The Municipal Government Act requires that Council appoint a Development Officer to administer its Land Use and Subdivision By-laws and development agreements.
The Land Use By-law (LUB) specifies the types of development for which a development permit is required, and the Development Officer's job is to review applications to make sure they meet the requirements of the LUB. The LUB 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 meets the requirements of the By-law and must be refused if it does not meet the requirements. 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 Subdivision By-law controls the division of land in the Municipality in accordance with the 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 contributing parkland to the Municipality. As with development permits, the Development Officer has very little discretion in approving subdivision plans. An application must meet the requirements of the Subdivision and Land Use By-laws or the Development Officer must refuse approval. If a subdivision plan is refused, the applicant may appeal to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board.
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.