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Frequently Asked Questions

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Planning & Development FAQs

If your application was REFUSED, when you receive your decision you will have 21 days to register an appeal of the decision. If your application was APPROVED, you will receive your decision letter and Permit with the conditions of approval. You have one year to meet the condition of approval.

Any person claiming to be affected by a decision regarding an application for a development permit when a variance is provided (for permitted or discretionary use) or a decision regarding an application for a development permit for a discretionary use may appeal this decision or a condition of this permit.  The appeal must be made to the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board within 21 days after the date of the decision.

If construction commences prior to permits being issued, or construction commences without a permit, you will be requested to complete a Permit Application(s) and also pay the additional fees in accordance with our Bylaws.  In some instances, an Enforcement Order may be issued requesting that you stop the development or have the development removed from the property.  Enforcement Orders are registered against the title of your property.

The length of time depends on the scale of development. According to the Municipal Government Act a development permit needs to be issued within 40 days of receipt of a completed application unless the applicant enters into an agreement of extension

A development permit is not the same as a building permit. A development permit allows a specific type of development on a specific parcel of land to proceed. Development permits address issues of community planning, bylaws, land use, image, and compatibility.  It is required to ensure compliance with the Land Use Bylaw and that development does not infringe on the rights of adjacent landowners and other interested parties. A development permit may stipulate some of the following conditions: the use of the property, intensity of that use, building height, building site coverage, setbacks from property lines, development standards, parking requirements etc.

The building permit process is based on the Safety Codes Act and the Alberta Building Code, Plumbing Code, Electrical Code, and Fire Code. Application reviews, approvals, and site inspections, are provided in accordance with the relevant codes to ensure safety for all the citizens of Thorhild County.

In most cases, both development and building permits are required. When undertaking a new project, it is always best to consult with the Planning and Development department to find out what kinds of permits you will need.


This is the distance which a building or structure is set back from a property line,  street or road, river or stream, railway line, utility right-of-way, or any other place which needs protection.

A garage may be built on a slab providing that it is no larger than 55 sq. meters (592 sq. ft.).  Engineering will be required if you exceed 55 square meters.

If the deck will be 2 feet or greater above grade, you will require  development and building permits.

If the intended use of the pole shed is strictly to be used as a farm building on land zoned as Agricultural, a building permit would not be required.  Pole Sheds, however, may require a building permit if engineering is required due to the nature of the constructions materials being used or for insurance purposes.  You will need to obtain a Development Permit.

Development Permits – If the development authorized by a development permit is not commenced within twelve (12) months from the date of its issuance and carried out with reasonable diligence within three (3) years of the date of issuance, the permit is deemed void, unless an extension to this period has previously been granted by the Development Authority.

When a development permit expires, a new application is required. The new application will be reviewed and a decision issued based on the current merits of the proposed development in relation to current municipal, provincial and federal regulations, requirements, policies and practices. The Development Authority shall not be obliged to approve a development permit based on a previous

In cases where a use is discontinued, or intended to be discontinued for a period of six (6) months or more, any subsequent use of the land or building must be approved prior through a Development Permit.

Safety Codes Permits – Permits are valid for one year provided that work is commenced within 90 days of permit issuance, and the project is not suspended for more than 120 days.  Time extensions may be granted upon written requests.


No. Fences, decks & small sheds are only exempt from requiring a development permit, provided all standards of development and other applicable provisions of the Land Use Bylaw are complied with. This means they must still meet regulations such as setback distance, site coverage and maximum height.

The Land Use Bylaw is the ‘rule book’ for development in Thorhild County. The Land Use Bylaw divides the Municipality into Districts that regulate development type and form by suggesting uses (permitted & discretionary), setbacks, parcel coverage, building height, parking requirements and other performance measures.

A Land Use Bylaw Amendment is the process of re-designating the District (zoning) of a property from one to another.  A Land Use Bylaw amendment might also be the amending of regulation by updating text.

An application for a Land Use Bylaw amendment may be initiated either by the property owner or by the Municipality. If you are the property owner, or an agent acting on behalf of the property owner, you may wish to apply for an amendment to develop your site in a manner that is not allowed by the current zoning.


  • The year-round placement of one (1) recreational vehicle on a parcel in Multi-lot Country Residential (CR), Residential (R1A, R1B, and R2), and Long Lake Residential (LR), and Residential Cluster Conversion (RCC) Districts shall be allowed without a development permit.
  • The year-round placement of two (2) recreational vehicles on a parcel in the Agricultural (AG) District shall be allowed without a development permit.
  • Additional recreational vehicles shall be permitted within the Multi-lot Country Residential (CR), Residential (R1A, R1B, and R2), Long Lake Residential (LR), Agricultural (AG) and Residential Cluster Conversion (RCC) Districts for a maximum of four (4) consecutive days.
  • No recreational vehicle shall be permanently connected to any utility or municipal service, such as power, gas, water supply or sanitary sewage disposal facilities unless the recreational vehicle is located in an approved recreational vehicle park.
  • No person shall keep or maintain a recreational vehicle in a front yard.
  • Any change in use (ie. A former residence becomes a retail store)
  • Any changes in size and shape of a structure


The registered owner(s) of the land or an authorized person acting on the landowner(s) behalf may apply for a Development Permit. Most of the time, the landowner applies for the Development Permit and Building Permits, and the specific trades apply for the Electrical, Gas, Plumbing and Private Sewage Disposal Permits.

There are two types of uses in every district: permitted and discretionary.

Permitted uses are approved by the Development Authority Officer upon meeting the regulations in the Land Use Bylaw. Decisions cannot be appealed unless the provisions of the land use bylaw were relaxed, varied, or misinterpreted.

Discretionary uses are assessed and approved on a case by case basis based on the compatibility and impact of the proposed development with adjacent developments and the surrounding area. Discretionary uses and a permitted use under the Land Use Bylaw which does not otherwise comply with the requirements and regulations as set out in the Land Use Bylaw are brought before the Municipal Planning Commission for decision.  Once a decision is made, the permit will advertised for two consecutive weeks in the Redwater Review. Following that, there will be a twenty-one (21) day appeal period.

Compliance with the County Municipal Development Plan and Land Use Bylaws are required for all development and uses.


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