The Building Cycle

Does it ever seem to you like new communities seem to pop up seemingly out of nowhere? It might appear like the building process is a quick one, but the truth is planning for these communities takes years (sometimes decades) before shovels hit the dirt. Building communities in Alberta involves a lot of collaboration between stakeholders, paperwork, government, applications and approvals.

Here’s an overview of the building cycle in Alberta:

We start on the road from dirt to door with the law. Before a step is taken, provincial and municipal governments provide legislation, plans and policies that direct subsequent action. At the top of the hierarchy are two statutory documents: the Municipal Government Act at a provincial level, and the Municipal Development Plan at a municipal level. They’re prepared with citizen input, provided both directly and via our government representatives. [Smarter Growth]

  • Municipal Government Act (MGA): this includes policies for regional cooperation, environmental conservation and private industry revenue.
  • Municipal Development Plan (MDP): this sets out development strategies including density, access to green space, housing types, etc.

Developers, like Genesis Land, use research, data and their experience to predict what residents will need in a new community. Developers can invest in land for development, but ultimately it’s the City that determines where and when communities can be built. Designated land is land that the City has allotted for immediate or near future planning and development. Undesignated land is land that’s available for development in the future (near or distant).
Developers must also submit an Outline Plan to the City, and propose what they would like to do with the land. This is where residents in nearby neighbourhoods will likely start to get involved. General directions for the area are outlined by the developer, and opportunities for input by the public start to open up. Outline plans will detail the phases of development, shows work on distinct neighbourhoods and determines the residential, parkland and commercial areas.

While the Outline Plan includes design details and the general location of different land uses, it doesn’t show individual lots. Now, developers create a Tentative Plan. It’s based on the Outline Plan, but it includes much more detail. It’s also a legal plan, so related decisions and conditions can be appealed. [Smarter Growth]

The Tentative Plan is where the subdivision of land comes into play, allotting land into smaller parcels or lots. Subdivisions are paid for by developers, and include reviews to ensure infrastructure meets City standards, and plans are put in place to determine levies and fees that will be paid to the City by the developer.
Then, the digging begins and construction starts! For more information on the development process in detail, read this great guide by Smarter Growth. Do you have questions about any of the land or communities we’re developing? Please see our website