Planning & Development

Planning and Development (P&D) plays a central role in the change and development of our community by establishing and administering the Town of Falher’s Land Use Planning Framework. P&D aims to ensure orderly, economical and beneficial development, and to maintain and improve the quality of the Town’s physical environment through the application of tools and services under the land use planning framework. The scope of P&D services include:

Land Use and Sustainability Planning

Land Use and Sustainability Planning involves the creation and administration of long-term, community vision plans, such as statutory plans (e.g., Municipal Development Plan, Intermunicipal Development Plans and Area Structure Plans), and the Land Use Bylaw, which together provide direction and the regulatory mechanism for implementing the desired change.

Development Permitting and Subdivision Planning

This includes processing and issuing decisions on development permit and subdivision applications, based on approved plans, the Land Use Bylaw, and other applicable municipal and provincial legislation.

Development Control

Development Control involves the use of tools such as Development Agreements, inspections and Land Use Bylaw enforcement mechanisms to achieve desirable development outcomes.

Special Projects

Examples of special projects undertaken though P&D include Town beautification, special studies and revitalization initiatives (e.g. Main Street Revitalization Improvement Plan).

Other services

These are services provided to the public for a fee outside the core P&D services (e.g., Compliance Report or Certificate). The Town of Falher works closely with the Mackenzie Municipal Services Agency to implement its land use planning framework.

New/Ongoing Projects

None at this time

Upcoming Public Hearings

View all current Legal Notices

General Inquiries

General inquiries about Planning and Development can be directed to James Bell, CAO of the Town of Falher, by phone at (780) 837-2247 x103 or by email at

Municipal Government Act

The Municipal Government Act (MGA) is the key provincial legislation from which the Town of Falher derives its authority to undertake planning and development. The MGA establishes the powers and responsibilities of Council and administration in creating policies, plans and bylaws to regulate land use and development within their municipality, to ensure orderly physical, environmental and economical beneficial development. Specifically, the MGA allows a municipality to create four (4) types of statutory plans—namely, Municipal Development Plan (MDP), Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP), Area Structure Plan (ASP) and Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP)—and the Land Use Bylaw. These provide a framework for coordinated land use planning and decision-making. The MGA also provides municipalities with enforcement mechanisms to ensure conformity between development and approved plans and bylaws.

The Municipal Government Act can be found here.

Alberta Land Stewardship Act

The Alberta Land Stewardship Act (ALSA) is a 2009 provincial legislation that establishes a regional approach to land use planning through the implementation of the Alberta Land-use Framework
(LUF). It aims to achieve Alberta’s long-term economic, social and environmental goals through the efficient management of public and private lands and natural resources. The ALSA divides up the province into seven “land-use regions”, based on the LUF, which correspond to Alberta’s major watersheds, and contemplates a regional plan for each region. The Town of Falher is located within the Upper Peace Region. Once adopted, the Upper Peace Regional Plan will provide high-level policy direction for the land use planning and decision-making within the Town of Falher.

The Alberta Land Stewardship Act can be found here.

Provincial Land Use Policies

The province’s Land Use Policies were created in 1996 under the MGA to guide municipalities in harmonizing provincial and municipal policy initiatives at the local land use planning level. The policies establish high-level principles, such as a collaborative approach to addressing planning issues, for better land use planning. The Provincial Land Use Policies will be replaced by regional plans once in effect.

Provincial Land Use Policies can be found here.

Subdivision and Development Regulation

Enacted in 2002 and amended in 2017, the Subdivision and Development Regulation outlines a number of requirements, procedures and guidelines for the referral and decision-making process on subdivision applications in Alberta, in addition to the requirements of the MGA. The Subdivision and Development Regulation prescribes the following setback distances:

  • 100 metres from gas and oil wells;
  • 1.5 kilometres from sour gas wells and facilities (depending on the level of the sour gas facility and the intensity of the proposed use);
  • 300 metres from the working area of a wastewater treatment plant;
  • 300 metres from the disposal area of an operating or non-operating landfill, or the working area of an operating storage site; and
  • 450 metres from the working area of an operating landfill, the working or disposal area of a non-operating hazardous waste management facility or the working area or disposal area of an operating hazardous waste management facility.

The Subdivision and Development Regulation also requires that an applicant for subdivision or for development permit (except when the proposed building is less than 47 square meters) supply information regarding abandoned oil and gas wells on the subject parcel. If an abandoned well is identified during the application process, Alberta Energy Regulator Directive 079 (Surface Development in Proximity to Abandoned Wells) prescribes minimum setbacks and may require the applicant to contact the licensee of record.

Provincial Subdivision and Development Regulation can be found here.

Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP)

An Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP) is a plan developed jointly by 2 or more neighbouring municipalities to manage decision-making for an area of land in close proximity to the shared boundary. The IDP is a statutory plan, outlined in the Municipal Government Act (MGA), meant to enhance regional cooperation and collaboration by helping to facilitate efficient and compatible land development by addressing:

  • Future land use and the process for future development proposals in the area,
  • Environmental matters as well as social, physical or economic development matters,
  • Co-ordination and financing of intermunicipal programs, services, facilities, and infrastructure,
  • Procedures for conflict resolution and amending or repealing the plan, and
  • Administrative matters related to the plan.

The Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP) with the M.D. of Smoky River is Bylaw No. 19-09.

