Frequently-Asked-Questions by residents about Property Assessments, Council, Access Approaches, Dust Control, Brush Control, Gravelling, Private Road Construction, Road Maintenance, Snow Removal, Development Permits, Letters of Compliance, and Subdivisions.
What if I disagree with my assessment? Can I appeal my taxes?
You cannot dispute your taxes, but you can appeal your assessment. If you feel that the assessment placed on your property is unfair, you must submit your appeal within 60 days of the mailing of your tax/assessment notice. To compare your assessment with others, you may visit the County office and review the Assessment Roll. If your assessment seems out of proportion, there are two steps you may take:
Make an appointment with the assessor to discuss why you feel your assessment is unfair.
If you still feel the assessment is unfair, you may wish to appeal to the Assessment Review Board. To proceed with a complaint to the Assessment Review Board you must submit a written notice including the reasons of complaint to the Assessment Clerk within the required 30 days from the mailing notice. You can access an Assessment Appeal form through the web site. You will be advised of the date and time of your scheduled appeal. The Assessment Review Board cannot alter the system of taxation or assessment. But it will ensure that your property is assessed fairly in relation to other property and current legislation requirements.
How often is my property assessed?
Due to recent changes in provincial legislation, a general assessment must be conducted every year. A general assessment consists of updating the assessed value to reflect current market conditions and any other changes that occur, such as new development, progressive buildings and farm status. Although all properties are revalued every year, that does not mean that an assessor will inspect each property. The County currently has a 20% re-inspection cycle in effect. This means that every year an assessor physically reviews 20% of the County’s properties.
Who provides assessment services for Yellowhead County?
The Assessment Services Branch of Alberta Municipal Affairs provides all assessment services for any linear property (i.e.: pipeline) within the County. All other assessment services are contracted to Accurate Assessment Group.
How is my property assessed?
All land is assessed at either market value or based on the productivity value if it is being farmed. The improvements to the land (buildings) are assessed at market value. All farm buildings are exempt from taxation. All industrial properties are assessed under regulated ministerial guidelines. To further ensure province-wide equity, the Department of Municipal Affairs annually audits all assessments and market analysis.
What is tax assessment?
Assessment is the valuation of all properties within a municipality based on current market trends and/or productivity based valuation. Taxes are then calculated based on the assessed value of each property.
Assessment is a method for ensuring that people pay taxes according to the value of their property in comparison with neighboring properties. Land and improvements to the land (buildings, structures, and any machinery and equipment associated with industrial facilities) are assessed and taxed.
What qualifies an assessor to determine my property’s value?
An assessor’s training includes knowledge of appraisal techniques, real estate valuation, economics, and relevant provincial legislation. The County ensures that all assessors are properly qualified.
How can I contact the Mayor or other Councillors of Yellowhead County?
Citizens can reach their councillor by telephone, fax message or email. Follow this link to the Councillor’s Directory.
What are Council’s key roles in Yellowhead County?
A Council, in any municipality in the Province of Alberta, is responsible for:
developing and evaluating the policies and programs of the municipality; making sure that the powers, duties and functions of the municipality are appropriately carried out; and carrying out the powers, duties and functions expressly given to it under the laws of Alberta.
What are the steps I must take if I would like to become a councillor in Yellowhead County?
Councillors are elected by the voters of Yellowhead County. Municipal Elections take place every four years. Documents will be posted on the web site to provide a complete guide, including nomination papers.
How is Council elected? How is the Mayor chosen?
The electors of the municipality elect the Council every three years. The County is divided into 8 electoral divisions with one Councillor being elected from each electoral division. The Mayor is elected by all the voters of Yellowhead County.
Can I make an appointment to address Council? How do I make an appointment?
To make an appointment with Council, a written request to the Chief Administrative Officer of the County must be made at least 12 days before the Council meeting that you wish to attend. This allows sufficient time for Administration to research the issue, delivery of the agenda to Councillors, and time for Councillors to review the information provided.
