Subdivision and Development Appeal Board

The Subdivision & Development Appeal Board (SDAB) is an independent quasi-judicial Board established under the Municipal Government Act of the Province of Alberta. The committee is made up of four members appointed by Council and one Council Member. Board members are residents of the the City of Medicine Hat and cannot be an employee of the City or a member of the Municipal Planning Commission.

The Subdivision & Development Appeal Board hears appeals from people who have been affected by a decision of the Development Authority and people who dispute the issuance of a Notice to Remedy Unsightly Property by the Municipal Bylaw Enforcement.

Frequently asked questions

Is there a filing fee?

The filing fee must be received by the City Clerk Department before your appeal will be processed. The fee may be reimbursed if you win your appeal or if the appeal is withdrawn.

Accepted methods of payment are:

  • cheque (made out to the City of Medicine Hat)
  • cash
  • debit

A rate of $205.00 is effective as of January 1, 2022.

What can be appealed?

If you are considering filing an appeal it is important to know if there is a right of appeal, the deadlines involved and who can make the appeal.

Dialogue between Appellant and the Development Authority or the Board Clerk are encouraged to seek clarification prior to moving forward. Ensure you have a clear understanding of the decision or conditions that you are in disagreement with. Doing so will help you determine if there is a right of appeal and what the potential outcome could mean.

The SDAB has jurisdiction to hear appeals related to the following:

  • a decision of the Subdivision Authority concerning a subdivision application
  • a decision of the Development Authority concerning a development permit application
  • an Enforcement Order (Stop Order) issued by the Development Authority
  • an Order to Remedy Unsightly Property issued by the Municipal Bylaw Enforcement
Who can appeal?

If you are considering filing an appeal it is important to know if there is a right of appeal, the deadlines involved and who can make the appeal.

Development Appeals

May be filed by anyone who is affected by a decision of the Development Authority in relation to a development permit. You can appeal if:

  • your application has been denied.
  • your application was approved with conditions unacceptable to you.
  • your application for a development permit is deemed refused. (meaning a decision was not made within 40 days after the receipt of an application).
  • you are a neighbor affected by an application that was approved where the provisions of the land use bylaw were relaxed, varied or misinterpreted.
Direct Control Districts

May be appealed only if the decision is made by the Development Authority. In these situations, the appeal is limited to whether the Development Authority followed the directions of Council.

Subdivision Appeals

Only the applicant can file an appeal with respect to a refusal of a subdivision application or on the conditions of approval of the application. Affected neighbours cannot file an appeal. You can appeal if:

  • your application was approved with conditions unacceptable to you;
  • your application for subdivision is refused, or;
  • your application for subdivision is deemed refused (meaning a decision was not made within 60 days of the receipt of the completed application)

The Municipal Government Act of Alberta does not provide for adjacent owners to appeal but they are entitled to be notified of an appeal and to be heard at the Board hearing.

Notice of Order (Stop Order)

Enforcement orders are issued by the Development and/or the Subdivision Authority for a breach of the land use bylaw.

The SDAB only has the authority to vary or set aside an Enforcement Order. This limits the Board to focusing on the issue of whether or not the Order was issued properly by the Development Authority.

Who can appeal:

  • the property owner
  • the person in possession of the land or building
  • the person responsible for the contravention
  • any person considered to be affected by the Order

Order to Remedy Unsightly Property

  • any person issued an order under Bylaw #3117 may appeal the order.
What if I miss the appeal deadline, can I still file an appeal?

If you miss your deadline, the Board Clerk will advise you of the deadline and review the jurisdiction of the Board with you. The Board will be notified of the deadline for filing and the date the appeal was filed.

If you missed the appeal deadline, it is important to ensure you are prepared to present the reasons for the late filing or to justify why you believe the filing was not late. The Board must make this determination prior to proceeding with a hearing on the main concerns of the appeal.

What happens after I file an appeal?

In accordance with the Municipal Government Act of Alberta, a hearing will be arranged within 30 days.

  • the Board Clerk will notify the appellant, the applicant and/or property owner (if other than appellant), adjacent property owners and any other applicable parties.
  • the Notice of Hearing contains the date, time, and place of the Board hearing and the deadline for submissions to the Board Clerk.
  • appellants are not to contact members of the Board regarding their appeal, as this will disqualify members from participating in the hearing. Board members do not discuss appeals with the Development Authority prior to hearings.
  • the Board Clerk assembles an agenda for the hearing consisting of the appeal form, submissions from the Development Authority, the appellant/applicant/owner and any other submissions recieved. The agenda is distributed to the SDAB members and parties involved for review prior to the hearing.
  • all materials submitted as part of the hearing process, including the appeal form, become part of the agenda and are made available to the public and may be referenced in the Board’s public written decision.
  • any personal information that is included in the submissions is collected under the authority of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, Section 33(c) and the Municipal Government Act, Sections 678 and 685. If you have any questions regarding the collection of information, please contact the FOIP Head at 403-529-8234.
How do I submit my evidence?

