Construction & Permitting
The Planning and Development Department is available to discuss your development and building plans in Whitecourt. Before beginning any project there are several steps you will need to take to make sure your new development is in compliance with local bylaws and regulations.
The Planning and Development Department has a series of brochures detailing information on a number of development issues and topics. To find out what you need to know so that your project runs smoothly, select the type of project from the following list.
- Building a Deck or Patio
- Building A Fence
- Residential Driveway Development
- Garages, Carports, and Sheds
- Site Coverage
- Encroachment Agreements
- Home Occupations
Other information brochures:
The Town's Land Use Bylaw regulates how land and buildings are used, the location of the buildings, site coverage, building heights, and other provisions to ensure proper development. The Land Use Bylaw impacts everyone in Whitecourt at some point and to varying degrees - whether you are building a fence or deck, or starting a new business.
The Municipal Development Plan is a guide for growth and development in Whitecourt. It includes maps and policies that are used to establish strategies to reach a future community vision.
Uses governed by our Land Use Bylaw require a permit – everything from construction, to demolition, to signage. If you are unsure whether your project needs a permit, our Planning and Development Department would be happy to help. Our information brochure can also give you additional information.
- Building Permit Application Form
- Development Permit Application Form
- Variance Request Form
- Change Of Use Application
One requirement of development permits is to install low consumption fixtures. For more information on this requirement contact the Planning & Development Department.
Temporary Traffic Control Permit
Temporary Traffic Control Permits are required to allow for temporary on-street parking in areas not normally designed for parking, and to those proposing to carry out work for the purpose of installation, maintenance, repair, replacement, extension or operation of equipment in or above municipal right of way (including poles, cables, pipes conduit, pedestals, and vaults).
Once the form below has been completed, application can be sent to the Infrastructure Services Department for review.
The knowledgeable staff at the Planning and Development Department can provide property owners with a review of their property file to determine if the development on site meets with the Land Use Bylaw and all required permits are in place. Requests for file reviews must be in writing and submitted by mail, email, or dropped off to our office. The request needs to state what information you may be looking for. File review fees for residential properties is $35.00 per municipal address and for Non-Residential and Multi-Family properties the fee is $85.00 per hour with a one hour minimum per municipal address. Payment of the fees associated with a file review is to be paid to the Town of Whitecourt and must be received and acknowledged before the review will commence. If someone other than the property owner is requesting the review, property owner authorization must accompany the request.
In some instances, an Environmental Assessment may be required. In that event, the firm you retain to do the Environmental Assessment can also obtain information from the Town of Whitecourt by completing and submitting an Environmental File Search Request Form and the required fee. Property owner authorization for an environmental review is also required. For more information on requesting an Environmental File Search, please click here for instructions and to obtain a copy of the Environmental File Search Request Form.
If you have any questions please contact the Planning and Development Department via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 780-778-2273 for more information.
Safety Codes Officers (SCO) review building plans and complete construction inspections as required under the Alberta Building Code. You must have a plans review completed by an accredited SCO before a building permit can be issued. Applicants are free to hire from any of the agencies on the linked list. If you have any questions, please contact the Planning and Development department at 780-778-2273 or email@example.com.
Area Structure Plans (ASP) provides land uses, access and servicing, and policy direction for specific neighborhoods or areas of the municipality. The principles and objectives established in each plan guide growth of future neighborhoods by setting out general locations for major land uses (i.e. residential, commercial, industrial, schools and parks), major roadways, utility servicing, trail systems, and potential population density. Whitecourt follows a public consultation process throughout the development process of all ASPs, and requires that a Public Hearing be held prior to any document proceeding before Council for adoption. The following ASPs provide for future development in our community:
- Athabasca Flats East Area Structure Plan
- Athabasca Flats East Land Use Map
- Bylaw 1259 (Consolidated Version) - Athabasca Flats Area Structure Plan
- Downtown South Area Structure Plan
- Hilltop East Industrial Area Structure Plan
- Outline Plan Pt NW 34 59 12 w 5th
- Southlands Area Structure Plan
Town of Whitecourt Area Structure Plans are available at the Town Office for public viewing during our regular business hours. If you have any questions, please contact the Planning and Development Department at (780) 778-2273 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subdivision means the division of a parcel of land into one or more smaller lots by a plan of subdivision or other instrument. If you are planning on subdividing, or have questions regarding subdivisions, please contact our Planning and Development Department at 780-778-2273 or email@example.com.
Whitecourt's Land Use Bylaw regulates signs within the community to ensure that signs:
- Do not impede the view of pedestrian or vehicle traffic;
- Do not become a safety hazard (i.e. tripping) or are left in a state of disrepair;
- Are of good quality and aesthetically finished.
Sign regulations are outlined in the Land Use Bylaw. All signs, except for A-Board signs, require permits.
An A-Board sign is a self-supporting sign consisting of two panels not more than 1.0 metre high or 0.6 metres wide, and is joined at the top. (Also knownas sandwich boards.) Permits for A-Board signs are not required as long as the size and placement meets the Land Use Bylaw. For more information read Whitecourt's information brochure on A-Board Signs.
A home occupation is an occupation, trade, craft or profession carried on by an occupant of a residential neighbourhood as a secondary use of the residence. It is a discretionary use, and the application must be approved by the Municipal Planning Commission.
Each business that is considered a home occupation must have an approved Development Permit. You may also have to get approval from other provincial agencies, such as Alberta Health, Alberta Labour, and Alberta Consumer and Corporate Affairs.
