Purchasing Property Information
Are you in the process of purchasing property? If so, there are some things you may want to consider before you complete the purchase.
Are there any outstanding levies and developer contributions on the property that you will be responsible for?
All municipalities in Alberta have the ability under Provincial Legislation (i.e. the Municipal Government Act) to charge off-site levies. They can only be collected once for the purpose described for each individual parcel and once they have been paid, for that purpose, they cannot be collected again. The Town of Slave Lake imposed its first off-site levy bylaw in 1985 and currently has an updated Off-site Levy Bylaw.
If the property you are purchasing is vacant it is likely that off-site levies were never paid.
The Town requires the payment of off-site levies prior to the issuance of a development permit.
The Town of Slave Lake also imposes other Developer Contributions such as intersection and road charges. Again, these charges can only be imposed once and once they are paid the Town cannot collect them again for that individual parcel.
To find out if there are outstanding levies or developer contributions that you will be required to pay please contact the Planning Department.
Does the property comply with the Town’s Land Use Bylaw?
Before many banks will lend money to a purchaser they will require a letter from the Town commenting on the compliance of the development on the lot. This is called a Letter of Compliance or Letter Respecting Compliance.
As a purchaser you will want to know that the property and buildings you are purchasing comply with the requirements of the Land Use Bylaw.
As a purchaser you can also have the Town provide a Lot Grading Compliance which will comment on the grading of the lot.
For more information on Certificates of Compliance please read Planning Talks RE: “Real Property Reports” and “The World of Compliances”.
Are there any outstanding obligations the land developer has not completed that may affect your land?
Land developers who build subdivisions are bound under a Development Agreement with the Town to build infrastructure that meets Town standards. A discussion with the Planning Department will clarify if there are any outstanding obligations the land developer has not completed that could affect your land.
Are there any outstanding obligations from a previous development permit that need to be addressed?
Obligations with respect to development permits are the responsibility of the landowner. As such, if you purchase property where the landowner has not completed the development, those outstanding obligations become your responsibility as the new landowner.
Please contact the Planning Department to find out if there are any outstanding obligations you may be required to address.
Are there any utility right-of-ways on your land that you should be aware of?
Often there are utility right-of-ways or easements registered on the title of land that grant permission to the Town or other utility companies to install and maintain utility infrastructure such as power and gas lines. You, as the landowner, still own the property within the right-of-way however the right-of-way agreement grants access and use to another party. The agreement is a legal and binding document and is registered on the titles of all affected lands. As such, a title search will reveal to you, as a prospective purchaser, what documents have been registered on the land.
In order to protect the infrastructure within the right-of-way and to guarantee access to the right-of-way to conduct maintenance, an agreement is put in place. The agreement will state that no structures can be built over a right-of-way or that no plantings i.e. trees or shrubs can be planted on a right-of-way. Most often right-of-ways are granted to the Town even though it may not be Town infrastructure that is constructed in the right-of-way. It then becomes the Town’s responsibility to ensure that the utility companies are guaranteed free unobstructed access to their utility.
The presence of a right-of-way will also affect the placement of a new development.
Please contact the Planning Department to determine if there is a right-of-way on the property and how that may affect your future plans for the property.
For more information on right-of-ways please read our brochure on utility right-of-ways and our Planning Talk RE: Easements and Right-of-Ways.
Is it true that the “Park or Green Space” adjacent to your property will never be developed?
Once Park Space has been dedicated it most often does not revert back to developable land. However, Town Council does have the ability to dispose of Municipal Reserve (MR) and sell lands. Disposal of Park Space involves a Public Process that includes a Public Hearing. As such, there is an opportunity for the public to provide input and feedback to Council.
A green space may consist of undeveloped land and as such, at some point in the future it is very likely that the land will be developed.
Please contact the Planning Department to determine if the park or green space adjacent to your land is going to be developed.
What other types of uses or developments can you expect in your neighborhood?
There is very likely an Area Structure Plan that outlines a broad development concept for the lands in and around your neighborhood. In addition, the Land Use Bylaw establishes Land Use Districts which include a list of permitted and discretionary uses. Please contact the Planning Department for a list of uses that could be developed in your neighborhood or to view the Area Structure Plan associated with your neighborhood.
This document should not be interpreted as exhibiting the exact guidelines of the current Land Use Bylaw or other Statutory Plan. For current and complete bylaw information, please contact the Town’s Planning and Development Department or visit the Town’s webpage at www.slavelake.ca.
For Additional Information
If you have any questions about Purchasing Property please call the Planning and Development Department @ 780-849-8000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.