Planning and Development

Development Services is governed by provincial legislation including the Municipal Government Act, Part 17 Planning and Development, the Subdivision and Development Regulation and numerous municipal bylaws, plans and policies.
Planning and Development understands the values of the Community and reflects those values into our plans, policies, and bylaws for the immediate and future development for the Town of Swan Hills. 

The Town of Swan Hills uses its Land Use Bylaw to regulate the use and development of land and buildings within the Town of Swan Hills and to achieve the orderly and economic development of land.

Municipal Planning Commission (MPC)

The Municipal Planning Commission advises and assists Town Council regarding the planning of orderly and economical development.  The MPC ensures that any proposed development is in accordance with the purpose, scope or intent of the Land Use Bylaw. 

The Town of Swan Hills’ Municipal Planning Commission may meet when an issue of planning and Development arises, or a new discretionary planning and development request has been received.

Municipal Development Plan (MDP)

The Municipal Government Act states that every council of a municipality must by bylaw adapt a Municipal Development Plan (MDP).

The overall purpose of the Swan Hills Municipal Development Plan (MDP) is to guide future growth and development to ensure that it is sustainable, orderly, appropriate, complementary, efficient, and that it enhances the quality of life for the citizens of Swan Hills.

The Municipal Development Plan (MDP) is a Policy document that can be utilized as a framework through which both public and private sector decision making can occur. As a policy document it is, for the most part, general in nature and long range in its outlook.  The MDP provides the means whereby Council can evaluate immediate situations or proposals in the context of a long-range plan for Swan Hills.

The Municipal Government Act requires a municipality to keep a list of any bylaws/policies that may be considered in making planning and development decisions posted on their website.  The following is a list of the statutory plans, bylaws, and policies that may be considered when decisions are made on planning and development in the Town of Swan Hills.

The Municipal Government Act requires that an Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP) is developed for municipalities that have common boundaries. The purpose of an IDP is to address how these municipalities will collaborate and deal with development, planning , and future land use within their common area. The Town of Swan Hills and Big Lakes County were granted an exemption from these requirements due to the area along our common boundary being composed of Crown land and no common land.

Download Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP)

The Municipal Development Plan is a key plan that communicates the desired long-term land use and sustainability in the Town of Swan Hills. The MDP is a document that must be in line with the Intermunicipal Development Plan (Swan Hills and Big Lakes County are exempt from having an IDP). It is a high-level blueprint that guides how the Town will change in the future. Any other statutory plans that the Town of Swan Hills may develop in the future must align with the MDP. This guiding plan overarches the more focused Land Use Bylaw.

Download Municipal Development Plan (MDP)

The Land Use Bylaw (LUB) regulates and controls the use and development of land and buildings within the Town of Swan Hills. The LUB divides the Town into districts, establishes regulations for each district as well as the purpose for which land and buildings may be used, establishes the office of the Development Officer, establishes a method for making decisions on applications for development permits and provides a manner in which notice of issuance of development permits is to be given. The LUB aligns with the Municipal Development Plan and will need to also align with any other future statutory plans.

Download Land Use Bylaw #2012-14 (LUB)

The Following are amendments to the Land Use Bylaw that have been passed but have not yet been incorporated into the consolidated document. They are used in development decisions as part of the main Land Use Bylaw.

These bylaws set out the authority of the Municipal Planning Commission and Development Officer to make subdivision and development decisions within the Town of Swan Hills.  These development authorities are guided by the Land Use Bylaw and Municipal Development Plan when making their decisions.

This bylaw approves the establishment of an Intermunicipal Subdivision and Development Appeal Board to hear subdivision and/or development appeals within the municipal boundaries of its members.  The board consists of the Town of Swan Hills, Big Lakes County, Town of High Prairie, and Town of Slave Lake.  This board must consider the Swan Hills Land Use Bylaw and its other development and planning documents when making decisions within the town.

The Land Sales Policy is used to guide the municipality in the sale of Town owned land.  A requirement of the policy is that an offer to purchase Town land must include a development plan.  These development plans will be approved based on the requirements of the Land Use Bylaw and any statutory documents that may exist such as the Municipal Development Plan.

Download Land Sales Policy 12-004

The Fee’s Policy establishes service fees for the Town of Swan Hills. This policy sets out the costs related to planning and development including items such as development permit applications.

Download Fee’s Policy 12-005

A Development Officer is available at the Town of Swan Hills to discuss your development and building plans. 

The Development Officer for the Town of Swan Hills:

  • Assists with matters pertaining to development, plans of subdivision, site plan reviews, certificates of compliance, zoning bylaws, and other planning and land use related matters
  • Monitors and updates the Municipal Development Plan and the Land Use Bylaw
  • Provides planning assistant services to Town Council, the Municipal Planning Commission and the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board, as well as external agencies, builders, developers and landowners.

Before you begin your project...

There are steps you will need to take to make sure your new development is in compliance with local bylaws and regulations.  A Development Permit is the start of the process that will need to be filled out and submitted to the Development Officer for review and/or approval.

Zoning Regulations

Safety Codes Agency

The Town of Swan Hills is accredited under the Alberta Safety Codes Act (Building, Electrical, Gas, and Plumbing) although Superior Safety Codes Inc. is the agency that provides this service for the Town of Swan Hills.

Safety Codes Officers review building plans and complete construction inspections required under the Alberta Building Code.  You must have your plans reviewed by a Safety Codes Officer before a building permit can be issued.


14613 – 134 Avenue, Edmonton, AB  T5L 4S9

Phone: 780-489-4777or 1-866-999-4777

Fax: 780-489-4711