A Guide to Subdivision in Alberta

What does it mean to subdivide Land in Alberta?

Subdivision is the legal process of dividing a single parcel of land into two or more parcels, each of which will be given a separate land title upon completion. Approval of subdivided land parcels must always be received by the local municipality before registration processing at Alberta Land Tiles Office can occur and new land titles issued.

A Guide to Subdivision in Alberta

Reasons for subdivision of a parcel of land:

  • Increase value/equity in owned land – each additional land title created adds value/equity to the same physical lands as they can be sold separately. The most valuable acre on a land title is the 1st acre. Each additional acre adds value at a diminishing rate closer to the original per acre price of the single intact parcel which typically begins as an unsubdivided 160+/- acre parcel in rural areas.     
  • Provide residential building site for family member when there is a desire for a family member to build a residence on rural farm/ranch or recreational land, a subdivision is a method of protecting your original land base from future risks, such as divorce or resale.
  • Settles estates involving farmsteads where beneficiaries receive either the bare land or the created serviced residential acreage.
  • Contain infrastructure built on the landon a separate title to facilitate sale of either the infrastructure or the bare land remainder – for example: a house and/or shop with services and driveway to be kept while selling off the cultivated land remainder.
  • Investment profit – increasing value/equity in a recently purchased land parcel with the intention of subdividing and selling off some or all the land as individual parcels for profit.

Who can apply for Subdivision?

The landowner or an agent acting on behalf of the landowner may apply for subdivision. Landowners often hire a real estate agent, consultant, lawyer, engineer, or an Alberta land surveyor to act on their behalf when they do not wish to undertake the application on their own. Applicants often hire a professional to determine the likelihood of success or for assistance in refining the proposals so that the chance of approval is increased.

How to apply for subdivision approval?

A pre-application meeting can often be arranged with the Subdivision Authority (County Development Officer) to discuss issues related to a proposed subdivision, the application process, and any other questions.

The first step is completion of the subdivision application form. The landowner or their agent should contact the municipality to determine who is the specified subdivision authority and obtain the official subdivision application form. Each municipality may have a different format and different requirements in terms of what constitutes a “completed application.” Evaluation of a subdivision application will not begin until a “completed application” is received by the subdivision authority.

It is wise to ask the subdivision authority for a copy of any relevant planning documents such as Municipal Development Plan, Area Structure Plan, Area Redevelopment Plan and Land Use Bylaws. These documents may restrict or prohibit the proposed use of the land subject to subdivision, without a bylaw amendment (bylaw amendment is a lengthier and more substantial undertaking that would have to proceed a subdivision application that is not within a current bylaw).

The subdivision application will require the following information: name, address, phone number of the applicant and agent, the legal description of the land, its location, its existing and proposed future uses, its physical characteristics, and indication of water and sewer services. In addition, the application must include a proposed (tentative) plan of the subdivision, the required fee and a copy of the current title for the land (available from private registry agents in Alberta).

SMITH & GRIFFITH REAL ESTATE TEAM can assist you with all your subdivision process requirements as your DESIGNATED SUBDIVISION AGENT. We pride ourselves on turning your idea of subdivision into reality as quickly and smoothly as possible. Our extensive list of services include:

  • Initial on-site evaluation of the land parcel and subdivision sizing estimates/drawings
  • Pre-application meetings with county development officer/subdivision authority
  • Obtaining and working with surveyors for a Plan of Subdivision/drawings
  • Completing and submitting Subdivision applications
  • Attendance and commentary at subdivision authority approval meeting
  • Preparing rebuttals for submission to county if there are concerns, complaints, or objections by affected neighbours to your application of subdivision of your land.
  • Coordinating completion of all County imposed subdivision approval conditions (these are items that must be completed prior to final county approval and signing of documents to go to land titles for title creation. Conditions can include items such as construction/moving of highway and county roadway approaches, updating septic systems, water well drilling, vegetation removal, fencing property lines, utility connections etc.)
  • Confidentiality of all discussions assured and Privacy Act protection of all documents in place.
  • Obtain and deliver the newly created land titles
  • MLS listing one or more of the land parcels for sale (if the intention is to sell the newly created parcel(s)).

Contact us for a cost estimate to take advantage of our proven subdivision services.


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