I’m looking to start a business in the County, what is the process?
The County requires that applicants provide a completed Development Permit Application Form together with a site plan and a completed Supplementary Business Form. This form should include details of the business, including, but not limited to; the nature of the business, buildings that will be used, number of employees, traffic generated by the business and measures taken to minimize potential nuisance to neighbouring properties. Other information deemed necessary by the County may be requested to assist the Development Officer in making a decision.
What is the difference between a minor home-based business, a major home-based business and a minor business or trade?
A minor home-based business must be located within the principal dwelling or accessory building(s) and cannot employ any people who are not residents of the principal dwelling. They also do not allow for the on-site visit of clients and exterior storage is not permitted. As a point to note a minor home based business does not require a development permit in the Agricultural District.
A major home-based business allows for the on-site visits of clients but must not have an unreasonable number of late visits, cause traffic congestion or excessive off-street parking. Non-resident employees and outdoor storage may be allowed for the business but only in the Agricultural District. In the H-R3 Residential (Hamlet of Mirror) non-resident employees may also be permitted.
A minor business or trade is similar to a major home-based business but is only permitted in the Agricultural District. It allows for up to six non-resident employees, although the number can be increased at the discretion of the Municipal Planning Commission.
Why would I need to renew my development permit for a business?
Development permits are a planning tool for sites, buildings and land use that warrant special protection or development control. In essence, development permits guide decision-making related to the current physical, social and economic development of Lacombe County.
The guiding principle for applying fixed terms as conditions of approval is to allow small scale home based businesses to operate throughout the County while protecting farming and residential uses.
Agriculture has traditionally been an important contributor to the economy, however, other opportunities exist to expand and diversify the County’s economic base to ensure long-term economic health and prosperity.
In accordance with the Land Use Bylaw there are numerous discretionary uses which can be considered within both Agricultural and Residential Districts. By placing special conditions of approval on businesses located within such lands, staff has an opportunity to monitor business growth, and traffic patterns. Having ongoing communications with business owners also helps to prevent nuisance issues between non compatible land uses and a more timely direction for the timing of business relocations (or when activities are more appropriately defined as industrial/commercial uses).
Will the renewal application effect how my business is operating?
In order to keep files active the County provides written notification that a new development permit will be required if you wish to continue operating the business. Typically these notices are mailed out 3-4 months before the date of expiry. However, failure to get approval by the expiry date will mean that the County may order the business cease operation at the site until a new permit has been obtained.
Is there a fee for renewal applications?
The current fee is $200 for most Development Permit Applications; however, a $500 fee is required for all commercial, industrial, gravel/sand pit, telecommunications towers and minor business and trades. The application fee is payable to Lacombe County, via cheque, cash or debit. Please note that all fees are non-refundable.
What types of developments permits require renewal?
Generally speaking the County applies terms as a condition of development approval for home based businesses, gravel pits and other business related uses which are subject to market driven changes.
For more information or to set up a meeting with Department staff, please contact the Planning and Development Department at 403-782-8389.
I am looking to purchase a lot within the Recreational Vehicle Resort “R-RVR” District.
What bylaws should I be aware of?
Do I need a Development Permit for a recreational vehicle/park model in the Recreational Vehicle “R-RVR” District?
You need a development permit to place a park model/cottage model, or park model trailer in the “R-RVR” District.
You do not need a development permit for a travel trailer, fifth-wheel trailer or motorhome type recreational vehicle. Regardless of whether or not you require a development permit, you must comply with the requirements of the Lacombe County Land Use Bylaw, such as setbacks from property lines and separation distances between structures.
What structures can I have on my lot?
Each lot is limited to one recreational vehicle (including park models) and one accessory building not exceeding 13.94m² (150 ft²) in size. In addition to this, one wood storage box no greater than 1.22m (4 ft) in height and 2.23m² (24 ft²) in size is allowed. Covered decks are allowed. However, covered decks for recreational vehicles (excluding park models) must be contiguous with the recreational vehicle and cannot be enclosed by any impermeable material.
The total area covered by all structures within a lot is not to exceed 40% of the lot, up to a maximum of 134.7m² (1,450 ft²) in total size.
Accessory buildings are not to exceed 3.35m (11 ft) in height and should complement the recreational vehicle/park model in material, colour and appearance.
How many off-road vehicles can I have on my lot and what storage structures am I allowed?
Each lot shall be limited to one off-road vehicle including, but not limited to, an ATV, dirt bike, Jet Ski, or snowmobile. Garages, carports, and other structures associated with vehicle storage are prohibited. Storage of multiple off-road vehicles should be in a communal storage area.
Can I have a bunkhouse on my lot?
No, guesthouses, bunkhouses, and any structure other than a recreational vehicle, including Park models, intended to be used as sleeping accommodations are prohibited.
Where can I locate my recreational vehicle/park model and accessory building?
All recreational vehicles (including park models and motor homes) must be located no closer than 6.09m (20 ft) from the front property line, and 1.52m (5 ft) from the rear property line. They must be a minimum of 0.6m (2 ft) from one side property line, and no less than 1.5m (5 ft) from the other side property line.