Are Council meetings open to the general public?
Yes. Council meetings are held in public and anyone can attend a Council meeting to watch the proceedings. The only exceptions to this are if the Council passes a resolution to go “in-camera”. That means that all members of the public must leave the Council Chambers until Council passes a resolution to end an “in-camera” session. The other exception to this is if a person attending a Council meeting disrupts the proceedings, the Mayor has the authority to request the person to leave the Council Chambers.
How often does Council meet? What is discussed at Council?
Council meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at 9:30 a.m. in Council chambers in Yellowead County’s Edson administration building. Council discusses a broad range of issues affecting Yellowhead County from negotiating inter-municipal agreements, to reviewing applications for funding, to setting a budget for the County, making policy decisions, passing bylaws, etc.
Infrastructure – Access Approaches
Are there any terms and conditions from Yellowhead County that accompany
an approval to a request for an access approach?
Yes, there are terms and conditions that accompany an approval and they are as follows:
All construction of access approaches shall be to the standards set out and provided by Yellowhead County.
Yellowhead County must be notified two full working days prior to the commencement of any construction of the approach and then again upon completion of construction.
Traffic control devices must be placed in the immediate vicinity of the work at the time of construction.
Any damage to the County road, or other facilities, shall be the responsibility of the applicant to restore to original condition or arrange payment of the cost of restoration.
Access approaches shall be surfaced with a 50 mm thickness of 20 mm diameter crushed gravel material prior to use.
All disturbed areas within Yellowhead County rights-of-way are to be leveled and seeded including the access approach side slopes. All trees, brush and other debris removed in the clearing operation must be completely disposed of.
Approval of buried utility companies shall be the responsibility of the party requesting the access.
Any cost incurred with regard to the removal or relocation of fencing shall be the responsibility of the applicant.
Existing drainage is to be accommodated not altered.
All costs of work to be borne by the applicant.
What is the criteria for all access requests?
The following conditions will be applicable in the consideration for all access approach requests:
Demonstration of operational need to facilitate use of the lands to be accessed.
Demonstration that the requested location is considered practical and safe by the County and shall be subject to construction meeting established County standards.
Where a parcel exists adjacent to an internal subdivision road and also borders on an external grid road, consideration will only be given to a possible additional access approach to the internal subdivision road.
Any request for construction of an additional access approach to a designated Collector, Arterial or Park Road may be denied for reasons of traffic safety regardless of parcel size, usage or terrain features.
Any request for an access approach for a well site may be subject to construction of a wider approach as required to prevent damage to the road shoulder to accommodate vehicles with a larger turning radius.
Request for access to a secondary or primary highway must be submitted to and approved by Alberta Transportation and Utilities.
Any request for permission to construct a new access approach to replace an existing access must be submitted to and approved by Yellowhead County.
What are the specifications to build an access approach?
The specifications are as follows:
Minimum 91.4 m (300 ft) from any public road intersection. There must also be a minimum of 150 m between approaches.
Approach WidthFor a single approach to Local Roads a minimum of 8 m (26 ft) where it meets the property line and flared at 8 m radius where it meets the County Roadway.
For a joint approach minimum of 12 m (40 ft) where it meets the property line and flared at 8 m radius to meet the County roadway.
For an approach to an Arterial Road, a minimum of 8 m (26 ft) for residential approaches and flared at an 8 m radius to meet the County roadway.
Minimum ratio of 3:1 for Local Roads (where 3 = horizontal distance and 1= vertical distance).
Minimum ratio of 7:1 for Arterial Roads (where 7=horizontal distance and 1= vertical distance).
Compacted clay fill for 1 m (3.3 ft) depth from surface. Require a 50 mm thickness of 20 mm diameter crushed gravel on surface.
