Sturgeon County - Subdividing Land

Subdividing LandSubdividing Land

What is subdivision?

Subdivision is a legal process where land is divided into two or more parcels in order to obtain a separate land title for each parcel. This process is governed by the Province of Alberta’s Subdivision and Development Regulations, the Sturgeon County Municipal Development Plan and the Land Use Bylaw, and is administered by Sturgeon County. The number of times land can be subdivided depends on the scale and location of the proposed subdivision.

Special considerations impacting the subdivision process include provincial highways, water-bodies, topography and abandoned well-sites. The type of criteria required to evaluate applications and the associated development conditions, reflect the scale and impact to the local community.

In general, Sturgeon County will consider the subdivision of agricultural lands to a maximum of 4 parcels per quarter section. A quarter section is defined as a property with 64 hectares (160 acres).

The agricultural subdivision layout will reflect (2) Agriculture Parcels and (2) Acreage Lots.

Agricultural Parcels = 32 hectares (80 acres)

Acreage Lots = 1 hectare (2.47 acres)

For additional information regarding subdivisions which exceed 4 parcels per quarter section, please contact the Planning and Development Department at 780.939.8275.


Single Lot Subdivision

Important Considerations Before Proceeding

Compliance with Land Use Bylaw
All development and land uses (such as businesses) on both proposed and existing parcels must be in (or come into) compliance with current regulations. For example, any buildings that do not meet property line setback requirements could necessitate a variance (i.e. a process requiring up to 6 additional weeks and generally costing between $200-$400 for a development permit application) – or in some infrequent instances, even re-locating or demolition.

Road Dedication and Aquisition
In most cases, landowners must provide land for future road upgrades (generally five meters parallel to the road). Specifically, the County’s “Grid Road Right-of-Way Dedication & Acquisition” policy implies: 

  • Land Dedication (i.e. via plan of survey without compensation) will be applied: 
  • When the adjacent road has been identified for improvements within the next five years; or 
  • When the proposed use of the land is not for agricultural production (e.g. for an acreage); or
    •  When the land has been identified within an approved “Functional Road Plan”. 
    • Land Acquisition (i.e. via land acquisition agreement with future compensation) will be applied: ▪ When the land has not been identified for improvements within the next five years; and 
  • When the proposed use of the land is for agricultural production. Alberta Transportation has similar policies for land adjacent highways (requiring up to 30+ meters).

Consultation with Alberta Transportation
As implied above, if your property is located within 1.6 kilometers of a provincial highway, ensure you are aware of any land dedication, land acquisition or any other potential requirements by consulting with Alberta Transportation (4709 – 44th Avenue, Stony Plain, AB, T7Z 1N6; or phone 780-968-4228).

Money in Lieu of Municipal Reserve

Money (in lieu of municipal reserve land) must be provided equivalent to the assessed value of 10% of any proposed parcel between 0.8 and 16 hectares (1.98 to 39.5 ac) in size. For example (only), if a one hectare parcel is subdivided, the calculation could be: 0.1 hectare (i.e. 10%) X $15,899.56 per hectare (i.e. sample assessed value of land) =
$1,589.96 to be paid. This money is used for developing public amenities throughout the County.

Approach Upgrades
Any existing substandard approach(es) must be upgraded to meet modern engineering specifications – based upon recommendations of Engineering Services staff during their first site inspection. Like all other approval conditions, you will generally have one year to fulfil this obligation and request a second inspection. Should your approach upgrades not pass this follow-up inspection (and necessitate a third inspection), an additional $250 fee applies. Should you wish to register the new subdivide property prior to fulfilling this obligation, the County can accept a refundable deposit to ensure your obligations are fulfilled (see ‘Fees and Other Expenses’ section below).

Proving Site Developability
Is your proposed property actually developable? Are there any active (or abandoned) oil or gas wells/pipelines which could impact your building footprint? Could the property dimensions adequately accommodate a house plus features such as a garage and septic system which complies with regulations? Is the property potentially prone to flooding or erosion? If uncertain, the County may require to you hire a qualified consulting professional at your expense to prepare a geotechnical assessment or similar.

Private Sewage System
All existing private sewage systems must be in (or come into) compliance with the current Alberta Private Sewage Systems Standards of Practice

Corporate Property Owners
If the registered landowner is a company, provide the names of directors and shareholders, along with the mailing address of the company, by submitting a printout of the Corporate Registry prepared by Service Alberta (visit or phone 780-427-7013).

