The Municipal Government Act legislates the process by which appeals may be filed against planning decisions. Subdivision and Development Procedure Rules are established under section 523 of the Municipal Government Act and applies to all Municipal Government Board subdivision and development appeals.
Appeal Against the Decision of the Development Authority
If you have applied for a Development Permit and either received a refusal or received an approval with conditions that are unacceptable to you, you may appeal the decision of the Development Authority. You may also file an appeal if the Development Officer has not made a decision on your application within 40 days of receipt of all information needed to process the application.
If you are a third party affected by a decision of the Development Authority, you may also appeal that decision. Your appeal must be based on planning considerations (e.g. misinterpretation or incorrect application of the County’s planning regulations, or impact of the proposed development on the amenities of the neighbourhood or the use, enjoyment or value of neighbouring properties, etc.). You may not appeal a decision because the proposed development competes with other businesses in the area or because you have a personal conflict with the appellant.
What is the time period for filing a Development Appeal?
The time period for appealing a decision on a development application is 21 days.
This is from the date the decision is made or, where no decision is made, from the date the time period for making a decision expires (40 days from the application deemed complete date).
Similarly, the appeal period for persons who are affected by a development permit is also 21 days after the date on which notice of the development was given in accordance with the County’s land use bylaw.
Who Hears the Appeal?
Your appeal will be heard by the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board.
The Board consists of 4 member’s at large and 1 councillor from Woodlands County region who have been appointed by Council and are trained in the hearing process.
You will be given an opportunity at the appeal hearing to object to a member of the Board if you feel that member cannot make an objective decision due to a pecuniary interest or a perception of bias.
Filing an Appeal with the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board
If you wish to appeal a decision of the Development Authority to the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board, your appeal must be received by the Secretary of the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board by the deadline indicated on the Development Permit or the notice in the local paper. The appeal must be accompanied by a $500 appeal fee. Failure to submit your appeal by the specified date or without the appeal fee will be grounds for denial of the appeal.
The Notice of Appeal must be fully completed, including reasons for the appeal.
Note that the Notice of Appeal is a public document and may be viewed by anyone who requests it, subject to removal of any personal information contained in the Notice.
Appeal Hearing Dates
The Subdivision and Development Appeal Board must hear an appeal within 30 days of receiving the Notice of Appeal. Notice of the hearing date will be provided in writing to the applicant, appellant, adjacent landowners, and other affected parties.
An information package will be prepared prior to the hearing that will contain a copy of the application, the Development Authority’s decision, the Notice of Appeal, letters received from adjacent landowners or other affected parties, and any other information that the applicant or appellant wishes the Board to consider when making its decision. The Board will review the information package at the hearing and may ask questions or seek clarification at the hearing.
Note that the information package is a public document and may be viewed by anyone who requests it, subject to removal of any personal information contained in the package.
The Board may accept new information at the hearing, but it may require additional time to review the information, which could delay a decision. The Board may also choose not to accept new information; therefore it is important to provide sufficient information before the hearing to inform the Board of your position.
Appeal Hearing Process
When the Board hears an appeal, it may only make a decision based on the information that is in the information package and any additional information accepted at the hearing.
The Board will hear from the Development Officer, the appellant, the applicant, and other parties affected by the decision of the Development Authority. If you are not the applicant or the appellant, the Board may ask you to prove that you are affected by the Development Authority’s decision before it allows you to make a presentation.
The Board may ask you questions and if it feels that it needs more information to make a decision, it may adjourn the hearing to a later date to allow time to obtain the additional information. The hearing is not concluded until the Board is satisfied that it has all the information it needs to make a decision.
The Board may allow cross-examination of witnesses. This will depend on the circumstances of the appeal and is at the sole discretion of the Board.
The appeal hearing is recorded only for the purposes of accurately recording the procedures followed by the Board during the hearing
Subdivision and Development Appeal Board Decisions
The Board must make a decision within 15 days of the conclusion of the hearing.
The decision may be a confirmation of the Development Permit that was issued, a refusal of the Development Application, or approval of the Application with conditions. Reasons for the decision will be provided.
The decision of the Board is final and can only be appealed to the Alberta Court of Appeal if the Board makes an error on some aspect of law or jurisdiction. If you wish to appeal the Board’s decision, you must do so within 30 days of the date of the Board’s decision. You are advised to seek legal advice on this procedure.
Appeal Against the Decision of the Subdivision Authority
If you have applied for a subdivision and either received a refusal or received an approval with conditions that are unacceptable to you, you may appeal the decision of the Subdivision Authority.
You may also file an appeal if the Subdivision Authority has not made a decision on your application within 60 days of receipt of all information needed to process the application.
If you own land adjacent to the proposed subdivision, you may not appeal the decision of the Subdivision Authority. However, if an eligible person appeals the decision, you may attend and speak at the appeal hearing. An eligible person includes a Government Department to which the subdivision was referred or the local school board.
What is the time period for filing a Subdivision Appeal?
The time period for appealing a decision on a subdivision application is 21 days from:
- the date the Notice of Decision is made or,
- where no decision is made,
- from the date the time period for making a decision expires (60 days from the application deemed complete date).