How Do I


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The intention of this section is to provide answers to typical questions that a landowner may ask Planning and Development staff. The ‘How Do I’ section is not intended to be comprehensive or provide every answer to every question. Please contact the Planning and Development department at the County of Newell for further information.
 
What you can do or build on your parcel depends on a number of things, the most important being zoning. Zoning is established by the Land Use Bylaw. To find out what your parcel is zoned, what that zoning means in terms of what you are allowed to develop or build on your parcel and whether you need permits, please contact the County Planning and Development Department.
Alberta Municipal Affairs has issued a brochure which outlines the things you need to consider when determining whether you need a building permit for your project.

Every house, no matter where it is located, no matter how it is built and no matter where it comes from – stick built, moved-in, modular, manufactured, trailer, replacement, off-site – requires a development permit and a building permit.

A stick built house is one that you build from scratch, from the foundation to the roof. The term "stick built" is from the idea that you use individual pieces of lumber to build the house. You will need a development permit and construction permits.

A moved-in house is an existing residence that you move onto your property from another location. It has been previously lived-in and will require that you build some kind of foundation or pad to place it on. Depending on the age of the house, it may need improvements, such as new windows, siding, shingles, etc. You will need a development permit and construction permits.

A modular or Ready-to-Move (RTM) house are both a type of new house that is built off-site and has not been lived in by anyone previously. A modular house will typically be in more than one piece, while an RTM house is usually all in one piece. Once the builder tells you the house is ready, you get it moved onto a foundation that you've prepared. You will need a development permit and construction permits.

A manufactured home is often referred to as a mobile home or a trailer. It is a completely self-contained dwelling, built in a factory setting. It may be brand new or lived in previously.  You will need a development permit and construction permits.

There are several types of recreational lodgings that people may want to live in, but that will not be approved by the County as residences, even on a temporary basis. These include (but are not limited to) recreational vehicles, holiday trailers, motor homes, campers, travel trailers, fifth wheel trailers, tent trailers and Park Model Trailers. In particular, please note that a Park Model Trailer is not considered the same as a manufactured home and will not be permitted as a dwelling in the County.

Because of the variability of development projects, all proposed development is reviewed on a case by case basis. Please contact the County Planning and Development Department for further information and to go over the development and construction process.

For information about building additions to your house or adding accessory buildings to your property, please go to additions (question 7) and accessory buildings (question 5).

For information about building and other permits under the Alberta Building Code, please go to construction permits (link to Construction Permits).

These types of buildings are categorized as "accessory buildings” in the Land Use Bylaw because they are considered accessory to the primary building.

In all land use districts, an accessory building may not be built before the primary building. A primary building is one that is used as a residence or for the business, depending on the zoning of the parcel.

In addition, under no circumstances may an accessory building be used as a dwelling, even temporarily.

Whether the building is permanent or temporary, on skids, or for residential or commercial purposes, if it's larger than 100 ft2, it will need permits. Accessory buildings include, but are not limited to, detached garages, sheds, shops, horse shelters, kennels, and any other building on the parcel that is not the primary building. The type of permit will depend on the zoning of the parcel, and the size and use of the building.

If you build an accessory building that is 100 ft2 or larger, you will require a development permit and you may require construction permits.

If you move in an accessory building that is 100 ft2 or larger, you will require a development permit and you may require construction permits.

If you construct an addition to an existing accessory building, and the resulting structure is 100 ft2 or larger, you will require a development permit and you may require construction permits.

There is one exception to the rule regarding permits for accessory building. If you are building a farm shop ( quonset) you may not require permits, but only under the following circumstances.

  • If the parcel of land is zoned Agricultural, and the use of the building is for agricultural purposes, a development permit is not required. Note that both zoning and use of the parcel must be Agricultural.
  • Construction permits may be required to ensure the building meets the Alberta Building Code.
  • If zoning of the parcel is anything other than Agricultural, then a development permit will be required. For example, if your farm operation is located in the Urban Fringe district, you will be require a development permit and you may require construction permits.

Because of the variability of development projects, all proposed development is reviewed on a case by case basis. Please contact the County Planning and Development Department for further information and to go over the development and construction process.

