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FAQ: Planning and Development Department

What does the Planning and Development Department do?

The Planning and Development department provides support to residents and builders for items related to planning land use and development activities within the region. Providing timely and accurate customer service is essential to facilitating all aspects of development planning. These services are provided through three branches within the department:

  • Community Development Planning: The Community Development Planning branch is responsible for the immediate planning requirements of customers, including interpretation and application of land use bylaws, processing applications to subdivide lands, and processing of Development Permits.

  • Comprehensive Planning: The Comprehensive Planning branch provides professional planning support, monitors progress, and responds to changes through community engagement, education and the development of land development policies. These help guide the growth of the Municipality.

  • Safety Codes: The Safety Codes branch is responsible for reviewing, permitting, and inspecting construction-related activities within the region, and ensuring compliance with all applicable codes and regulations, including the administration of the Alberta Safety Codes Act. These services are provided through the issuance of Building, Electrical, Plumbing and Gas Permits.

What's the difference between a Building Permit and a Development Permit?

The Safety Codes Permit process is based on the Alberta Safety Codes Act, the Alberta Building Code, Plumbing Code, Electrical Code and Fire Codes for the construction, alteration or additions for both Residential and Commercial Buildings. Plan reviews, approvals, and site inspections are provided in accordance with the required codes used in each discipline to ensure safety for all residents of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

A Building Permit applies to new buildings or structures, swimming pools or hot tubs. This permit also applies to demolitions, relocations, repairs or alterations to existing buildings and structures. Building Permits are designed to address life and safety issues of the occupants and users of those buildings or structures.

Development Permits are required for new projects, changes in the use of a property, or additions to existing structures. For example, a new building in a particular location or an addition to an office or warehouse requires a Building Permit. Development Permits address issues of community planning, bylaws, land use, image, and compatibility. When undertaking a new project, it is always best to consult with the Planning and Development office to find out what kinds of permits you will need.

The Development Permit process is based on the Municipal Government Act and the Land Use Bylaw. Plan reviews, approvals, and site inspections in relationship to land use, site development, streetscape, planning principles, densities, landscaping, transportation, parking etc., are provided to ensure that development takes place in accordance to the approved planning, engineering and environmental policies

What can applicants do to speed up the application process?

  1. Apply for a Development Permit prior to applying for a Building Permit.

  2. Carefully follow the application requirement lists to ensure the application is complete. Residents are encouraged to ensure they are using the right checklist for the job. Beyond the checklists, there are project specific considerations residents are encouraged to take into account.

  3. Ensure that the correct fee is submitted with your application.

  4. Provide all the required documentation when submitting your plans. Residents are also encouraged to respond to any follow-up from the Municipality in a timely manner. If there is a delay in receiving the required information, the issuance of the permit will be delayed significantly.

Have more questions? Please contact the Safety Codes division of Planning and Development at 780-743-7813 or email inspections@rmwb.ca.