Municipal Development Plan

We are looking for public feedback as we work to update our Municipal Development Plan (MDP). Whether you live on a farm, acreage, or in a hamlet, the MDP affects you!

Over the next few months, we will be posting a series of articles on proposed updates to the MDP. The first one is all about what the MDP is and why it's important.

What is a Municipal Development Plan?
A Municipal Development Plan (MDP) is our primary guiding document for land use planning and community development. It sets the vision and policies for the County’s land planning and development, and helps Council and staff make decisions, especially ones that will impact the community for the next 10 to 20 years.

More information on what the MDP is and why it's important to get involved is below is the "News Feed" section.

The opportunity to provide feedback is now closed. Lethbridge County thanks everyone who gave their input on the MDP and its proposed policies.


We are looking for public feedback as we work to update our Municipal Development Plan (MDP). Whether you live on a farm, acreage, or in a hamlet, the MDP affects you!

Over the next few months, we will be posting a series of articles on proposed updates to the MDP. The first one is all about what the MDP is and why it's important.

What is a Municipal Development Plan?
A Municipal Development Plan (MDP) is our primary guiding document for land use planning and community development. It sets the vision and policies for the County’s land planning and development, and helps Council and staff make decisions, especially ones that will impact the community for the next 10 to 20 years.

More information on what the MDP is and why it's important to get involved is below is the "News Feed" section.

The opportunity to provide feedback is now closed. Lethbridge County thanks everyone who gave their input on the MDP and its proposed policies.


  • Topic 5 - Alternative and Renewable Energy

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    Wind turbine in a fieldAlternative and renewable energy is becoming more viable in the region and can be an opportunity for economic growth in Lethbridge County.
    The County supports the establishment of and growth of this industry and we see benefits to our municipality, individuals, businesses, and the environment.

    Having policies related to alternative and renewable energy in the Municipal Development Plan will encourage development of emerging technologies and support a range of different energy sources. These policies provide siting criteria to minimize conflicts with adjacent land uses, provide opportunities for both large and small scale energy systems, and ensure that all energy developments follow the regulations of the County’s Land Use Bylaw as well as provincial and federal requirements.

    The proposed alternative and renewable energy policies ensure that:
    - Energy developments are located appropriately relative to other uses
    - Applications provide plans and reserve funds to account for the decommissioning of the energy development once its life cycle has concluded
    - Applications provide relevant studies and information on potential impacts and how they will be mitigated
    - Small scale energy systems are encouraged on the condition that they are sound developments that do not negatively impact adjacent landowners
    - Large scale wind energy conversion systems are allowed in the Rural Agricultural District and must meet the standards and regulations as identified in the County’s Land Use Bylaw
    - Large scale solar collection facilities must be designated to a Direct Control District
    - Large scale solar collections facilities have specific siting criteria and a cap on total amount of land to be developed for these facilities (cap will be reviewed by Council as necessary)
    - Biogas/Biofuels/Waste-to-Energy facilities will have specific siting criteria

    To review the current MDP, click on the link under the "Documents" tab on the right side of this page.

  • Topic 4 - Subdivision and Development Policies

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    Why are we asking for your feedback on our subdivision and development policies?

    Subdivision and development are important parts of the County’s growth strategies. We want to ensure that when our approval authorities (Council and staff) are considering applications for planning and development, that they have the best information available to make well-informed decisions.

    Our goal is to implement a comprehensive policy framework to address various land use needs in the County. We also want to manage things like: land, title ownership, infrastructure needs, agriculture and the environment as they relate to development.

    The County has created subdivision policies to ensure that our land use and growth strategies are being met, while minimizing land use conflicts. For example, keeping agricultural land from being fragmented is a priority for Lethbridge County.

    Subdivision and development policies you can review and provide feedback on include:

    • Suitability of the land (does the proposed use fit in with the area and are there any constraints?):
      • Maintaining setbacks (i.e. to Confined Feeding Operations, Environmentally Sensitive Areas, abandoned and active well sites, wetlands and historical resources)
      • Soil suitability
      • Access (physical and legal access is required to a subdivision/development)
    • Ensuring appropriate zoning for the proposed use
    • Impact to adjacent landowners
    • Compliance with other planning documents (i.e. provincial regional plans and intermunicipal development plans)
    • Requirements for larger developments (Area Structure Plans and Conceptual Design Schemes)
    • Subdivision of land:
      • Limitations within the Rural Agriculture and Urban Fringe Districts
      • Minimum parcel size
      • Process for decision making
      • Conditions of a subdivision approval
      • Municipal, School, and Environmental Reserves

    To review the current MDP, click on the link under the "Documents" tab on the right side of this page.

  • Topic 3 - Commercial/Industrial Policies

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    Industrial and Commercial land uses are an important part of Lethbridge County
    Many of these uses support and add value to the agricultural products grown within the County and surrounding areas. Other uses, such as construction, retail, manufacturing, and professional services have experienced growth in recent years. The County will continue to support all future industrial and commercial development to diversify and strengthen our local and regional economy.

    Industrial and Commercial uses are typically located along major transportation corridors that allow for ease of access as well as visibility. It is important to identify areas for growth of industrial and commercial uses where they will not conflict with other uses, such as residences and environmentally sensitive areas. To do this, the Municipal Development Plan contains policies that provide direction for citizens, developers, Council, and County administration.