A home occupation can not change the character of a home or show any outside evidence of a secondary use other than a small name plate (not exceeding 0.3m2 in area). All residents of a home may be employed in home occupation, but employees who are non-residents may not work in the home. For more information on home occupations, please refer to our information brochure or contact the Planning & Development Department at 780-778-2273.
Business Licences are not required in Whitecourt.
However, if you are opening a new business or opening in a new location, you may need to apply for a development permit. For further information and assistance please contact the Planning & Development Department at 780-778-2273.
Door to Door Solicitation
A person or business that does not have a permanent place of business or solicits door to door to carry on any business, trade or occupation is subject to the fees and license requirements under the Hawkers and Pedlars Bylaw.
Off-Site Levies are a cost recovery tool that helps municipalities pay for infrastructure projects that allow the community to grow, including roads, water and sewage treatment, to name a few.
Bylaw 1532 came into effect January 1, 2018. With the new Bylaw, Off-Site Levies are based on lot size rather than the size of the building. This bylaw will be reviewed and updated on an annual basis. More information on how rates are calculated can be found in the Off-Site Levy Rates Review Report.
- Off-Site Levy Rates Review Report
- Bylaw 1532
- Policy 61-004 - Off-Site Levies
- Off-Site Levy Information Sheet
Off-Site Levy Review
Per Bylaw 1532, a review of Off-Site Levies is conducted annually.
Based on the findings outlined in the report, following rates took effect January 1, 2023:
Single Family Dwelling Units (including manufactured homes, duplex, triplex, and fourplex developments, excluding row housing): $4,586/dwelling unit
Multi Family Dwelling Units (any development with 5 or more units, including row-housing): $1,997/dwelling unit
If you have any questions regarding Off-Site Levies, please contact the Planning and Development department at 780-778-2273 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The objective of these Standards is to provide a clear guiding framework for designers and developers in the design of municipal infrastructure in the Town of Whitecourt. These standards are intended to ensure that new municipal infrastructure is acceptable to the Town with regard to overall quality, safety, environmental considerations, functionality, operation, maintenance requirements, and life cycle costs.
The developer and consultant are responsible for ensuring that municipal infrastructure is designed and constructed to achieve the Town’s objectives in this regard.
- Municipal Design Standards - as of November 2022
The Policy Manual serves as an operational guide to Council, staff, and the public, and provides guidelines for the Town to serve the community efficiently and effectively. The policies relating to Planning and Development can be found under “Municipal Planning and Development” Section 61.
The Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP) outlines policies with regard to land use, economic development, environment, infrastructure and municipal facilities in the fringe area between the Town of Whitecourt and Woodlands County, providing a framework for making decisions within the respective municipalities. The IDP’s goal is to facilitate and sustain long term strategic growth and to identify joint development opportunities.
Over the past several years, the Town of Whitecourt has been working in selected areas to transition residential boulevards from graveled pads to turf grass. While the Town’s Land Use Bylaw has always required that the area between an owner’s property line and back of walk/curb be grassed, over the years, some property owners have expanded their parking area by the placement of gravel adjacent to their driveway. These pads have been used mainly for the storage of recreational vehicles and additional parking for their passenger vehicles.
Why is the Town enforcing this issue?
- Identified by the public as a concern - Gravel placed next to driveways was one of the issues raised through public input when the Town was reviewing its Land Use Bylaw in 2014 and 2015 as being not esthetically pleasing.
- Deteriorates road infrastructure - When used as a driving surface, and following heavy runoff, tracked gravel speeds up the deterioration of Town sidewalks and roadways.
- Pedestrian safety – Tracked gravel on sidewalks is a hazard for young cyclists, roller-bladers and skateboarders.
- Limits on-street parking - On some streets, on-street parking is limited and people visiting a residential area may find it difficult to park when driveways, through the gravel pads, appear to be excessively wide.
- Utilities – If work needs to be done to underground services in the boulevard, the surface will only be restored to a grass standard, as per municipal bylaws.
The Residential Boulevard Program is labour intensive as our staff work with property owners on an individual basis to restore their boulevard to turf. To allow sufficient interaction with our residents, the Town has broken down the program into phases, so that a coordinated approach can be taken to bring a cohesive look to our neighbourhoods.
Previous phases of the program have been very successful. The Town of Whitecourt greatly appreciates the work that our residents have already undertaken to improve their properties under the guidelines of the Land Use Bylaw.
Phase VI of the program has begun, and the Planning & Development Department will be working with property owners on the following streets:
- Atkinson Crescent
- Noyes Crescent
- Abraham Drive
- Flats Road
- Auttreaux Drive
- Skaggs Crossing
- Merrifield Place
- King Court
- Stuckey Crescent
- Spring Cove
- Sparrow Crescent
- Mcleod Drive
- Sunset Boulevard
- Pine Road
- Sandy Drive
- Blueberry Drive
- Ravine Drive
- Park Drive
- Park Heights
- Park Court
- Park Lane
Properties included in Phase VI will be required to comply by June 30, 2022. (Some properties that were developed prior to 1989 do not have to hard surface their driveways as they were built before the hard surfacing regulation came into effect.)
Regardless of where your home is located, our Planning Staff are always available to answer your questions at 780.778.2273 or by e-mailing email@example.com.
Whether you're renovating an existing home, building a new one, or undertaking a larger project, there are a variety of local builders and developers that can help.