A subdivision is required when a piece of land is divided into two or more titles. Examples of this might include instances where a commercial land owner wishes to split their lot in half to develop another business or when a developer wishes to create a multi-lot subdivision for the construction of several homes.
In order to allow for the subdivision to occur there are several administrative and legal changes that must take place, therefore, a process is in place to ensure that these changes are accurately implemented.
In the Town of Fox Creek, subdivision approving authority has been delegated by the Town Council to the Chief Administrative Officer and the Municipal Planning Commission by the enactment of Bylaw 710-2011, pursuant to Sections 623(1) of the Municipal Government Act.
Sections 652 to 657 of the Municipal Government Act describe the extent of the rights and responsibilities of both the subdivision approving authority and the applicant for subdivision. Further information regarding this aspect of subdivision is detailed in Sections 4 to 8 of the Subdivision and Development Regulation.
Application for Subdivision
The Municipal Government Act (Section 653), in accordance with the Subdivision and Development Regulations (Section 4), outlines the requirements for the application of a subdivision.
A completed application form consists of an application form, a proposed plan of subdivision, a copy of the current land title for the land that is the subject of the application, and other information as may be required.
Other information requirements are addressed in Section 4(5) of the Subdivision and Development Regulations and may be required to support the application.
The application must be made by the owner of the land in question or by a person acting on the owners behalf. As per Section 653(2) of the MGA a form can be provided upon which consent can be requested to carry out an inspection.
Subdivision Application Circulation
The Municipal Government Act (Section 653(3)) and the Subdivision and Development Regulations (Section 5) defines a process for the referral of subdivision applications to other government agencies that have an interest in the application. In addition, section 653(4) stipulates the requirements for notification to the adjacent neighbor.
Sections 652-660 of the Municipal Government Act specify the parameters upon which a subdivision should occur.
Section 654 specifies that a subdivision authority must not approve an application for subdivision approval unless:
- the land that is proposed to be subdivided, in the opinion of the subdivision authority, suitable for the purpose for which the subdivision is intended;
- the proposed subdivision conforms to the provisions of any statutory plan and, subject to subsection (2), any land use by-law that affects the land proposed to be subdivided;
- the proposed subdivision complies with this part and the regulations under this part;
- all property taxes on the land proposed to be subdivided have been paid to the municipality where the land is located or arrangements satisfactory to the municipality have been made of the payment pursuant to Part 10.
These provisions establish the principal that in order for a parcel to be subdivided it must be able to be developed. The Land Use By-law in conjunction with the Subdivision and Development Regulations are the primary mechanisms to determine if a parcel is in fact able to be developed and therefore subdivided. Section 7 of the Regulations defines the considerations that a subdivision authority must consider with respect to the land that is subject to an application.
Subdivision Registration Regulations
Section 657(1) of the Act provides that within a one year period of an approval, appeal decision or discontinuation of an appeal an applicant must submit the plan of subdivision or another instrument that effects the subdivision for registration.
If the plan is not submitted within the prescribed time frame the plan is void but an extension may be considered by Council before or after the void date.
Application for the Time Extension Policy
Section 681(1) of The Municipal Government Act provides that if a subdivision authority fails or refuses to make a decision on an application for subdivision approval within the time frame prescribed by the subdivision and development regulations, the applicant may, within 14 days after expiration of the time prescribed:
- treat the application as refused and appeal it in accordance with Section 678, or
- enter into an agreement with the subdivision authority to extend the time prescribed in the subdivision and development regulations.”
Section 6 of The Subdivision and Development Regulations notes that a subdivision and development authority must make a decision within 60 days from the receipt of a completed application.
Subdivision Review Process
Prior to submitting an application for subdivision land owners / applicants are encouraged to consult the Chief Administrative Officer to ensure land owners / applicants are aware of all Town planning documents that may affect land owners / applicants’ proposal. The consultation is land owners / applicants’ opportunity to explore possible time saving strategies, and to ask any questions land owners / applicants may have regarding the subdivision process. Chief Administrative Officer will also be able to determine what, if any, additional information will be required regarding land owners / applicants’ application.
Upon receiving a completed application, the Chief Administrative Officer will circulate, evaluate, and make a recommendation regarding land owners / applicants’ proposal. It is the responsibility of Chief Administrative Officer, as Subdivision Authority, to render a decision on the subdivision of land in Fox Creek.
Circulation of the Application
Subdivision applications are circulated to required Town Departments, adjacent landowners, and Municipal Planning Commission for their review and comments.
Evaluation of the Application
The subdivision proposal will be checked to ensure that the land to be subdivided is suitable for the proposed use; and, that the proposal complies with the provisions of any statutory plans and bylaws of the Town.
The proposal will be reviewed concerning:
- its topography;
- its soil characteristics;
- storm water collection and disposal potential for flood, subsidence, or erosion;
- accessibility to a road;
- waste disposal system;
- use of land in the vicinity; and
- any other matters considered necessary to ensure suitability for the intended use.
Recommendation & Decision
Following review, Planning staff will prepare a recommendation for use by the Subdivision Authority in rendering a decision on the proposed subdivision. The Subdivision Authority has 60 days from receipt of the application to render a decision.
If a decision cannot be rendered within this time frame, a time extension can be provided by the applicant.
When an amendment to an Area Structure Plan or the Land Use Bylaw is required, the bylaw amendment must be approved by Town Council prior to a decision on the subdivision by the Subdivision Authority.
Subdivision Approval Extension
If the Subdivision Authority fails to render a decision on an application for subdivision the applicant may enter into an agreement to extend the decision period. An agreement for extension must be made within 14 days of expiration of the original date.
If a subdivision proposal has been approved, land owners / applicants have one (1) year to meet the conditions of approval and submit a plan of subdivision to the subdivision authority for endorsement.
The plan of subdivision will be reviewed to confirm compliance with the subdivision approval, and that all conditions that were imposed have been satisfied. Approval fees are required at this time.
After endorsement, land owners / applicants have one (1) year to register land owners / applicants’ final plan of subdivision with the Alberta Land Titles Office.
Plan Endorsement & Registration Extension
The Town may extend the one (1) year period for endorsement or registration of a subdivision plan upon submission of an extension application.