It is helpful if you provide your initial written arguments in advance and in sufficient detail to allow all Parties to respond to the argument at the hearing.

Within the timelines outlined on the Notice of Hearing, you are requested to provide your arguments to the Board Clerk for inclusion in the hearing agenda.

Submissions must be received at the City Clerk Department:

A copy of additional information that is presented at the hearing should be provided to the Board Clerk. All submissions at the hearing will be marked as exhibits and will become part of the public record.

What type of information should I submit?

Listed below are some suggestions that will assist with preparing your evidence submission:

  • include as much information as possible so that the Board can fully understand what you are appealing;
  • an explanation of your proposed development or the use you intend on the property;
  • site plans and elevations or a drawing of the site and buildings,
  • photographs;
  • a list of specific reasons why you feel your appeal should be granted.

What are the relevant and non-relevant planning considerations?

The following information is provided as a guideline only and lists typical relevant and non-relevant planning considerations; however, there may be other relevant considerations that are not listed.

Relevant Planning Considerations

Some examples of relevant planning considerations the board will consider include, but are not limited to:

  • proposed Use
  • the suitability of the land for the proposed use
  • non-compliance with Land Use Bylaw (height, setbacks, lot coverage, building coverage, etc.)
  • compliance with Land Use Bylaw (height, setbacks, parking, density, etc.)
  • site context (the context of the proposed development in relation to surrounding properties)
  • site layout (setback of the building on the site)
  • the provision of services and utilities
  • the adequacy of access to the site
  • existing and future surrounding land uses
  • environmental considerations
  • parking
  • traffic
  • building mass
  • privacy (impact of the proposed development on privacy)
  • shadowing
  • landscaping
  • intensity of use
  • noise

Non-Relevant Planning Considerations

Some examples of non-relevant planning considerations include, but are not limited to:

  • precedence (the Board may consider prior decisions but, it is not bound by them. Each appeal is considered based on its own merits)
  • business competition
  • financial impact on the applicant
  • financial status of the applicant
  • whether the development is occupied by renters or owners
  • comments regarding the character of an individual
Are appeals available to the public?

Appeals to the Board are available for public inspection pursuant to section 686(4) of the Municipal Government Act R.S.A. 2000 c. M-26. upon request to the Board Clerk.

If you have questions contact the Board Clerk at 403-529-8382 or email

Who will be at the hearing?

  • the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (made up of the Chair, 1 Councillor and 1 to 3 Board Members)
  • the Board Clerk
  • you, the Appellant
  • the Applicant or Land Owner if other than yourself
  • Planning and Development services staff or Municipal Bylaw Enforcement (for Orders to Remedy)
  • the public may attend to observe or to speak at the hearing.

How do I prepare for the hearing?

We recommend that you attend your hearing as you will be able to question witnesses, answer questions and respond to arguments or objections made.

You are responsible to present evidence to support your position or respond to the issues raised by the opposing Parties. The Parties should be prepared to provide a verbal presentation to the Board in a clear, concise and logical manor.

Listed below are some suggestions that may assist you in preparing your presentation to the SDAB:

  • each appeal is considered on its own merits and the onus of proof is on the appellant (you).
  • understand the legislation governing the Board and land use of the site.
  • determine the relevant planning issues relating to the appeal.
  • review the relevant planning documents such as Land Use Bylaw, Area Redevelopment Plan, Area Structure Plan, Municipal Development Plan and Intermunicipal Development Plan
  • prepare a written presentation to ensure that key issues are not overlooked and that your presentation to the Board will be complete, clear, concise and logical. You may be requested to leave a copy of your written presentation and all materials with the Appeal Board Clerk after you have presented.
  • consider taking photographs of the site and the surrounding area. This may give the Board a visual perspective of what you are referring to.
  • consider asking persons affected by the appeal (neighbours, neighbourhood association, etc.) to:
  • attend and speak at the hearing,
  • write letters outlining their position, or
  • compile a letter of objection signed by affected parties.
  • while it is important to obtain support for your position, the Board considers each application on its own merits and weighs all planning evidence presented. It does not make its decision solely based on the support or opposition from affected parties.

When you are preparing your presentation, consider asking these types of questions:

Development potential

  • what are the range of uses available or allowed on the subject site?
  • what density, height and form are possible?

Policy considerations

  • determine the relevant policy plan for your community.
  • does the project meet those expectations?

Impact of potential development

  • what would be the impact caused by traffic, parking and on-site activities generated by the proposed development or business?
  • what would be the impact from the height, massing, shadowing or other physical features?


  • how does the proposed development fit into the established streetscape pattern of the community?
What are some tips for presenting?

The Board relies on written evidence presented, as well as verbal submissions made at hearings, as the basis for its decisions. It is therefore critical that persons appearing before the Board ensure that sufficient evidence is presented to support their respective positions.