Must be installed when any degree of slope of ditch is evident unless waived by Yellowhead County. Require a minimum of 300 mm of clay cover over the approach. Culvert must be installed as close to the property line as possible. Culvert must be a minimum of 500 mm (20 in) in diameter, and it’s length must be sufficient enough to meet the end of the slope.
Must provide positive drainage away from the road grade.
Approach must be surfaced with a 50 mm thickness of 20 mm diameter crushed gravel material.
If Yellowhead County will not build the requested approach can I construct one at my own cost? Do I still have to build according to Yellowhead County’s specifications?
Yes, if Yellowhead County will not build a requested access approach, they may grant approval for the landowner to construct one at his cost. However, the landowner must still build according to County specifications.
Can I make a request to Yellowhead County to build an access approach to my land? What conditions must be met in order for the County to do so?
Yes, a landowner may make a request to Yellowhead County to build an access approach. Conditions are as follows:
Where there is no access approach to an unsubdivided quarter section of land used or proposed for agricultural or residential use and where there is an existing County roadway adjacent to the land, the County will upon request by landowner construct one access approach for every 1/2 mile of developed road adjacent to the quarter section.
Subdivided Land and Leased Land
The County will not construct any access approach to subdivided parcels of land used or intended for agricultural or residential use. However, the County may grant approval for the construction of one or more access approaches to subdivided/leased/other lands by the landowner at his own cost.
Infrastructure – Brush Control
What procedure do they use to perform Brush Control?
Trees are removed or controlled by cutting, mowing, spraying or by mechanical removal such as dozing. Clearing debris will be disposed of by burning or removal from site except where, in the opinion of the Director of Infrastructure Services, the debris is considered to be sufficiently chopped up by the mowing operation.
Where will Yellowhead County perform Brush Control?
Trees will be removed at intersections from the area designated to meet sight distance requirements and will generally involve removal to the boundaries of the road allowance for the designated distance along each leg of the intersection. Also, on sections of roadway with significant horizontal curvature, additional removal may be required on the inside of the curve to establish proper sight distance.
Infrastructure – Dust Control
How can I make a request to have the dust control agents applied to my section of the road? How much does it cost?
Applicants may apply for either one spring, or one fall application, or they may apply for both. Applications are available to be picked up at Yellowhead County’s Edson, or Wildwood offices. They are also available on Yellowhead County’s web site under the Transportation Section in the sub-section called “Forms”. The cost per application for a 200 m stretch of roadway is revised annually. The charge represents approximately 30 per cent of total cost – with the County covering the remaining cost. Applications are due by May 15 for the spring/ spring and fall application and the end of July for the fall application only.
Can I request more than 200 meters of dust control?
Yes, however, requests for applications over 200 m in length must pay 100% of the full costs as per County policy.
On what roads does Yellowhead County cover the cost of dust control?
Yellowhead County will apply calcium chloride at no charge for safety reasons in the following areas:
In school and playground zones
At major intersections and / or poor alignments considered hazardous due to dust
At major railway crossings
When are the dust control agents applied?
The application of the calcium chloride used for dust control will be restricted to one spring and one late summer application.
What does Yellowhead County currently use as dust control agents?
Yellowhead County uses calcium chloride as a dust control agent.
Infrastructure – Gravelling
Can I make a request to have a road graveled?
Yes, a resident can make a request to have a road graveled. Call 780-723-4800 to make a request.
What is the typical depth of gravel application to a road?
Gravel application depth varies between 1.5 and 2 inches of gravel based on past experience with Alberta Transportation Standards.
How do they determine which roads are graveled?
Yellowhead County determines which roads are graveled based on the actual condition of the subject roadway.
How often are roads graveled?
As part of Yellowhead County’s Gravelling Program, all roads in the County are assessed annually and then prioritized based on their need for re-graveling. Most of the arterial roads in the County are re-graveled each year.
Infrastructure – Private Road Construction
What are the conditions I must follow when constructing my private road?
All construction of private roads shall be to the standards set out and provided by the County.
