Area Structure Plan FAQs

What is the purpose for having an Area Structure Plan?
What information can I find in an ASP?
Who approves an ASP?
How do I create an ASP?
What is the process to getting an ASP approved?

What is the purpose for having an Area Structure Plan?

Once an ASP has been adopted, it allows prospective developers to anticipate the land uses within the area.  It also streamlines subsequent subdivision applications that are in compliance with the ASP as the ASP acts as a high level blueprint for a particular area. ASPs reduce ad hoc development which results in unexpected issues including infrastructure and future development patterns, etc.

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What information can I find in an ASP?

Section 633 of the Municipal Government Act states that an Area Structure Plan (ASP) must describe the following:

  • the sequence of development proposed for the area;
  • the land uses proposed for the area, either generally or with respect to specific parts of the area,
  • the density of population proposed for the area either generally or with respect to specific parts of the area, and
  • the general location of major transportation routes and public utilities,

and may contain any other matters the County Council considers necessary.

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Who approves an ASP?

ASPs are statutory documents adopted by bylaw by County Council.  They require a public hearing and three readings to be approved.  ASPs within a half mile from a Provincial Highway also require approval by Alberta Transportation.

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How do I create an ASP?

Firstly, you need to have an area of land and develop your concept.  Please note that an ASP should be prepared by a Certified Professional Planner only; therefore you must work with a planning firm to establish the process you will undertake to develop your plan.  Several engineering firms offer this service.

Analysis needs to be done on the plan area and the existing conditions, storm water, drainage, environmental considerations, and wetlands.  You need to determine the purpose of the plan and how it fits within the County's Municipal Development Plan [PDF - 16.1 MB], Land Use Bylaw [PDF - 2.6 MB], and the Provincial Subdivision and Development Regulations.

Once you have determined the objectives of your plan, you will need to develop a land use concept and analyze transportation and servicing requirements for the plan area.  This includes analysis of road networks both within and adjacent to the plan area, water and sanitary servicing requirements, storm water management, shallow utilities and lot grading within the plan area.

Finally, you will need to detail how the plan is to be implemented.  This includes discussing phasing and any special subdivision and development requirements such as development agreements, detailed engineering, lot sizes, and benefiting lands.

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What is the process to getting an ASP approved?

As you develop your concept and draft your plan, you are required to consult the public so that concerns can be addressed and incorporated into the plan prior to submission to the County for approval.

A completed draft can be submitted along with the application fee to the County Office.  The draft undergoes a preliminary review for completeness and if all basic requirements are met it is circulated to internal departments, external agencies, and landowners for a thorough review. 

This review takes place over 30 days at which time Planning & Development Services will work with the developer to resolve any concerns brought forward.  Once the concerns are resolved and any required amendments are made to the plan document a Public Open House is held.  Again concerns are addressed and amendments may be made to the plan.

The plan then is scheduled for a County Council Meeting for first reading.  If first reading is passed, a Public Hearing would be held to allow Council to hear any remaining comments from the public.  Notice of this hearing is advertised in the local newspaper three (3) weeks prior to the hearing date, as well as mailing/delivering a notice to owners within and adjacent to the plan area.  Following the hearing, the developer is then given the opportunity to resolve any concerns and make any necessary amendments before the plan proceeds to second reading.

Once second reading has been passed, if the plan is within a half mile of a provincial highway it is forwarded to Alberta Transportation for approval.  Any comments or concerns resulting from Alberta Transportation's approval process are addressed and evaluated as to whether further public or Council consultation is required.

Once Alberta Transportation gives their approval to the plan, or following second reading of a plan not within the half mile radius of a highway, the plan can proceed to third reading.  Approval of third reading results in the plan becoming an approved County Bylaw.

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