Main page content begins here

All land development plans must conform to the policies and strategies of the Municipal Development Plan (MDP). Any development or plan that does not comply will be refused.

The MDP can be amended if Council passes a bylaw amendment. Prior to second reading of the bylaw, City Council must hold a public hearing to provide an opportunity for those affected by the amendment to comment.

If you need to amend a plan, the City of Edmonton's Development Services has a web-based application process. This online application process requires a new user to create an online account. This account will require a login and, after the login, you will be able to monitor the progress of your application online. Please navigate to the LDA page for more information.

Area Structure Plans

Area Structure Plans (ASPs) lay out an area's long-term development plan. ASPs generally cover areas of at least 200 hectares, unless Council specifies a smaller area, and provides a framework for the development of several neighbourhoods. They generally apply to new developing suburban areas.

Area Structure Plans and Neighbourhood Area Structure Plans (NASPs) identify where residential, commercial, institutional and recreational development will be located and how essential municipal services such as water, sewer systems, arterial and collector roads, schools, parks and fire protection will be provided. These plans also estimate the number of people that are expected to live in the new area and how development will be staged over time.

ASPs must be in place before a landowner develops a new suburban neighbourhood. If no such ASP exists, the landowner who owns the majority of the undeveloped land must request City Council's permission to prepare an ASP/NASP.

This request is reviewed by Land Use Planning & Environment of Sustainable Development and various civic departments to determine whether or not the proposals should be supported. Administration's report and the applicant's written request must advise Council how proposed development will meet MDP objectives and policies, and what the future land uses will be. Any potential problem areas must also be identified. Council will decide if they wish to authorize the landowners to prepare a plan.

The Terms of Reference for the preparation of ASPs are approved by Council and provide the developer/land owner(s) with a detailed listing of submission requirements. This listing for both residential and industrial ASPs is available from Sustainable Development.


Though ASPs are a general statement about future land uses in a new area, developers must thoroughly research their development plans and incorporate adequate servicing into the plan.

Developers must demonstrate to Council the impact their proposals will have on the existing area, on neighbouring communities and on other parts of Edmonton. They must be able to forecast the number of people who will reside and work in the area and the number of children likely to be attending schools.

They must have studied the drainage basins to determine sewer requirements and they must propose how private vehicles, public transit, bicycle and pedestrian traffic will access and move within the area. Other considerations include development staging and a broad range of community and recreation services and facilities.

Once an ASP has been prepared, the applicant submits it to Sustainable Development for review. The review considers the Plan's conformity to Council planning policies and bylaws, servicing requirements, standards and costs, and the need for additional neighbourhoods. Discussion and negotiation with the applicant ensures that the owner's development aspirations and the interest of the City are met.

Public input is solicited through mailed notices and through public meeting(s). Once matters are resolved, the department prepares a Bylaw for City Council's consideration. Following a public hearing, Council considers the plan for adoption as a bylaw. The ASP approval process generally takes from four to six months or longer, depending on the complexity of issues.

From time to time it is necessary to amend an ASP. The amendment process resembles the ASP approval process and the landowner who owns the majority of land must provide a written request to Council, justifying the amendment in terms of MDP objectives and policies and within the context of the approved ASP.


Neighbourhood Structure Plan

In some new suburban areas of the city, Neighbourhood Area Structure Plans (NASPs) have been prepared (i. e. Burnewood, Twin Brooks, Haddow, Hodgson, and Terwillegar Towne) which encompass one or two neighbourhoods, but nevertheless met all the requirements for preparing ASPs. NASPs generally comply with non-statutory large-scale plans for new suburban areas such as Servicing Concept Design Briefs or old district outline plans.

Area Redevelopment Plans

The legal basis for the preparation of Area Redevelopment Plans (ARPs) is set out in the Municipal Government Act. ARPs are mostly applied to areas within the inner city, although the North Saskatchewan River Valley ARP Bylaw applies to the entire river valley and ravine system throughout the city.

An ARP may designate an area (i. e. a single neighbourhood or group of neighbourhoods) for the purpose of:

  • Preservation or improvement of land and buildings
  • Rehabilitation of buildings
  • Removal of buildings and/or their reconstruction or replacement
  • The relocation and rehabilitation of utilities and services

ARPs are generally prepared by Land Use Planning & Environment of Sustainable Development staff, who undertake extensive public and neighbourhood consultation. City Council is the deciding authority on the adoption of all ARP Bylaws.

