Clavelle Successfully Advocates for Developer

On January 3, 2023, the Development Appeals Board for Saskatoon allowed an appeal brought by Curtis Clavelle of Robertson Stromberg LLP on behalf of Arbutus Properties Ltd. to lift a holding symbol with respect to land Arbutus wished to develop in Saskatoon. The holding symbol prevented a parcel of Arbutus’ land in Rosewood to be developed into an affordable housing project. The City of Saskatoon had previously denied Arbutus’ application to lift the holding symbol to allow the project to proceed.

The decision is noteworthy as there are no reported decisions in Saskatchewan considering an appeal of a municipality’s denial to lift a holding symbol in a zoning bylaw. To that end, it may also be one of the first reported decisions in Canada on this subject.

A holding symbol prevents the land from being developed by preventing the municipality from issuing building or development permits with respect to the land. Only after the symbol has been lifted can the land be developed. The City had taken the position that the land was not adequately serviced to accommodate the addition of the affordable housing project. Arbutus’ evidence was that, not only was there adequate capacity at present but that capacity would be bolstered by the provision of new services well ahead of the completion of the apartment building.

The decision serves as a reminder to municipalities that the provisions of their zoning bylaws and official community plans must be interpreted plainly and reasonably.

For more information about this decision or municipal law, contact Curtis Clavelle.

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