing, shadowing or other physical features?

Compatibility

  • How does the proposed development fit into the established streetscape pattern of the community?

This is not an exhaustive list.

If you are the appellant, applicant, and/or owner, the SDAB Clerk must receive one copy of the material or written submissions you wish to present to the Board.

The SDAB Clerk will also accept so-called "Additional Submissions" that the Board members will receive on the hearing day.  If you plan on attending the hearing and wish to submit material not previously provided, SDAB staff will distribute this material at the start of your presentation.  Applicants/appellants may wish to contact the SDAB office a few days before the scheduled hearing date to determine if any Additional Submissions were filed with the Board that were not included in the SDAB report.  Since the Board does not have an opportunity to review the Additional Submissions prior to the hearing, the Chair may provide the Board with a few minutes to read the material prior to the start of the particular appeal under review.

In addition, the Board may on a case-by-case basis require parties to an appeal to submit their presentation and/or material in advance of the hearing in order to have an efficient hearing. In these cases the Board will advise the parties accordingly.

All written and/or visual material relating to an appeal will be made available to the public and may be referenced in the Board’s public written decision.

Remember:

  • Each appeal is considered on its own merits.
  • With regard to an appeal to the SDAB, the onus of proof is on the appellant.
  • Area Redevelopment Plans (ARP) and Area Structure Plans (ASP) are statutory documents which are binding upon all Development Authorities, including the SDAB.
  • Appellants must not contact members of the Board regarding their appeal, as this will disqualify members from participating in the hearing. Board members do not discuss appeals with the Development/Subdivision Authority before or after hearings.

The following information is provided as a guideline only and lists typical relevant and non-relevant planning considerations; however, there may be other relevant considerations that are not listed.

Relevant Planning Considerations

Some examples of relevant planning considerations include, but are not limited to:

  • Non-compliance with Land Use Bylaw (height, setbacks, lot coverage, building coverage, etc.) See Section 687(3)(d) of the Municipal Government Act.
  • Compliance with Land Use Bylaw (height, setbacks, parking, density, etc.)
  • Site context (the context of the proposed development in relation to surrounding properties)
  • Site layout (setback of the building on the site)
  • Parking
  • Traffic
  • Building mass
  • Privacy (impact of the proposed development on privacy)
  • Shadowing
  • Landscaping
  • Intensity of use
  • Noise

Non-Relevant Planning Considerations

Some examples of non-relevant planning considerations include, but are not limited to:

  • Precedence (The Board considers each application on its own merits, regardless of whether or not a similar development or business already exists in the community)
  • Business competition
  • Comments regarding someone's character
  • Financial impact on the applicant
  • Financial status of the applicant
  • Whether the development is occupied by renters or owners

Note: As an appellant making a presentation to the Board, you are responsible to substantiate your planning arguments (such as the ones listed above) with evidence. The onus of proof is on each party to prove or substantiate their arguments.

Please note that the Board is not an evidence-seeking body. It relies on written evidence presented, as well as verbal submissions made at hearings, as the basis for its decisions. It is therefore critical that persons appearing before the Board ensure that sufficient evidence is presented to support their respective positions.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to present evidence to support their application or respond to the issues raised by the appellant(s) or affected parties. The applicant should not rely on the Development/Subdivision Authority to make the case for them.

The Board may on a case-by-case basis require parties to an appeal to submit their presentations and/or materials in advance of the hearing in order to have an efficient hearing. In these cases, the Board will advise the parties accordingly.

Listed below are some suggestions that will assist you in making a presentation to the SDAB:

  • At the beginning of your presentation introduce yourself for the record and state your position (in favour or opposition of the appeal).
  • Introduce your speakers.
  • Speak to the presiding Chair or through the Chair.
  • If you wish to have materials distributed to the Board, advise the presiding Chair at the beginning of your presentation.
  • Stick to the planning facts and support them with quantifiable (measurable) data. Reference planning policies, traffic studies, parking statistics, sun shadow studies, etc.
  • Reference any pages, paragraphs, sections and/or article of any documents you are quoting.
  • Present your opinion regarding any errors in fact or interpretation.
  • State the detailed issues about the site in the context of the surrounding properties and the impact on the community.
  • Show photographs, illustrative materials and well-prepared drawings throughout your presentation. 

Note: Once you complete your presentation, leave a copy of your written presentation and any materials that you presented to the Board with the SDAB Clerk.

Hearings are open to the public.

Persons who file an appeal are encouraged to make a verbal presentation to the Board. Persons who have been notified of the appeal also have the right to present a verbal, written and/or visual presentation to the Board.

Please note that the Board is the master of its own procedures. The Board may decide to deviate from the normal hearing process if it deems it necessary in the interest of an efficient hearing and/or to ensure procedural fairness.

If desired, parties may have someone, or an agent, speak on their behalf. If a number of appeals are filed on the same development, it is recommended that a spokesperson be selected to organize presentations so that evidence is not repetitive.

The Board is not an evidence-seeking body. It relies on written evidence presented, as well as verbal submissions made at hearings, as the basis for its decisions. It is therefore critical that persons appearing before the Board ensure that sufficient evidence is presented to support their respective positions.

The presiding Chair announces each appeal and will call a representative of Development/Subdivision Authority to present the application and their corresponding report and the reasons for the Development/Subdivision Authority’s decision.

For a development or subdivision appeal, the Chair will then ask for:

  • All speakers in favour of the appeal (persons who filed an appeal or support the position of the appellant)
  • All speakers opposed to the appeal (persons who oppose the position of the appellant)

For an appeal against a Stop Order, the speaking order is slightly different. A representative for the Development Authority will speak first and then the Chair will ask for:

  • All speakers in favour of the enforcement order (persons who oppose the position of the appellant)
  • All speakers opposed to the enforcement order (persons who filed an appeal or support the position of the appellant)

Individuals who have presented their case will be given an opportunity for rebuttal once the Board has questioned the Development/Subdivision Authority on any planning issues raised during the proceedings. Rebuttal is an opportunity to refute information and evidence presented since the last time you spoke that you could not have reasonably anticipated. It is not an opportunity to reargue your case or create new argument.

When presenting an appeal, keep in mind the Board does not consider precedent when making its decision. Each application is judged on its own merits. The Board has no way of knowing if sites presented as a precedent were built, with or without the benefit of a development permit, or whether they have another status under the Land Use Bylaw.

In accordance with the legislation that governs the SDAB, the Board can only consider relevant planning matters when rendering its decision. Some examples of planning matters may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Design
  • Parking
  • Traffic
  • Compliance with planning legislation
  • Impact on neighbouring properties

Matters not related to planning include comments regarding a person's character and commercial competition. If persons stray from planning matters, the Chair will advise accordingly.

Exhibits used during a presentation become part of the Board's record of the hearing and are retained in accordance with the Town’s Records Retention and Disposition Bylaw.

A withdrawal should be submitted in writing to the SDAB Clerk as soon as possible. Preventing any unnecessary delays for the SDAB will help the Town use its resources efficiently and effectively.

The SDAB issues its decision to the appellant in writing with reasons within 15 days after the hearing. Anyone else who wishes to receive a copy of the decision must submit their request to the SDAB Clerk. Until the decision is issued in writing, it is not deemed official and therefore cannot be acted upon.