Development Permit Process
The City is responsible for ensuring the safety and health of all Calgarians, as well as determining and implementing the rules and regulations that help to create meaningful and highly valued spaces in our city. The City’s Planning & Development department focuses on making certain that new developments align with the rules and regulations set out in both the Land Use Bylaw (LUB) and the Alberta Building Code.
All land in Calgary is divided into districts, or zones. Each district has its own set of development rules. The Land Use Bylaw lists these rules, which were established in part to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to seek approval for a development project as well as express concerns about a project. A development permit confirms that all the rules and planning policies have been considered. It provides a means through which neighbours, community associations and other affected individuals and organizations can provide feedback.
Not all projects require a development permit. The Land Use Bylaw lists the projects that do not require a development permit. Projects not included in the list of exemptions require a development permit because they pose a change to the property or are outside the standard rules established for that district.
To find out what rules and regulations apply, enter the property address in the information tool to determine the land use district. Once you have this information, refer to the Land Use Bylaw for specific information.
When you submit an application, it will be checked for quality and completeness within 20 days of receipt. Proposed plans must be legible and contain all required information. We will also check that all the necessary documents are included. A City of Calgary file manager will contact you to provide advice and guidance throughout the process.
If you are asked to provide additional information or documentation, you will be given a specific period of time to complete the initial requirements.
Your plans may be directed to a specialized bylaw review group which will cross-reference the proposed development against the Land Use Bylaw rules. This group may need to make mathematical calculations based on your plans. For businesses going into commercial or industrial bays, the bylaw review group may need to order historical files to check the parking history before they can calculate site parking.
A temporary sign may be placed on your property to let neighbours and/or nearby businesses know about your application. Neighbours are invited to send comments directly to your file manager.
Comments from your community association, Councillor or other third parties such as Enmax may be required. These groups are given 21 days to submit comments to your file manager.
While your application is undergoing the bylaw review, notice posting and circulation, your file manager begins the review, and may visit the property you are proposing to develop. The file manager will:
- assess the context and character of the neighbourhood
- research relevant planning policies and apply them as required
- check for applicable provincial planning legislation that may impact the application
- receive and respond to comments from the public and the circulation groups
Lastly, your file manager will analyze all materials and prepare a written, detailed review. At this step, you may be asked to make changes to the plans or submit additional information. Time will be provided to respond.
After the detailed review is complete, your file manager will prepare the rationale and reasons for the decision. You will be notified as soon as the decision is made to either approve or refuse the application. If you disagree with the decision, an appeal can be filed with the Subdivision and Appeal Board (SDAB) within 21 days.
The public has 21 days to appeal the decision with the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (SDAB).
Prior-to-release conditions of approval
To expedite the process, some development permit applications are approved prior to you submitting required information and/or payments. This allows you to apply for a building permit, saving time. Your file manager must wait until you complete the prior-to-release conditions before releasing the permit.
If no appeals have been filed, and there are no outstanding requirements, the development permit will be released. At this step, if you have a building permit under review, you may let the plans examiner know that your development permit has been released.
Development permit timelines vary based on:
- the proposal’s complexity
- the degree of impact to the surrounding community
- when public comments are submitted to your file manager
- when you submit information to your file manager
Discretionary development permits will take additional processing time, as they generally require additional circulations as well as an advertising and appeal period.
The City is committed to providing applicants with a timely response.
Helpful advice and tips for your application
- provide plans that are drawn to professional standards
- obtain letters of support from neighbours and the community association (if required)
- submit proposals that either comply with the LUB rules or seek a minor relaxation
- when seeking a relaxation, please provide reason for why the rules should be relaxed
- submit additional plans and information quickly upon request
For general information about active or recently approved development permits, please visit calgary.ca/development.