This chapter looks more closely at the role of council in achieving planning outcomes. The chapter begins by looking at the role of council in land use planning decisions before introducing tools and actions to support planning goals. The chapter concludes with an examination of some current land use planning issues.
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.
As a councillor it is important to have a clear understanding of the role of council and the various planning authorities it establishes to carry out municipal planning responsibilities. It is also important for councillors to anticipate some of the challenges they will face as councillors in dealing with planning matters.
There are several limitations on municipal planning authority as noted below.
Federal government lands and undertakings are exempt from municipal planning authority. Examples include:
The Municipal Government Act (MGA) provides municipalities with planning authority and several key tools to successfully enact municipal plans and bylaws.
A person wishing to divide a parcel of land into two or more parcels must apply for subdivision approval from the municipality in which the land is located. A municipality may approve the application, with or without conditions, or may refuse the application.
Municipal sustainability plans
Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs- Brundtland Report
The authority for municipal land use planning is set out in Part 17 of the Municipal Government Act (MGA). Part 17 provides for the preparation and adoption of plans, subdivision and development approval, and a variety of tools through which municipalities can achieve land use planning objectives. These regulatory provisions, however, do not cover the entire range of plans municipalities undertake. A brief discussion of plans prepared outside the authority of the MGA is included in this section for reference.
Comprehensive regional infrastructure sustainability plans
Provincial land use planning is centered on the Land Use Framework, the Alberta Land Stewardship Act and the regional plans authorized under this Act.