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Saskatchewan Land Use Planning (1-SK-a)

Information current as of 2018
In Saskatchewan, land use planning is a cooperative process between the provincial and municipal governments. Municipalities manage community planning, development issues, land use and municipal services. The Saskatchewan Planning and Development Act, R.S.S. 2007, c. P-13.2 empowers municipalities to address local land use and development issues through official community plans, district plans, zoning bylaws, and subdivision bylaws. The Saskatchewan Ministry of Government Relations (Ministry) oversees land use planning by approving the official community plan and zoning bylaws for each municipality. R.S.S. 2007, c. P-13.2 s. 36.


Official community plans provide a comprehensive framework to guide the physical, environmental, economic, social and cultural development of part or all the municipality. R.S.S. 2007, c. P-13.2 s. 31. Zoning bylaws control the use of land within the approving authority’s jurisdiction for the health safety, and general welfare of the inhabitants of the municipality. R.S.S. 2007, c. P-13.2 s. 45. An approving authority may authorize the preparation and adoption of a zoning bylaw for all or a part of the municipality only in conjunction with the adoption of an official community plan. R.S.S. 2007, c. P-13.2 s. 46 (1). “Approving authority” means the Minister or where the Minister has delegated his or her authority, the director or the council to which the delegation is made. R.S.S. 2007, c. P-13.2 s. 2 (a).



Land Use Planning Process

1-SK-a.1 – Review Statements of Provincial Interest

A developer should review the Statements of Provincial Interest to ensure the proposed project complies. The Statements of Provincial Interest provide guidance to municipalities on land use and development issues for municipalities, which, enables them to facilitate the development of vibrant safe, self-reliant and sustainable municipalities. Saskatchewan – Statements of Provincial Interest Regulations, O.C. 172/2012. Decisions made by a municipal council, a district planning commission, a district planning authority, a development appeals board, the Saskatchewan Municipal Board or the Minister must be consistent with Statements of Provincial Interest. Saskatchewan – Statements of Provincial Interest Regulations, O.C. 172/2012. The purpose of the Statements of Provincial Interest is to:

  • Guide provincial and municipal planning decision in the development of safe and secure communities;
  • Align provincial and municipal planning objectives to facilitate orderly development that is beneficial to communities; and
  • Guide the development of economically, environmentally, socially, and culturally sustainable communities. Saskatchewan – Statements of Provincial Interest Regulations, O.C. 172/2012.

The Ministry has final authority to determine whether an official community plan, subdivision bylaw, zoning bylaw, or amendment to those bylaws is consistent with the Statements of Provincial Interest. Saskatchewan – Statements of Provincial Interest Regulations, O.C. 172/2012.

1-SK-a.2 – Review Official Community Plans

A developer should review the official community plan for the municipalities that the proposed project will pass through to ensure the project complies. In its official community plan, a municipality may adopt policies respecting site plan control for commercial, industrial, institutional or mixed development. R.S.S. 2007, c. P-13.2 s. 19(1). An official community plan is required to identify policies that address:

  • Sustainable current and future land use and development in the municipality;
  • Current and future economic development;
  • The general provision of public works;
  • The management of lands that are subject to natural hazards including flooding, slope and instability;
  • The management of environmentally sensitive lands;
  • Source water protection;
  • The means of implementing of the official community plan;
  • Coordination of land use, future growth patterns, and public works with adjacent municipalities.

R.S.S. 2007, c. P-13.2 s. 32 (2). An official community plan may:

  • Address the co-ordination of municipal programs relating to development;
  • Contain statements of policy regarding the use of dedicated lands;
  • Contain concept plans;
  • Contain a map or series of maps that denote current or future land use or policy areas;
  • If a council has been declared an approving authority, contain policies respecting site plan control for specific commercial or industrial development; and
  • Contain any other statements of policy relating to the physical, environmental, economic, social, or cultural development of the municipality that the council considers advisable.

R.S.S. 2007, c. P-13.2 s. 32 (3).