A Quonset is considered an "accessory building”. In general, any accessory building that is 100 ft2 or larger will be require a development permit and you may require construction permits.

There is one exception to the rule regarding permits for accessory building. If you are building a farm shop (Quonset) you may not require permits, but only under the following circumstances.

  • If the parcel of land is zoned Agricultural, and the use of the building is for agricultural purposes, a development permit is not required. Note that both zoning and use of the parcel must be Agricultural.
  • Construction permits may be required to ensure the building meets the Alberta Building Code.
  • If zoning of the parcel is anything other than Agricultural, then a development permit will be required. For example, if your farm operation is located in the Urban Fringe district, you will be require a development permit and you may require construction permits.

Because of the variability of development projects, all proposed development is reviewed on a case by case basis. Please contact the County Planning and Development Department for further information and to go over the development and construction process.

Any addition to an existing building that is 100 ft2 or larger requires a development permit and may require construction permits.

An addition includes any construction that increases the footprint or adds living/working space to an existing structure or building. This applies to both residential and non-residential development and accessory buildings.

For development purposes, additions include sun rooms, shops, garages, decks, lean-tos, and any other construction that is 100 ft2 or larger.

Decks
Enclosing the area below an elevated deck creates an additional enclosed room; enclosing the area above a deck also creates an additional enclosed room. Once you've created an enclosed room, it becomes an addition and it must have a development permit and a building permits so that it meets Alberta Building Code requirements.

Because of the variability of development projects, all proposed development is reviewed on a case by case basis. Please contact the County Planning and Development Department for further information and to go over the development and construction process.

Placing a Shipping Container in any land use district will require a development permit.

The first thing to consider: What is the purpose of your shop?

Residential – Is it your intention to store items that are for your personal and family use, associated with your house and lot. This includes such lawn tractors, garden equipment, and recreational toys (campers, ATVs, etc)? If so, then the shop is a residential accessory building (question 5). The shop will require a development permit and may require a building permit.

Non-Residential (Commercial / Industrial) – Is it your intention to store items in your shop that are associated with your business, such as equipment, vehicles or machinery, or to store and manage inventory for the business? Will it include an office? If so, then the shop is considered the primary structure for a non-residential operation. It will require a development permit and a building permit as a non-residential, primary structure.

Home Occupation – Is it your intention to use the shop for your home occupation business? If so, then the shop is considered a residential accessory building (question 5). It will require a home occupation development permit and it may require a building permit.

Agricultural – Is it your intention to store items that are part of your farm operation, such as swathers, tractors, combines, tools etc? If the zoning of your parcel is Agricultural and you intend to use the shop for agricultural purposes, then you will not require permits. However, to be sure about whether or not you‟ll need permits, please contact the County Planning and Development Department. Your land may be in an area where a permit will be required. For example, if your farm operation is located in an Urban Fringe district, you may require permits.

Combination – Is it your intention to store a combination of items in the shop? In that case, the zoning of your parcel will play an important role in whether you need a development permit. To be sure, please contact the County Planning and Development Department.

If you are moving in a building to be used as a shop or adding to any of these shops, you'll probably need permits, depending on the zoning of your parcel. To be sure, please contact the County Planning and Development Department.

Because of the variability of development projects, all proposed development is reviewed on a case by case basis. Please contact the County Planning and Development Department for further information and to go over the development and construction process.

Fences should be constructed so that they are placed either on or inside the property line. They must also be placed so they don't obstruct the vision of oncoming traffic. Requirements for fences are provided under each zoning district in the Land Use Bylaw.

If you build the fence so that it meets the requirements outlined in the zoning district for your parcel, then you won't need a development permit.

If your fence does not meet the zoning requirements, you will need to apply for a development permit with a variance request. You will not need a building permit.

Please note that any fence constructed within the County road right of way may be removed by the County as they decide it becomes necessary.

All road rights-of-way in the County, whether or not an actual road has been built in it, are under the control of the County. Any unapproved construction within the right-of-way may be removed by the County, with no compensation to the landowner.

Please contact the County Planning and Development department for further information about fences.

Please contact the County Public Works department for further information about County roads and rights-of-way.

