About Planning and Development
Planning and Development (P&D) plays a central role in the change and development of our community by establishing and administering the Town of Grimshaw’s land use planning framework (hyperlink to land use planning framework). P&D aims to ensure orderly, economical and beneficial development, and to maintain and improve the quality of the Town’s physical environment through the application of tools and services under the land use planning framework.
The scope of Planning and Development services includes:
Land use and Sustainability Planning: this involves the creation and administration of long-term, community vision plans, such as statutory plans (e.g., Municipal Development Plan, Intermunicipal Development Plans and Area Structure Plans), non-statutory plans (e.g. Municipal Sustainability Plan) and the Land Use Bylaw, which together provide direction and the regulatory mechanism for implementing the desired change.
Development Permitting and Subdivision Planning: this includes processing and issuing decisions on development permit and subdivision applications, based on approved plans, the Land Use Bylaw, and other applicable municipal and provincial legislation.
Development Control: this involves the use of tools such as Development Agreements, inspections and Land Use Bylaw enforcement mechanisms to achieve desirable development outcomes.
Special Projects: examples of special projects undertaken though P&D include beautification, park design and special studies (e.g., housing affordability, vacant lot studies).
Other services: these are services provided to the public for a fee outside the core P&D services (e.g., Compliance Report or Certificate).
The Town of Grimshaw works closely with the Mackenzie Municipal Services Agency to implement its land use planning framework.
New/On Going Projects
Up-coming Public Hearings
General inquiries about Planning and Development can be directed to Brian Allen, CAO of the Town of Grimshaw, by phone at (780) 332-4626 or by email at email@example.com
Town of Grimshaw Land Use Planning Framework
The Town of Grimshaw derives its authority to make decisions on land use planning matters from the Government of Alberta though provincial legislation and regulations, including the Municipal Government Act (MGA), the Alberta Land Stewardship Act (ALSA) and the Subdivision and Development Regulation, that delegate certain powers and authority to municipalities. The Town of Grimshaw’s land use planning framework can be illustrated as follows:
Together with the Province’s MGA, ALSA, Land Use Policies and Subdivision and Development Regulation, and the Town’s six (6) plans, Land Use Bylaw, Policies, Standards and Bylaws, including the Development Appeal Board Bylaw, the Town’s land use planning framework serves as a guide for planning, development and subdivision within the Town of Grimshaw. Following is a description of and link to these documents. Some of the Town’s documents represent Office Consolidations that incorporate the original documents and subsequent amendments approved by Council by bylaw. In case of uncertainty, the reader is advised to consult the original documents, available at the Town office.
The Municipal Government Act is the key provincial legislation from which the Town derives its authority to undertake planning and development. The MGA establishes the powers and responsibilities of Council and administration in creating policies, plans and bylaws to regulate land use and development within their municipality, to ensure orderly physical, environmental and economical beneficial development. Specifically, the MGA allows a municipality to create four (4) types of statutory plans, namely Municipal Development Plan (MDP), Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP), Area Structure Plan (ASP) and Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP), and the Land Use Bylaw. These provide a framework for coordinated land use planning and decision-making. The MGA also provides municipalities with enforcement mechanisms to ensure conformity between development and approved plans and bylaws.
The Alberta Land Stewardship Act (ALSA) is a 2009 provincial legislation that establishes a regional approach to land use planning through the implementation of the Alberta Land-use Framework (LUF). It aims to achieve Alberta’s long-term economic, social and environmental goals through the efficient management of public and private lands and natural resources. The ALSA divides up the province into seven “land-use regions”, based on the LUF, which correspond to Alberta’s major watersheds, and requires a regional plan for each region. The Town of Grimshaw is located within the Upper Peace Region. Once adopted, the Upper Peace Regional Plan will provide high-level policy direction for land use planning and decision-making within the Town of Grimshaw.
The province’s Land Use Policies were created in 1996 under the MGA to guide municipalities in harmonizing provincial and municipal policy initiatives at the local land use planning level. The policies establish high-level principles, such as a collaborative approach to addressing planning issues, for better land use planning. The Provincial Land Use Policies will be replaced by regional plans once in effect.
