The Municipal Government Act requires that Council appoint a Development Officer to administer its land use and subdivision by-laws.
The land use by-law specifies the types of development for which a development permit is required, and the Development Officer's job is to review applications for compliance with all aspects of the land use by-law. The land use by-law sets out permitted uses in each zone, and establishes building setbacks, lot sizes, and requirements for parking spaces, landscaping, and a variety of other matters. There is very little discretion available to the Development Officer in issuing permits. A permit must be issued if it is in compliance with the requirements of the by-law, and must be refused if it does not comply. If the Development Officer refuses to issue a permit, the applicant has the right to appeal to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board. The Development Officer is also responsible for administering and enforcing development agreements once they have been entered into by Council and the applicant.
The subdivision by-law controls the subdivision of land in the municipality in accordance with the development policies of the municipal planning strategy. It includes regulations dealing with lot size and shape, access, street design and construction, procedures for approval, fees, and requirements for transfer of parkland or cash-in-lieu to the municipality. As with development permits, the Development Officer has very little discretion in approving subdivision plans. An application must comply with the subdivision and land use by-laws; otherwise, the Development Officer must refuse to approve it. If a subdivision plan is refused, the applicant may appeal to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board.
In conjunction with the Building Official, the Development Officer prepares a monthly report to Planning Advisory Committee and Council which provides details on all development and building permits issued and subdivision plans approved. On a day to day basis, the Development Officer answers inquiries from the public and other government agencies regarding zoning, property information, and development proposals.
The Development Officer will provide a signed letter certifying the zoning and the requirements of the Land Use By-law for an identified parcel of land. This zoning confirmation letter will be prepared after a written request has been received.