Land use planning in Alberta must follow both provincial and municipal-level plans.
The Municipal Government Act (MGA) provides the legislative authority for Lac La Biche County to make land use planning and development decisions within its boundaries.
Municipal Government Act
The Municipal Government Act (MGA) is the law under which all of Alberta's municipalities receive their powers. All of Lac La Biche County's plans and processes must comply with the MGA. Part 17 of the MGA addresses planning and development.
Lower Athabasca Regional Plan
The Lower Athabasca Regional Plan (LARP) is a long-term plan for northeastern Alberta. Among other functions, the LARP provides guidance to provincial and local decision-makers regarding land use management for the region.
Intermunicipal Development Plan
Intermunicipal Development Plans (IDPs) are adopted by two or more municipalities for the lands with common boundaries. IDPs adopted under Section 631 of the Municipal Government Act not only address the future land use and development of the bordering municipalities, but also include procedures for municipalities to administer the plans.
Municipal Development Plan
The Municipal Development Plan is Lac La Biche County's own long-term strategic growth and development plan. It is a legal document, prepared in accordance with Section 632 of the Municipal Government Act. The MDP is a high-level blueprint that shows how our community is expected to change over time, and the shape it will take in future years.
Area Structure Plans
County Council may adopt an Area Structure Plan (ASP) to provide a framework for subdivision and development of a land area within Lac La Biche County. An ASP must describe:
- The sequence of development proposed for the area;
- The land uses proposed for the area, either generally or specifically;
- The population density proposed for the area, either generally or specifically;
- The general locations of major transportation routes and public utilities.
An ASP may also address any other matters that Council considers necessary.
An Outline Plan is a non-statutory planning document that must align with Lac La Biche County's higher-level documents and statutory plans like the Municipal Development Plan and applicable Area Structure Plans. The outline is prepared by a landowner or land developer. It provides detailed descriptions of future land development in a specific area, including land uses, road networks, locations of services, etc.
Land Use Bylaw
The Municipal Government Act requires every municipality to adopt a Land Use Bylaw (LUB). The LUB establishes regulations to control the type, location and intensity of land use and developments within Lac La Biche County. The LUB also outlines the process for rezoning or subdividing land and applying for permits to regulate development in the community.
The purpose of the LUB is to:
- Divide Lac La Biche County into land use districts;
- Establish development permit, rezoning and subdivision processes;
- Set standards for building height, size and location;
- Determine sets of rules for each land use district, including permitted and discretionary uses;
- Determine parking, landscaping and building design standards;
- Implement the vision of the Municipal Development Plan and adopted Area Structure Plans.
Throughout the planning and development process, municipal policies may also be considered in making decisions. These policies give further guidance to the decision-makers on the goals and desired outcomes of the County. Published policies can be viewed HERE.
The subdivision process is governed by the Municipal Government Act (Part 17, Division 7, Sections 652-657) and the Subdivision and Development Regulation. A subdivision is created when a land parcel is divided into two or more parcels.
Lac La Biche County approves all subdivisions in the municipality. Each new parcel receives its own legal title, and once endorsed by the County, new parcels are registered with the Land Titles Office of Alberta. The Land Titles Office will issue a Certificate of Title for each created lot.
The development process is governed by the Municipal Government Act and the Subdivision and Development Regulation. A development permit is written approval from Lac La Biche County, indicating that a proposed development follows the rules of the Land Use Bylaw (LUB). Development permits are required for new buildings, making building alterations, changing the use of existing buildings, home occupations (home-based businesses) and temporary building structures.
When you submit a development permit application to Lac La Biche County, a Development Officer reviews it and determines whether or not the application complies with the LUB. The Development Officer also checks details like building locations, parking, landscaping and building appearances.
Many developments require building permits after development permits have been issued. Building permits ensure that proposed building plans follow Alberta Building Code safety standards.