Since decks can be built in a wide variety of sizes and types, your best approach is to contact the County Planning and Development department to discuss options and determine permit requirements. In addition, Alberta Municipal Affairs has published a brochure with information about building decks.

Any deck that is built after the primary structure has been built is considered an addition. A deck that is 100 ft2 or larger or built more than 24 inches off the ground will require a development permit and a building permit.

If you plan to install a hot tub on your deck, you‟ll want to make sure the deck can support it; the building permit process will help you do that.

If you have an existing elevated deck and decide to enclose the area under the deck, the structure that is being enclosed becomes an addition. Similarly, if you enclose the area above the deck floor, the structure is an addition. Again, anything 100 ft2 or larger or built more than 24 inches off the ground requires a development permit and a building permit.

Alberta Municipal Affairs has published a brochure with information about hot tubs and swimming pools.

If you plan to install a hot tub on your deck, you'll want to make sure the deck can support it; the building permit process will help you do that.

Any deck 100 ft2 or larger or more than 24 inches off the ground will require a development permit and a building permit. Since decks can be built in a wide variety of sizes and types, it would be best to contact the County Planning and Development department to determine permit requirements.

A hot tub installed on a cement pad will require a building permit, but not a development permit.

In order to subdivide your land, you'll need to follow a series of steps, starting with a subdivision application. The process typically takes 6 to 8 weeks to obtain conditional approval. Then you'll have a year to satisfy the conditions of approval required for the subdivision. The scope of the conditions will vary depending on the complexity of the subdivision. They range from ensuring taxes are current to signing a development agreement to provide roads for the development. Once the conditions of approval are met and final endorsement is obtained, the subdivision will be registered at the Provincial Land Titles Office.

Because of the variability of subdivision development endeavours, all proposed subdivision applications are reviewed on a case by case basis. Please contact the County Planning and Development Department for further information and to go over the process.

In order to change the zoning on your land, you will need to follow a series of steps, starting with a land use amendment application and ending with an amendment to Land Use Bylaw 1755-12.

A change to zoning requires a change to a County Land Use Bylaw. The Municipal Government Act requires that any change to a bylaw must go through 3 readings of Council and a Public Hearing. This process typically takes 8 to 10 weeks to obtain final approval of the bylaw amendment.

Because of the variability of the land use amendment process, all proposed amendment applications are reviewed on a case by case basis. Please contact the County Planning and Development Department for further information and to go over the process.

The process to buy or lease a road allowance is fairly lengthy. From the initial consultation and application to finalizing the lease or sale agreement, the process may take 8 to 12 months, or more, depending on the complexity of the closure. Under the Municipal Government Act, closing a road right-of-way requires three readings of Council and a Public Hearing. It also requires that the application be reviewed and signed by the Alberta Minister of Transportation.

Information about road closures in the County is outlined in Policy 2012-PPW-022. Included in the Policy is the application to close and buy or lease a road allowance.

Please review the policy for road closure and then contact the County Planning and Development department for further information and discussion.

Click this link to view the County Land Use Bylaw.
Click this link to view the Intermunicipal Development Plan between the County and the City of Brooks.

If you are concerned about a nuisance or an unsightly property, or if you want to submit a complaint about activities on a property, please call the County of Newell office to explain your concern so that you may be directed to the appropriate department.

Alternatively, you may submit your concern in writing to the Council representative for your Division, or the Manager of Planning and Development, or the Superintendent of Public Works.

The County of Newell does not require or issue business licenses in the same way that urban municipalities do, such as the City of Brooks.

If you live in the County and wish to operate a business from your residence on your property, you will need to obtain a home occupation development permit.

If you will be operating a business from a non-residential (commercial or industrial) parcel in the County, you will need a development permit and possibly a building permit.

Because of the variability of businesses in the County, it would be best if you contacted the County Planning and Development Department for further information and to go over the requirements for your business.

If you live in a municipality other than the County of Newell (i.e. Brooks, Bassano, Duchess, Rosemary) and wish to conduct business in the County, you don't need a business license from the County, but you may need a business license wherever your business is based. Contact the relevant municipality for further information.

If you are being required by AMVIC to obtain a County license to operate, please contact the County Planning and Development Department.
The program to provide potable water to County residents is called the County of Newell Water Project. Please contact Public Works for further information.

