Development & Building Permits

What is a Development Permit and when is one required?

A development permit is required for most development in Morinville to ensure neighbourhood compatibility, aesthetics, appropriate use of space, and minimum requirements are met. A development permit gives a person permission to undertake the proposed development. Not all developments require a development permit. For a list of exemptions, refer to the Morinville Land Use Bylaw. For more information download our “What do I Need To Know About Land Use and Development?” brochure.

What is the difference between a Building Permit and a Development Permit?

The Building Permit process is based on the Safety Codes Act and the Alberta Building Code, Plumbing Code, Electrical Code and Fire Code for the construction, alteration or addition for both Residential and Commercial Buildings. Plan reviews, approvals, and site inspections, are provided in accordance to the required codes by each discipline to ensure safety for all the citizens of the Town of Morinville.

A Building Permit applies to new buildings or structures, including retaining walls over a meter in height and swimming pools or hot tubs, and to demolitions, relocations, repairs or alterations to existing buildings and structures. Building Permits are designed to address life and safety issues of the occupants and users of those buildings or structures.

A Building Permit will not be granted for a project which does not already have a Development Permit or land use confirmation. Development Permits are required for new projects, changes in use, or additions to existing structures; for example, a new building in a particular location or an addition to an office or warehouse requires a Building Permit. Development Permits address issues of community planning, bylaws, land use, image, and compatibility. When undertaking a new project, it is always best to consult with the Development office to find out what kinds of permits you will need. In addition, a project that triggers a land-use change requires a lengthy and involved process that you will need to take into consideration when planning your project.

The Development Permit process is based on the Municipal Government Act and the Land Use Bylaw. Plan reviews, approvals, and site inspections in relationship to land use, site development, streetscape, planning principles, densities, landscaping, transportation, parking etc., are provided to ensure that development takes place in accordance to the approved planning, engineering and environmental policies.

Is a permit required to build a new fence? Should I notify my neighbour?

As long as the design and construction of your fence meets the Land Use Bylaw regulations, no Development Permit is required. We encourage you to consult your neighbours and plan your fences cooperatively to maintain good relations. For more information download our “Building a Fence?” brochure.

What do I need to know about building a new deck?

Development and Building Permits are needed for a covered patio or any deck (0.6 m above ground). Open patios do not require permits. It makes no difference if the deck is freestanding or attached to the house. For more information download our “Building a Deck?” brochure.

Where can I build a new shed, and do I need any permits?

Development and Building Permits are needed for a shed which has an area of 10 m² (107.5 sq. ft.) or more. A building permit may be required for a building less than 10 m², depending on the use or design of the building. Keep in mind that it makes no difference if the garage or shed is on skids. For more information download our “Building an Accessory Building?” brochure.

Do I need any permits to extend my driveway? Are there any rules about how large it can be or what materials it can be made out of?

A Development Permit is required if the existing residential driveway plus the extension exceeds 6.8 meters at the front property line or is providing another parking space. The maximum width that may be allowed for a residential driveway is two-thirds (2/3) of the site width up to a maximum of 11.0 metres. Driveways must be hard-surfaced with concrete, asphalt, paving stone, or other similar materials. Sand, gravel, loose rock, cloth, or other similar materials is not acceptable.

When do I require a Building Permit?

A Building Permit is needed for the construction of a building, the renovation or addition for a building and for any change in the type of occupancy of the building. Provincial regulations govern when you need a building permit. This may also vary with the specific circumstances surrounding your project. It is always best to check with the municipality having jurisdiction before starting any new work.

When do I require Electrical, Plumbing, or Gas Permits?

A variety of provincial codes and regulations govern when you need a Electrical, Plumbing, and/or Gas Permits. This may also vary with the specific circumstances surrounding your project. It is always best to check with the municipality having jurisdiction before starting any new work.

How close to the property line can I build? What’s a setback or minimum required yard?

Knowing how close you can build to the property line depends on your land use district, and on any other setbacks which need to be taken into account for your property. You can download the Land Use Bylaw and Land Use District Map here to locate your property and determine the land use district. The minimum required yard is the minimum distance which a building or structure can be set back from a property boundary.

How do I obtain a Lot Grading Certificate? I need a Lot Grading Certificate before I can receive my Security Deposit refund.

The builder or the owner has the lot surveyed by an Alberta Land Surveyor or a third party Professional Engineer who prepares a Lot Grading Certificate as a certification of as-built grades. For more information download our “Grading Your Lot?” brochure.

What Land Use District (zone) is my property or the empty field near my property in? What can be built there?

You will need to locate the property on the Land Use District Map (Schedule “A” of the Morinville Land Use Bylaw) which identifies the district. Each District has a section in the Land Use Bylaw which specifies what types of buildings and uses can go there (which are summarized in the Land Use Matrix), setbacks and site coverage regulations that apply, and any other regulations.  For more information and to download these documents visit our Morinville Land Use Bylaw page.

How can I find out about new developments?

The municipality is required to notify nearby residents of proposed subdivisions, certain types of development decisions, and Public Hearings for planning bylaws. Notices are usually mailed to landowners within 30-60 metres of the project site for a development or subdivision application or bylaw. Also, check out Planning News for notices posted on this website. In some circumstances, notices may be advertised in local print media. Additionally, all development permit application decisions are posted at Town of Morinville Reception Desk.

How can I find out what may be built in a vacant lot/field near my house?

There are a few ways you can find out information regarding possible future development within Morinville. If you are in a newer neighbourhood, you are likely located in an area governed by an Area Structure Plan, which is a bylaw that establishes how the neighbourhood will develop. If you are unsure the name of the Area Structure Plan your neighbourhood falls under, you can find out what Area Structure Plan you are in according to the Area Structure Plan Index Map. Once you know the name of the Area Structure Plan for your neighbourhood, you can then refer to the corresponding Area Structure Plan to find out the future land uses within the area.

If you live in an area that is not covered by an Area Structure Plan, or if you would like to verify that a Land Use District has already been assigned to the property, you will need to reference the Morinville Land Use Bylaw.  Please note that if there are any inconsistencies between an Area Structure Plan and the Land Use Bylaw, the Land Use Bylaw prevails.

If you have additional questions or would like to know whether a Development Permit has already been issued for the site, contact Planning & Development.

Does the municipality regulate colour, type of roofing, or any other architectural standards?

There are no specific architectural controls for buildings, however the exterior finish is to be of a permanent material and the appearance of all buildings must be compatible with other buildings in the vicinity. In newer subdivisions, the land developer may have specific requirements for the neighbourhood.