WHEREAS landowners may currently consolidate lots by application to the Land Titles Office, by survey of descriptive plan, or through partial plan cancellation; AND WHEREAS this process, partial plan cancellation excepted, does not require consent or approval from the municipality and may thusly be seen as potentially covert; AND WHEREAS the Municipal Government Act grants subdivision authority to the municipality; AND WHEREAS the process for lot consolidation should not be considered distinct from the process of subdivision; AND WHEREAS the implications of lot consolidation (including but not limited to loss of assessment, inconsistency, conflicting land uses, and unforeseen diminution of service delivery levels) are significant to the municipality;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Government of Alberta to devolve authority over lot consolidation to municipalities, by amending the Municipal Government Act to include similar provisions for lot consolidation as for subdivision approvals (as per s. 652 (4)).
In early April of this year, it came to the attention of Beaver County that landowners may not require municipal consent to consolidate lands within the municipality. Administration corresponded with various ministries within the Alberta Government requesting a change in the legislation, with little success. Currently, landowners may follow one of three different processes to consolidate lands. The first process involves an application to the Land Titles Office and results in a consolidation by title only, rather than by plan. A survey of descriptive plan may also be undertaken, resulting in a true consolidation. Finally, a landowner may apply for a partial plan cancellation through the municipal council. The process of lot consolidation by descriptive plan is troublesome in that it poses many problems for municipalities. For instance, without prior notification of intent to consolidate or the opportunity for input to the decision-making authority, municipalities are unable to effectively plan for service delivery, assessment may be lost and inconsistencies with neighbouring properties may result. As well, the unexpected consolidation of lots seriously undermines municipal land use by-laws in that larger parcels may be able to apply for developments on land for which their smaller-size neighbouring parcels may be ineligible. That this type of lot consolidation currently follows a process of application to provincial authorities alone demonstrates a fundamental undercutting of the autonomy of the municipal authority. The current process for subdivision approval grants the municipality the decision-making authority. The Municipal Government Act should be amended to include similar provisions for consolidation authority so that the municipality may be the body from which lot consolidation decisions are made.
The AAMDC has no resolutions currently in effect on this issue. However, AAMDC members have previously expressed support for the principle of municipal autonomy over land use planning matters through resolutions dealing with the energy industry (Resolution 18-01F) and intensive livestock operations (Resolution 4-00F).