Land Use Bylaw Basics & Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Land Use Bylaw?

  • The Land Use Bylaw establishes rules and regulations for land development as well as the process of making decisions for development permit applications within the City of Red Deer.
  • The Land Use Bylaw includes land use districts (zones) such as the R1 – Residential (Low Density) District, the C4 – Commercial (Major Arterial) District, or the I1 - Industrial (Business Service) District, in order to separate residential, commercial, and industrial land development and regulate specific land uses and buildings.
  • Each land use district (zone) has certain land uses that are permitted outright, others are conditional upon approval, and some are prohibited. Examples of land uses include a detached dwelling, merchandise sale, a restaurant or manufacturing.

How does the Land Use Bylaw impact me?

  • If you’re planning to construct a building, start a business, change land use (zone), undertake renovations or redevelopment, erect a sign, or establish a secondary suite, the Land Use Bylaw will provide direction on the applicable rules and regulations you’ll need to consider.
  • If you’re wanting to look up the land use district (zone) for a parcel of land, the Land Use Bylaw includes maps which outline the land use district (zone) for each parcel of land within the City of Red Deer. This information may also be found using the Web Map. Each land use district (zone) includes specific rules and regulations governing how the land can be used and what can be built. For example, residential (single family home, duplex, apartment, etc.), commercial (restaurant, cinema, retail, etc.), or industrial (hazardous storage, manufacturing, warehousing, etc.)

How do I know where to find the information I need under the Land Use Bylaw?

  • Each part of the Land Use Bylaw is separated into different sections. If you’re looking for general or process regulations, check Parts 1-3 of the Land Use Bylaw.
  • If you’re looking for regulations regarding signs, parking, or landscaping, check Part 3.
  • If you’re looking for residential regulations, check Part 3 and Part 4.
  • If you’re looking for commercial regulations, check Part 3 and Part 5.
  • If you’re looking for industrial regulations, check part 3 and Part 6.
  • If you’re looking for special regulations, such as for heritage, mature neighbourhoods or eco industrial, check Part 7 and Part 8.

What regulations does the Land Use Bylaw contain? A sample is outlined below:

  • Accessory building (e.g. garage or shed) height, size, placement, exterior design, etc.
  • Land use district (zone) for a parcel of land e.g. residential, commercial, industrial, etc.
  • Main building type, size, placement, height, elevation design, etc.
  • Parking and landscaping requirements
  • Permitted and discretionary uses e.g. residence, business, recreation, park, etc.
  • Applications which are exempt from requiring a development permit application
  • Sign and fence regulations
  • Etc.

What if I can’t meet one of the regulations?

  • You have the opportunity to apply for a variance on development permit applications; however, you cannot apply for a use that is neither a permitted nor discretionary use in the applicable land use district (zone) or for a use that has been prohibited in the Land Use Bylaw.
  • Depending on the variance requested, the application may be considered by a Development Officer or by the Municipal Planning Commission.
  • You also have the opportunity to apply for a Land Use Bylaw amendment in which you could request to change a specific regulation, land use, or the land use district (zone) for a parcel of land.

What is a permitted use and does it require a development permit?

  • A permitted use means a land use that is allowed under a land use district (zone).
  • Permitted uses are listed under the Permitted Use Table for each land use district (zone).
  • Permitted uses vary between each land use district (zone).
  • Yes, permitted uses require a development permit. This ensures conformance to the Land Use Bylaw.
  • The Development Officer or Municipal Planning Commission must approve an application for a permitted use which complies with the Land Use Bylaw; however, conditions may be attached to the permit.

What is a discretionary use?

  • Means a land use, building, or other structure that may be allowed by the Development Authority (either a Development Officer or the Municipal Planning Commission) after due consideration is given to the impact of that use upon neighbouring land.
  • Discretionary uses are listed under the Discretionary Use Table for each land use district (zone).
  • Discretionary uses vary between each land use district (zone).
  • A Development Officer may approve the discretionary use application with or without conditions; refuse the application while providing reasons; or refer the application to the Municipal Planning Commission who may approve or deny it.