NOTICE: A full Fire Ban is in effect throughout Thorhild County. Current fire hazards are considered extreme.
 The following are prohibited during the Fire Ban: Outdoor fires including: open fires, brush piles, smudge fires, solid fuel fire pits, campfires, burn barrels, incinerators, explosive targets, and the discharge of fireworks.
 Operating an Off-Highway Vehicle on Public Lands which is not part of emergency response operations is also now prohibited.
 Thorhild County urges everyone to recognize and proactively eliminate any possible outdoor sources of heat and ignition.
ServicesPlanning & DevelopmentDevelopment Permits
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Development Permits

> Planning & Development > Development Permits

Development Permits

A Development is generally defined as: an excavation or stockpile; constructing, adding to or repairing a building; demolition or removal; or changing the use or the intensity of the use of land or a building. Development within Thorhild County requires an application for and approval of a development permit. In the development permit stage, the County looks at the proposed use of the land and determines whether or not it conforms with the provisions of the land use bylaw and is consistent with the intent of the various statutory plans.

Proposals for larger scale development may require that the developer conduct site-specific tests (i.e. geotechnical or environmental), impact assessments (i.e. traffic or noise) or other predevelopment work determined necessary by the County. Larger scale development usually involves a development agreement and may require the developer to deal with issues such as phasing, servicing and quality control.

Following the development permit stage, additional permits are typically required by the County depending on the nature of the development. These permits specifically address building, plumbing, electrical, gas and sewage regulations and safety codes. They are only granted upon approved inspection by licensed inspectors in each of these disciplines. Thorhild County currently contracts out safety codes services and can provide contact information for these licensed inspectors.

Do I Need A Development Permit – Quick Guide

Development Permits

What is Zoning: Zoning is the process of dividing land in a municipality into zones or districts (e.g. residential, industrial) in which certain land uses are permitted or prohibited. Zoning allows Thorhild County Council to set rules for where new buildings should go, what types of buildings they can be, what activities and businesses can happen there, as well as requirements for other things such as parking and landscaping.  Zoning sets out a shared set of rules everyone has to follow, and protects citizens from conflicting land uses within our community.

To find out what your property is zoned, refer to the following Maps:

Thorhild County
Hamlet of Abee
Hamlet of Egremont
Hamlet of Long Lake
Hamlet of Newbrook
Hamlet of Opal
Hamlet of Radway
Hamlet of Thorhild

Once you have determined the zoning for your property, there are rules and regulations pertaining to each specific zone that can be found here:

AG - Agricultural District 
C1 - Central Hamlet Commercial District
C2 - Large Lot Commercial District
CR - Muli Lot Country Residential District
DC1 - Private Landfill Direct Control District
DC2 - Recreational Direct Control District
HC - Highway Commercial District
M1 - Rural Industrial District
M2 - Hamlet Industrial District
M3 - Industrial District
NRE - DC - Natural Resource Extraction Direct Control District
PI - Public Institutional District
R1A - Low Density Residential District
R1B - Low Density Residential District
R2 - Medium Density Residential District
RCC - Residential Cluster Conservation District
RHB - Residential Home Business District
RL - Long Lake Residential District
RMH1 - Residential Manufacture Home Park District
RMH2 - Residenial Manufactured Home Subdivision Distict
UR - Urban Reserve District

You have decided to construct a new home, what is required now?

Before you build a house, you will first need to obtain a Development Permit. This will determine whether your proposed development meets the requirements of Thorhild County’s Land Use Bylaw in terms of use, setbacks, height, parking etc. Following this a Building Permit must also be obtained to regulate compliance with Alberta Building Code. Other permits for electric, plumbing and gas will also be required.

Before you complete the Development Permit Application, determine the appropriate zoning of your property under the DETERMINE CURRENT ZONING OF PROPERTY.  If you require assistance, please contact the Planning & Development department.