Enacted in 2002 and amended in 2017, the Subdivision and Development Regulation outlines a number of requirements, procedures and guidelines for the referral and decision-making process on subdivision applications in Alberta, in addition to the requirements of the MGA. The Subdivision and Development Regulation prescribes the following setback distances:
100 metres from gas and oil wells;
1.5 kilometres from sour gas wells and facilities (depending on the level of the sour gas facility and the intensity of the proposed use);
300 metres from the working area of a wastewater treatment plant;
300 metres from the disposal area of an operating or non-operating landfill, or the working area of an operating storage site; and
450 metres from the working area of an operating landfill, the working or disposal area of a non-operating hazardous waste management facility or the working area or disposal area of an operating hazardous waste management facility.
The Subdivision and Development Regulation also requires that an applicant for subdivision or for development permit (except when the proposed building is less than 47 square metres) supply information regarding abandoned oil and gas wells on the subject parcel. If an abandoned well is identified during the application process, Alberta Energy Regulator Directive 079 (Surface Development in Proximity to Abandoned Wells) prescribes minimum setbacks and may require the applicant to contact the licensee of record.
The Lac Cardinal Intermunicipal Development Plan is an intermunicipal development plan between the Town of Grimshaw, the Municipal District of Peace No. 135 and the Village of Berwyn. Providing a cooperative framework for land use planning and development decision-making for lands around the boundaries of the three municipalities, the IDP contains policies that address land use, environmental matters, transportation, economic development and intermunicipal infrastructure, as well as procedures for administering and amending the plan. There are proposals to review and amend the IDP to satisfy all the requirements of the MGA, based on 2018 changes in the MGA.
Municipal Development Plan (2011)
The Municipal Development Plan (2011) identifies the Town of Grimshaw’s strategic vision and provides policy direction for land use planning and coordination within the Town’s boundaries. It contains policies that address agriculture, commerce, housing, industry, transportation, infrastructure, recreation, the environment, and social and economic development.
Area Structure Plans (ASPs)
Area Structure Plans provide a framework for future subdivision and development of land, resulting in the creation of new neighbourhoods or commercial areas. They identify where residential, commercial, institutional and industrial development will be located and how services such as water, electricity, sewer systems, telecommunications, schools, fire protection and parks will be provided. ASPs are either prepared by the Town or required from a developer in advance of a subdivision proposal. Currently, the Town has the following ASPs:
The Town of Grimshaw’s Land Use Bylaw can be described as the “rule book” for development. It regulates the development of land and buildings on a site-specific basis, based on the policy directions set by the MDP, IDP and ASPs. The LUB defines what constitutes development (or land use); divides up the community into land use districts and lists the land uses allowed in each district; separates all the land uses enabled in each district into permitted and discretionary uses; and sets the development standards (e.g., size of land and buildings, building heights, setbacks and site coverage) for each land use district. It also lists the requirements for a development permit application and timelines for decision; outlines the process for appealing a development permit decision; and the process for amending the Land Use Bylaw.
Additional Land Use Bylaw Amendments (not in consolidated document)
Following is a list of amendments to the Land Use Bylaw that have been passed by Council but have not yet been incorporated into the consolidated Land Use Bylaw.
Amending the Land Use Bylaw
A person may apply to amend the Land Use Bylaw, in writing, to the Development Officer by completing the form below and submitting an application fee as established by Council. All applications to amend the Bylaw shall include the following:
- A certificate of title for the subject property;
- An indication of the applicant’s interest in the subject property;
- A statement of the proposed land use(s);
- Reasons in support of the amendment; and
- Any supporting drawings subject to the satisfaction of the Development Officer
All amendments to the Land Use Bylaw shall be made in conformity with the provisions of the MGA and any applicable statutory plans. The Town of Grimshaw may, at any time, also initiate an amendment to the Land Use Bylaw.
Non-Statutory Plans, Policies, Standards and Bylaws
In addition to statutory plans and the Land Use Bylaw, the Town of Grimshaw has other non-statutory plans, policies, bylaws and standards that are used when considering applications for development permit and subdivision. They include:
The Town of Grimshaw Municipal Sustainability Plan is a long-term policy plan that was developed in 2011 to guide change and development towards a sustainable community, based on the environmental, cultural, social and economic aspects of the Town. The plan identifies principles, goals, priority projects, actions and measures for promoting sustainable development in Grimshaw.