1-SK-a.3 – Review Zoning Bylaws

A developer should review the zoning bylaws for each municipality that the project will pass through to ensure that the project complies. Zoning bylaws set standards for the subdivision and use of land within the municipality and helps manage municipal services and resources to new developments. Saskatchewan Ministry of Government Relations – A Guide to the Municipal Planning Process in Saskatchewan. A zoning bylaw must contain provisions that:

  • Prescribe or establish districts of the number and area that the council considers appropriate;
  • Prescribe the permitted uses in each district;
  • Provide for the appointment of a development officer for the municipality to administer the zoning bylaw;
  • Provide for a system of development permits;
  • Prescribe types of development for which no development permit is required, if any;
  • Prescribe the procedures that development permits are made, processed and issued;
  • Define the period that a development permit remains in effect;
  • Authorize and describe a procedure for making and processing applications for minor variances and, if that procedure is used, requiring a record of minor variance applications to be established;
  • Prescribe procedures for approval of a discretionary use;
  • Establish a board to be the Development Appeals Board for the municipality;
  • Regulate development in proximity to existing or proposed railway operations; and
  • Provide for any other matter that may be necessary to regulate and control the issuance of development permits as the council considers necessary.

R.S.S. 2007, c. P-13.2 s. 49. An approving authority may establish in its zoning bylaw:

  • Scope of minor variances and the maximum percentage of variation from the bylaw requirements;
  • Procedures for notifying the applicant and affected property owners of any decision regarding a minor variance application; and
  • Procedures for revoking any approval of a minor variance application if an objection to it is received.

R.S.S. 2007, c. P-13.2 s. 20(1). Zoning bylaws also divide a municipality into zoning districts and regulates development and use of land in those districts. Saskatchewan Ministry of Government Relations – A Guide to the Municipal Planning Process in Saskatchewan. Each zoning district may have regulations that specify:

  • The area and dimensions of new lots or parcels of land;
  • Size, location, dimensions, and types of buildings;
  • Provision of parking spaces or payments in lieu;
  • Outdoor storage and landscaping
  • size and location of signs and lighting;
  • Removal of soil or vegetation; and
  • Acceptable noise levels.

Saskatchewan Ministry of Government Relations – A Guide to the Municipal Planning Process in Saskatchewan.

1-SK-a.4 to 1-SK-a.5 – Is a Development Permit Required?

If a zoning bylaw is in effect that requires a Development Permit, no person (developer) can undertake a development or commence a use unless the person obtains a Development Permit. R.S.S. 2007, c. P-13.2 s. 62 (1). “Development” means the carrying out of any building, engineering, mining or other operations in, on or over land or making any material change in the use or intensity of the use of any building or land. R.S.S. 2007, c. P-13.2 s. 2 (j).

1-SK-a.6 – Development Permit Application

The developer must submit a complete Development Permit Application to the appropriate municipal development officer. R.S.S. 2007, c. P-13.2 s. 62 (1).

1-SK-a.7 to 1-SK-a.8 – Review Development Permit Application for Completeness

The municipal development officer must review the Development Permit Application for administrative and technical completeness.

1-SK-a.9 – Review Development Permit Application for Approval

The municipal developer officer must review the Development Application for approval. The development officer must approve the application and issue a Development Permit if a developer seeks a permit for a development or use described as a permitted use by a zoning bylaw. R.S.S. 2007, c. P-13.2 s. 62 (2). “Permitted use” means a use of land or buildings or form of development that is prescribed in the zoning bylaw as a use that is allowed on a parcel. R.S.S. 2007, c. P-13.2 s. 2 (nn). If a developer seeks a permit for a development that is described as a discretionary use by a zoning bylaw the development officer must issue a Development Permit subject to any development standards or conditions. R.S.S. 2007, c. P-13.2 s. 62 (3). “Discretionary use” means a use of land or buildings or form of development that is prescribed as a discretionary use in the zoning bylaw and requires the approval of the Ministry. R.S.S. 2007, c. P-13.2 s. 2 (p). Some municipalities have exempted transmission developments from obtaining a development permit. For examples, see:

1-SK-a.10 to 1-SK-a.12 – Provide Notice of Decision

The development officer must provide notice of its decision on the Application in writing, and a copy of the decision must be sent to the applicant (developer). R.S.S. 2007, c. P-13.2 s. 62 (5).

1-SK-a.13 – Appeal Decision (Optional)

In certain circumstances any person may appeal a development officer’s decision within 30 days to the Development Appeals Board. (Board). R.S.S. 2007, c. P-13.2 s. 27(1); R.S.S. 2007, c. P-13.2 s. 219(4). Specifically, any person affected may appeal to the Board if there is:

  • An alleged misapplication of a zoning bylaw in the issuance of a Development Permit;
  • A refusal to issue a Development Permit because it would contravene the zoning bylaw; or
  • An order to comply with the

Planning and Development Act, R.S.S. 2007, c. P-13.2. R.S.S. 2007, c. P-13.2 s. 219(1).


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