Subdivision Application & Process

We recommend that you discuss your subdivision application with planning staff as soon as possible. Early guidance and an understanding of the process will ensure you are heading in the right direction and that the process proceeds smoothly.

What is a Subdivision?

A subdivision is the process of dividing a lot or parcel of land into two or more lots or parcels. This usually occurs when a property owner divides a parcel of land into several smaller lots, or when several smaller lots are combined into a single parcel. Creating a condominium plan is also form of subdivision.

The Background

A subdivision can be as complex as creating a whole new neighborhood or as simple as an owner dividing a property in two. Even the smallest subdivisions have impacts on the character of a neighborhood, the environment, neighbors, sewage, utilities, emergency services and schools.

A subdivision application requires considerable work by both the applicant and the Town of High Level to make sure it is feasible. Subdivision plans must be approved by the Subdivision Authority.

First Steps

The first step to subdivision is finding the Land Use District, or Zoning, of your property by checking the address against the Land Use map, at the back of the Land Use Bylaw and you will find the subdivision regulations that apply to you. The bylaw states the minimum width, depth and area for lots. You will also find other rules on density, site coverage, height, setbacks, etc. to help you plan your subdivision. Where technical feasibility needs to be demonstrated (for example, a servicing concept) you will probably have to hire a specialized consultant.

Bear in mind that subdivision is “discretionary” i.e.; it is up to you to convince the Subdivision Authority that the subdivision is feasible, will not adversely affect neighboring properties etc.

Your Subdivision Application

Please complete an application and provide the drawings and information listed:

  1. The location, dimensions and boundaries of lands to be subdivided
  2. The location and dimensions of each new lot and existing right-of-ways
  3. A copy of current title and current instruments that affect the land
  4. An indication of any water courses
  5. A description of the proposed new use of land
  6. An indication of current and proposed accesses to all parcels
  7. Required application fees

The most important item is the Tentative Plan of Subdivision, usually prepared by a surveyor, engineer, or planning firm. A processing fee is also required. Depending on your subdivision’s size and complexity, you may also have to supply detailed grading, a context plan and engineering feasibility studies. Most large subdivisions, especially those on undisturbed lands, must meet this requirement.

What Happens Next?

Once your application is complete, it is assessed by municipal staff to ensure it meets the Land Use Bylaw and the Municipal Plan. You or any affected person may appeal the decision, or any conditions, to the Development Appeal Board (DAB). Assuming all goes well and your tentative plan of subdivision is approved and “signed off” by the Subdivision Authority. The approval will usually include a list of the conditions to be met before the subdivision is registered at Alberta Land Titles. These conditions will include completing the final staking of the site, detailed servicing plans, grading plans, and financial arrangements. A subdivision servicing agreement which lays out the responsibilities of the developer and the Town may be required.

What All This Costs

Application processing fees vary according to the number of lots being created. For new residential subdivisions there is also a charge for “off site levy”. This charge represents long-term upgrading of the Town’s utility system to service the new developments and is payable at the time of subdivision.

Under the Alberta Municipal Government Act, the Town has the right to claim up to 10% of the property for the Municipal, School and/or Environmental Reserve. In High Level this land is usually earmarked for the public parks. The Town may also consider “cash-in-lieu” representing a percentage of the value of the property prior to subdivision. Smaller subdivisions are usually exempt from any roadway or reserve dedication.