The Act sets out how planning documents are to be adopted and changed. This section focuses on the processes of making and changing various planning documents and tools. There are two types of legal documents: a by-law (adopted by a municipal council), and regulations (adopted by either the Minister or Lieutenant-Governor in Council/the Government of New Brunswick). Each type of legal document has a slightly different adoption and amendment process.
Under the Local Governance Act, councils have been given the authority and a process for making by-laws. When it comes to planning and development by-laws, there are specific actions which must be taken in addition to those in the Local Governance Act.
Ensuring sufficient public consultation takes place for by-laws related to planning and development is important. Council must request the views of the planning advisory committee or regional service commission before making a by-law related to planning and development.
When making a by-law, council must request in writing the views of the advisory committee or the regional service commission. If the views have not been requested by council, the by-law would be invalid. The advisory committee or regional service commission has 30 days to respond to the request from council.
When preparing a by-law related to land use planning, a council shall hold a public hearing to consider objections to the proposed by-law. Council must either give public notice by advertising in a newspaper, or by posting the notice on the local government or regional service commission’s website. In addition, council can notify the public of an upcoming public hearing by posting the notice on social media websites. Council must advertise the public hearing notification for a specific period of time in advance of the public hearing.
There are some by-laws that do not follow the process outlined above. They are: a subdivision by-law, a building by-law, a flood risk area by-law, a by-law establishing a planning advisory committee, a design review committee, or any other by-law prescribed by regulation.
The advertisement of the public hearing either by newspaper or on the local government/regional service commission’s website must contain information such as a description of the area affected, the place and hours when someone can view the proposed by-law, and the time and place for the public hearing. It should also indicate to whom written comments can be sent, and may include the reasons for the change.
Before passing a by-law, council must ensure the public has an opportunity to inspect the proposed by-law, and must hear and consider written objections to the proposed by-law. A person is entitled to speak for or against written objections during the public hearing.
Council must make a decision on the by-law within six months after the day the notice of the public hearing was advertised.
When a land use by-law is created by a council, the Minister of Environment and Local Government must approve that the by-law complies with the requirements of the Community Planning Act. The copy approved by the Minister must be filed in the land registry office and published in a local newspaper or on the local government’s website.
Councils are required to provide specific information to the Minister of Environment and Local Government when they submit a by-law for approval by the Minister. This includes two copies certified by the clerk, a statutory declaration by the clerk and a copy of any report on which the plan or scheme is based.
During the process to amend/change a zoning by-law or zoning provision, the public has an opportunity to submit written objections. If the owners of at least one-third of the area of land within the area affected by a by-law, and within 100 metres of that rural plan amendment, submit a written objection and it is presented to council no fewer than two days before the public hearing, then the majority of council must vote in favour of making the by-law in order for it to be valid.
The Minister of Environment and Local Government may require a council to review a plan or development scheme.
A council has the option of sending a proposed by-law, municipal plan, rural plan, or development scheme to the Provincial Planning Director for comments.
There are times when a council may need or want to make changes to a by-law or repeal the by-law completely. The Act provides a council with the authority to make a by-law that amends or repeals a by-law made under the Community Planning Act, including a municipal plan, rural plan, or development scheme.