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Frequently Asked Questions
The link below provides up-to-date building statistics in the Town of Didsbury.   

The answers to these questions are largely based on a single-lot residential project.  For a commercial, industrial, multi-family or large development (or for clarification or more information) please contact the Town of Didsbury Development Services department at 403.335.3391.
 
  1. Do I need a permit to build a fence?

    Fences, gates, walls, hedges or other means of enclosure less than 1.0 m (3.28 ft.) from grade in height in front yards and less than 2.0 m (6.56 ft.) from grade in the side and rear yard, do not require a permit.

    There are special rules if your fence is adjacent to an intersection or roadway (road, lane, etc.); please contact the Town of Didsbury to find out what they are.

    If you would like to build your fence (gate, hedge, etc.) taller than the heights listed above, you will require a development permit.

  2. Where can I build my structure?

    Each property in Town is given a land use designation (zoning).  Each zone has different rules and regulations.  To find out what zone your property is, check out the Town of Didsbury Land Use District Map.

    If you cannot determine your land use designation (zoning), please call the Development Services department at 403.335.3391.

  3. Do I need a permit to build a shed?

    Sheds 13.38 m2 (144 ft2) or less and 2.5m (8.2 ft.) or less in height and used as a garden/tool shed is deemed approved and does not require a development permit nor a building permit.

  4. Do I need a permit to build a deck?

    If the deck that you are building is more than 600 mm (2 feet) above grade, you require a development permit and a building permit.

  5. Can I have a basement suite at my property?

    Each property in Town is given a land use designation (zoning).  Each zone has different rules and regulations whereby some zones allow for secondary suites and some do not.  This information is found in the Land Use Bylaw.

    To have a secondary suite in a location that allows for them will require both an approved development permit and an approved building permit.  If you need further clarification, please call the Planning and Infrastructure department at 403.335.3391.

  6. What is the zoning of my property?

    Each property in Town is given a land use designation (zoning).  To find out what zone your property is, check out the Town of Didsbury Land Use District Map.  If you cannot determine your land use designation (zoning) from the map, please call the Development Services department at 403.335.3391.

  7. What are my lot dimensions?

    The size of your lot is recorded on the survey plan that was registered at the time of subdivision or on a Real Property Report. (see question #9)

    If you do not have a Real Property Report and simply need the dimensions of your lot, the Town of Didsbury can provide you with a copy from the plan of survey.  This copy will not show any improvements on your lot.

  8. What is a certificate of compliance or compliance stamp?

    A Certificate of Compliance or compliance stamp is when the Town of Didsbury reviews your Real Property Report and provides a signed acknowledgement that your development/property meets the Town of Didsbury Land Use Bylaw.  If a property does not meet the regulations set for by the Town of Didsbury, a compliance stamp will not be provided. (see question #10)

    The Town of Didsbury does not require a Certificate of Compliance – it is a service provided by the Town of Didsbury on a request basis; the need for a Certificate of Compliance generally arises when you are going to buy or sell developed property and is generally requested by mortgage companies, realtors, lawyers, etc.

  9. What is a Real Property Report?

    A Real Property Report is a site plan/plot plan drawn and/or certified by an Alberta Land Surveyor; it gives the dimensions of your lot and illustrates any improvements on the lot including the location of the dwelling and buildings relative to property boundaries.  A Real Property Report shows visible encroachments onto or from the property, right of ways, and easements as noted on the Title at date of survey, etc.

    A Real Property Report is a legal document that can be relied upon as an accurate representation of the improvements on your property.  The Town of Didsbury does not provide the services or facilitation of obtaining a Real Property Report.  The cost of obtaining a Real Property Report by an Alberta Land Surveyor may vary and costs are not associated with the Town of Didsbury.

  10. My property doesn’t comply with the bylaws.  Is there anything that I can do to make it comply?

    The Town of Didsbury may be able to provide you a relaxation of a bylaw requirement that will make your property become a legal non-conforming use.  You would be able to obtain a certificate of compliance if a relaxation was granted.  The process to apply for a relaxation is to complete the development permit application process including supporting documents and fees as set out in the rate and fee schedule.

