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Land use planning in Alberta

While land use planning in Alberta is carried out by both the Province and municipalities, provincial land use planning and municipal land use planning differ significantly in their scope and application.

Provincial land use planning focuses on the management of Crown land (more than 60 percent of the land in the province belongs to the Crown), resource development, and achieving environmental objectives. Provincial plans extend over very large areas covering many municipalities, apply broad categories of land use to both public and private lands and address the cumulative impacts of development. Provincial plans do not ordinarily address private development on private property or community governance and development. They may, however, give direction to municipalities on the use of land generally and specific direction with respect to achieving environmental outcomes. Municipal land use planning on the other hand is focused on overall community development and the coordination of private development on private property to contribute to the broader economic, social, cultural and environmental goals of the municipality.

This section of the planning hub gives an overview of the tools used by each level of government and the relationship between provincial and municipal land use planning.

Regional plans under the land use framework, the land use policies adopted under the Municipal Government Act, and some provincial department policies directly affect municipal planning, while other provincial plans are more indirect in their impact. The overall hierarchy and relationship of provincial to municipal land use plans is shown in the Hierarchy of Land Use Plans figure below.

The hierarchy and relationship of provincial to municipal land use plans.