Municipal Development Plan (2016)

The Town of Falher’s Municipal Development Plan was adopted by Council in 2016 to provide a cohesive framework to guide local decision making that is necessary to achieve the Town’s long term vision. The MDP guides future land use, infrastructure, environmental, social and economic policy decisions within the Town’s corporate boundaries in a manner that reflects the municipality’s vision. The guiding principle of the MDP is that all future growth in the Town of Falher will occur in an orderly, efficient and economically sound manner through efficient land use planning.

The Municipal Development plan is Bylaw No. 16-05.

Area Structure Plans

Area Structure Plans (ASPs) provide a framework for future subdivision and development of land, resulting in the creation of new neighbourhoods or commercial areas. ASPs identify where residential, commercial, and institutional and other land uses will be located and how services such as water, electricity, sewer systems, telecommunications, schools, fire protection and parks will be provided. ASPs are either prepared by the Town or required from a developer in advance of a subdivision proposal. Currently, the Town of Falher has two ASPs:
Revised Central Falher ASP Bylaw 17-03 (2017)
The Revised Central Falher ASP was adopted in 2017 to specifically provide for the development of new low, medium and high density residential development as well as intensified commercial development within the central portion of the town.
The Revised Central Falher ASP Bylaw (17-03) and associated schedules (A-G) can be found on our bylaw page“>bylaw page.
Revised South Falher ASP Bylaw 07-06 (2007)
The Revised South Falher ASP was adopted in 2007 to provide new and intensified development for fully serviced commercial and light industrial development within the Southern portion of the town.
The Revised South Falher ASP Bylaw (17-06) and associated schedules (A-H) can be found on our bylaw page.

Land Use Bylaw No. 14-05 (Consolidated 2019)

The Land Use Bylaw can be described as the “rule book” for development within the Town of Falher. It regulates the development of land and buildings on a site-specific basis, based on the policy directions set by the MDP, IDP and ASPs. The LUB defines what constitutes development (or land use); divides up the Town into land use districts and lists the land uses allowed in each district; separates all the land uses enabled in each district into permitted and discretionary uses; and sets the development standards (e.g., size of land and buildings, building heights, setbacks and site coverage) for each land use district. It also lists the requirements for a development permit application and timelines for decision; outlines the process for appealing a development permit decision; and the process for amending the Land Use Bylaw.

The Land Use Bylaw (14-05) can be found on our bylaw page.

Additional Land Use Bylaw Amendments (not consolidated in document)

Following is a list of amendments to the Land Use Bylaw that have been passed by Council but have not yet been incorporated into the consolidated Land Use Bylaw.

  • Bylaw No. 15-02 Rezoning
  • Bylaw No. 15-04 Rezoning
  • Bylaw No. 15-08 Rezoning
  • Bylaw No. 15-10 Amendment to Area Structure Plan
  • Bylaw No. 16-08 Repeal of Northwest Area Structure Plan
  • Bylaw No. 17-03 Adopt Revised Central Area Structure Plan
  • Bylaw No. 17-11 LUB Amendment
  • Bylaw No. 18-04 Rezoning
  • Bylaw No. 18-10 LUB Amendment
  • Bylaw No. 20-20 LUB Amendment
  • Bylaw No. 20-03 LUB Amendment
  • Bylaw No. 20-04 LUB Amendment

The Bylaws listed above and any associated schedules can be found on our bylaw page.

Amending the Land Use Bylaw

A person may apply to amend the Land Use Bylaw, in writing, to the Development Officer by completing the Land Use Bylaw Amendment Application Form together with the application fee as established by Council. All applications to amend the Bylaw shall include the following:

  • A certificate of title for the subject property;
  • An indication of the applicant’s interest in the subject property;
  • A statement of the proposed land use change(s);
  • Reasons in support of the amendment; and
  • Any supporting drawings subject to the satisfaction of the Development Officer.

The process of applying for a Land Use Bylaw Amendment, including all the documents required, is detailed in the Guide to Land Use Bylaw Amendment.

All amendments to the Land Use Bylaw shall be made in conformity with the provisions of the MGA and any applicable statutory plans. The Town of Falher may, at any time, also initiate an amendment to the Land Use Bylaw.

Public Participation Policy

In addition to the provincial legislation, statutory plans and the Land Use Bylaw, the Town of Falher has a Public Participation Policy, which may be used when considering applications for development permit and subdivision. The Public Participation Policy outlines the Town’s approach to public participation. It defines the role of Council and Administration in informing and engaging stakeholders in the municipal decision-making process.

The Public Participation Policy can be found our our Bylaws and Policies page.

Relationship Between Planning Documents

The hierarchy of documents within the Town of Falher’s land use planning framework is established by the MGA. The MGA requires that each level is consistent with the level above and below it, and that the policies or regulations within planning document(s) at each level may be implemented by those below them in the decision-making process. The MGA provides the legislative authority for municipal land use planning and decision-making, while the ALSA regional plan (or Land Use Policies in their absence) provides broad-based policy directions and principles for municipal land use planning, which are effected through statutory plans and bylaws. The statutory plans provide future direction for the development and use of lands at the fringe areas of the Town’s boundaries (IDP), within the corporate boundaries of the Town (MDP), or a small area of the Town in greater detail (ASPs). The Land Use Bylaw regulates the use and development of land based on the policy directions of statutory plans, while the Subdivision and Development Regulation regulates subdivision planning in conjunction with the MGA, applicable statutory plans, and the LUB. The Public Participation Policy contains requirements for public engagement outside statutory plans, the LUB and other planning documents that may be considered when making decisions on development permit and subdivision applications. Where there is a conflict or inconsistency between a higher-level planning document and a lower-level planning document, the higher-level planning document prevails to the extent of the conflict or inconsistency.