  11. I am doing renovations, do I need a permit?

    The requirement for permits will largely depend on the scope of the project.  You will need a development permit if the project intensifies the use of the property or changes the footprint of the building.  You will need a building permit if you are doing any structural changes – maintenance, painting, residing, etc. does not require permits.  You will need gas, electrical and/or plumbing permits if you are doing anything more than minor maintenance.

  12. I am hiring a contractor, do they need a license?

    A contractor requires a Town of Didsbury business license; contractors may also require provincial licenses.  Make sure you are checking with your contractor for proof that they have all licenses required.

  13. What is the difference between a development permit and a building permit?

    A development permit ensures that you meet all requirements of the Land Use Bylaw.  Setbacks from property lines, parking requirements, impact on the neighbourhood are a few of the things that are reviewed when your development permit is processed. A building permit ensures that the construction of the project will meet the Alberta Building Code.

  14. Where do I apply for my permits?

    Development Permit:  Apply for your development permits
    through the Town of Didsbury.  Permits
    are issued through the Town of Didsbury.
    Building Permit:  Apply for your building permit through the
    IJD Inspections Ltd.  The Town of Didsbury
    contracts out Building Permit services
    (permit issuance, inspections), but all
    paperwork is processed through the Town
    of Didsbury.
    Gas Permit: Apply for your gas permit through IJD
    Inspections
    Ltd.  The Town of Didsbury
    contracts out Gas Permit services (permit
    issuance, inspections).  All paperwork is
    processed through our contracted agency.
    Plumbing Permit: Apply for your plumbing permit through
    IJD Inspections Ltd.  The Town of
    Didsbury contracts out plumbing permit
    services (permit issuance, inspections).  
    All paperwork is processed through our
    contracted agency.
    Electrical Permit: Apply for your electrical permit through
    IJD Inspections Ltd.  The Town of
    Didsbury contracts out electrical permit
    services (permit issuance, inspections).  
    All paperwork is processed through our
    contracted agency.


  15. How much will my inspections cost?

    The costs associated to inspect your project are included in the fees that you pay when you take out your building permit, gas permit, electrical permit and/or plumbing permit.

  16. I want to do some plumbing, gas and/or electrical work, do I need a permit?

    You, or your contractor, will need to get a permit to do plumbing, gas and/or electrical work unless the work is minor maintenance.  Please call IJD Inspections Ltd. to discuss further requirements at 1.877.617.8776.

  17. Can I do my own plumbing, gas and/or electrical work?

    You can do your own contract work as long as you are the homeowner, you live in the house you’re taking the permit out for and you have a familiarity with the applicable Safety Codes Act.  A homeowner cannot take out a gas, electrical or plumbing permit for a home that they do not live in, nor for a commercial or industrial project.

  18. How long will it take to get my permits?

    A typical time frame* for a small scale project (deck, garage, single family dwelling), from the time a completed application is received, is as follows:

    Development Permit: Five weeks (this includes the 14-day appeal period)

    If a decision on an application for a development permit has not been made within 40 days of the receipt of a completed application, the applicant may:
    (a) consider the application a deemed refusal; or
    (b) enter into an agreement with the Development Officer/ Municipal Planning Commission to extend the 40 day period within which a decision on the application may be made.

    Building Permit: Two weeks after the date of an approved Development Permit (after the 14-day appeal period)

    Electrical Permit: Same day

    Plumbing Permit:  Same day

    Gas Permit:  Same day

    * The Town of Didsbury reserves the right for permit issuance to take more or less time as indicated above.  The time frame to receive your permit is largely dependent on the project and the volume of permits being received by the Town of Didsbury at the time of application.

  19. How long is my permit good for?

    (a) A development permit is valid for a period of one year from the date of issue, or the date of decision of the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board.
    (b) A building permit is valid providing the project is not abandoned for more than 120 days; work must commence within 90 days of permit issuance.
    (c) A gas permit is valid providing the project is not abandoned for more than 120 days; work must  commence within 90 days of permit issuance.
    (d) An electrical permit is valid providing the project is not abandoned for more than 120 days; work must commence within 90 days of permit issuance.
    (d) A plumbing permit is valid providing the project is not abandoned for more than 120 days; work must commence within 90 days of permit issuance.

  20. Can I request an extension for my permits?

    Prior to the expiration of the original development permit, on receipt of a written application, an extension may be granted for a period of no longer than an additional 12 months.