Development Permit Application 

Building Permit Application


"Accessory building" means a building separate and subordinate to the main building and use which is incidental to the main building and is located on the same parcel of land. An accessory building to a residential use means a garage, carport, shed, storage buildings, hobby greenhouse, sundeck, patio, permanently installed private swimming pool or hot tub, and similar buildings. Where an accessory development is attached to the main building on a lot by a roof or an open or enclosed structure, except carports where vehicular access to the rear yard is not obstructed, said accessory development is part of the main building and not an accessory building and shall, unless otherwise specified in this Bylaw, adhere to the yard and other requirements for main buildings.

Development Permit Application 

Building Permit Application

Safety Tips - Detached Garage

LUB Section 6.1 - Accessory Buildings

Sheds/Buildings under 10 square metres in size don’t need a permit, but still need to follow the Land Use Bylaw guidelines.


Do you need a permit? Yes, in most cases building a deck will require a permit. As the home owner, you are responsible for getting all necessary permit(s).  Thorhild County regulates decks on properties. A Development Permit or Building Permit is not required if the deck surface is 0.6 metres (2ft) or less above finished grade at any point.  However your deck must meet the setback requirements outlined in the Land Use Bylaw.  If your deck surface is higher than 0.6m (2ft) above finished grade, you may need to obtain a Development Permit, and will need to obtain a Building Permit. Construction within Overland Drainage and Utility Rights-of-Way are not permitted.  A deck shall not have walls higher than 1.25 m (4.1 ft.) or a roof.

Development Permit Application
Building Permit Application
Safety Tips - Wood Deck

"Fence" means a vertical physical barrier constructed to try to reduce sound or visual intrusion or to limit unauthorized access.  Building Permits are not required for the construction of fences. A Development Permit would only be required if the location and/or height of the fence does not comply with the Land Use Bylaw requirements (see below).

LUB Section 7.10 Fences, Walls , Hedges


Are you renovating or developing unfinished or partially finished areas of your home?

You will need a Development and building permit if you are:

  • renovating your home,
  • finishing your basement,
  • adding, moving or removing any interior walls,
  • changing window sizes,

You don't need a permit to:

  • paint walls
  • replace flooring
  • replace counter tops
  • replace shingles or siding
  • replace kitchen cupboards.

Development Permit Application
Building Permit Application
Safety Tips - Additions

The number of dwelling units allowed on a parcel of land in any Residential District or in the Agriculture (AG) District shall normally not exceed one (1).

Within the Long Lake Residential (RL) District, the maximum number of dwelling units allowed on a parcel shall not exceed one (1).

The Development Authority may issue a permit for the construction or location of more than one (1) dwelling unit on a parcel if additional dwelling units are permitted or discretionary within the applicable land use district and the second or additional dwelling unit:

(a) is contained in a building that, or in buildings each of which, are designed
for or divided into two (2) or more dwelling units;
(b) is a surveillance suite as defined in this Bylaw;
(c) is a temporary building or use as defined in this Bylaw;
(d) is a permanent building located on a parcel of land larger than 28.3 ha (70
ac.) in area and does not exceed the maximum density requirements within
the District as stated in this Bylaw or any applicable statutory plan; or
(e) is a garage, garden, in-law or secondary suite as defined in this Bylaw and
meets the requirements for such development as established in Sections
7.9, 7.10, 7.12 and 7.30, respectively.

Any more than two (2) units may only be permitted at the discretion of the Municipal Planning Commission.

Where a second or additional dwelling is permitted, the second or additional dwelling must be provided with services separate from the principal dwelling. 

Please refer to the following definitions of each Suite:

Suite Definitions
Development Permit Application
Building Permit Application


A Development Permit and a Building Permit are required for a mobile/manufactured home.  Before a development permit is issued for a mobile/manufactured home, the Development Authority shall normally receive verification that the home fully complies with both the CSA Z240 MH National Manufactured Home Standard and the Alberta Building Code (ABC). If the CSA Z240 sticker or the Alberta Municipal Affairs sticker verifying compliance to the ABC is missing, the Development Authority may require an inspection by an Alberta Safety Codes Officer or structural engineer certified to conduct such inspection.  A structural engineer inspection may also be required due to the age of the mobile home.

