Area Structure Plans (ASPs) provide a framework for the development of lands for commercial, industrial and residential purposes. Area Structure Plans also ensure that development is conducted in a manner that is consistent with the goals, objectives and policies of the County. They are prepared in accordance with the Municipal Government Act, Subdivision and Development Regulation and the County's Municipal Development Plan.

Developing an Area Structure Plan can be a long and somewhat complicated process involving many external agencies and approvals. Area Structure Plans can be created by either a developer or by the County directly.

County-created Area Structure Plans result from the County identifying an area which, due to existing development on adjacent lands or a vision for the area, would benefit from being part of an Area Structure Plan. County-created Area Structure Plans must meet the same requirements and go through the same process and approvals as developer-initiated Area Structure Plans.

While not every area within the County has an Area Structure Plan, the County has adopted many plans in areas that have or are expected to see a lot of growth. Additionally, draft plans require public participation in the development and approval process. 

Areas without an Area Structure Plan, can still be developed, and follow the policies outlined in the Municipal Development Plan or the Intermunicipal Development Plans for a general outline of possible development.

What is the purpose for having an Area Structure Plan?

Once an Area Structure Plan has been adopted, it allows prospective developers and existing/future landowners to anticipate the land uses within the area. It also streamlines subsequent subdivision applications that comply with the Area Structure Plan as the Area Structure Plan acts as a high-level blueprint for a particular area. Area Structure Plans reduce ad hoc development which results in unexpected issues including infrastructure and future development patterns, etc.

What information can I find in an Area Structure Plan?

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
  • The general location of major transportation routes and public utilities
  • Any other matters the County Council considers necessary.

Who approves an Area Structure Plan?

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

How do I create an Area Structure Plan?

You need to have an area of land and develop your concept. Please note that an Area Structure Plan should be prepared by a Certified Professional Planner only. You must work with a planning firm to establish the process you will undertake to develop your plan.

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, Land Use Bylaw, 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.

What is the process to getting an Area Structure Plan 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.

An application including a completed draft plan 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. Any 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 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 adopted statutory plan.

Area Structure Plan Locations

Click on the shaded area on the map to view details on the Area Structure Plans.

Search our library of Area Structure Plans 

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