The County must be notified two full working days prior to the commencement of any construction of the road and again upon completion of construction.
Traffic control devices must be placed in the immediate vicinity of the work at the time of construction.
Any damage to the County road, or other facilities, shall be the responsibility of the applicant to restore to original condition or arrange payment of the cost of restoration.
Future costs resulting from the requested occupancy shall be at the expense of the owner of the private road.
The road shall be surfaced as determined by the County’s Director of Infrastructure Services.
All waste material shall be removed and all disturbed areas shall be leveled, trimmed and reseeded where necessary to restore lands to original condition.
Drainage must be to the satisfaction of the County and existing drainage is to be accommodated not altered.
Approval of buried utility companies shall be the responsibility of the party requesting the construction agreement.
What necessary steps must I take to build a private road?
A formal written request must first be submitted to the Director of Infrastructure Services of Yellowhead County. If approval is granted, road construction can begin, but must follow the terms and conditions set out by the County.
Infrastructure – Road Maintenance & Construction
What types of Engineering Services are contracted out and what types does County staff do internally?
County staff provides services such as sign installation, and beaver control. All new road construction and some road maintenance is contracted out, as Yellowhead County owns very little heavy equipment however, all of these projects that involve contracting out services are supervised by Yellowhead County Transportation staff.
How are Councillors kept informed of road issues?
To ensure that Councillors are informed of road issues, each area Councillor receives a copy of road complaints that apply within their respective area.
What does the County have in place to track road complaints?
Yellowhead County records road complaints and forwards them to the appropriate area foreman for investigation and action.
As Yellowhead County is considered an industrial based area, whereby roads historically have been built to sustain residential and farm traffic, how does the County plan to address the changing road needs to accommodate industrial traffic?
As traffic patterns change these roads are reassessed. Roads designated as a “Resource Road” may be eligible for provincial funding under the Resource Road Program.
In periods of prolonged sun or rain, what efforts are made to keep road surfaces in “Drivable condition?”
To keep road surfaces in “Drivable condition”, each County area Supervisor monitors the roads within their area and problem spots are repaired as required.
How is traffic managed during road construction?
During road construction, detours are set up only when deemed necessary and road construction contracts require the contractor to supply proper flag persons to control traffic. Travelers should observe all speed limits. Under new legislation speeders in a construction zone receive double the fines.
How are construction or maintenance requests prioritized?
The maintenance and construction of the existing road infrastructure is based on the following priorities:
Paved and Oiled Surfaces
Collector roadways that are constructed to a standard to carry large volumes of traffic.
Access roadways that are constructed to a lower standard and carry traffic to the collectors or arterial roadways.
What kind of plan does Yellowhead County have in place for road construction? What criteria does the County use to determine the priority given to roads for construction or maintenance?
Council considers safety, fiscal capacity and consistent and sustained traffic as criteria for developing a 3-year plan for road maintenance and construction of the existing road infrastructure. This 3-year plan identifies major road construction projects, resurfacing projects, infrastructure projects, and road reconstruction within hamlets. This plan also addresses local road construction budgeting.
Infrastructure – Snow Removal
The goal of Yellowhead County is to clear snow from all roadways within four days after the end of a snowfall.
More information on Yellowhead County’s Snow Removal Policy can be found here.
Clearing of snow from County Roadways will take place in this priority:
- Gravel Collector Roads
- Gravel Local Roads
- Fire Halls Accesses
- Approaches to Private Driveways
- Community Facilities (halls/arenas)
- Paved Collector Roads
- Paved local roads/subdivisions
Planning – Development Permits
What is Development?
According to the Yellowhead County Land Use Bylaw, Development means:
excavation or stockpiling of material
constructing, adding onto or replacing any building or structure.
changing the land use or the intensity of the land use
All development within Yellowhead County requires a Development Permit. However, there are some Developments which are exempt, according to the Land Use Bylaw. Examples of these include:
Accessory buildings in the CR- Country Residential District and the HR – Hamlet Residential District that do not exceed 13.9 m² (150 sq.ft).
