County staff understand that building a new home or shop can sometimes be a difficult and challenging process. This process may include finding contractors, getting estimates, finalizing plans, and securing finances for the project. By the time you get to the next step of obtaining permits, you may find it intimidating, confusing, or frustrating. In order to improve and streamline processes respecting development and building-related approvals, and to help you better understand the procedures regarding Development Permits and Safety Codes, here are answers to a few frequently asked questions.
Is a development permit the same as a building permit?
No, a development permit approves what type of development is allowed on a particular property, and concerns itself with zoning, setback, and height regulations of the County’s Land Use Bylaw. A building permit allows the construction of structures contingent on meeting the requirements of the Alberta Building Code. In simple terms, the development permit deals with the ‘what’ and ‘where’ a development may proceed, and the building permit deals with ‘how’ it is built.
How do I get a development permit application?
Development permit application forms are available at the Lacombe County office or can be downloaded from the County’s website at www.lacombecounty.com.
In addition to the application, what do I sketch on the site plan?
To the best of your ability, the site plan should include the following, drawn to scale:
- the legal description of the property;
- the parcel dimensions;
- the location and use of all existing and proposed buildings with distances from property boundaries;
- the location of any water bodies and other drainage courses, existing or proposed storm water drainage works, treed areas, shelter belts and other physical features of the land to be developed;
- the existing and/or proposed access to the property
What other information do I need to submit with my application and site plan?
A copy of the Private Sewage Disposal Permit issued by an accredited safety codes agency is required if the application is to build or locate a residence on the property. If an addition is planned to an existing residence, the County may require written confirmation from a safety codes agency that the existing sewage system is adequate for the proposed development. Photographs will be required with any application for a pre-owned manufactured (mobile) home or other moved in
Photographs will be required with any application for a pre-owned manufactured (mobile) home or other moved in building. These photographs are needed to consider the quality of the exterior appearance of the home or building.
Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) documentation identifying the presence or absence of abandoned wells on the property must be provided with all development permit applications for buildings larger than 47 m2 (500 ft2) and for additions to buildings that will, as a result of the addition, become larger than 47 m2 (500 ft2). The County will obtain this information directly from the AER for your application.
If it appears that a potential conflict between abandoned well locations and proposed surface development may exist, the applicant must contact the licensee on record for any additional information that may be required or to physically locate the well. This information can be obtained from the AER’s Abandoned Well Viewer available on the AER website at www.aer.ca.
What is the application fee for a development permit?
The current fee is $200 for most Development Permit Applications including applications for a major home based business or outdoor storage; however, a $500 fee is required for all uses in the commercial and industrial districts, and for the following uses in all districts: sand and gravel extraction and processing, communication towers, minor business and trade, community facility, special events, major campground, alternative energy – macrogeneration, cannabis production facility, and cannabis retail. The application fee is payable to Lacombe County, via cheque, cash or debit. Please note that all fees are non-refundable.
When can I start construction on my development?
You may begin your development after a development permit has been issued by the County. For discretionary uses, a Notice of Decision will be sent out prior to the development permit. There will be a 21-day appeal period after the issuance of the Notice of Decision, and only after this period is over will the development permit be issued.
I am building a new house and the County has issued the development permit, do I need any other permits?
In addition to the development permit, other permits are required such as building, electrical, gas, plumbing, and private sewage permits. These permits ensure that your construction is done in accordance with provincial regulations. Building without the proper permits and inspections can also lead to unsafe conditions and costly repairs in the future. For more information, contact one of these accredited safety code agencies:
A permit will be required from Alberta Transportation for any development that is proposed within 300 metres (984 feet) of a highway or within 800 metres (2625 feet) of an intersection of a highway with another public road. For more information please contact Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation at (403) 340-5166.
How long is my development permit valid for?
A development permit issued by the County is valid for a period of 12 months. If after 12 months the development has not been started, the permit will be declared null and void, unless the Development Officer agrees to extend the time limit. Any request for an extension must be made in writing prior to the expiry of the 12 month period.
Once the development is started, it is not to be abandoned or left for an extended period of time in what the County considers to be an unsightly or unsafe condition.