No Notice for Surveyors on By-law Change

Surveyors were one of the groups which HRM failed to give any notice about its decision to begin enforcing the 100-foot frontage bylaw. Local surveyor E.J. Webber sent the letter below to an HRM planner about the lack of notice and the impact of the change. 

One of the reasons that many HRM residents are angry about the Planning Department’s sudden decision to start enforcing the 100-foot frontage by-law is that the decision was made in secret, without any notice beforehand to the many different people and businesses the change would negatively affect. 

Local land surveyor E.J. Webber sent the following letter on August 24, 2016 to Stephanie Norman, the planner with HRM who is working with the project lead, Ben Sivak. Webber notes the absence of any warning of this major change in the department’s enforcement policy.

Hi Stephanie,

Thanks for the opportunity to express my concerns regarding this issue. I am not a land owner that is directly effected, I am a Land Surveyor that has spent the last 48 years working in the rural community advising clients on how best to subdivide their land. Although I have created a few multi lot subdivisions, the majority of my work has been the 1 – 3 lot size.

Over the years it has become increasingly difficult to economically create rural lots for family members or for sale. I live in Lake Charlotte and the average lot assessment is about $15,000 and in Ecum Secum the assessment is about $6,000. With these lot values, it is not feasible to have a subdivision road designed, constructed and paved. The cost of the road on top of the surveying fees, legal fees, cash park donation, and others fees is often far more than the land is worth.

One by one the opportunities for the rural landowner have been taken away, the removal of approval of lots on a Private Right of Way, the removal of “Private Roads,” and now the refusal to issue Development Permits on legally created 10+ hectare lots unless the lot has the required road frontage.

The creation of 10+ hectare lots was the only option many rural landowners had; now these lots are all but worthless. I have advised many clients to create the 10+ hectare lots and many clients to purchase a 10+ hectare lot with the full belief and understanding that HRM would issue Development Permits, as this was the case until a few months ago.

The current situation has fostered uncomfortable relationships with many of my clients. Landowners look for advice and recommendations from Land Surveyors since we are perceived to know the rules. Yet Land Surveyors were not informed until long after Development Permits were denied. A letter from HRM dated April 1, 2016 was the first official notice to Land Surveyors.

I would be pleased to meet with you at your convenience to further discuss the issue.




P.O. Box 90

Lake Charlotte, NS, B0J 1Y0


Stephanie Norman’s contact info:

Stephanie A. Norman


Policy & Strategic Initiatives

Development Approvals


PO Box 1749

Halifax NS B3J 3A5

T. 902.490.4843

F. 902.490.4406


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