    This draft section of the Municipal Development Plan has been expanded from the current version to provide clarity on the different types of Industrial/Commercial Development and where these uses may be located. The policies for new Industrial and Commercial development include:

    • Limiting the fragmentation of agricultural lands
    • Ensuring that residences and environmentally sensitive areas are not negatively impacted by future development
    • Locating developments close to existing transportation corridors
    • Ensuring developments have access to utilities and potable water, where required
    • Encouraging developments to locate in Lethbridge County business parks and hamlets, where feasible


    The Municipal Development Plan will also include policies regarding:

    • Development of hazardous or noxious industrial
    • Natural resource extraction
    • Brownfield site redevelopment
    • Home occupations
    • Continual review of the Industrial-Commercial Land Use Strategy
    • Economic development and growth


    To review the current MDP, click on the link under the "Documents" tab on the right side of this page.

  • Topic 2: Agricultural Policies

    Agriculture is the backbone of our economy
    As we work to update our Municipal Development Plan (MDP), it is important to consider the agricultural industry as it contributes significantly to the success of our region. Lethbridge County recognizes the value and impact of our agricultural sector, and a section on agriculture is included in all our strategic planning documents. We strive to be a leader in the value-added agri-business sector to enhance our agricultural roots and diversify and grow our economy.

    The County’s agricultural sector faces many challenges including environmental factors, intermunicipal pressures, and the competing and complementary uses that want to also establish themselves on the agricultural landscape. Some of these uses are energy developments (primarily wind and solar), residential developments, and commercial-industrial developments. To find a balance between the agricultural and other areas of the County, the following policies have been drafted to assist in the decision-making process.

    The County is updating our Municipal Development Plan to be a guiding document for current and future planning and development. The specific policy areas proposed in the Agricultural section of the MDP are:

    General Agriculture
    The intent of this section and its policies are to:
    - Conserve high-quality agricultural land while balancing the need for value-added agricultural businesses
    - Support and advocate for agricultural producers
    - Limit the minimum agricultural parcel size to 80 acres
    - Support uses in agricultural areas that in turn support the agricultural industry
    - Discourage uses which may conflict with agricultural activities

    Intensive Agriculture and Horticulture (greenhouses, aquaculture facilities)
    The intent of this new section and its policies are to:
    - Direct these uses to suitable locations with appropriate access to a highway system
    - Ensure developments have suitable water supply
    - Encourage development on smaller agricultural titles

    Intensive Livestock/Confined Feeding Operations (CFOs)
    These operations are important to our agricultural sector. The intent of this new section and its policies are to:
    - Encourage expansion of CFOs in areas with minimal impacts to residential properties and hamlets
    - Identify Confined Feeding Exclusion Zones around urban and environmentally sensitive areas
    - Provide best practice supports for spreading manure as per the provincial Agricultural Operation Practices Act and Regulations
    - Continue consultation between Lethbridge County and the Natural Resources Conservation Board (NRCB), who is the deciding authority on applications regarding Confined Feeding Operations

    The County has reviewed the Confined Feeding Operation Exclusion Zones around our hamlets and has obtained feedback from both hamlet residents and adjacent landowners. Some adjustments were made to the Exclusion Zones based on this feedback. These changes can be viewed on the maps on What’s Happening Lethbridge County.

    To review the current MDP, click on the link under the "Documents" tab on the right side of this page.

  • Topic 1: What is a Municipal Development Plan and How Does it Affect Me?

    What is a Municipal Development Plan?
    A Municipal Development Plan (MDP) is required by the province and is our primary guiding document for land use planning and community development. It sets the vision and policies for the County’s land planning and development, and helps Council and staff make decisions, especially ones that will impact the community for the next 10 to 20 years.
    The MDP also guides some of our other land use plans like Area Structure Plans, Land Use Bylaws, and Subdivision control.

    How does the MDP affect me?
    Whether you live on a farm, acreage, or in a hamlet, the MDP affects you! The current MDP has guidelines and policies on:
    • Residential, Commercial/Industrial, Recreation, and Energy Developments in the County
    • Development and protection of agricultural land
    • Confined feeding operations (locations, setbacks, etc.)
    • Infrastructure (roads, water, wastewater)
    • Development near urban municipalities
    • Hamlet growth
    • Economic development and growth
    • Environmental conservation, watersheds, and flood mitigation


    Why does Lethbridge County need an updated Municipal Development Plan?
    The current MDP is from 2008 and there have been many changes in development trends and provincial land use legislation since then. After using the document for the last decade, we need to update it to:
    • Make the document and policies more user friendly for staff, Council, developers, and the public
    • Organize amendments that have occurred since 2008
    • Incorporate growth areas, maps and policies from our Intermunicipal Development Plans
    • Add policies/direction from other studies the County has completed (e.g. Industrial-Commercial Land Use Strategy, Grouped County Residential Strategy, Hamlet Growth Studies)
    • Address provincial legislative changes and requirements
    • Consider economic circumstances and growth opportunities
    • Reflect Council’s vision of how Lethbridge County should grow, develop and prosper into the future


    What stage is the MDP review at?
    There three key phases in the review and update of the Municipal Development Plan:
    1. Research and Analysis
    2. Preparation and Development
    3. Finalization


    Phase 1 has been completed by Lethbridge County administration and the project is moving into Phase 2, where administration will be meeting regularly with Council to determine the best direction for the plan. Initial consultations with some stakeholders have already begun for specific aspects of the plan.


    To review the current MDP, click on the link under the "Documents" tab on the right side of this page.