Town of Canmore

New Land Use Bylaw

Get Involved

Give us your input! Click here to take the survey 
Jan. 22, 2019 
-  Learn more at the open house from 5 - 8 p.m. at the Holiday Inn
Jan. 26, 2019 -  Learn more at the open house from 2 - 5 p.m. at Elevation Place 
Feb. 5, 2019  - A formal Public Hearing will be held to hear the public's views on the proposed bylaws
TBA 2019 - Second reading 

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.

Why are we proposing a new Land Use Bylaw (LUB)?

The proposed Land Use Bylaw 2018-22, if adopted, will replace the current 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 requires new or different regulations. The changes are significant enough to warrant a completely new LUB - rather than an amendment of the existing one. To read what was approved at first reading, click  pdf here (28.89 MB)

In addition, to reflect consistency with the regulations in the proposed LUB, an MDP amendment to update policies for Steep Creek Hazards is required. Read more at Bylaw 2018-27 Municipal Development Plan (MDP) Amendment – Steep Creek Hazard

What is proposed in the new LUB?

We are not discussing everything in the Land Use Bylaw at this time, but instead focusing on key areas that:

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

The proposed Land Use Bylaw 2018-22 has been drafted 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), and the draft bylaw can be read pdf here (28.89 MB) .

Key areas to note are:

  • The Administration section of the proposed new LUB has been drafted to improve readability, and reflect 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 also proposed. An ADU developed within 1km walking distance to downtown or 450m walking distance of a transit stop will not be required to provide an on-site parking stall. 
  • A new regulation is proposed to limit house size to a maximum of 325m2 (3,500ft2) on lots under 930m2. However, larger homes are allowed on larger lots. This restriction is currently in place in some R1 areas, and the proposed bylaw suggests expanding this current limitation to all R1 areas as well as R1A and R1B districts. 
  • A requirement is proposed to provide employee housing associated with new visitor accommodation (hotels) and hostels on Bow Valley Trail.
  • A Steep Creek Hazard Overlay District has been proposed in accordance with existing policies in the MDP. This 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. 
  • An overall reduction to parking requirements for commercial developments, in addition to potential further reductions based on factors such as proximity to the downtown, proximity to a transit stop, and other shared parking management strategies, is proposed. Mandatory bicycle parking requirements have been significantly increased. Importantly, a development proponent wishing to provide more than the required vehicle parking would require a variance. 
  • Another approach to calculating building height, called the building envelope model, is proposed to 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 proposed. 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. 
  • Definitions have been proposed to provide better clarity to uses, and businesses operated in accordance with the said use. 
  • Land use district maps are proposed to transition all parcels of land within the Town to a land use district under the new Land Use Bylaw. The proposed land use district maps align district boundaries to property lines. Generally, each parcel of land is proposed to transition 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 Natural Park District  has been deleted and the Quarry Lake Park area will become CW Conservation of Wildlands District and PD Public Use District; the R1S Residential Single Family-detached with Suites District will be deleted and those areas will become R1, and to allow for existing larger houses on larger lots, the Walker area will become R-1BW. 

A summary of the information 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.  

What We Heard

Phase one of the engagement process included:

  • An online survey
  • Sounding boards
  • Pop-up events 
  • Stakeholder meetings

Read the pdf Summary of Community Engagement Report (9.07 MB) and notes from the pdf stakeholder meetings (289 KB) .

This information was presented to council on Aug. 14, 2018 and the information can be found here. Council also received an overview of the proposed new Land Use Bylaw at two workshops in October. 

Street Life

The comfort, safety, convenience, and enjoyment of our streets through what happens on and along the street.

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How we shape the form of our buildings, landscaping, and parking to protect access, privacy, light, and views.

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Where and how we live and stay in our town, and ensuring it is affordable and inclusive for our neighbours, workers, children, and visitors.

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How the land that shapes our community is regulated to ensure we respect the environment and geography of our town.

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