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The Municipal Government Act (MGA) section 638.2 (1) directs each municipality to compile and keep updated a list of any policies that may be considered in making decisions surrounding Planning and Development.

The two main types of these policies are statutory and non-statutory plans.

A statutory plan is a document that has been adopted by Birch Hills County (BHC) Council as a Bylaw, which requires three readings and a Public Hearing. Statutory plans must be considered when board members such as the Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) and the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (SDAB) along with the Development Officer exercise discretion in the decision making process. MGA Division 4, list four types of statutory plans: Intermunicipal Development Plans (IDP), Municipal Development Plans (MDP), Area Structure Plans and Area Redevelopment Plans.

BHC has one statutory plan at this time, it is the MDP.  BHC is currently working with municipalities that share a common boundary to establish IDPs.

Non–Statutory Plans are Bylaws passed by resolution. They are often developed to encourage a certain direction for development or growth in a particular area. Although the Land Use Bylaw (LUB) is statutorily required through the MGA section 639, it is considered a non-statutory plan.

The BHC has a variety of non-statutory plans relating to Planning and Development. The LUB is the legal tool that describes how buildings are situated on an individual site, as well as their size and what they are used for. It is the main tool that BHC uses to implement the goals and objectives of the MDP. The LUB establishes districts and what the standards are within each district and provides a system for issuing development permits.

The hierarchy of the statutory plans at Birch Hills County is as follows;

Followed by the hierarchy of the non-statutory plans at Birch Hills County in the following order;

The building permit application and approval process ensures all home construction meets with Birch Hills County Zoning Bylaw requirements as well as meets with building and mechanical standards to ensure what you are building is safe. All permits will be issued in accordance with the Safety Codes Act and Regulations. Birch Hills County is an accredited municipality with safety services delivered at the local level allowing our municipality to be directly involved with the delivery of safety services and to address safety concerns in the county quickly and efficiently. We work in partnership with Superior Safety Codes Inc. whose mission is to provide all individuals ethical and timely service through an absolute commitment to integrity.

Prior to beginning your project, please refer to the Birch Hills County District District Map(PDF Document) Hamlet Maps (PDF Document) and Overlays (PDF Document) to aid in your Development Application (PDF Document) process, or give us a call, email or fax. Please send you completed application with the appropriate fees (PDF Document) to the County office.

An application for a development permit is, at the opinion of the applicant, deemed to be refused if the decision of a development authority is not made within 40 days of receipt of the application unless the applicant has entered into an agreement (PDF Document) with the development authority to extend the 40 day period.

Except where provided for in Section 4.2 of the Land Use Bylaw, no sign of advertising, directional or informational in nature shall be erected on land or affixed to any exterior surface of any building or structure unless an application (PDF Document) for this purpose has been approved by the Development Authority. Please include your site plan (PDF Document) drawing.

Amending the Birch Hills County Land Use Bylaw can be done by following the outline in Section 7 of the Bylaw, completing the appropriate form (PDF Document)and submitting the fees to the County offfice.

In addition to a development permit the Alberta Transportation may require a Roadside Development Application (PDF Document) for your development, an application must be completed for all proposed development or access within 300 meters of a Highway right-of-way boundary or within 1600 meters of the center point of an intersection of the highway with another public road. General Instructions


Subdivision Applications (PDF Document)

Birch Hills County Municipal Development Plan (PDF Document) (26.5MB)


(Subdivision and Development Appeal Board)

Subdivision Appeal Form (PDF Document)

Development Appeal Form (PDF Document)

Application for a Road Closure Bylaw