Land Use Planning Framework

Land Use Planning Framework

Planning and development involves balancing competing (and at times conflicting) needs and limited resources to ensure orderly, economical and beneficial development within a Municipality. Its primary objective is to maintain and improve the quality of the natural and built environment through a land use planning framework.

The Municipal District of Fairview No. 136 derives its land use planning authority from the Province of Alberta, through provincial legislation, regulations and policies that include, but are not limited to: 

  • Municipal Government Act (MGA),
  • Alberta Land Stewardship Act (ALSA), and
  • Matters Related to Subdivision and Development Regulation.

The Municipality's delegated authority, allows it to develop, implement and enforce statutory plans, bylaws and policies to govern land use planning within its boundaries.

Together, the Provincial and Municipal legislation, regulations, policies and plans comprise the land use planning framework, which serves as a guide for planning, development and subdivision within the Municipal District of Fairview No. 136. 

Municipal Government Act (MGA)

The Municipal Government Act (MGA) is the key provincial legislation from which the Municipal District of Fairview No. 136 derives its authority to undertake planning and development. The MGA establishes the powers and responsibilities of Council and administration with respect to creating policies, plans and bylaws to govern land use and development within their municipality.

Specifically, the MGA allows a municipality to create four (4) types of statutory plans (Municipal Development Plan, Intermunicipal Development Plan, Area Structure Plan, and Area Redevelopment Plan) and the Land Use Bylaw. These provide a framework for coordinated planning and decision-making with regards to land use. Importantly, municipalities are also provided with enforcement mechanisms to ensure compliance with the land use planning framework.  

Alberta Land Stewardship Act (ALSA)

The Alberta Land Stewardship Act (ALSA) establishes a regional approach to land use planning through the implementation of the Alberta Land-Use Framework (LUF). It aims to achieve Alberta’s long-term economic, social and environmental goals through the efficient management of public and private lands and natural resources. The ALSA divides the province into seven “land-use regions,” and contemplates a regional plan for each region. The Municipal District of Fairview No. 136 is located within the Upper Peace Region. Once adopted, the Upper Peace Regional Plan will provide high-level policy direction for land use planning and decision-making within the Municipal District of Fairview No. 136.

Provincial Land Use Policies

The Province of Alberta's Land Use Policies were created in 1996 under the Municipal Government Act to guide municipalities in harmonizing provincial and municipal policy initiatives at the local land use planning level. The Land Use Policies establish high-level principles for better land use planning and will be replaced by regional plans once in effect.

Matters Related to Subdivision and Development Regulation

The Matters Related to Subdivision and Development Regulation outlines a number of requirements, procedures and guidelines for the referral and decision-making process on subdivision applications in Alberta, in addition to the requirements of the Municipal Government Act

Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP)

An Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP) is a statutory plan prepared collaboratively between two (or more) municipalities to provide direction for the future development of lands of mutual importance. An IDP serves as a cooperative framework for efficient land use planning and development decision-making at the interface between municipal boundaries. Intermunicipal Development Plans contain policies that address land use, environmental matters, transportation, economic development, and intermunicipal infrastructure, services, and programs, as well as procedures for administering and amending the plan. All Intermunicipal Development Plans must be consistent with the Alberta Land Stewardship Act Regional Plans of the Provincial Land Use Framework, once those are completed.

Municipal District of Fairview No. 136 shares boundaries with six municipalities, one urban and five rural, and currently has an Intermunicipal Development Plan with the Town of Fairview.

Municipal Development Plan (MDP)

The Municipal Development Plan (MDP) was adopted in 2008 to guide future land use, infrastructure and development related decisions in a manner that is consistent with the Municipality's long term vision.

The Municipal Development Plan aims to protect the Municipality's agricultural land base, rural character, and unique natural features, while strengthening its tourism and development potential. Further, it promotes residential, commercial, and industrial growth through sustainable and efficient development practices and standards. The guiding principle of the Municipal Development Plan is that all future growth in the Municipality will occur in an orderly, efficient, and economically sound manner. This will be accomplished by efficient land use patterns, protection of agricultural land and natural environment, and provision of municipal infrastructure. 

Land Use Bylaw No. 876

The Land Use Bylaw No. 876 regulates and controls the use, conservation and development of land and buildings within the Municipal District of Fairview No. 136 on a site-specific basis, based on the policy direction provided by the Municipal Development Plan and Intermunicipal Development Plans. 

The Municipality's Land Use Bylaw No. 876

  • Defines what constitutes development (or land use);
  • Divides the Municipality into land use districts; 
  • Establishes and prescribes land uses (permitted and discretionary) for each district;
  • Sets development standards (i.e. setbacks, parcel size and density, dwelling density, site coverage etc.) for each land use district; 
  • Establishes a procedural framework for decision making regarding subdivision referrals, enforcement, land use bylaw amendments and applications for development permits; 
  • Designates the Development Officer as the Development Authority for the Municipality and determines their duties and responsibilities; and, 
  • Designates Mackenzie Municipal Services Agency (MMSA) as the Subdivision Authority for the Municipality.