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Municipal Development Plan & Land Use Bylaw Review

Saddle Hills County is conducting a targeted update of its Municipal Development Plan (MDP) and Land Use Bylaw (LUB) to address issues and trends that have emerged since they were last updated, and ensure they are in alignment with changes to the Municipal Government Act (MGA). The updated documents will reflect current community needs and provide Council, Administration, landowners, developers, builders, and the community with renewed confidence in the development process. 

The draft updates to the MDP and LUB are now ready to share with the public for feedback. 

We want to hear from you! Come out to our drop-in Open House on June 12, 2024, where you will have the opportunity to review the draft updates, ask questions, and share your comments. Your comments will help us finalize the updates before the MDP and LUB go back to Council for approval. 

Can’t make the open house? An online survey will be available until June 23, 2024. Paper copies will also be made available at the Saddle Hills County Office and the Bay Tree, Bonanza, and Woking General Stores. Paper copies can also be mailed out on request.

You will have an additional opportunity to provide feedback to Council at the public hearing which will be scheduled later.

Drop-in Open House

Date: June 12, 2024 

Time: 5-8 pm 

Location: Saddle Hills County Admin Building  (Junction of Hwy 49 & Secondary Hwy 725)

Online Survey

Complete the survey HERE (closing on June 23, 2024) 

If you have any questions or would like a hard copy of the survey, please email: communications@saddlehills.ab.ca  

Overview of the Proposed Changes

Planning Hierachy in Alberta

Provincial legislation, including the Alberta Land Stewardship Act, the Municipal Government Act, and the Regional Land Use Plans establish the planning context within which the Municipal Development Plan and Land Use Bylaw are given their authority. 

In this planning hierarchy, shown in the graphic, plans, bylaws, and approvals that are lower in the hierarchy must be consistent with those that are higher.

Why do the Municipal Development Plan and Land Use Bylaw Need to be Updated?

  • MDPs and LUBs get updated on a regular basis.
  • MDPs typically undergo a high-level review every five years, while a comprehensive review is usually undertaken every ten years to ensure that it is reflective of emerging trends, is responsive to community needs, and continues to align with provincial legislation.
  • LUBs get amended on a more regular basis, which can include small editing and grammatical updates, changing from one district to another, and adding a use as permitted or discretionary into a specific district, among other things.
  • These amendments can occur monthly and happen as new development is proposed, so it is important that more robust reviews are completed every three to five years. This helps to ensure there continues to be consistency across the entire bylaw, as well as respond to emerging trends and community needs.
  • The intent of many of the proposed changes are to make approval requirements more clear and to reduce red tape, making development approvals easier.

Proposed MDP Updates

  1. Vacant First Parcel: The policy has been revised to allow topography and site conditions to be a factor in parcel size requirements.
  2. Country Residential: New policies added to address housing diversity and choice and to encourage
    the development of housing for seniors.
  3. Wetland Assessment: Expand current policy to reflect wetland avoidance in accordance with the
    Alberta Wetland Policy.
  4. Green Initiatives: New policy to address agricultural land protection and site reclamation/decommissioning of large scale solar and wind energy projects.
  5. Development Setbacks: Specify setback distance requirements between residential development and
    landfills or waste transfer stations.
  6. Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP): Replace existing policy to reflect IDPs in place with adjacent municipalities.
  7. Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework (ICF): Replace existing policy to reflect existing ICFs and intermunicipal agreements with other municipalities.

Proposed LUB Updates

The changes below are proposed to permitted and discretionary uses in several districts in the Land Use Bylaw (LUB).

Permitted uses are land uses that must be approved if they meet the requirements of the LUB.

Discretionary uses may be approved if they meet the requirements of the LUB. The Development
Authority may require more stringent standards for discretionary uses.

Agriculture (A) District

Permitted Uses: Add: accessory dwellings, cabins, sea cans, second dwelling units, secondary suites, agricultural sales and service, apiary, exterior storage, public building or use, recreation (extensive), sign, and solar collector.

Discretionary Uses: Add: agri-tourism, compressor station, power generating station, and shooting range.

Crown Land (CL) District

Permitted Uses: Add: compressor Station, public utility, exterior storage, manufactured home, public building or use, recreation (extensive), and sign.

Discretionary Uses: Add: industrial landfill.

