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Development Appeals Board Process

Under The Planning and Development Act, 2007, any municipality or planning district with an approved zoning bylaw is required to have a development appeals board.

A development appeals board is a quasi-judicial board appointed by council. Its function is to hear appeals on certain development-related decisions made by a municipality in a forum independent from council.

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1. Guiding Principles of a Development Appeals Board

A development appeals board is intended to provide a flexible, faster, less formal and more specialized decision-making process than the court system. It is expected to be fair and impartial in its consideration of appeals. To accomplish this, development appeals boards are based on three guiding principles:

  • Administrative law – activities of government are administered in a fair, legal and reasonable manner
  • Duty of fairness – minimum requirements to observe in a hearing and decision-making
  • Rules of evidence – factual proof to support or refute a case

Additional context and information on these guiding principles can be found in the Development Appeals Board Guide.

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2. Establishing a Development Appeals Board

Development appeals board members are appointed by council. A board must have a minimum of three members, though more are recommended. Members of council and employees of the municipality or planning district which the municipality is a member cannot serve on the board. Once a board is established, it elects one of its members as chair.

Council also appoints a secretary to serve as the executive director of the board. Council is responsible for determining the term of office, how vacancies are to be filled, and the remuneration and expenses payable to each board member and the secretary of the board.

Additional context and information on establishing a development appeals board can be found in the Development Appeals Board Guide.

Municipalities are encouraged to consider cooperating with their neighbours to establish a district development appeals board. Advantages of a district development appeals board include:

  • Increased eligibility for members (e.g. some people ineligible to serve on a local development appeals board are eligible to be members of a district development appeals board)
  • Improved capacity and efficiency
  • Improved perception of fairness

Municipalities wishing to know more about establishing a district development appeals board are encouraged to contact the Community Planning branch for more information.

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3. Making an Appeal

A municipality must notify an applicant (or affected persons) when they have a right to appeal.

To make an appeal, an applicant must send their written notice of appeal to the secretary of the development appeals board within 30 days of the municipality's decision. A notice of appeal must be accompanied by any fee established by the board. The maximum fee a board may set is $300. Upon receipt of an application for appeal, the board will determine if they have jurisdiction to consider the matter.

A person may appeal to the development appeals board if they allege:

  • A development permit has been wrongfully refused.
  • The municipality's zoning bylaw was misapplied (e.g. in the issuance of a development permit).
  • An enforcement order under The Planning and Development Act, 2007 has been issued.
  • Variance to standards in the municipality's zoning bylaw can be justified by special circumstances.
  • Development standards and/or conditions prescribed in a development permit or associated with site plan control are excessive.
  • A minor variance application has been approved, refused or revoked.
  • Council has failed to make a decision within the prescribed time period or has imposed terms and conditions on a development permit under an interim development control bylaw, in a direct control district, or in an architectural control district.
  • Council has failed to amend its zoning bylaw to remove a holding symbol, or has failed to make a decision on removing a holding symbol within the prescribed time period.
  • An application for structural repairs, alternations or additions to a non-conforming building is refused.

In addition, matters related to a subdivision and the terms of a servicing agreement or development levy agreement can also be appealed. Unless the municipality has been declared a subdivision approving authority pursuant to section 13 of The Planning and Development Act, 2007*, appeals on these matters are made directly to the Saskatchewan Municipal Board. See Further Rights of Appeal for more information.

* The Cities of Estevan, Lloydminster, Moose Jaw, North Battleford, Prince Albert, Regina, Saskatoon, Swift Current, Weyburn and Yorkton have been granted subdivision approving authority status.

There is no ability to appeal when:

  • Council refuses a development permit application because the proposed use or the intensity of use is not permitted in the municipality's zoning bylaw or the proposed use is prohibited in the municipality’s zoning bylaw.
  • Council refuses a discretionary use application.
  • Council refuses to rezone a person’s land

For more information on the process for making an appeal, including items eligible to be appealed, hearing notices, hearing conduct and decisions of a development appeals board, please consult the Development Appeals Board Guide  or contact the Community Planning branch.

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4. Further Rights of Appeal

All decisions of a development appeals board can be appealed to the Saskatchewan Municipal Board's Planning Appeals Committee. Within 30 days of receiving a copy of the development appeals board's decision, any affected party may send written notice of appeal and a $50 filing fee to the Planning Appeals Committee. In addition, any subdivision where the Ministry of Government Relations is the approving authority can also be appealed directly to the Planning Appeals Committee.

For more information about the Saskatchewan Municipal Board and its Planning Appeals Committee, read the File a Planning Appeal page.

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5. Development Appeals Board Guide

The Ministry of Government Relations has prepared a Development Appeals Board Guide to provide advice to municipalities, planning districts and appellants on:

  • The role and principles of a development appeals board;
  • How to establish a development appeals board;
  • Opportunities for appeal under The Planning and Development Act, 2007;
  • Suggested procedural practices; and
  • Templates to assist development appeals boards through the appeal application, hearing and decision-making processes.

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