The town wants to ensure the development approval process can continue smoothly through the pandemic.

A public hearing is set for next Monday (Apr. 27) to make temporary amendments to the development bylaw that would remain in effect until June 30.

If approved, they will give temporarily authority to the town development officer to make decisions on matters normally handled by the planning commission.

Also proposed is deviating from the need to circulate notices of application for 30 days prior to a decision being rendered. The development authority would be able to prescribe a referral time at their own discretion.

The combination of these two changes, explains Riley Weldon, acting general manager of the town's Development and Community Service, would likely reduce the application timeline for cases not requiring an appeal.

"Actually, the time period will be shortened, and it will be shortened, if I were to guess, by a couple of weeks."

Landowners adjacent or affected by the development would continue to be notified.

The public hearing itself will be virtual because of COVID-19 protocol. Input from the public needs to be submitted in advance of the hearing. 

Virtual safety code inspections

So not to delay the approval process, the town has now made it possible to conduct safety code inspections virtually.

The new virtual process using realtime video connections with those requesting inspections. It was tested in early March and officially implemented Mar. 17.

The Safety Codes Council of Alberta supports alternative means for completing mandatory inspections, including virtual inspections.

The town’s permitting and inspection process is now completely technology-based and paperless.

It generally takes 10 days for building applications to be processed. Inspections are required throughout a project’s life.

Town safety codes officers perform more than 5,000 inspections every year.