It is your responsibility to present evidence to support your application or respond to the issues raised by the other parties.

Listed below are some suggestions that will assist you in making a presentation to the SDAB:

  • Presentation from all speakers is limited to five to ten minutes.
  • At the beginning of your presentation introduce yourself for the record and state your position.
  • Speak to the presiding Chair or through the Chair.
  • If you wish to have materials distributed to the Board, advise the presiding Chair at the beginning of your presentation.
  • Stick to the relevant planning facts and data. Reference planning policies, traffic studies, parking statistics, sun shadow studies, etc.
  • Reference any pages, paragraphs, sections and/or article of any documents you are quoting.
  • Present your opinion regarding any errors in fact or interpretation.
  • State the detailed issues about the site in the context of the surrounding properties and the impact on the community.
  • Show photographs, illustrative materials and well-prepared drawings throughout your presentation.

Please note, once you complete your presentation, leave a copy of your written presentation and any materials that you presented to the Board with the Board Clerk.

What are the hearing procedures?

Hearings are open to the public.

Persons who file an appeal are encouraged to make a verbal presentation to the Board. Persons who have been notified of the appeal also have the right to present a verbal, written and/or visual presentation to the Board.

If desired, parties may have someone, or an agent, 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 repetitive.

Exhibits used during a presentation become part of the SDAB record of the hearing and must be retained for a minimum of 60 days. If return of this material is required, the SDAB must be advised at the conclusion of the hearing and arrangement will be made for its return at the end of the retention period.

The presiding Chair announces each appeal and will call a representative of Development/Subdivision Authority or Bylaw Enforcement to present their report and the reasons for their decision.

For a development or subdivision appeal, the Chair will then ask for:

  • all speakers in favour of the appeal (persons who filed an appeal or support the position of the appellant).
  • all speakers opposed to the appeal (persons who oppose the position of the appellant).

For an appeal against a Stop Order, a representative for the Development Authority will present their report and then the Chair will ask for:

  • all speakers in favour of the enforcement order (persons who oppose the position of the appellant).
  • all speakers opposed to the enforcement order (persons who filed an appeal or support the position of the appellant).

For a appeal against an Order to Remedy, the Chair will call on a representative of the Municipal Bylaw Enforcement to present their report and reasons for issuing the Order, then the Chair will ask for:

  • all speakers in favour of the appeal (persons who filed an appeal or support the position of the appellant).
  • all speakers opposed to the appeal (persons who oppose the position of the appellant).

Individuals who have presented their case will be given an opportunity for rebuttal once the Board has questioned the Development/Subdivision Authority or Bylaw Enforcement Officers on any issues raised during the proceedings. Rebuttal is an opportunity to refute information and evidence presented since the last time you spoke that you could not have reasonably anticipated. It is not an opportunity to reargue your case or create new argument.

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.

When all the evidence has been presented, the Board will hear closing statements from both parties. This includes a brief summary of your case and the arguments supporting them.

The Board members may ask questions at any time during the hearing.

After closing statements the Chair will adjourn the hearing.

How do I withdraw my appeal?

A withdrawal should be submitted in writing to the Board Clerk as soon as possible. Your co-operation will help the City use its resources efficiently and effectively. The Appeal filing fee may be refunded if the appeal is withdrawn.

Please contact the Board Clerk if you have any questions:

  • in person on third floor, City Hall, 580 First Street SE
  • phone 403-529-8382
  • email
How do I request a postponement or an adjournment?

In exceptional circumstances, the Board may consider rescheduling your hearing. To request a postponement or adjournment, you must submit a request in writing.

Requests for adjournment are made at the hearing, they should be brought forward as a preliminary matter. If granted, the Board will schedule a new hearing date. If denied, the hearing will proceed as scheduled.

The request must include the following:

  • Contact information including daytime phone, mobile phone & email
  • Detailed reasons for the postponement or adjournment
  • Hearing dates requested
  • Dates when you are unavailable to attend a hearing

The Board must not adjourn or reschedule a hearing unless there are compelling reasons to do so. The Board must balance the rights of the parties to a fair hearing with the efficiency in processing appeals.

 How are decisions made?

Following the hearing, the Board will deliberate in private and will consider both verbal testimony and written submissions from all parties. The Board judges each application on its own merits. In accordance with the legislation that governs the Board, it can only consider relevant information when rendering a decision.

A written decision will be issued within 15 days after the hearing. Until the decision is issued in writing, it is not deemed official and therefore cannot be acted upon.

What happens if I do not agree with the decision?

The decision of the Board is final.

However, the decision can be appealed to the Court of Appeal on a question of law or jurisdiction. If you wish to appeal you must follow the procedure found in sections 688 of the Municipal Government Act which requires an application for leave to appeal to be filed and served within 30 days of the decision.