Town of Canmore

New Land Use Bylaw Project Overview

The Land Use Bylaw directs the town’s form and use, and helps Canmore work towards its Municipal Development Plan (MDP) vision:

Canmore is a resilient and vibrant community, socially, economically, and environmentally. Its strength is in its resourceful and engaged citizens, who thrive together on the strength of the community’s heritage, long-term commitment to the diversity of its people, and health of the mountain landscape.

To reach this vision, each regulation within the Land Use Bylaw plays a role in supporting sustainable growth, respecting community character, improving mobility choice, and more.

The new Land Use Bylaw has been approved and you can read it pdf here (39.00 MB)

Why a new Land Use Bylaw (LUB)?

Land Use Bylaw 2018-22 replaces Land Use Bylaw 22-2010. The last comprehensive update to the LUB was in 2010. Since that time, there has been guidance from the new Municipal Development Plan (MDP) and Council direction, as well as community feedback that required new or different regulations. The changes were significant enough to warrant a completely new LUB - rather than an amendment of the existing one. To read what was approved at previous readings, see the chart at the bottom of this page. 

In addition, to reflect consistency with the regulations in the proposed LUB, an MDP amendment to update policies for Steep Creek Hazards was required. 

What changed in the new LUB?

Changes focused on key areas that:

  • Were becoming more popular due to changing preferences, values, and aspirations 
  • Required a re-visit to ensure the guidance is well-defined, effective, and reflects community desires
  • Made the direction in the Land Use Bylaw clearer and easier to use

Land Use Bylaw 2018-22 was revised to improve readability and and also reflects recent changes with respect to how applications are processed so as to better align with the Municipal Government Act. Details of what is proposed are outlined below (scroll down to links to more pages with details and maps). 

Key areas to note are:

  • The Administration section of the new LUB improves readability, and reflects recent changes to how applications are processed and outlined in the Municipal Government Act
  • Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU), which includes secondary suites, garden suites and garage suites, will be allowed in all single family type residential districts and within duplexes. New restrictions on unit size and height are in place, and at least one parking stall must be provided per unit. Detached Dwellings are now a discretionary use and Detached with an Accessory Dwelling Unit are a permitted use in all residential districts (to provide further incentives to create ADUs). 
  • There is a limit to house sizes of a maximum of 325m2 (3,500ft2) on lots under 930m2.  
  • There are provisions to address employee housing by introducing a new built form(s) in residential and commercial districts that will allow for higher tenant densities in the form of buildings with communal eating and living spaces but with separate sleeping quarters. The regulations in the previous LUB overstep the jurisdiction of regulating “the use and development of land and buildings” under section 640(1) of the MGA by trying to regulate the user (i.e. those who can occupy a dwelling unit). 
  • A Steep Creek Hazard Overlay District is in accordance with existing policies in the MDP and restricts new development in high hazard areas, and requires the preparation of a steep creek hazard and risk assessment in moderate hazard zones. The detailed overlay maps show the hazard rating for each lot that is likely to be affected by a steep creek hazard. 
  • There is an overall reduction to parking requirements. The requirements have now been simplified for non-residential uses by establishing sub-classes based on the nature of uses. 
  • Another approach to calculating building height, called the building envelope model, will better address low-pitch roof designs on residential development with fewer than three units.
  • Driveways - where there is an existing residential lane, it must be used for vehicle access and parking unless a variance is warranted. 
  • The Town’s approach to regulating FireSmart development is currently being reviewed by Administration and the FireSmart consultant. An interim set of regulations has been approved. This includes a new requirement for a 1.5m area of non-combustible landscaping to be provided adjacent to all habitable buildings. 
  • A new signage section reduces limitations on colour but increases the requirements for quality. The current prohibition against mobile A-frame signs is maintained, however, chalkboard signs are allowed in commercial districts outside the Gateway district and Town Centre.
  • Definitions have been updated to provide better clarity to uses, and businesses operated in accordance with the said use. 
  • Land use district maps were approved to transition all parcels of land within the Town to a land use district under the new Land Use Bylaw. The land use district maps align district boundaries to property lines. Generally, each parcel of land transitions to a new land use district which is similar in scope and name to its current land use district. Some notable exceptions which include, but are not limited to:  a number of properties are proposed to be PD Public Use District, such as some in the Three Sisters area, which are being transferred to the Town as community lands;  the UR-1 Restricted Urban Reserve District is proposed to be the Sub-Surface Hazards Overlay District. The district around Quarry Lake Park area will remain unchanged. The R1S Residential detached with Suites District will be deleted and those areas will become R1.

A summary of the information proposed at second reading can be found in item G1 of the Oct. 1 agenda package here.

A summary of the information proposed at first reading can be found in item F1 of the Nov. 20 agenda package here, and a copy of the Nov. 20 presentation can be found pdf here (5.34 MB) .

For more information, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Click here to see the current Land Use Bylaw.  

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