Participating

Hearing preparation

The Appeal Board staff will not act as an agent, counsel or advocate to any party, nor will they offer an opinion on the merit or lack of merit of any appeal. Information provided by the Appeal Board staff is for your assistance only, it cannot be construed as legal advice nor will it assure you of a favourable decision.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to present evidence to support their application or respond to the issues raised by the appellant(s) or affected parties. The applicant should not rely on the Development or Subdivision Authority to make the case for them.

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In an effort to minimize delays and increase the effectiveness of the hearing process, the Calgary SDAB may determine procedural or jurisdictional matters, or both, at the commencement of some appeal hearings

The process is designed to manage scheduling and prevent delays (including additional adjournment requests) by ensuring the Board and the parties are aware of:

  • Who will be party to a hearing;
  • Which issues will be raised;
  • The nature and scope of evidence and arguments which will be presented; and
  • The anticipated time required to hear the appeal

In addition, the Board may determine jurisdictional matters such as whether an appeal has been filed on time.

If your appeal is selected for the procedural and jurisdictional process, your hearing will start with the Board identifying who the participants are and the length of time the hearing is likely to take. The Board will also give guidance to the parties present about the filing of materials and evidence for the appeal. The Board may also deal with preliminary issues regarding the appeal. This process is typically short in duration. In most cases, the Board will schedule a later date to hear the merits of the appeal, taking into account the scheduling requests of parties.

All of this means that you may have to appear more than once; however, it also provides greater certainty about the specific hearing date and time for your appeal, potentially eliminating further delays.

Any of the parties may request that the Board deal with some issues or hear the entire appeal on the date scheduled. The Board may agree to do so, in its discretion. For this reason, it is important to come to the first session prepared to present your case. The Board also has authority to determine procedural and/or jurisdictional issues at any time during the appeal hearing, not just at the outset.

Resolutions/Agreements

The Board encourages everyone involved in an appeal to discuss the issues prior to the hearing and throughout the appeal process. Such discussions can clarify the issues and may result in a resolution or an agreement between the parties.

If you come to a resolution or an agreement, please advise the Appeal Board office at info@calgarysdab.ca as soon as possible. The Board may be able to consider it at the initial session.

If you reach a resolution which involves changes to the proposed development or development permit, the applicant should submit a list of the amendments and the amended plans with any changes highlighted in red in advance of the hearing.

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

  • Contact the file manager or applicant of the development permit to clarify and discuss the proposed development under appeal.
  • Obtain a copy of the SDAB report for the item (available online or from the Appeal Board office on the Friday prior to the hearing).
  • 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 1P2007, Area Redevelopment Plan, Updated Low Density Residential Housing Guidelines for Established Communities, (Infill Guidelines), etc..
  • 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 will be requested to leave a copy of your written presentation and all materials with the Appeal Board staff 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, community 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.
  • Consider contacting your community association for its position on the proposed development.
  • Familiarize yourself with Board procedures by attending an SDAB hearing prior to your presentation.

The hearing room is equipped with a document viewer and projector; you must bring your own laptop, one will not be provided for you. Please see the Appeal Board staff for assistance with the equipment in the room.

If you will be presenting your arguments by means of an electronic presentation (on a laptop or a tablet) you must leave a hard and electronic copy of your presentation with the Appeal Board staff.

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?

Compatibility

  • How does the proposed development fit into the established streetscape pattern of the community?

If you are the appellant, applicant, and/or owner and wish to submit material to the Board for their review prior to the hearing, the SDAB office must receive one copy of the material no later than noon on Wednesday, approximately eight business days prior to the hearing.

The SDAB office will also accept 16 copies (12 copies for small panel hearings) no later than noon on the day prior to the hearing. These materials will be included in a so-called "Additional Submissions" package that the Board members will receive on the hearing day. Applicants/appellants may wish to contact the SDAB office a few days before the scheduled hearing date to determine if any Additional Submissions were filed with the Board that were not included in the SDAB report.

Since the Board does not have an opportunity to review the Additional Submissions prior to the hearing, the Chair may provide the Board with a few minutes to read the material prior to the start of the particular appeal under review.

If you plan on attending the hearing and wish to submit material not previously provided, 16 copies (12 copies for small panel hearings) are required. SDAB staff will distribute this material at the start of your presentation.

In addition, the Board may on a case-by-case basis require parties to an appeal to submit their presentation and/or material in advance of the hearing in order to have an efficient hearing. In these cases the Board will advise the parties accordingly.

All written and/or visual material relating to an appeal will be made available to the public.

Remember

  • Each appeal is considered on its own merits.
  • With regard to an appeal to the SDAB, the onus of proof is on the appellant.
  • Area Redevelopment Plans (ARP) and Area Structure Plans (ASP) are statutory documents which are binding upon all Development Authorities, including the SDAB. 
  • Low Density Residential Housing Guidelines for Established Communities (Infill Housing Guidelines) is a non-statutory policy guide. The Board will take into consideration the recommendations in the policy guide but is not bound to make its decision upon them.
  • Appellants must not 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/Subdivision Authority before or after hearings.