The public has the opportunity to comment through committees, public meetings, open houses, surveys and other mechanisms. During plan approval, City Council must hold a public hearing prior to second reading of the bylaw so that the public an advise Council directly on the plan.

ARPs are generally comprehensive in their nature and scope and address the following topics:

  • Land use and physical development patterns
  • Urban design
  • Physical infrastructure
  • Accommodation of growth and decline
  • Social and community development
  • Transportation facilities
  • Community facilities such as schools, parks and open spaces
  • Historical preservation
  • Environmental protection (i.e. the North Saskatchewan River Valley ARP Bylaw)
  • The ASP process can take up to 18 to 24 months to complete, depending on the geographic scope, complexity of the physical planning and socio-economic issues.

Servicing Concept Design Brief

A Servicing Concept Design Brief (SCDB) contains most of the elements of an ASP. It also states the City's pro-active, forward-thinking position on the placement of major land use developments, such as municipal and school facilities. The SCDB establishes a general framework for municipal infrastructure, servicing, planning and development and environmental requirements and is generally applied to an undeveloped suburban area considered to be an integrated planning unit.

Neighbourhood Area Structure Plans (NASPs) are prepared for smaller areas within the SCDB to facilitate development of individual neighbourhoods. All SCDBs and NASPs must conform to the Municipal Development Plan (MDP).

The SCDB helps the city implement the Capital Priorities Plan (CPP) by identifying the highest priority needs. Landowners and developers are also provided with certainty about the City's intent to provide services.

City Council may authorize the preparation of an SCDB for any area of the City where municipal servicing requirements must be defined well in advance of anticipated development. City Council may adopt an SCDB by simple resolution.

SCDBs are prepared by the civic administration with Sustainable Development taking a lead role. SCDBs can also be prepared by city administration, qualified urban planners, municipal engineers and environmental consultants.

Although SCDBs are non-statutory plans, there are certain administrative and technical advantages inherent in their adoption, such as:

  • Non-statutory approval allows substantial flexibility with respect to unanticipated and innovative types of development, land use patterns and servicing concepts/techniques
  • Due to their adoption by resolution of Council and their inherent flexibility, SCDBs may not need to be amended in the light of new technical information, market uncertainty, differing landowners aspirations and other circumstances which may affect timing and phasing of development
  • As declared policy of Council, SCDBs will be recognized by all civic departments and agencies
  • Processing timelines are likely to be less than those associated with the conventional statutory ASP process, particularly if there are disagreements among landowners and developers and uncertainties in defining City servicing requirements
  • Ongoing input by owners, developers and the public is facilitated
  • "Fixed" statutory land use planning only needs to be undertaken for smaller neighbourhood cells using the normal NASP, redistricting and subdivision process.

The SCDB is one non-statutory planning approach that can be taken. Corridor studies, site specific master plans and land use studies may also be used. These non-statutory plans can be prepared at the option of the City of Edmonton. Examples of such non-statutory plans include the Calgary Trail Land Use Study, the 100 Avenue Corridor Study and the CP Land Master Plan.

SCDB Process

Neighbourhood Structure Plans

Neighbourhood Structure Plans (NSPs) are detailed sub-plans within an Area Structure Plan (ASP). NSPs apply to areas that affect between 4,000 to 7,000 people.

The NSP specifies in greater detail the general pattern for subdivisions by designating land uses by type, size, and location, the transportation network (including local roads), location and size of neighbourhood facilities and staging of development. NSP bylaws are adopted by City Council as amendments to ASPs.

NSPs are usually prepared by the land owners/developers and submitted to Sustainable Development for review. The review considers the plans conformity to the ASP, Council policies, servicing requirements, standards and costs, and the need for the neighbourhood to meet housing forecasts. The plan's content is often negotiated to ensure the City and developer's needs and desires are met.

Terms of Reference approved by Council provide developers/land owners with a detailed listing of submission requirements for NSPs.

The entire plan approval process usually takes four to six months or longer, depending on the complexity of planning issues.

Neighbourhood Structure Plans (NSPs) should not be confused with Neighbourhood Area Structure Plans (NASPs). Neighbourhood Area Structure Plans are small-scale Area Structure Plans applying to one or two neighbourhoods. NSPs provide a greater level of detail for one neighbourhood within the context of an ASP.

NSP process

For More Information

Planning Coordination




End of page content. Please choose between the following five options:

Back to main menu Back to current page menu and content View current page breadcrumb Back to site search Continue to page footer content