A development permit is needed for most new construction, or any time there is a change in the way land is used or the intensity of use. Obtaining a development permit provides assurance that your development is following the Land Use Bylaw.
The process of issuing a development permit is set out in the Municipal Government Act (external link) and is statutorily regulated to include required advertising and specific time frames for appealing a decision. Development permits that are required to be advertised may be appealed by affected members of the public. Most development permit decisions may be appealed within 21 days of the advertising of the Notice of Decision. Should an appeal be made, the decision would then be reviewed by the Subdivision & Development Appeal Board.
The Development Authority (decision maker) for a permit depends on the type and scale of the application. The three development authorities in Canmore are Development Officers, the Canmore Planning Commission, and Town Council. In most cases, the Development Officers are the Development Authority. In some cases, development permit applications are presented to the Canmore Planning Commission (CPC) for a decision. For example, this can be necessary for variances larger than 10 percent, and for multi-family or commercial projects. In these cases additional time is required to schedule a meeting of the CPC and for the commission to render a decision.
Please note that development permits for small scale projects require a minimum of three weeks to be processed due to the statutorily required public notification and appeal period.
When do I need a Development Permit?
Development permits are required for all developments within the Town of Canmore except where expressly exempted in pdf Section 1 of the Land Use Bylaw (333 KB) . Some examples of applications that would require a development permit include:
- Work that requires a variance to the Land Use Bylaw
- Changes of the use of a space to a discretionary use
- If the intended use is discretionary (see Section 2 of Land Use Bylaw 22-2010)
- For a secondary suite
- Exterior renovations on commercial or multi-family buildings
Home Occupations, Bed & Breakfast establishments and Signage also require development permits, but they each have their own application forms (see here for more information: Other Services).
When don't I need a Development Permit?
Provided you follow the Land Use Bylaw, you don't need a Development Permit for development such as:
- Decks, garages, sheds (but in most cases you need a building permit)
- Installing solar collectors or other energy collecting and storage devices that don't generate noise and follow the regulations set out in Section 220.127.116.11 of the Land Use Bylaw
- Construction, maintenance and repair of private walkways, pathways, and landscaping
- Retaining walls under 0.6 metres in height (measured from the lowest ground elevation adjacent to the wall)
- Under certain circumstances, a single family detached dwelling or duplex dwelling (see Section 1 of the Land Use Bylaw)
Please see Section 1 of the Land Use Bylaw 22-2010 for a complete list. Although a development permit is not required, you may still need to apply for other permits.
What is the Development Permit process?
Generally, the process for a development permit is as below. Depending on the scale and type of project the process may take longer or involve the Canmore Planning Commission. If an appeal is submitted in relation to the application than a hearing with the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board will be necessary. Section 1 of the Land Use Bylaw 22-2010 describes the requirements for notices and advertisements for development permit applications and decisions.
You can book a Pre-application consultation by visiting the Pre-Application Consultation Request page and filling out the form.
Small scale applications take a minimum of four weeks to process. More complex projects may take longer.
A yellow notice must be visibly posted on site to advertise the decision made about the permit. Appeals against the decision may be submitted to the SDAB during the 21 days after the decision has been made. The decision is also advertised in the newspaper.
If no appeals are submitted the DP is issued. You have one year from the date of issue to begin constructing the development.
Applying for a Development Permit
Please complete a pdf Development Permit application (357 KB) and submit it to the Town of Canmore.
Requirements vary depending on the type of application. An extensive but not necessarily comprehensive list is available in the Development Permit application package, but should you have any questions regarding Development Permits please contact the Planning and Development Department.
Your application can be submitted at:
Planning and Development
Town of Canmore
902 7th Avenue
Canmore, AB T1W 3K1.
If you have any questions, the Planning and Development department staff are happy to meet with you and discuss your application. Come down to the Civic Centre Monday - Friday, 8.30am - 4.30pm, or phone 403.678.1543.