Subdivision & Development Appeal Board

Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (SDAB) hears appeals from municipal subdivision and development authorities. By hearing appeals and making decisions on land use in Alberta, a SDAB fulfills a vital function in achieving the goals of orderly, beneficial and economic development set out in Part 17 of the Municipal Government Act (the "MGA"). SDAB decisions shape the community and affect the lives of developers, neighbours, citizens, and businesses.

Planning is a collection of generally accepted practices which is supported in some cases by legislation and in other cases by professional practice. The MGA is the main piece of legislation that governs the powers and functions of a SDAB. However it is not the only source of information available to an appeal board such as the SDAB on the rules governing planning and development. Legislation that relates to land and land use appears in many other pieces of legislation, regulations and policies in Alberta. A SDAB is also guided by principles that have been established by the common law, which is a body of law that has built up over time through various court decisions.
The SDAB evaluates each case before it with reference to the provincial planning framework, statutory plans, and bylaws. In making the decision on an appeal case, the SDAB must consider, among other things, the provincial and municipal legislative and planning framework of any application. Hearings are scheduled so that both sides affected by a decision can be present. Presenting arguments in this type of forum allows all the arguments and evidence to be heard. The law also places limits on what a SDAB can do.  A SDAB must: 
  • Stay within the limits of the legislation;
  • Act fairly and reasonably within the limits imposed by administrative law and principles of natural justice;
  • Act in accordance with its enabling bylaw; and
  • Apply the applicable planning framework to the appeal before it.