Country Residential One (CR1)

Permitted Uses: Add: home based business (minor), secondary suite and solar collector.

Discretionary Uses: Add: duplex, multi-unit dwelling, and sea can.

Country Residential Two (CR2)

Permitted Uses: Add: secondary suite, and solar collector.

Discretionary Uses: Add: duplex, multi-unit dwelling, and sea can.

Hamlet Residential One (HR1)

Permitted Uses: Add: duplex and solar collector.

Discretionary Uses: Add: public building or use, and sea can.

Hamlet Residential Two (HR2)

Permitted Uses: Add: solar collector.

Discretionary Uses: Add: sea can.

Hamlet Commercial (HC)

Permitted Uses: Add: dealership, lodging establishment, mobile food services, personal services
establishment, recreation (indoor), service station, sign, and solar collector.

Discretionary Uses: Add: public building or use, and sea can.

Hamlet Industrial (HI)

Permitted Uses: Add: sea can, exterior storage, light manufacturing, sign, and solar collector.

Rural Commercial (RC)

Permitted Uses: Add: sea can, solar collector, automotive and equipment repair, dealership, lodging
establishment, mobile food services, recreation (extensive), recreation (indoor), and sign.

Rural Light Industrial (RLI)

Permitted Uses: Add: sea can, solar collector, agricultural sales and services, automotive and equipment
repair, contractor (limited), exterior storage, light manufacturing, mini storage, sign, and warehouse.

Rural Heavy Industrial (RHI)

Permitted Uses: Add: sea can, dealership, exterior storage, heavy equipment service and repair, public building or use, sign, small scale wind energy conversion system, solar collector, and transportation terminal.

Public Service (PS)

Permitted Uses: Add: solar collector, small scale wind energy conversion system.

The changes below are proposed to the regulations in the LUB:

  1. Confined Feeding Operations: Include a prohibition on the keeping of wild boar in the County.
  2. Dwelling Units Per Lot: Add exemption second or additional dwellings on lots in the Agriculture (A) District.
  3. Landfills: Add setback regulations for County landfills.
  4. Oilfield Facilities: Expand to address carbon capture facilities, compressors, and battery sites.
  5. Solar Energy Facilities: A development permit application for a solar energy facility shall include the additional requirements: site suitability analysis, lot grading and drainage plan, decommissioning and reclamation plan, weed control plan.
  6. Wild Boar: The keeping and rearing of wild boar is prohibited in the County.
  7. Wind Energy Conversion Systems (WECS): All development permit applications for a WECS shall
    be accompanied by a decommissioning and reclamation plan.
  8. Sea Cans:
  • A maximum of one (1) sea can on a country residential or hamlet residential lot.
  • Multiple sea cans may be located on a country residential or hamlet residential lot if required for
    assembly for use as a dwelling unit.
  • The number of sea cans located on a non-residential lot at the discretion of the Development Authority.
  • Sea cans shall only be located in a side or rear yard.
  • A sea can that is accessory to an agricultural use may be located in a front yard.
  • Sea cans being used for storage cannot be stacked.
  • The Development Authority may require as a condition of development permit approval that sea cans be screened from view.

The following changes are proposed to the development permits and Development Officer’s discretion sections in the LUB.

When Development Permits are not required:

  • Compressors stations under 100HP
  • Accessory buildings not built on permanent foundations in agricultural district
  • Accessory buildings less than 9.3 m2 (100 ft2) in a hamlet or country residential district
  • Sea cans on agricultural, industrial or commercial lot
  • Public utilities in road right-of-way, public utility lots and easements
  • Uses, developments and activities exempt from permits in LUB

Development Officer’s Discretion:

Increase in variance authority from 10% to 25% for Development Officer and increase variance authority of Municipal Planning Commission from 25% to 50%.

The definitions below are proposed to be added to and/or updated in the LUB.

  • Accessory dwelling
  • Oil or gas processing plant
  • Alternative energy systems
  • Agri-tourism
  • Alternative energy systems
  • Cabin
  • Compressor station
  • Power generating station
  • Sea can
  • Shooting range

If you have any questions about the Municipal Development Plan or Land Use Bylaw Review, please contact our Development Officer, Inga Negrave, at inegrave@saddlehills.ab.ca or call (780) 864-3760 

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