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 Elk Point No. 43’s 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 P&D services include:
Land Use and Sustainability Planning
Land Use and Sustainability Planning 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), 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 involves the use of tools such as Development Agreements, Inspections and Land Use Bylaw enforcement mechanisms to achieve desirable development outcomes.
Examples of special projects undertaken through P&D include beautification and special studies (e.g. Area Structure Plans, Outline Plans, Engineering Studies.)
These are services provided to the public for a fee outside the core P&D services (e.g. Compliance Report or Certificate when purchasing or selling a property)
Town of Elk Point No. 43 works closely with the Municipal Planning Services Agency to implement its land use planning framework. MPS is the Subdivision Authority for the Town of Elk Point.
Land Use Planning Framework
The Town of Elk Point No. 43 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. Town of Elk Point No. 43’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 statutory plans, Land Use Bylaw, Policies, and other documents, the land use planning framework serves as a guide for planning, development and subdivision within the Town of Elk Point No. 43. Following is a description of and a 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 document, available at the Town’s office in Elk Point.
Relationship Between Planning Documents
The hierarchy of documents within the Town of Elk Point No. 43 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 effected 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 (IDPs) or within the whole municipality (MDP). 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 policies, studies, guidelines and other documents contain additional information or specific requirements outside statutory plans and the LUB documents that are considered for certain types of development permit and subdivision applications. 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.
The Municipal Government Act is the key provincial legislation from which the Town of Elk Point No. 43 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 contemplates a regional plan for each region. The Town of Elk Point No. 43 is located within the North Saskatchewan Region. Once adopted, the North Saskatchewan Region will provide high-level policy direction for land use planning and decision making for the Town of Elk Point No. 43.
Provincial Land Use Policies
The provinces 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.
Matters Related to Subdivision and Development Regulation (84/2022) outlines a number of requirements, procedures and guidelines for the referral and decision-making process on subdivision application in Alberta, in addition to the requirements of the MGA. The Matters Related to Subdivision and Development Regulation prescribes the following setback distances:
- 100 meters from gas and oil wells;
- 5 kilometers from sour gas wells and facilities (depending on the level of the sour gas facility and the intensity of the proposed use);
- 300 meters from the working area of a wastewater treatment plant;
- 300 meters from the disposal area of an operating or non-operating landfill, or the working area of an operating storage site; and
450 meters 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.
An applicant for subdivision or development permit (except when the proposed building is less than 47 square meters) is also required by the Matters Related to Subdivision and Development Regulation to supply information regarding abandoned oil and gas wells on the subject parcel. If the 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.
Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP) is a statutory plan prepared collaboratively between two
(or more) municipalities to provide direction for the future development of the lands of mutual importance. An IDP serves as a cooperative framework for efficient land use planning and development decision-making at the interface between municipal boundaries. IDPs are adopted by the municipalities through matching municipal bylaws, and contain policies that address land use, environmental matters, transportation, economic development, and intermunicipal infrastructure, services and programs, as well as procedures for administering and amending the plan. All IDPs will have to be consistent with the ALSA Regional Plans of the Provincial Land Use Framework, once those are completed.
Town of Elk Point No. 43 shares boundaries with one (1) municipality, the County of St. Paul No. 19, and currently has an IDP with them.
The Municipal Development Plan (MDP) was adopted in 2013 by Council to provide a cohesive framework to guide local decision making that is necessary to achieve the Town of Elk Point No 43’s long term vision. The MDP guides future land use, infrastructure, environmental, social and economic policy decisions in a manner that reflects the municipality’s vision. The MDP was also developed to protect the Town’s agricultural land base, rural character, and unique natural features, while promoting its tourism and development potential.
The MDP is also aimed at promoting residential, commercial and industrial growth through sustainable and efficient development practices and standards. The guiding principle of the MDP is that all future growth in the Town will occur in an orderly, efficient and economically sound matter. This will be accomplished by efficient land use patterns, protection of agricultural and natural environment, and provision of municipal infrastructure.
The Land Use Bylaw can be described as the “rule book” for development within the Town of Elk Point No. 43. It regulates the development of land and buildings on a site-specific basis, based on the policy directions set by the MDP and IDPs. The LUB defines what constitutes development (or land use); divides up the municipality into the land use districts and lists the land uses allowed in each district. It also 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. The LUB also outlines the requirements for a development permit application and timelines for decision; the process for appealing a development permit decision; and the process for amending the Land Use Bylaw.