Development Permit Application
Building Permit Application
LUB Section 7.16 - Manufactured Homes
Mobile & Manufactured Homes Checklist


A home occupation is a business that operates out of a home.   Two types of home occupations are allowed in Thorhild County: Minor and Major. The distinction between minor and major home occupations is based on certain criteria that evaluate the impact of the business on the neighbourhood such as traffic and parking generation, noise, and commercial vehicles associated with the business.

A minor home occupation does not include any business which would normally attract more than five (5) clients per week, or the employment at the dwelling or accessory buildings of any paid assistant, other than the occupants of the dwelling. A major home occupation may include a business which would normally attract more than five (5) clients per week but does not include the employment at the dwelling or accessory
buildings of more than two (2) paid assistants, other than the occupant and the occupant's family. A home occupation does not include cannabis retail sales or cannabis production and distribution.

Home Occupations require a Development Permit and a Business License, and may require a Safety Codes Permit.

For further information on home occupations, please click the buttons below.

LUB Section 7.12 - Home Occupations
Develoment Permit Application
Business License Application
Business Licensing Bylaw 1188-2014

Highway permits are required for activities that occur on or near provincial highways.  No development permit shall be issued for development within 800.0 m (0.5 miles) of the boundary of the right-of-way of a highway until any necessary permits for the development have been issued by Alberta Transportation.

You can access information and the application here:

Roadside Development Permit Application
Roadeside Development Permit Application Instructions

Wetlands are part of the most productive and important ecosystems in the world. They are complex systems that require years of study to understand their classification types, cycles, and functions. With high rates of industrial and residential development occurring in Alberta and the implementation of the new Alberta Wetland Policy, many people making decisions regarding the fate of these ecosystems do not have the time or the resources to achieve this level of knowledge.

The Alberta Wetland Policy was implemented on June 1, 2015. As per the policy, impacts to wetlands should be avoided or minimized wherever possible.

  • When avoidance is not possible, the Alberta Wetland Policy Implementation Webpage provides detailed information on wetland specific application processes.
  • It is the onus of the Applicant to get all necessary/required authorizations prior to starting the works.
  • Applications for lot developments that transverse wetlands as observed on the Geo Discover Map may be referred to the Lower Athabasca Region at and we would treat it as such.
  • Each application could be treated as a referral to Alberta Environment (using the email provided) and they would provide their comments, however, the responsibility still lies with the Applicant to apply for all required authorizations under the Water Act and/or Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act.
  • Applicants are required to obtain an authorization if their activities would impact a wetland, and the decision as to whether the authorization would be required or not solely lies with the department (Alberta Environment).
  • When they apply for a Water Act authorization in the department, they would be asking for the Development Permit as approved by the County or if under reviews, this would enhance this coordinative process
  • If an approval is not obtained from the Alberta Environment and Parks, after the issuance of a Development Permit, the applicant may ONLY proceed with works that are outside of the wetlands, failure to comply is a contravention of the Water Act and may warrant compliance actions.

Albert Wetlands Policy 2013-09


The General Municipal Servicing Standards (GMSS) is intended to provide general guidelines to assist the County and Developer in the design, preparation and submission of plans and specifications for construction of municipal improvements and systems (roads, water distribution systems, low-pressure/gravity sewer systems, storm water management facilities) that will meet the servicing requirements for commercial, industrial and residential subdivision development within Thorhild County.

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 Telephone: 780-398-3741 
 Toll Free: 1-877-398-3777
 Fax: 780-398-3748
 Email:Thorhild County

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Box 10 Thorhild, AB T0A 3J0

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