I’m looking to start a business in the County, what is the process?
The County requires that applicants provide a completed Development Permit Application Form together with a site plan and a completed Supplementary Business Form. This form should include details of the business, including, but not limited to; the nature of the business, buildings that will be used, number of employees, traffic generated by the business and measures taken to minimize potential nuisance to neighbouring properties. Other information deemed necessary by the County may be requested to assist the Development Officer in making a decision.
How do I get a Development Permit Application and Supplementary Business Form?
Development Permit Application Forms and Supplementary Business Forms are available at the Lacombe County office or can be downloaded from the application forms and information guides page.
What is the difference between a minor home-based business, a major home-based business and a minor business or trade?
A minor home-based business must be located within the principal dwelling or accessory building(s) and cannot employ any people who are not residents of the principal dwelling. They also do not allow for the on-site visit of clients and exterior storage is not permitted. As a point to note a minor home based business does not require a development permit in the Agricultural District.
A major home-based business allows for the on-site visits of clients but must not have an unreasonable number of late visits, cause traffic congestion or excessive off-street parking. Non-resident employees and outdoor storage may be allowed for the business but only in the Agricultural District. In the H-R3 Residential (Hamlet of Mirror) non-resident employees may also be permitted.
A minor business or trade is similar to a major home-based business but is only permitted in the Agricultural District. It allows for up to six non-resident employees, although the number can be increased at the discretion of the Municipal Planning Commission.
I operate a business that was previously issued a Development Permit, will I have to renew it?
Generally speaking the County applies terms as a condition of development approval for home based businesses, gravel pits and other business related uses which are subject to market driven changes.
The guiding principle for applying fixed terms as conditions of approval for businesses is to allow small scale home based businesses to operate throughout the County while protecting farming and residential uses.
Agriculture has traditionally been an important contributor to the economy, however, other opportunities exist to expand and diversify the County’s economic base to ensure long-term economic health and prosperity.
In accordance with the Land Use Bylaw there are numerous discretionary uses which can be considered within both Agricultural and Residential Districts. By placing special conditions of approval on businesses located within such lands, staff has an opportunity to monitor business growth, and traffic patterns. Having ongoing communications with business owners also helps to prevent nuisance issues between non compatible land uses and a more timely direction for the timing of business relocations (or when activities are more appropriately defined as industrial/commercial uses).
Will the renewal application effect how my business is operating?
In order to keep files active the County provides written notification that a new development permit will be required if you wish to continue operating the business. Typically these notices are mailed out 3-4 months before the date of expiry. However, failure to get approval by the expiry date will mean that the County may order the business cease operation at the site until a new permit has been obtained.