What is a Development
Development includes the carrying out of any construction, excavation, stockpiling or other operation, in, on, over or under land, or the making of any change in the use or intensity of use of any land or building either permanently or temporarily. The Province allows municipalities, through the Municipal Land Use Bylaw, to regulate developments via the “Development Permit” process; however, not all developments require the issuance of a development permit. Please consult the County Development Officer in order to determine whether your development requires the issuance of a permit.
What is a Development Permit
A development permit is a document permitting a specific development and may include conditions imposed to ensure that the development complies with the current Land Use Bylaw. The issuance and approval of a development permit is proof that the subject development conforms to applicable development standards (e.g. height limitations and required setbacks) and, as a “use” of the land, is appropriate and permissible. The development permit is separate and distinct from a Building Permit. In addition to the development permit, a building permit may also be required. The approval of a building permit is proof that the structure conforms to the relevant safety codes.
When is a Development Permit Required
Development permits are generally required for any construction (including: new construction, additions and structural renovations), change of use of land or a building, or a change in the intensity of land or building use. Examples of developments requiring permit approval include: expansion of an existing approved business, a dug-out, a mobile home, a structural alteration to an existing building, the relocation of an existing building, a fence over 3 feet in height (when located in a front yard, and 6 feet when located in side yards).
How do I obtain a Development Permit
A development permit will only be issued if the development authority has determined that the proposed development conforms with the applicable statutory documents (Land Use Bylaw, Municipal Development Plan, etc.) and that any other requirements, such as fees and, in some instances, contractual agreements, have been addressed.
The role of development authority is shared between the Development Officer (DO) and the Municipal Planning Commission (MPC). The DO is mandated with the task of deciding on all applications that are considered a permitted use in the Land Use Bylaw, which do not require a relaxation of the development standards. The MPC decides on all applications that are considered a discretionary use, as well as permitted uses, which require a relaxation. The MPC convenes once a month.
A SITE PLAN AND THE REQUISITE FEE MUST ACCOMPANY ALL PERMIT APPLICATION FORMS. THE COUNTY WILL NOT PROCESS AN APPLICATION UNTIL THE APPLICATION FORM, FEE AND SITE PLAN HAVE BEEN SUBMITTED. COMMENCING A DEVELOPMENT WITHOUT AN APPROVED PERMIT, WHERE A PERMIT IS REQUIRED, IS ILLEGAL.
ALL APPROVED DEVELOPMENT PERMITS ARE SUBJECT TO A 2 WEEK APPEAL PERIOD. FINAL APPROVAL WILL NOT BE ISSUED UNTIL ANY APPEAL HAS BEEN RESOLVED, AND THE COUNTY IS SATISFIED THAT ALL CONDITIONS HAVE BEEN MET, OR WILL BE MET.
What Else is Required
Once you have received your approved development permit, you may have to proceed to a second stage, which involves obtaining all permits relating to Safety Codes (building, electrical, gas, etc.) These permit forms will be sent to you by mail.
The Safety Codes Act requires that all contractors and homeowners in Alberta obtain permits prior to commencing work on buildings covered by the Alberta Building Code or work governed by the Canadian Electrical Code, the Alberta Gas Code or the Alberta Plumbing Code. Remember, the purpose of the development permit is to ensure that the proposed development, or use of land, is one that is deemed to be acceptable according to the zoning provisions of the Land Use Bylaw. Secondly, the development permit process ensures that all applicable development standards such as setbacks, parcel size, etc., are adhered to.
The process of legally constructing a building, however, does not end with the approval of a development permit. Provincial law also dictates that the building, electrical systems, gas systems, plumbing, etc., be built in conformity with the relevant safety codes. The Safety Codes Act mandates that, prior to constructing, or significantly altering, most buildings, a Building Permit must be obtained. Separate permits may also be required for plumbing and gas, electrical, and private sewage.
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