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A subdivision is any division of land into two or more parcels in which to:

  • create separate titles
  • legitimatize part interest in a parcel for a lease, sale, mortgage or certain easements.
  • In Alberta, every privately owned parcel of land has a Certificate of Title in the Land Titles Office. A Certificate of Title states the owner’s name and the parcel’s legal designation and location. It can also list interests held by others such as mortgages or easements.
  • Only the registered landowner of the land, or an authorized person acting on his/her behalf, may apply for subdivision approval. This authorized person may be a surveyor, lawyer, planning consultant or future landowner.

What is the Application Process?

You must provide the following: A Subdivision Application Form (and additional forms if applicable), completed in full accompanied by Subdivision Fees and a Site Plan, drawn preferably to scale, which shows:

  • the location, dimensions and boundaries of the land to be subdivided [NOTE: Ensure that the sketch clearly shows where the proposed new parcel is in relation to the existing title(s)]
  • the location, setbacks and dimensions of buildings on the land that is the subject of the application and specifies any buildings that are to be demolished or moved
  • any other information such as the location of shelter-belts, railway lines, creeks, or other water bodies or water courses, low land, right-of-ways, etc. useful in showing the nature of the site.
  • All required fees.
  • The back of the application form or any enclosed letter may be used to provide further relevant information.
  • Information must be provided on how potable water is to be supplied and how sewage will be disposed and treated. [NOTE: Groundwater evaluation and percolation tests are not required with an application, however, such tests with positive results may be a condition of approval.]
  • Other information may be required by Westlock County to make a decision for a particular subdivision application.

Forms and Specifications

How is a Subdivision Application Processed?

Upon receipt of a subdivision application the following steps are taken:

  • The application, sketch, and fee are checked for completeness. A file is then opened. The Municipal Government Act allows a maximum of 60 days for Westlock County’s Subdivision Authority to either approve or refuse an application.
  • Referral letters are sent by the Subdivision Authority to the relevant municipality, school authority, utility companies, and government departments. These parties are given 30 days in which to comment on the application.
  • All pertinent facts are determined and the Development staff compiles a report. In the report, a recommendation is made for approval or refusal and the necessary conditions and reasons are outlined which relate to the staff recommendations.
  • A Letter, containing either conditions of approval or reasons for refusal, are sent to the applicant, municipality, school authority, and other interested parties advising them of the decision on the subdivision application.
  • If an application is refused, or if an applicant does not agree to the conditions of approval, an appeal may be made to the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board or the Municipal Government Board, depending on the nature of the subdivision, within 30 days of the date of decision. The appropriate board will grant a hearing in which the applicant can present his/her case. Any decision on a subdivision application can be appealed by the municipality or school authority.
  • If denied, an appeal may be made to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court within 30 days of the Board’s decision. An appeal can only be made on a question of law or jurisdiction.
  • When an applicant receives a conditionally approved subdivision, it is the applicant’s responsibility to see that all conditions of approval are met. Once the conditions are met, Westlock County will endorse the subdivision. If the subdivision is not endorsed within one (1) year, it is no longer valid. After endorsement, the applicant has one (1) year from the endorsement date to register the plan with Alberta Registries Land Titles Office.

Why is the Proposed Use of my Piece of Land Relevant During the Subdivision Application Process?

The size and site (characteristics) of the parcel of land created by a subdivision must be appropriate for a proposed use, so we need to know for what you intend to use the land. If the proposed use is not a permitted use according to the Land Use Bylaw, an amendment to the Land Use Bylaw is required.

Who May Appeal Subdivision Application?

  • the applicant for subdivision approval
  • the local council, if it was not the subdivision approving authority
  • a school authority (but only on questions of its share of reserves)
  • adjacent land owners, if he/she is appealing a change to the Land Use Bylaw

If a Subdivision is Being Planned, is There Anything I can do to Stop it?

During the subdivision approval process – if you receive a subdivision application for your review and comments, respond to the Subdivision Authority (Municipal Planning Services) During an appeal to the subdivision and development appeal board – as an affected individual, you may state your case during the hearing During the public hearing, if an amendment to the Land Use Bylaw is required – as an affected individual, you may state your case during the hearing.