As with any profession, planning has quickly developed a number of terms and acronyms that describe the tools and techniques of the profession. This section provides a short discussion of terms found in most land use plans. An understanding of these terms will greatly assist in reading any municipal planning document.
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The first provincial regulations controlling the subdivision of land were passed in 1912, and further planning related legislation was passed in 1928 with the Town Planning and Preservation of Natural Beauty Act. While early planning Acts enabled some municipal control over land use, they did not reach the full extent of contemporary community plans. Instead, they were largely reserved to subdivision plans that laid out streets, lots, and utilities.
Humans have been living together in settlements for over 7,000 years, and during that time have arranged their communities according to the values of their society and the specific challenges they face. In that regard, people in Alberta today are no different than those in ancient civilizations thousands of years ago. The leaders of Babylon in ancient times were concerned with issues very similar ones we face today, including access to water and ease of transportation. Moreover, some elements of ancient cities are still being implemented today.
In the simplest terms, planning is the practice of guiding growth and development to achieve a vision of a desired future state. While land use planning can at first seem like a straightforward, confined process involving technicalities and minutiae like setback requirements and height limits down to the centimetre, it in fact relates intrinsically to the wider goals of a community - be they environmental, economic, social, cultural or otherwise.
Status of Municipal Government Act amendments affecting planning
Updated February 2019
Major amendments to the Municipal Government Act were contained in three recent pieces of legislation: Municipal Government Amendment Act (2015); Modernized Municipal Government Act (2016); and An Act to Strengthen Municipal Government (2017). Most of these provisions have come into force and the changes are reflected in the body of this document.
Welcome to the AUMA Municipal Planning hub.
The hub has been developed to provide members with a basic understanding of land use planning in Alberta. The material is divided into four main parts:
The status of recent Municipal Government Act amendments.
The purposes of planning.
A discussion of provincial and municipal land use planning roles, legislation and planning instruments.
A discussion of tools and means to achieve planning outcomes and Information on planning issues, trends and best practices.
The information presented in this hub is current as of June 2020.
The purpose of the property assessment and taxation hub is to provide a high-level learning resource for elected officials and municipal administrators who want to understand the responsibilities and processes to assess and tax property in Alberta. In many cases, the property assessment and taxation system can be quite complex and where this hub does not provide sufficient information, readers are encouraged to contact Municipal Affairs or your local assessor for complete details.