Accessory buildings in the RD – Rural District that do not exceed 74.2m2 (800sq. ft).
Farm Buildings (agricultural use only), other than those used as Dwellings.
Hay sheds, open face shelters and livestock windbreaks.
Fences in hamlets that are less than 1.0 m (3.3 ft) in height in the front yard and less than 2.0 m (6.6 ft) in height in the side and rear yards (there are setback guidelines for corner lots when sightlines are affected).
All fences outside of designated hamlets.
Please note that any Developments that do not meet the required front yard, side yard and rear yard setbacks require a Development Permit.
There are other uses which may be exempt. Check with the Development Authority to make sure.
Any development used for residential purposes requires a development permit.
Development Permit Application forms are available at the Yellowhead County Administration Building, in both Wildwood and Edson, and on the county’s web site
What is the Development Permit Application Process?
Once the Development Authority has received a completed application form, they will review it. By using the Land Use Bylaw the Development Authority is able to assess whether the permit may or may not be approved.
If the Development Permit Application is approved, the applicant will be notified in writing. The permit does not become valid until all development permit conditions have been met and there has been a fourteen day appeal period in which the proposed development is advertised in the Local Newspaper. If there are no appeals against the development at the end of the fourteen day appeal period and all conditions have been met, the Development Permit is considered valid and Development may commence.
If the Development Permit Application is refused, the applicant will be notified in writing. The decision will outline the specific reasons for the refusal. The applicant has fourteen days to appeal the decision of the Development Authority to the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board.
For information on the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board please contact the Development Authority for Yellowhead County.
What other Information should I be aware of?
If you live within 1/2 mile of a Provincial Highway, a roadside development application is required from Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation.
You need both legal and physical access to your Development.
Development Permits are separate from Buildings Permits. Yellowhead County does not issue Building Permits.
Provincial permits may be required for buildings, plumbing, private sewage systems, and gas or electrical systems. Yellowhead County can provide you with a list of Authorized Accredited Agencies who issue these permits on behalf of Municipal Affairs.
If you are considering Development on your property we encourage you to contact the Development Authority for Yellowhead County. They will be able to help you with your application form as well as answer any questions that you may have.
Development Permit Application Forms are available at Yellowhead County Administration Building. PDF versions are also available here.
Planning – Letters of Compliance
What is a Letter of Compliance?
A Letter of Compliance is a confirmation from Yellowhead County that the development on the property meets the regulations of the Land Use Bylaw. Yellowhead County does not require people to obtain a Letter of Compliance but will provide the service when requested.
Why do I need a Letter of Compliance?
Letters of compliance are increasingly being requested when real estate is sold. Standard real estate purchase contracts often require the vendor to guarantee that the buildings on the property meets the Land Use Bylaw regulations and do not encroach upon easements, utility right-of-ways or onto other properties. Compliance letters may also be requested by other agencies, for the same reasons.
What do I Need to Do?
The first step to any compliance letter is getting an Alberta Land Surveyor’s Real Property Report. These can be obtained by contacting a local surveying company.
For lots less than 16.0ha (39.5ac) in size, an original Alberta Land Surveyor’s Real Property Report, dated not more than six (6) months prior to the request is needed.
For lots 16.0ha (39.5ac) or more in size, an original Alberta Land Surveyor’s Real Property Report, dated not more than six (6) months prior to the request, may be required if in the opinion of the Development Authority, the buildings appear to be located less than the required distance from the roadway or property boundary.
You will also need to fill out a Yellowhead County Request for Compliance Form, which are available at the Yellowhead County Administration Building and on the web site:
What Information do I need to Supply?
The signature of the registered owner or authorized agent for the property.
The Legal Land Location (Plan, Block and Lot if applicable).
