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Preparing for The Hearing

All information is available prior to the hearing. The Clerk assembles a report consisting of the Notice of Appeal form, submissions from the Planning and Development Department, the appellant,[1] applicant,[2] and/or subject property owner.[3] All written materials submitted prior to the hearing, including the appeal form, become part of the report and are available to the public.

Personal information is collected under the authority of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, Section 32(c) and the Municipal Government Act, Sections 678 and 685. If you have any questions regarding the collection of information, please contact the Council and Legislative Services Department (780) 743-7001.

Preparing for the public hearing

Listed below are some suggestions that may assist in preparation for the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (SDAB) hearing:

  • Determine the relevant planning issues associated with the appeal. Examples include design, parking and traffic compliance with planning legislation, and the impact on neighbours and their properties (adjacent properties).
  • Prepare a clear, concise and logical written presentation.
  • Any documentary or photographic evidence and a summary of testimonial evidence must be submitted 7 days prior to the hearing for inclusion in the report to the Board.  It is at the discretion of the Board to accept any evidence filed beyond the deadline date.
  • Ask neighbours affected by the proposed development to speak on your behalf and write letters outlining their position in support or objection.
  • Attend an SDAB hearing before the date of your own hearing in order to observe the process and gain a better understanding of the appeal hearing.
  • Review the contents of the SDAB Report prepared by the Development Officer.
  • 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).

Procedures followed at the public hearing

Individuals who file an appeal are encouraged to make a verbal presentation to the Board. Persons who are considered to be affected also have the right to make a presentation. Parties may have someone (an agent, friend or family member) to speak on their behalf. If a number of appeals are filed on the same development, it is recommended that a spokesperson be selected to organize presentations so that evidence is not repeated.

The Clerk will introduce each appeal and the Chair will call a representative of the Planning and Development Department to present their report on the application or order (i.e., where the site is located, the proposed development and the reasons for the Planning and Development Department's decision).

The Chair will then ask for:

  • the Parties[4] to make their presentation(s). Twenty minutes of time will be given to each to present their evidence;
  • those affected persons[5] (first, those in favor of the appeal, then opposed to the appeal) to make their presentations; five minutes of time will be given to present their evidence;
  • the Clerk to read into the record any written submissions received;
  • any person who has presented to ask questions for clarification of other persons who have presented (this must be done through the Chair);
  • brief summaries or closing comments.

The purpose of the appeal hearing is for the appellant and affected parties to provide the Board with information in relation to the appeal. The Board must base its decision on planning merits.

All comments are directed through the Chair. All comments must be respectful and concise; if another person has already made a point, simply state that you agree with the point.

A copy of any written documentation, including a map, photographs or reports, must be left with the Board. If you are reading from a written statement, a copy must be left with the Board as this will assist the Clerk in preparing the record of the hearing, and the Board in making its decision.

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. When presenting an appeal, keep in mind the Board does not consider precedent when making its decision.

Each application is judged on its own merits as 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 the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo Land Use Bylaw.

Exhibits/Evidence used during a presentation become part of the record of the hearing. If this material has to be returned to the Appellant, the Board must be advised at the conclusion of the hearing and arrangements will be made to have copies.

Request for adjournment

A written request for an adjournment, including the reasons for the request, must be submitted to the Clerk of the SDAB as soon as possible. If you are unable to submit the request in writing, a verbal request should be made at the time of the hearing.

Adjournment requests are not granted automatically. The Board considers each request on its own merits, including submissions concerning requests from other affected parties to the appeal. If you are unable to attend the hearing to speak to the adjournment request, you should have someone attend on your behalf that will be prepared to discuss the request and/or present evidence to the Board in the event the adjournment request is denied.

Withdrawal of an appeal

A signed Withdrawal of an Appeal should be submitted in writing to the Clerk as soon as possible.

[1] Appellant: Individual, agent or business who has filed a Notice of Appeal.
[2] Applicant: Individual, agent or business who applied for the original Development Permit or Subdivision application.
[3] Subject Property Owner – individual, agent or business in possession of the title of lands under appeal.
[4] Parties: The term parties refers to the Appellant, Applicant and/or Subject Property Owner, including the Municipality.
[5] Affected Persons: The term affected person is not defined in the Municipal Government Act. The Board determines affected persons on a case-by-case basis. For example, an affected person could be someone who feels their enjoyment, use or value of their property may be affected by the proposed development. The onus is on the person to show how they are affected by the development.

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