  1. Should you require any clarification, arrange a meeting with the County’s Planning Technician (by emailing Planning & Development Services or phoning 780-939-8275), who can provide additional guidance which can prevent surprises and save you time, money and effort!
  2. Complete and submit your application package, ensuring you enclose all items referenced in the Checklist
  3.  You will receive a letter confirming that your application package is “complete”. Your application will be circulated to various stakeholders including adjacent landowners, County departments and other agencies for their feedback and requirements. 
  4. Sturgeon County Engineering Services staff will conduct a site assessment, analyzing your proposal from their perspective of developability, drainage, access, etc. They will have requirements to be met – see pages 1, 2 and 4
  5. Once stakeholder feedback has been returned, staff will prepare a report for the Subdivision Authority (see page 1 for explanation). The report will describe your proposal, summarize stakeholder feedback, rules and regulations, and include a staff recommendation to either ‘refuse’ or ‘conditionally approve’ your application. 
  6.  You will be sent a copy of the report and (if applicable) advised of the Municipal Planning Commission’s meeting date in advance – in which case you must sign and return a ‘Municipal Planning Commission Notification Form’ to confirm you have received your report. It is advisable that you attend and be prepared to speak at this meeting (although this is not mandatory). 
  7. The Subdivision Authority will either ‘refuse’ or ‘conditionally approve’ your application. Note that the process described above generally takes two months after submitting your application. However, if applicable, Municipal Planning Commission meetings are generally not held during Council breaks (i.e. July, August and Christmas), which may impact the timing of your application. Click here for meeting schedules. 
  8. For general information on what usually happens after a decision has been made by the Subdivision & Development Appeal Board.

After the Subdivision Authority makes their decision, the following describes what usually happens next: 

Your application was: Not Approved

1) You will receive a decision letter approximately one week after the Subdivision Authority has made a decision, outlining the reasons for refusal. After receiving the letter, you have 14 days to register your appeal. See instructions within decision letter

Your application was: Approved Conditionally

  1. You will receive a decision letter approximately one week after the Subdivision Authority has made a decision, outlining your conditions of approval. Review these conditions of approval and stamped drawing. 
    • Should you disagree with any particular condition (or with the subdivision drawing layout), after receiving the letter, you have 14 daysto register your appeal. See instructions within decision letter. 
    • Should you agree with all conditions, you have one year to fulfil these obligations (see below). 

2) Conditions of subdivision approval are your responsibility and usually (but not always) involve tasks such as: 

  • Settling any property tax arrears;
    ➢Tip: If this is applicable, County staff will request payment as your final step during an “endorsement” appointment. 
  • Hiring an Alberta Land Surveyor to prepare a survey;
    ➢Tip: To find a surveyor, visit the Alberta Land Surveyor’s Association website or phone 1-800-665-2572. 
  • Dedicating a segment of land to the County/Province for road/highway widening purposes;
    ➢Tip: Surveyors assist when land is required by plan of survey, while County/Provincial staff will prepare land acquisition agreements for your signature.
  •  Hiring a contractor to upgrade existing approaches/culvertsto meet modern engineering specifications;
    ➢Tip: Collaborate with Engineering Services in advance to clarify the scope of upgrades required (phone 780-939-1323).
  • Signing various caveats/agreements;
    ➢Tip: The County can only prepare such documents after receiving your surveyor’s drawing. 
  • Bringing all affected properties into compliance with current County/Provincial policies;
    ➢Tip: Contact the County’s Development Technician for assistance with development permits/variances by emailing or phoning 780-939-8275.
    ➢Tip: Contact a plumbing contractor for assistance with septic system upgrades. Note: A permit is first required from the County’s agent, Superior Safety Codes (phone 780-939-8276). 
  • Paying various fees(e.g. money in lieu of municipal reserve, new parcel fee, endorsement fee, etc);
    ➢Tip: County staff will request applicable payments as your final step during an “endorsement” appointment. 
  • Any other conditions determined necessary to satisfy County/Provincial policy;
    ➢Tip: Check your decision letter, and consult the County’s Planning Technician should you require clarification by emailing or phoning 780-939-8275. 

Note: In most instances, once you receive your decision letter from the Subdivision Authority confirming your conditions of approval, your first priorities should usually include hiring an Alberta Land Surveyor (to prepare a survey drawing) and hiring a contractor to upgrade any existing substandard approaches. Once those are completed, the County itypically in a position to prepare applicable documentation and will schedule an “endorsement” appointment for you to sign paperwork and pay applicable fees.