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 include, but are not limited to:

  • Non-compliance with Land Use Bylaw 1P2007 (height, setbacks, lot coverage, building coverage, etc.) See Section 687(3)(d) of the Municipal Government Act.
  • Compliance with Land Use Bylaw 1P2007 (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)
  • 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 considers each application on its own merits, regardless of whether or not a similar development or business already exists in the community.)
  • Business competition.
  • Comments regarding someone's character.
  • Financial impact on the applicant.
  • Financial status of the applicant.
  • Whether the development is occupied by renters or owners.

Note: As an appellant making a presentation to the Board, you are responsible to substantiate your planning arguments (such as the ones listed above) with evidence.  The onus of proof is on each party to prove or substantiate their arguments.

Listed below are some of the more common planning documents that you should take into consideration when preparing your presentation to the SDAB.

Land Use Bylaw 1P2007

  • Controls the use of land and buildings within Calgary.
  • Creates land use districts and rules regarding development.
  • Establishes procedures for processing and deciding upon land use and development applications.

Low Density Residential Guidelines for Established Communities (Infill Guidelines)

  • Establishes general design guidelines, which emphasize respect for the community context and the streetscape.
  • Attempts to preserve the overall fabric of the older communities.
  • Encourages new development and redevelopment, which respects and enhances the overall quality and character of the community.

Area Redevelopment Plans (ARP) - may not be available for all communities

  • Identifies the planning goals and objectives of residents and businesses in a community.
  • Incorporates citywide interests and requirements (new roads, city-wide policies) into the local community context.
  • Addresses land use designations (zoning), transportation issues, re-development, character, compatibility, and so on.

Area Structure Plans (ASP) - may not be available for all communities

  • Establishes the general framework for turning undeveloped areas into new suburban development.
  • Addresses technical matters such as transportation (major roads and connections), servicing networks, location of schools, parks and commercial sites, and the density and types of uses allowed.

Other planning documents include the Municipal Development Plan, Centre City Plan, etc.

Note: Copies of these documents can be purchased from the Planning and Transportation Information Centre or downloaded from www.calgary.ca/planning/info.(online information)

Please note that the Board is not an evidence seeking body. It 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 the responsibility of the applicant to present evidence to support their application or respond to the issues raised by the appellant(s) or affected parties. The applicant should not rely on the Development/Subdivision Authority to make the case for them.

The Board may on a case-by-case basis require parties to an appeal to submit their presentations and/or materials in advance of the hearing in order to have an efficient hearing. In these cases the Board will advise the parties accordingly.

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

  • At the beginning of your presentation introduce yourself for the record and state your position (in favour or opposition of the appeal).
  • Introduce your speakers.
  • 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. Sixteen copies (12 copies for small panel hearings) of your materials will be required.
  • Stick to the planning facts and support them with quantifiable (measurable) 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. A document viewer and projector are available for presentations although you are required to provide your own laptop.

Note: Once you complete your presentation, leave a copy of your written presentation and any materials that you presented to the Board with the SDAB staff.

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.

Please note that the Board is the master of its own procedures. The Board may decide to deviate from the normal hearing process if it deems it necessary in the interest of an efficient hearing and/or to ensure procedural fairness.

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.

The Board is not an evidence seeking body.  It 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.

The presiding Chair announces each appeal and in some cases calls a representative of The City of Calgary Development/Subdivision Authority to present the application or order (that is, where the site is located, the proposed development, and the reasons for the Development/Subdivision Authority's 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 an enforcement order, the speaking order is slightly different.  A representative for the Development Authority will speak first 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).

Individuals who have presented their case will be given an opportunity for rebuttal once the Board has questioned the Development/Subdivision Authority on any planning 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. 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 Land Use Bylaw.

In accordance with the legislation that governs the SDAB, the Board can only consider relevant planning matters when rendering its decision. Some examples of planning matters may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Design
  • Parking
  • Traffic
  • Compliance with planning legislation
  • Impact on neighbouring properties.

Matters not related to planning include comments regarding a person's character and commercial competition. If persons stray from planning matters, the Chair will advise accordingly.

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

Board deliberations

Once the Calgary SDAB has heard from all parties concerning the appeal, the Board will deliberate in private the outcome of the appeal.

Board decision issued

At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board may:

  1. Render its decision immediately with a summary of the reasons and issue a written decision within 15 days of the hearing; or
  2. Decide to reserve its decision and present its decision and reasons in writing within 15 days of the SDAB hearing.

The Board's decision is not final until it is signed and issued.

Appealing your decision (Court of Appeal)

You may apply for leave to appeal to the Alberta Court of Appeal within 30 days of the date the decision was issued if, in your opinion, the Board erred in a matter of jurisdiction or law. Appeals of the Board's decisions are governed by sections 688 and 689 of the Municipal Government Act. If you are considering an appeal, it is recommended that you consult with legal counsel.

The information contained herein is intended for information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. For certainty, you should consult the Municipal Government Act and other related statutes and regulations.