News and Updates

Posted on: May 9, 2017

Occupying Space FAQ

Occupying Space FAQ

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: OCCUPYING CHANGE/CHANGE IN USE

Q:        What is a “Use”?

A:            In accordance with the Land Use Bylaw “use” means a building or area of land and the function and activities within and on the building and/or land.  As such, a business operating at a location is considered a “use”.  A service provided by a business is also considered a “use”.


Q:        What is a Land Use District?

A:            The Land Use Bylaw establishes Land Use Districts to create areas where “uses” can occur that are compatible with other uses in the same district.  There are several Land Use Districts for residential, commercial, industrial and institutional areas of Town.  Each Land Use District has a set of permitted and discretionary uses that can be developed in these areas.  The list of permitted and discretionary uses has many purposes including but not limited to the following:  create areas where uses do not compete with other areas, ensure uses are compatible and do not create conflicts between uses, designates areas for uses that create noise, dust, etc., ensures all types of uses can be facilitated, etc.


Q:        What is an Occupying Space/Change in Use Permit?

A:            An Occupying Space/Change in Use Permit is a dual purpose development permit in that deals with both developments that will operate in a specific location i.e. “Occupy Space” and developments that will add a new service, increase the intensity of a service or change a service they provide i.e.  “Change in Use”.  An Occupying Space/Change in Use permit is required to ensure you can operate your business and all the services you provide in the location you have chosen. 


Q:        Why do I need an “Occupying Space” Permit?

A:            The Town of Slave Lake refers to “Occupying Space” as the addition of a business in an existing vacant building or space within a building.  If a business owner wishes to operate within a certain location he/she must apply for an Occupying Space/Change in Use permit.  The Permit ensures that the proposed business is listed as either a permitted or discretionary use in the land use district for that specific location. When the Town becomes aware that a business has begun operation in an existing building or space, and that business owner has not applied for an “Occupying Space/Change in Use” permit, the Planning Department will notify the business owner immediately.  In the event that the business is not listed as a permitted or discretionary use in the land use district where it is operating, the business owner will be notified immediately to cease operation of the business.  The business owner must either relocate his/her business to a suitable location or apply to amend the Land Use Bylaw by adding the specified use to the land use district.  In all situations the business owner will be required to comply with the regulations of the Land Use Bylaw.


Q:        Why do I need a “Change in Use” Permit?

A:            The Town of Slave Lake refers to a “Change in Use” as a change in the business or services a business provides on a piece of land or in a building or space.  An existing business owner may add a service to his/her business however, a “Change in Use” requires approval from the Town.  The Planning Department will ensure the service being added is listed as a use in the land use district where the business is operating.  The Planning Department will also consider other impacts the additional service or increase in intensity of service may have, such as additional staff and required parking, addition of food services and approval from other regulatory agencies, etc. When the Town becomes aware that a business has added or increased a service to his/her business and that business owner has not applied for an “Occupying Space/Change in Use” permit the Planning Department will notify the business owner immediately.  In the event that the service being added is not listed as a permitted or discretionary use in the land use district where it is operating, the business owner will be notified immediately to cease operation of that portion of the business.  The business owner must either relocate his/her business, cease operation of the new service or apply to amend the Land Use Bylaw by adding the specified use to the land use district.  In all situations the business owner will be required to comply with the regulations of the Land Use Bylaw.


Q:        What does Non-Complying mean?

A:            A Non-complying use means a “use” that is not listed within the Land Use District where the use is occurring. 

When the Town becomes aware of an illegal non-complying use (i.e. a business or service) and no development permit was issued and the use does not comply with the land use district; the business owner and/or landowner will be notified by mail that they have to either: relocate their business or apply to amend the Land Use Bylaw to add the desired use to the specific Land Use District.

                 

Q:        As a landowner is it my responsibility to ensure the correct permits are applied for?

A:            As a landowner who rents or leases property or space, it is your responsibility to ensure your tenants have applied for a Change in Use/Occupying Space permit.  As the landowner you are also required to sign the application form providing permission for that development to take place on your land.


DISCLOSURE

This should not be interpreted as exhibiting the exact guidelines of the Land Use Bylaw #22-2007. For complete bylaw information, please contact the Town of Slave Lake, Planning and Development at 780-849-8004.

 

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

If you have any questions about Occupying Space/Change in Use Permits and the approval process please call the Town’s Planning and Development Department at 780-849-8004 or email laurie@slavelake.ca, or samantha@slavelake.ca

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