The County of Newell is accredited to issue Private Sewage Disposal System (PSDS) permits. In order to install a septic field or system on your parcel, you'll need this permit.

Please contact the Planning and Development department for assistance with this permit, as PSDS permit applications require back up information to be submitted with them.

Application forms and additional information:

PSDS Permit application
Clearances for Septic Systems
Private Sewage brochure (AMA)

The County has an exclusive contract with Park Enterprises Ltd. to provide inspection services for septic installations. However, Planning and Development staff are also trained to provide information and assistance to applicants and issue permits for these installations.

The County of Newell is accredited to issue building, electrical, plumbing, gas and Private Sewage (PSDS) permits.

The County has an exclusive contract with Park Enterprises Ltd. to provide inspection services for all construction permits. However, Planning and Development staff are also trained to provide information and assistance to applicants and issue permits.

Please contact the Planning and Development department for assistance with these permits. In particular, building permit and PSDS permit applications require back up information to be submitted with them.

Application forms and additional information:

Building Permits
Electrical Permits
Plumbing Permits
Gas Permits
PSDS Permits

Land that has been zoned for industrial or commercial use in the County is shown in the Land Use Bylaw (Bylaw 1755-12, Schedule 1).

Zoning districts that are suitable for industrial or commercial use include the following:

Agricultural (A) district (Bylaw 1755-12, Schedule 2-A-1)
Rural Business (RB) district (Bylaw 1755-12, Schedule 2 –RB-1)
Rural Industrial (RI) district (Bylaw 1755-12, Schedule 2-RI-1)
Fringe (FR) district (Bylaw 1755-12, Schedule 2-FR-1)

Lands in Hamlets that have been zoned for industrial or commercial use may be found in the Hamlet Business (HB) district (Bylaw 1755, Schedule 2-HB-1).

Because of the variability of commercial and industrial development opportunities, it is recommended that you contact the County Planning and Development Department and / or Economic Development to discuss your project.

Land that has been zoned for residential use in the County is indicated in the Land Use Bylaw Land Use Bylaw (Bylaw 1755-12, Schedule 1).

Zoning districts that are suitable for residential use include the following:

Agricultural (A) district (Bylaw 1755-12, Schedule 2-A-1)
Single Lot Agricultural (SLA) district (Bylaw 1755-12, Schedule 2 –SLA-1)
Acreage Residential (AR) district (Bylaw 1755-12, Schedule 2-AR-1)
Grouped Rural Residential (GRR) district (Bylaw 1755-12, Schedule 2-GRR-1)
Fringe (FR) district (Bylaw 1755-12, Schedule 2-FR-1)

Lands in Hamlets that have been zoned for residential use may be found in the Hamlet Residential (HR) district (link to Bylaw 1755, Schedule 2-HR-1).

Because of the variability of residential development opportunities, it is recommended that you contact the County Planning and Development Department to discuss your development.

Council and MPC meetings are held on the 1st Thursday of the 1st full week of the month, and the 3rd Thursday of the 3rd full week of the month.

MPC meetings being at 10:00 a.m. and Council meetings begin immediately after the MPC meeting adjourns.

Council and MPC Meetings are open to the public. If you wish to speak at a meeting, or if you have a specific topic you wish to have addressed at a meeting, or if you simply want to attend a meeting, please contact the Executive Assistant at the County of Newell Office.

Council and MPC Meetings are open to the public. If you wish to speak at a meeting, or if you have a specific topic you wish to have addressed at a meeting, or if you simply want to attend a meeting, please contact the Executive Assistant at the County of Newell Office.

Council and Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) meetings are held on the 1st Thursday of the 1st full week of the month, and the 3rd Thursday of the 3rd full week of the month. view our calendar.

MPC meetings being at 10:00 a.m. and Council meetings begin immediately after the MPC meeting adjourns.

If you feel you have been adversely affected by the decision concerning a development permit or a subdivision application, you may file an appeal to the decision with the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board.

Please note that the appeal must be received within fourteen days of the date the decision was made. In addition, the appeal must be submitted in writing and include a fee of $300.00.

For further information, please contact the County Planning and Development Department.