  21. Why does my development permit need to be advertised before it is approved?

    A development permit needs to be advertised in order to give any person deemed affected by the development an opportunity to know about the development, review the development and/or appeal the development.  This is regulated by the Municipal Government Act.

  22. Is a decision final or can I appeal it?

    Once a decision has been made on a development permit application, the applicant will be notified by mail.  The applicant has 19 days from the date of the notice of the decision to appeal the decision and/or any conditions placed on the decision.

    For affected persons, approved development permits are advertised in the local newspaper and on the Town of Didsbury website.  An affected person has 14 days from the date the advertisement to appeal a permit; after that 14 day appeal period has lapsed, the decision is final.

  23. My neighbour is building onto his/her house.  Why wasn’t I notified?

    Approved development permits are advertised in the local newspaper and on the Town of Didsbury website.  This is the form of notification that the Town of Didsbury chooses as per the Municipal Government Act.  An affected person has 14 days from the date of advertisement to appeal a permit; appeals must be accompanied by a letter stating the reasons for the appeal and the applicable fee.

  24. I have vacant land next to me.  How do I know what can be built there?

    Each property in Town is given a land use designation (zoning).  Each zone has different rules and regulations setting out what can and cannot be built on a specific parcel of land.  This information is found in the Land Use Bylaw. 

    The Town of Didsbury cannot release information regarding a proposed development until a formal application is made.  Once an application is made, certain details within the application can be disclosed. Once a development permit has been approved, it is advertised in the local newspaper and on the Town of Didsbury website.  You may, at that time, inquire in regards to the development.  If you are an affected person, upon giving reasons and paying the applicable fee, you have an opportunity to appeal the decision.

  25. How will my project affect my taxes?

    Taxes are based on market value of your property. For how your specific project may affect your taxes, please contact the Town of Didsbury Tax Officer at taxation@didsbury.ca .  More information can also be found on the Taxation page of our website under Business Services.

  26. When do I call for inspections?

    Your building permit will outline the schedule of when you need to call for inspections for building permit services.  At the time of the final inspection for your building permit, a development permit inspection may also be scheduled.

    The Town of Didsbury appreciates five days notice for your building permit inspection requests.  If a development permit inspection is not scheduled or performed at the same time as the building permit final inspection, please provide a minimum of 48 hours notice prior to occupancy for this inspection.  Gas, Electrical and Plumbing Inspections are scheduled as per our contracted agency.

  27. Can I subdivide my lot so I can sell a portion of it?

    Subdivision is governed by many documents including the Municipal Government Act, Subdivision and Development regulations, Municipal Development Plan, and Land Use Bylaw only to name a few.

    The Town of Didsbury may require large parcels to undergo an Area Structure Plan prior to proceeding with a subdivision application.  Pending receipt of all required documents, a completed application form and meeting all regulations, you may be able to subdivide your property.  Please contact the Planning and Infrastructure department at 403.335.3391 to arrange a meeting to discuss your project further.

  28. I want to start a business and run it out of my home.  Do I need permits?

    A home occupation development permit is required to operate a business out of your home.  Depending on the scope of the business (office in the home only versus a full operation) may require more or less information to be provided.

    Upon an approved home occupation development permit (and a successful appeal period), a yearly business license will also have to be maintained with the Town of Didsbury.

  29. How do I know where my property line is?

    Only a legal land surveyor can tell you where your property line is.  An Alberta Land Surveyor, once hired, can survey your property and provide you with documentation (see question #9) and tell you where your property line is and where any buildings on the property are in accordance to those property lines.

  30. Do I require a permit to install a wood burning stove?

    A development permit is not required for a residential area for a solid fuel burning appliance installed inside the dwelling; however, a building permit is required. A development permit and building permit are required for installation of a solid fuel burning appliance in a commercial or industrial district (inside or outside) or outside in a residential district.

  31. My neighbour’s fence is on my property.  Can the Town make him move it?

    The placement of a fence is not regulated by the Town of Didsbury.  Upon a legal land survey, it will show exact placement of the fence.  This matter is of a civil nature and if it cannot be worked out between your neighbour and yourself, you may have to get legal advice.
 
 Do you have a question that hasn’t been answered here?  Please send your inquiries to planning@didsbury.ca.  Please make note that you checked the FAQ’s on the website so we know to add your question/answer.