Planning Documents

Land use planning in Alberta follows rules and guidelines from each level of Government.  All policies and plans made by regional or municipal governments must follow legislation from higher levels of government.  

Land Use Planning Framework

The Town of Bon Accord makes decisions on land use planning matters from the Government of Alberta through 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.  Bon Accords 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 Bon Accords 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 Bon Accord.

Relationship Between Planning Documents
The hierarchy of documents within the Town of Bon Accord’s land use planning framework is established by the MGA.  The MGA requires that each level is consistent with the level above and below (planning framework), and that policies or regulations within planning document(s) at each level be implemented by those below (planning framework) 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 principals 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 Towns boundaries (IDP’s) 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 lower-level planning document, the higher-level planning document prevails to the extent of the conflict or inconsistency.

Municipal Government Act
The Municipal Government Act is the key provincial legislation from which the Town of Bon Accord 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 municipalities, ensuring orderly physical, environmental and economical beneficial development.   Specifically, the MGA allows a municipality to create four 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.

Alberta Land Stewardship Act 
The Alberta Land Stewardship Act (ALSA) is provincial legislation, establishing 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 Bon Accord is located within the North Saskatchewan Region.

Provincial Land Use Policies 
The province’s Land Use Policies were created 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.

Subdivision and Development Regulation 
The Subdivision and Development Regulation outlines several requirements, procedures and guidelines for the referral and decision-making process on subdivision applications in Alberta, in addition to the requirements of the MGA.

Intermunicipal Development Plan 
An 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 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.

Bon Accord shares boundaries with one municipality, Sturgeon County. Previously, IDPs were not required under the MGA; they were only developed when neighbouring municipalities agreed to adopt one. However, under the amended MGA, IDPs are now mandatory for all municipalities that share a common boundary, unless they are part of a growth region, or have been granted an exemption from the requirement of adopting an IDP by the Minster of Municipal Affairs.

Municipal Development Plan 
The Municipal Development Plan (MDP) was adopted by Council to provide a cohesive framework to guide local decision making that is necessary to achieve the Town of Bon Accord’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 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 of Bon Accord will occur in an orderly, efficient, and economically sound manner. This will be accomplished by efficient land use patterns, protection of agricultural land and natural environment, and provision of municipal infrastructure. 

Land Use Bylaw
The Land Use Bylaw can be described as the “rule book” for development within the Town of Bon Accord. 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 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 (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.

Make sure to review all planning documents carefully. They will guide you through the different planning regulations to ensure that your development meets the necessary requirements.