Development Permit FAQs

Q. What constitutes development in Beaver County?   

A. Development in Beaver County is regulated by Land Use Bylaw 98-801, as amended.  Most development requires a development permit and is defined in the Bylaw as follows: 

(a) an excavation or stockpile and the creation of either of them, or

(b) a building or an addition to, or replacement or repair of a building and the construction or placing of any of them in, on, over or under land, or

(c) a change of use of land or a building or an act done in relation to land or a building that results in or is likely to result in a change in the use of the land or building, or

(d) a change in the intensity of use of land or a building or an act done in relation to land or a building that results in or is likely to result in a change in the intensity of use of the and or building.

The definition also includes the demolition or removal of a building or the placement of an already constructed or partially constructed building on a lot.

Q. When do I need a development permit? 

A. Most development in Beaver County requires a development permit. The following development does not require a development permit, although other permits under the Alberta Safety Codes Act or other legislation or regulations may be required:

(a) The carrying out of works of maintenance or repair to any building, provided that such works do not include structural alterations or major works of renovation, including:
      i)   minor utilities, the definition of which shall be as determined at the sole discretion 
           of the Development Authority;
     ii)   private driveways and patios accessory to a dwelling;
    iii)   an unenclosed deck or a deck enclosed by a rail or parapet wall, with a floor less than 
          1 m (3.3 ft.) in elevation above grade;
    iv)   landscaping where the existing grade and surface drainage pattern 
          is not materially altered;

(b) The completion of a building which was lawfully under construction at the date of the approval of the Bylaw, provided that the building is completed in accordance with the terms of any permit granted in respect of it and subject to the conditions to which the a permit was granted and provided also that the building, whether or not a permit was granted in respect of it, is completed within a period of twelve months from the said date of the approval;

(c) The use of any such buildings allowed under Section 1.4(b) of the Bylaw; 

(d) The erection or construction of gates, fences, or walls or other means of enclosure and the maintenance, improvement and other alterations of any such gates, fences, or walls, except as follows:

i) In the Agricultural District, no gates, fences, or walls or other means of enclosure will be allowed where such gates, fences, or walls abut on a road or a highway used by vehicular traffic within the setback area shown in Figures 9.2 - 9.6;

ii) In the Country Residential District, a Development Permit will be required for gates, fences, or walls or other means of enclosure on corner lots or where abutting on a road or a highway used by vehicular traffic, and for gates, fences, or walls greater than 1.84 metres (6 feet) in height in front, rear, or side yards;

iii) In the Urban General District, a Development Permit will be required for gates, fences, or walls or other means of enclosure on corner lots or where abutting on a road or a highway used by vehicular traffic, and for gates, fences, or walls greater than 0.92 metres (3 feet) in height in front yards and greater than 1.84 metres (6 feet) in rear or side yards;

(e) A temporary building, the sole purpose of which is incidental to the erection or alteration of a building for which a permit has been issued under this Bylaw, and which is not a dwelling or used as a dwelling;

(f) The maintenance and repair of public works, services and utilities carried out by or on behalf of federal, provincial and municipal public authorities on land which is publicly owned or controlled;

(g) The erection or construction of fencing for extensive agricultural uses;

(h) The development of land for extensive agricultural purposes, excepting for:
       i) a dwelling;
      ii) a garage;
     iii) permanent farm buildings and dugouts located within 38.0 m (125 ft.) of the centreline 
         of a rural County road, or within 63.7 m (209 ft.) of the centreline of a secondary road, 
         or within 71.6 m (235 ft.) of the centreline of a primary highway;

(i) The development of land for a confined feeding operation or a manure storage facility within the meaning of the Agricultural Operation Practices Act if the confined feeding operation or the manure storage facility is the subject of an approval, registration or authorization under Part 2 of that Act.

(j) The demolition or removal of a building or improvement.

(k) Change of hours of operation of any permitted use development in the Landfill and Composting District for which a development permit has been issued.

(l) Change of sequence of development of cells within a landfill for which a development permit has been issued.

For more information, contact Jessica Lui, Development Officer, at 780-663-3730 or jlui@beaver.ab.ca.

Q. What permits are needed for my project?

A. Development Permit 
Before you begin your project, you must obtain a development permit from the County. A Development Permit Application or a Home Occupation and Commercial Application may be downloaded from the link above or by visiting the County Office in Ryley. Please note, a development permit does not excuse the applicant from satisfying all other applicable municipal, provincial and/or federal requirements.

Safety Codes Permit
Once a development permit is issued, you may also require Safety Codes Permits, including the following: Building Permit, Plumbing Permit, Private Sewage Disposal Permit, Gas Permit and Electrical Permit. You must obtain the appropriate permits prior to the start of construction.

Application forms for the Safety Codes Permits can be downloaded from the links above or by visiting the County Office in Ryley, or through the Inspections Group at (780) 454-5048, toll-free at 1-866-554-5048 or by visiting www.inspectionsgroup.com

For more information, please review the Permits and Compliance Reference Guide.

