Most development in Alberta is carried out by private land owners on private property. This may be a homeowner applying to renovate his or her home or build a garage or a development company proposing to subdivide a large parcel of land for housing and commercial development.
A development company wishing to subdivide and develop a large parcel of land may be required to prepare an area structure plan (ASP) for the area, which is then reviewed by the municipality and submitted to council for approval. A proposal to build a new retail outlet or industrial development may require an amendment to the land use bylaw, which also must come before council for approval. Subdivision approval and development permits will then follow any plan or land use bylaw amendments.
Both the municipality and the developer draw their inspiration from the public. Both aim to meet the needs and wants of people. The purpose of a municipality is to provide good government, provide services and facilities and to develop and maintain safe and viable communities. The municipality develops, with public input, a vision for the future of the community. The municipality owns the systems that make up the municipality (i.e. roads; utilities; park and recreation networks) and the developer owns the land. While the purpose of a developer is to make a profit, the developer operates to meet the needs of people. The developer uses market surveys and other information to determine the demand for the types of homes, the type of shops, and the types of parcels needed to accommodate industry. These sometimes conflicting views of the wants and needs of the public meet in the planning approval and appeal processes.
Information on the wide variety of stakeholders involved in the planning process can be found in Planning with others.