Adopted by Council in 2018, the Public Participation Policy outlines the Town of Grimshaw’s approach to public participation. It defines the role of the Town in informing and engaging municipal stakeholders in the decision-making process.
The Business License Bylaw manages the licensing and regulation of businesses operating within the Town of Grimshaw. Under the Bylaw, all new and existing businesses operating in Grimshaw, except non-profit organizations, are required to obtain and maintain a business license from the Town Office. A business license is required in addition to a development permit for newly built business establishments.
The Fee Schedule Bylaw consolidates the fees, rates, charges and penalties for services provided by the Town of Grimshaw, including development permit application fees.
The Lot Availability Study provides a factual inventory of all lots within the corporate boundaries of the Town of Grimshaw. The Study identifies the current number of vacant lots under planning consideration and may be used to determine approval conditions for a development based on the level of services available to a lot.
Relationship Between Planning Documents
The hierarchy of documents within the Town of Grimshaw’s land use planning framework is established by the MGA. The MGA requires that each level is consistent with the level above and below it, and that the policies or regulations within planning document(s) at each level may be implemented by those below them in the decision-making process. The MGA provides the legislative authority for municipal land use planning and decision-making, while the ALSA regional plan (or Land Use Policies in their absence) provides broad-based policy directions and principles for municipal land use planning, which are affected through statutory plans and bylaws. The statutory plans provide future direction for the development and use of lands at the fringe areas of the Town’s boundaries (IDP), or within the whole municipality (MDP), or small areas of the Town in greater detail (ASPs). The LUB regulates the use and development of land based on the policy directions of statutory plans, while the Subdivision and Development Regulation regulates subdivision planning in conjunction with the MGA, applicable statutory plans, and the Land Use Bylaw. The polices, studies, guidelines and other documents contain additional information or specific requirements outside statutory plans and the LUB documents to establish application requirements and inform the review and decision-making process for development permit and subdivision applications, either in general or for certain types of development and subdivision, or for development and subdivision at certain locations. Where there is a conflict or inconsistency between a higher-level planning document and a lower-level planning document, the higher-level planning document prevails to the extent of the conflict or inconsistency.
Development and Subdivision Application Process
Applying for a Development Permit
Unless exempted by the Land Use Bylaw or other legislation, all developments within the Town of Grimshaw require a development permit. A development permit provides legal authorization for a development; having it protects the property owner or renter/leasee against future legal or transactional issues. Development permits must be obtained prior to undertaking a development. The process of applying for a development permit, including all the documents required, is detailed in the brochure below. Applicants for a development permit are advised to read the guidelines prior to completing an application.
A Guide to Applying for a Development Permit Development Permit Brochure (MMSA)
To apply for a development permit, please download and complete the appropriate application form below and submit them to the Town Office. The Town has two (2) types of development permit application forms, one for home-based business (Form E) and the other for other types of developments (Form A). If the development involves the relocation of a manufactured home or other type of dwelling unit into Town or from one lot to another lot within Town, a manufactured home moving permit, or a moving permit is required, in addition to a development permit. If a manufactured home or other type of dwelling unit is being moved out of Town, then only a manufactured home moving permit, or a moving permit is required. In either case, applicants must use Form A.
If your proposed development is enabled in the district where your site is located but fails to meet all the requirements of the Land Use Bylaw, your application may still be considered, and a permit may be issued, if you apply for a variance and the variance is granted by the Development Authority. To apply for a variance, check the appropriate section on the development permit application form and provide details regarding the type of variance being requested, the amount or extent of the variance and the rationale for requesting the variance. If the proposed development is not enabled in the district where your site is located, you must first apply for an amendment to the Land Use Bylaw, to enable the type of development you want and, if successful, apply for a development permit. Use Form I to apply for a Land Use Bylaw Amendment. All the forms are also available at the Town Office.