Name of the applicant, full address and telephone number.
A fee, as established by Council.
Is there anything else I should be aware of?
The Development Authority may solely rely on the Real Property Report and shall not be liable where there are errors in the Letter of Compliance because of incorrect or incomplete information provided by the Alberta Land Surveyor or Applicant.
Yellowhead County Planning Department may do a site inspection for requests for Letters of Compliance which are not accompanied by a Real Property Report (for properties that have more than 16.0ha in area). In such cases the Letter of Compliance will be an estimate of Compliance because they are based only on visual observations.
For a definitive statement of Compliance, a Real Property Report is recommended, regardless of parcel size.
The Development Authority shall not be liable for damages resulting from a request for compliance where a Real Property Report in not submitted, regardless of size.
Please allow approximately two weeks or more for a compliance review request. Remember to leave yourself enough time.
Planning – Subdivisions
Can I subdivide my land?
Municipal planning legislation provides the density, or the number of parcels, that may be subdivided from a quarter section or parcel of land. The Municipal Development Plan and the Land Use Bylaw are the two pieces of municipal planning legislation which regulate whether land can be subdivided. They also provide direction as to the size of the parcel that may be subdivided. This is done by applying land use districts to all lands within Yellowhead County.
If you are unsure about whether you can subdivide your land, or have a specific subdivision inquiry, the County Planning Department can respond to your inquiry. By providing us with some general information about your subdivision we should be able to tell you how your proposal would be reviewed under the current municipal planning legislation. A response at this stage is not a decision on your proposal, however, it will give you a better idea as to whether what you are proposing is possible under the current legislation or if you may have to try to amend the legislation.
How do I submit a subdivision application?
Subdivision Application Forms are available at the Yellowhead County office or you can print an application from this web page.
Please note that the County requires that an original signature of all registered landowners be provided on the application form. Faxed, duplicated or e-mailed signatures on the Subdivision Application Form will not be accepted.
Depending on how comfortable you are with the process of submitting a subdivision application, you may submit an application yourself or you may wish to have someone else represent you. The County can provide you with general information on subdividing your land but the County can not prepare the application for you. If you are seeking a professional to represent your application, you could contact an Alberta Land Surveyor or a professional Planner to represent you.
A subdivision can only be submitted with the authorization of all of the registered landowners of the existing titled area. Someone may still act at the authorized person on behalf of the landowner but all of the landowners must provide permission for the subdivision application to be submitted.
A subdivision application must include a complete subdivision application form and a sketch of the plan of subdivision. Your sketch must include the location, dimensions and boundaries of the existing titled area and of each new lot to be created. It must show the location of all existing buildings and dimensions of each building. Any natural features that may be on the property such as a lake, sloughs or other water body, any treed areas, steep banks or ravines. You must also indicate any man-made features such as pipelines, oil or gas wells or sewage disposal systems.
Additional information may also be required depending upon the details of your subdivision application. If you are proposing a number of lots, for example, you may need to provide water and soil testing for the subdivision.
How long does it take?
The County has 60 days to provide a decision on most subdivision applications. Some applications, however, may require that the land use district of the land be amended in order for the application to be processed in which case the application will take more time
What if I get refused or I don’t agree with the decision?
You can appeal the decision of the subdivision authority by registering an appeal with the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board Secretary. The Subdivision and Development Appeal Board or the Provincial Municipal Government Board will hear your appeal and may provide you with an alternate decision.
Information provided on these pages is intended to provide general information only. If you have a specific question regarding a subdivision application, please contact the Yellowhead County Planning Department. If you have a specific proposal in mind, the County can review the proposal and provide you with a letter of how your proposal would be reviewed under the current planning legislation.
For more information on subdivision, please have a look at our Guide to Subdividing Page
Should you have any questions regarding subdivision, please contact the Yellowhead County Planning Department at 780-723-4800 (phone) or 780-723-5066 (fax) or email email@example.com.