Subdivision and Development Appeal Board

If you appeal a decision of the development authority, the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (SDAB) will hear your appeal. 

An SDAB hearing is similar to a court hearing. You will provide evidence to support your case, and the board will use this evidence and the word of the law to make a decision.



Who can File an Appeal?

You can appeal a development authority's decision if:

  • your development permit application has been refused;
  • your development permit application was approved with conditions that are unacceptable to you;
  • you have been issued a stop order directing you to stop construction or stop the present use of your property;
  • you will be affected by a new development or new use of someone else's property; or
  • if a development authority refuses/fails to issue a development permit within 40 days of receipt of the application.

You can appeal the subdivision authority's decision if:

  • your subdivision application has been refused;
  • your subdivision application was approved with conditions that are unacceptable to you;
  • if a subdivision authority refuses/fails to make a decision on an application for subdivision approval within 60 days of receipt of the application.
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Before you file an appeal, feel free to contact our Planning & Development DepartmentSDAB Staff, or a certified legal consultant for assistance and guidance.

To appeal a decision, fill out the Notice of Appeal Form, and submit it to the county. You can deliver it to the County Office yourself, email it to us, or you can mail it to:

Saddle Hills County

Subdivision and Development Appeal Board

RR#1, Junction of Highways 49 and 725

Spirit River, AB, T0H3G0

The notice must be received along with the $100 application fee within 21 days of when the decision you area appealing was made in writing. You can pay by a cheque payable to Saddle Hills County. You can also pay by Visa, MasterCard or Debit is you file your appeal in person at the County Office. (The fee for an appeal postponement is $250).


Preparing for your Hearing

The Appeal Hearing proceeds similarly to a court hearing. You will need to submit your evidence and a summary of any testimonies you will be bringing to the Board at least 7 days prior to the hearing.

Here are some suggestions for preparing your presentation for the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (SDAB) hearing:

• Determine the relevant planning issues associated with the appeal. Examples include compliance or non-compliance with the Land Use Bylaw, site context, site layout, parking, traffic, building mass, privacy, shadowing, landscaping, intensity of use, and noise. Examples of non-relevant issues that are outside of the Board jurisdiction and cannot be considered by the Board include precedence, business competition, comments regarding someone's character, financial impact on the applicant, financial status of the applicant, and whether the development is occupied by renters or owners.

• Prepare a clear, and concise written presentation.

• Be prepared to summarize your presentation.

• Be familiar with the site.

• In order to assist the Board in understanding your position and the proposal, you may wish to provide photographs, illustrative material, well prepared drawings, or written submissions to the hearing as documentary evidence.

• Ask neighbours affected by the proposed development to speak on behalf at your hearing and write letters outlining their position in support or objection.

• You may seek professional advice or ask someone else to present your case, but citizens often represent themselves. If there is doubt as to whether the Board has the legal right to hear the appeal, you may want to seek professional advice.

• Review the contents of the SDAB hearing package assembled by the SDAB Clerk.

• Your co-operation and attendance at the hearing will prevent any unnecessary delays for the Board and will help the Municipality use resources effectively. By attending the hearing, the Board is in a position to ask you questions (if any).

You must not speak to members of the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board about an appeal or a potential appeal prior to the hearing, because this will disqualify them from participating in the hearing. Board members do not discuss appeal cases with the Development Authority or the Subdivision Authority before the hearings.


The Hearing Process

• Before the appeal hearing begins, those persons who wish to speak or receive a written copy of the Board's decision, are registered by SDAB staff.

• All persons are then asked to enter the hearing room.

• The appeal is introduced by the Board Clerk who reads the appeal into the hearing record.

• Where a development permit has been refused, the Development Authority is heard first, followed by the Appellant.

• Where a development permit has been approved, the Development Authority is heard first, followed by the Appellant and the Respondent.

• In a subdivision appeal, the Subdivision Authority is heard first, followed by the Appellant.

• The Appellant is asked to summarize their reasons for the appeal, and may have others to speak to support their position. Board members may question them.

• The Respondent and other persons in attendance at the hearing with an interest in the appeal will then present their arguments and respond to any questions of the Board.

• The Chair will ask if the Appellant wishes to respond to any new information raised during the hearing.

• The hearing is then closed and the Board goes in to a meeting closed to the public to discuss the appeal.

• The Board will present its decision and reasons in writing within 15 days of the hearing.

• A decision of the SDAB is not final or binding until the decision is issued, in writing, within 15 days of the appeal hearing.

The Board does not, on its own initiative, seek information or evidence. The Board 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 Board ensure that sufficient evidence is presented to support their respective positions.

The Board does not consider precedent when making its decision. Each application is judged on its own merits. The reason is, 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 Saddle Hills County's Land Use Bylaw.

Exhibits used during the presentation become part of the Board's record of the hearing and must be retained by the Board at the conclusion of the hearing.


Postponing, Attendance, and Withdrawal

You many submit a written request to postpone an SDAB hearing including the reasons for the request, either to the Board at the time of the hearing or to the SDAB Clerk prior to the hearing. Hearings will only be postponed at the discretion of the Board.

If you are not in attendance when your appeal is called, the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board may proceed without you. The Board will consider the information presented on the appeal form, any written submissions received, hear presentations for any one in attendance, and then make a ruling on the appeal.

It is important that you describe your position clearly and in detail on your appeal form, or file a written submission ahead of time if you cannot be at the hearing

A withdrawal should be submitted in writing to the SDAB Clerk as soon as possible. Your cooperation will prevent any unnecessary delays for the Board and will help the County use its resources more effectively.


Appealing the SDAB Ruling

SDAB decisions are final unless it can be shown that the Board erred in law or jurisdiction. You may appeal the Board's decision to the Alberta Court of Appeal. You must apply for leave to appeal a decision of the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board within 30 days of the date that the written decision was issued.

 SDAB Minutes