Unless extended by a written agreement between the Development Authority and the applicant, the Development Authority has 40 days to make a decision on an application from the date the applicant is issued a Notice of Complete Application. To ensure timely processing of applications, it is important for applicants to submit a complete application and provide any additional information, if required by the Development Authority during the review process. Please contact the Town Office prior to submitting an application, if you have any questions about completing the application form.
An approved development permit may include conditions that must be met by the permit holder. These conditions could include a requirement for the applicant to enter into a Development Agreement to perform a number of obligations or obtain additional permits/ licenses from the Town or external organizations before commencing or operating their development. A business license is an example of an additional permit that may be required by the Town besides a development permit. To apply for a Town of Grimshaw business license, click here. Permits/licenses from external agencies may include building, fire, mechanical/electrical, plumbing and gas permits from an accredited Safety Codes Agency and/or license from a federal or provincial agency (e.g., Cannabis Store License from AGLC to operate a cannabis retail facility).
In addition to permits/licenses, inspections may also be conducted by the Town, provincial authorities or external agencies to verify that the completed development complies with applicable legislation, standards or requirements of the approved permit or license. These inspections may include fire, safety codes and health inspections.
Applying for a Subdivision
Subdivision is the process of dividing a single parcel of land into two or more parcels, each with a separate Certificate of Title. A registered land or property owner (or their authorized agent) wishing to create two or more lots from a single parcel of land must obtain a subdivision approval prior to subdividing the land. The Mackenzie Municipal Services Agency (MMSA) is the Subdivision Authority for the Town of Grimshaw. Below are links to the subdivision application package, including the guidelines, the application form and timeline for decision, which are available on the MMSA website.
Subdivision planning within the Town of Grimshaw is guided by the MGA, the Subdivision Authority Bylaw (which designates MMSA as the subdivision authority for the Town), the Subdivision and Development Regulation, any applicable statutory plan, and relevant non-statutory policies, bylaws and standards.
Development and Subdivision Appeal
Decisions of the Development Authority and Subdivision Authority may be appealed to the Development Appeal Board, the Mackenzie Intermunicipal Subdivision Appeal Board, or the Municipal Government Board (MGB). The Town of Grimshaw’s Development Appeal Board deals with appeals regarding development permit decisions and stop orders issued by the Development Authority, while the Mackenzie Intermunicipal Subdivision Appeal Board deals with Subdivision Authority decisions that are outside the jurisdiction of the MGB, as per section 687(2) of the MGA. The MGB only hears subdivision appeals where the land that is the subject of the appeal is:
- within Alberta’s Green Area;
- ‘adjacent’ to or contains a Body of Water; (‘Adjacent’ means contiguous or would be contiguous if not for a railway, road, utility right of way or reserve land).
- adjacent to or contains (either partially or wholly) land identified on the Listing of Historic Resources or public land set aside for use as historic resources.
- within the following distances:
- 1600 metres of a Provincial Highway;
- 450 metres of a Hazardous Waste Management Facility;
- 450 metres of the working area of an operating Landfill;
- 300 metres of the disposal area of any Landfill;
- 300 metres of a Waste Water Treatment Plant; or
- 300 metres of the working area of a Non-Hazardous Waste Storage Site.
The Town of Grimshaw’s Development Appeal Board, the Mackenzie Intermunicipal Subdivision Appeal Board and the Municipal Government Board are impartial, quasi-judicial bodies that make independent decisions on appeal cases before them, strictly based on the evidence presented to them at a hearing, and in accordance with the MGA, other provincial legislation and the Town of Grimshaw’s Development Appeal Board Bylaw No. 1186
The process for appealing a decision of the Development or Subdivision Authority, including the timelines for filing an appeal, are outlined in the guidelines for development permit and subdivision applications, respectively. The Town of Grimshaw’s Development Board Bylaw outlines the duties, powers and functions of the Development Appeal Board as well as the procedures and timelines for organizing an appeal hearing and making a decision. The appeal forms for development (development permit decisions and stop orders) can be downloaded below. The subdivision appeal information is included in the Subdivision Authority’s decision letter.
Notice of Decisions of the Development Authority
You can find a list of Notice of Decisions of the Development Authority under Services/Development Permits