In order to ensure a safe separation distance in case of fire, no recreational vehicle/park model may be located within 3.05m (10 ft) of another. This means that if your neighbour’s recreational vehicle is located 0.6m (2 ft) from the side property line, your recreational vehicle must be at least 2.4m (8 ft) from that side property line.
The accessory building is to be located no closer to the front property line than the recreational vehicle/park model, and no less than 0.91m (3 ft) from the rear property line. It must be a minimum of 0.6m (2 ft) from one side property line, and no less than 1.5m (5 ft) from the other side property line.
No relaxations of the regulations will be permitted in the “R-RVR” District
For further details on the regulations for RV developments, please consult Sections 7.8 and 6.2 of the Land Use Bylaw, which can be accessed on the County’s website.
If you require more information, please contact the Planning & Development Department at 403-782-8389.
Spring will soon arrive, and our yards and communities will once again be exposed from the white blanket that once covered everything during the winter months. It will be nice to see new growth on all the trees and shrubs, but it also reminds us all that garbage and unwanted material that has made its way to our yards.
Why are maintaining properties important?
Properties that are well maintained, including private, commercial or industrial, add great beauty to our Municipality of Lacombe County.
Poorly maintained properties may lead to the perception that an area could be unsafe, untidy and not really cared for which could lead to negative effects such as increased levels of graffiti, potential vandalism, and other negative activities.
Private property that is unsightly can devalue your own home, pose general health and safety risks, or can make the sale of the home difficult, as well as compromise situations with your neighbours.
There are five Transfer Stations located throughout Lacombe County including the Bentley Transfer Station (NE 22-40-1-W5M); the Spruceville Transfer Station (NW 29-40-27-W4M); the Prentiss Transfer Station (NW 7-40-25-W4M); the Eckville Transfer Station (NW 34-39-3-W5M); and the Alix/Mirror Transfer Station (NW 24-40-23-W4M).
What does “unsightly property” mean in Lacombe County?
Unsightly property can be described as any land that contains unconstrained garbage, abandoned excavations, excessive waste and/or vegetation, unlicensed, dismantled, wrecked or dilapidated machinery and vehicles, and partially completed or partially demolished buildings. Anything from lawnmowers in various states of repair to old tires, bags of garbage, stacks of wood, can make our property something of an eyesore. The County’s Land Use Bylaw describes objects that are prohibited or restricted in yards throughout the number of Districts within the County.
Action will be taken by Lacombe County.
Please note, the County will continue to enforce unsightly properties throughout the entire municipality. Please act accordingly if you receive a letter from the County this year requesting that you clean up your property, so that it complies with the appropriate District established under the County’s Land Use Bylaw.
Part 7 of the County’s Land Use Bylaw established several Districts that covers the purpose, uses, and regulations that are relevant specifically to that District. Several of the Districts include regulations regarding the matter of objects that are prohibited or restricted in yards.
If you require more information, please contact the County’s Planning and Development Department at 403-782-8389, and staff will be happy to discuss matters with you or to set up a meeting.
What are Lacombe County’s policies for the consideration of a fragmented parcel subdivision?
In Lacombe County, there is no automatic right to subdivide, but there are policies to help the County establish if your land is eligible for a fragmented parcel subdivision.
You can apply to subdivide a parcel of land that is separated from the balance of the existing titled area by a natural or man-made feature; such as a highway or county road, a railway, or a permanent and naturally occurring body of water, lake, river, stream or watercourse. A permanent and naturally occurring body of water, lake, river, stream or watercourse must be proven to the satisfaction of the County by way of:
As part of the evaluation of the subdivision application, the County will consider the size and characteristics of the fragmented land and the difficulty of access from the remainder of the lands. It will have to be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the County that the intended use would not unduly interfere with the continued agricultural use of the remaining lands in title or any farming operation on the surrounding lands. As well, the parcel has to contain a suitable building site and have legal and physical access available to the parcel and the remainder of the quarter section to the satisfaction of the County.
In certain cases, the subject land may be located in an area also directed by a local plan such as an Area Structure Plan, or an Intermunicipal Development Plan if the land is adjacent to an urban municipality. The policies contained in these plans are carefully considered when deciding on the application. In some cases, subdivision of a fragmented parcel may be restricted in the local plan, which would be seriously taken into consideration by the County when deciding on the subdivision application.
It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide sufficient information with their application in order for the County to adequately evaluate the application, and it is also important to note that each subdivision application is assessed on its own merit.
Who will receive notice of my subdivision application?
All applications are circulated to neighbouring property owners, neighbouring municipalities, provincial departments, interested agencies and any party that has a registered interest on title. Their comments are considered before any decision on the subdivision application is made. In circumstances where the application is within one-half mile of a provincial highway, the subdivision also requires the approval of Alberta Transportation.
What will it cost me?
Fragmented parcel subdivision applications are subject to a $500.00 fee. If the application is approved, there is an additional $250.00 endorsement fee at the final stage of the process.
How do I make a subdivision application?
It is recommended you contact the Planning and Development Department to discuss your proposal for subdivision prior to submitting an application. Department staff would be happy to meet with you to discuss the process and the type of information that would be required for your specific situation. For more information, to set up a meeting with Department staff, or to obtain an application for subdivision please contact the Planning and Development Department at 403-782-8389.