Alberta Transportation Permit
Please note, if you are located within 0.8 km (0.5 miles) of a primary or secondary highway, you must get approval from Alberta Transportation by completing an Alberta Transportation Roadside Application and mailing it to the Vermilion Alberta Transportation office. A development permit cannot be issued until approval is received from Alberta Transportation.

Q. Who applies for these permits?

A. This will depend on the arrangement with your builder. Usually the property owner applies for the Development and Building Permits and the specific trades apply for the Plumbing, Private Sewage Disposal, Gas, and Electrical Permits.

Q. How much do these permits cost?

A. Please refer to the Development Permit Application Fee Schedule for a complete list of fees. The fees for building, plumbing, private sewage disposal, gas, and electrical permits vary on the type of permit.

Q. What type of plans do we need to apply for a Development Permit?

A. The County requires a site plan of your proposed development, indicating distances from property lines, all points of vehicle access, and the proposed location of any wells, dugouts or sewage disposal facilities. A copy of the floor plan or blueprints will be required.

Q. How long does it take to get a Development Permit?

A. Processing times for Development Permit applications vary depending on the type of development.  The Development Officer must make a decision on a Development Permit within 40 days of receipt of the completed application, although typically development approval is granted much sooner.  A permitted use is usually issued within 7 working days.  A discretionary use usually takes 4-6 weeks due to extra processing requirements.

Please note that obtaining a development permit does not relieve the permit holder from complying with:

  • The requirements of the Alberta Safety Codes Act.
  • The requirements of any other appropriate federal, provincial or municipal legislation.
  • The conditions of any caveat, covenant, easement or other instrument affecting a building or land.

Q. Once I have a Development Permit, how long is it valid?

A. If you don’t start your development within 12 months, your Permit expires unless you apply for an extension. 

Q. How close to the property lines can we build?

A. The setbacks to the property lines vary depending on the land use district in which the property is located and the type of road that is adjacent. Contact the County Office to get exact information on the setback requirements in your particular land use district.

Q. Is there a minimum house size?

A. Yes, Beaver County restricts the minimum size of a house in the Country Residential District and the Urban General District to 800 square feet; or in the case of a split level or bi-level, the first floor above ground level must be a minimum of 600 square feet. In the case of mobile homes, additions are not included in the calculation of the minimum floor area. The developer may also have a restriction on house sizes and this would be identified in a caveat registered against the property. In the Agricultural District, there is no restriction on house size.

Q. How much will property taxes be for a new house?

A. Property taxes vary depending on the values of the property and house. For more information on property taxes, please contact the County's Assessment Department at (780) 663-3730.

Q. Do we need a Permit to build a deck?

You do not need a Permit for an unenclosed deck that is less than 1 m (3.3 ft.) in elevation above grade.  

Q. Do we need a Permit for a fence?

A. You do not need a Permit for a fence when the fence is:

     i) in the Agricultural District, not adjacent to a road or highway and outside the setback restrictions;
     ii) in the Country Residential District, not adjacent to a road or highway and less than or equal to 1.84 metres (6 ft.) in height;
     iii) in the Urban General District, not adjacent to a road or highway and less than or equal to 0.92 metres (3 ft.) in height.

Q. Do we need permits for farm buildings, such as barns or shops?

A. Depending on the location of your property, a Development Permit may be required. If you are in the Agricultural District, development for extensive agricultural purposes does not require a Development Permit unless located within setback restrictions.  However, other permits under the Alberta Safety Codes Act may be required.  If you are in the Country Residential District, you must obtain a Development Permit. 

Q. Are we allowed to build a second dwelling on our property?

A. A second or additional dwelling is a discretionary use in most districts.  A development permit is required and will be assessed on an individual basis.

Q. Who do we contact to obtain approval for an access approach to our property?

A. The Public Works Department can assist in the process for obtaining approval for accesses to rural properties. They can be reached at (780) 663-3730. 

Q. We are selling our property and have been asked for a Compliance Certificate.  What is it?

A. Prior to approving a mortgage, many financial institutions now require a compliance certificate to ensure that the property complies with municipal bylaws. A Real Property Report, prepared by a qualified surveyor, is reviewed by the Development Officer to ensure that improvements on the property have required Development Permits, and comply with the zoning, floor area, and setback requirements of the Land Use Bylaw. Compliance with Safety Codes regulations is not covered by Beaver County’s Letter of Compliance.  Click here for more information.

Q. What is my municipal address?

A. Call the County Office if you don’t know your municipal address. Bylaw No. 00-816 requires that every occupied parcel of land must have its municipal address displayed; and that every person who obtains a Development Permit for the construction of a commercial, residential, or industrial development must erect an address sign within three months. 

For more information, contact Jessica Lui, Development Officer at 780-663-3730 or jlui@beaver.ab.ca.

Q. What happens if there is a restricted covenant, easement, or caveat on my property?

A.  Check that your proposed development, building, or structure will not conflict with any restrictive covenant, easement, or caveat registered against the title to the subject lands.  Before any action is taken we advise you to search your land title to determine if a restrictive covenant, easement or caveat is registered against the land.  Be warned that a landowner or stakeholder with an interest in the restrictive covenant, easement, or caveat registered against your title is entitled to take legal action against you should you violate or fail to comply with the requirements of the covenant, easement, or caveat.