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New Brunswick Land Use Planning (1-NB-a)

Information current as of 2019
In New Brunswick, land use planning is primarily delegated to municipal and local government councils (Councils). S.N.B. 2017, c. 19, s. 1(1). Councils consist of the mayor and councilors of a municipality, rural community or regional municipality. S.N.B. 2017, c. 18, s. 1(1). Councils are required to pass local land use plans, zoning by-laws and any other necessary land use planning instruments. S.N.B. 2017, s. 21, 53. In addition, Councils have the authority to establish Planning Advisory Committees, which review applications for zoning variances. S.N.B. 2017, s. 3(1), 55(1). The Minister of the New Brunswick Department of Environment and Local Government has the authority to make land use planning regulations for unincorporated areas within the territory. S.N.B. 2017, s. 51.

Land Use Planning Process

1-NB-a.1 – Review Provincial Land Use Planning Goals (If Applicable)

A person (developer) should review New Brunswick’s statement of provincial interest and regional plans, if there are any in place, to ensure the project complies with provincial land use planning interests. S.N.B. 2017, c. 19, s. 13-20.

1-NB-a.2 – Contact Local Government

A developer should contact the local government (municipality, village or rural community) with jurisdiction to determine if there are any official land use plans and/or zoning by-laws in place.

1-NB-a.3 – Review Local Land Use Plan and Zoning By-Laws (If Applicable)

A developer should review the local land use plan and zoning by-laws, if there are any in place, to ensure that the project is in compliance with the policies and intent of the local government regarding land use planning and development goals. S.N.B. 2017, c. 19, s. 109-119.

1-NB-a.4 to 1-NB-a.5 – Does the Project Require a Variance?

A developer may Request a Variance if a proposed use of land or a building is not otherwise permitted under the zoning by-laws. S.N.B. 2017, c. 19, s. 55.

1-NB-a.6 – Request for Variance

A developer may submit a Request for Variance (Request) to the Planning Advisory Committee, Development Officer or Regional Service Commission (local planning authority), depending on the jurisdiction. S.N.B. 2017, c. 19, s. 55(1).

1-NB-a.7 to 1-NB-a.8 – Notice of Request for Variance

Upon receiving a Request, the local planning authority may give notice to owners of land in the neighborhood where the variance is requested (affected landowners). The notice will:

  • Describe the land;
  • Describe the use or proposed Request; and,
  • Give the affected landowners the right to make representation to the local planning authority in connection with the Request within a time limit set out in the notice.

S.N.B. 2017, c. 19, s. 56.

1-NB-a.9 – Review Request Materials for Completeness

The local planning authority reviews the Request materials for administrative and technical completeness.

1-NB-a.10 to 1-NB-a.12 – Review Request for Approval

The local planning authority reviews the Request and determines whether to approve the Variance. The local planning authority may permit a Variance from the zoning by-law if the following conditions are met:

  • The proposed use is sufficiently similar to or compatible with a use permitted in the by-law for the zone in which the land or building is situated; or,
  • The variance is desirable for the development of a parcel of land or a building or structure and is in keeping with the general intent of the by-law.

S.N.B. 2017, c. 19, s. 55(1).

1-NB-a.13 – Appeal (Optional)

The developer, an affected landowner or designated employee of the New Brunswick Department of Environment and Local Government may appeal a decision by the local planning authority to the New Brunswick Assessment and Planning Appeal Board (APAB). S.N.B. 2017, c. 19, s. 120(1)(a)(ii)-(3)(a). The APAB is an independent decision-making body established by statute and given the responsibility of hearing appeals and providing rulings on land use planning decisions. New Brunswick – Assessment and Planning Appeal Board Webpage; R.S.N.B. 2011, c. 114, s. 2(1), 5.

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