Stepping Back from the Water

The Stepping Back from the Water handbook is designed to assist municipalities, watershed groups, developers and landowners in Alberta’s settled region determine appropriate water body setbacks for development around our lakes, rivers and wetlands. It will also encourage new policies for achieving riparian environmental outcomes. The handbook will help users with the following:

1. Identifying riparian lands, and understanding key riparian area functions;
2. Understanding how setbacks can be applied to create effective riparian buffers;
3. Conserving and managing riparian land;
4. Managing erosion and pollutants associated with new development.

The Stepping Back from the Water document contains recommendations for development setbacks and riparian buffer management based on a review of the scientific literature, published monographs, and regulatory and planning documents from various jurisdictions in Canada and the USA. Buffer strip recommendations for water quality functions were made using only the scientific literature, whereas a variety of sources were used relative to other core riparian functions including flood water conveyance and storage, bank stability, and habitat. In these cases, existing policies and beneficial management practices supplemented the scientific literature and offered practical guidance.

The Stepping Back from the Water handbook also provides guidance on watershed-scale approaches for protecting water bodies, sensitive areas, wetlands, shorelines and water quality, recognizing that riparian buffer strips alone are unlikely to reduce runoff and nutrient loading into surface waters. The importance of working together, and using a broad suite of tools and approaches to manage human impact on our natural environment, cannot be overemphasized. Later sections and the report’s appendices contain information and links for land and water management beyond riparian areas.

icon Guide - Stepping Back from the Water (2.55 MB)

Notice & Pre-Circulation Process for Development

Lacombe County endeavours to keep open communications between landowners, developers, government agencies and our office. However, due to privacy restrictions under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP), the County cannot provide lists of landowners and mailing addresses to allow a developer to contact landowners directly. Instead, pursuant to FOIP, Lacombe County has established guidelines for notifications that are required prior to making a development permit application with the County.

The guide has been updated to reflect  the steps involved through the Pre-Circulation Process. If you have any further questions, please contact the Planning and Development Department at 403-782-6601.

pdf Guide to Notice & Pre-Circulation (with example letters)

Real Property Reports/Compliance Reports

The County is often asked to review Real Property Reports for compliance with the Land Use Bylaw.

These survey documents are usually prepared in connection with real estate transactions, and are requested by lenders or buyers to confirm whether the existing buildings and other structures on the property are located in accordance with the setback requirements of the Land Use Bylaw.

The following document addresses frequently asked questions pertaining to Real Property Reports and Compliance Reports. If you have any further questions, please contact the Planning and Development Department at 403-782-6601.

pdf Real Property Reports - Frequently Asked Questions 2010 

Multi-Lot Residential Development Proposals

Multi-Lot Residential Development Proposals: A Guide to the Approval Process

County policy generally restricts multi-lot residential development only to areas that have been designated for such use in an area structure plan or other plan initiated and approved by County Council. The guide has been updated to reflect the policies implemented in the Municipal Development Plan and to help aid the public through the approval process.

icon Multi-Lot Residential Development Proposals guide