What is Subdivision?
Subdivision can generally be described as the legal mechanism that leads to the creation of a new parcel of land. Subdivision involves the division of land into two or more parcels, and can also include the re-alignment of existing property lines, the creation of strata lots, the creation of long-term leases (over three years), building stratas and air-space parcels.
Why Is the District approval of Subdivision required?
Provincial statutes and District bylaws require that most subdivisions, that take place within the District’s boundary, be approved by a municipal official who has been appointed by Council to serve as the Subdivision Approving Officer. Some forms of subdivision do not require District approval. These include plans that consolidate whole parcels, lot line cancellations and some building stratas.
Subdivision Approving Officer
The Land Title Act authorizes a Municipal Council to appoint a person(s) to independently administer the approval or rejection of subdivision.
The appointed Subdivision Approving Officer(s) has the authority to use considerable discretion when making decisions concerning subdivision application, and is responsible to either approve or reject a subdivision application based on his/her opinion regarding conformation of a proposal with District bylaws and policies, and Provincial statutes. He/she is also expected to determine if the final product is in the public interest.
In this role, the Approving Officers act in a judiciary manner. It is he/she (and not the Municipal Council) that approves and rejects a subdivision application.
What does the Approving Officer Consider?
- Existing District policies
Especially those policies incorporated within the District’s Official Community Plan, and those confirmed by District Council.
- Zoning Regulations
Standards for the creation and use of lots (lot size, lot dimensions, servicing, frontage, density and use, setbacks, etc.)
Consideration for roads, lanes, walkways, emergency access, fire lanes, access to the Ocean and Lakes; and adjacent land.
- Parks & Environmental Protection
Allowing for the provision of “green spaces” and the protection and enhancement of natural and environmental amenities.
The provision and extension of services (sewer, water, utilities and other services) to support the use of the new lots and the future development of adjacent lands.
The assessment of site conditions (steep slopes, coalmine workings, geotechnical suitability, and erosion) that may have impact upon the safe use and development of the lands.
- Requirements of “External Agencies” Ministry of Environment (i.e. concerning environmental issues, flooding, contaminated site remediation) Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure(i.e. when subdivision occurs adjacent to a Provincial Highway, or access to the foreshore is a consideration) Interior Health Authority (for on-site sewage disposal).