Area structure plans

Created by the City of Medicine Hat, area structure plans (ASP) are a part of the land development process. ASPs guide the land development for a specific area within the city.

View all adopted Area Structure Plans on the Plans, Reports and Studies page

  • The purpose of an area structure plan (ASP) is to refine and implement the City’s broad planning objectives of the Municipal Development Plan (MDP) and other policies by promoting logical, compatible, and sustainable development.
  • It also guides land use, subdivision and development decisions that collectively determine the form the plan area will take. This will include land uses, transportation systems, population and jobs, intensity, the sequence of development, and the provision of essential services and facilities.
  • The intent of the City preparing the ASP is to provide coordination among developers. The Municipal Government Act Section 633(2) states that an ASP must describe the following:
    • The sequence of development proposed for the area;
    • The land uses proposed for the area, either generally or with respect to specific parts of the area;
    • The density of population proposed for the area either generally or with respect to specific parts of the area;
    • The general location of major transportation routes and public utilities; and
    • It may contain any other matters, including matters relating to reserves, as the council considers necessary.
  • Area structure plans are developed by the City of Medicine Hat’s Planning and Development Services department.
  • As part of the ASP preparation, the City will conduct background research, and seek consultation with various City departments, landowners, adjacent landowners, the general public, affected stakeholder groups, and neighboring municipalities (if applicable).
  • Consultation will occur at various points throughout the planning process.
  • ASPs are presented to the Municipal Planning Commission for recommendation to City Council.
  • City Council adopts the statutory plan through a bylaw.
  • The process of ASP creation and adoption can take approximately 12 months.
Plan contents
An area structure plan will identify through a development concept:
  • the proposed general land uses and overall density across the ASP area;
  • major roadways (i.e. arterial and collector) and trail system alignment and connectivity;
  • design of major city servicing infrastructure,
  • joint use sites for schools and recreation facilities (if applicable);
  • major neighborhood parks, linear park corridors, and natural areas;
  • environmentally sensitive areas (classified as either environmental reserves or conservation reserves); and
  • city facilities or other special use areas.
Supporting documents and reports

In addition to the components noted above, the preparation of an ASP will be accompanied by high-level reports for the following items:


Traffic impact assessment (TIA)
  • Required for assessing potential impacts of traffic generated by a proposed development to the surrounding transportation system. The TIA generally includes a description of the scope and intensity of the proposed project, a summary of the projected impacts and any required improvements to ensure that the roadway facilities can safely accommodate the proposed development.
  • The goal is to ensure that the transportation system will operate safely and efficiently within the design horizon of the study.
Servicing strategy
  • Area structure plan servicing strategy: Required to inform the high-level engineering servicing design for an area structure plan. The servicing strategy includes trunk or backbone servicing for sanitary sewerage, waterworks, storm drainage systems, shallow utilities and their connection points to extension of existing adjacent utilities.
    • Note: at the time of an outline plan, a developer will be required to prepare an overall engineering layout in the form of an amendment to the FSR and provide any other engineering reports that the City requires. These will be at the developer’s expense. 
Financial impact assessment (FIA)

A financial impact assessment (FIA) is required to determine anticipated financial implications of the proposed development. This assessment must include the following information:

  • Municipal infrastructure capital construction costs, ongoing maintenance costs, and replacement costs (annualized over the life of the infrastructure);
  • Land absorption forecast, including net yearly amounts; and
  • Estimated assessment base and expected tax revenue upon full build-out of the proposed development.

An FIA evaluates the long-term fiscal impacts of a plan area, and ensures that future development within the City of Medicine Hat is financially sustainable.

Environmental site assessment (ESA)
  • The City will have a phase 1 environmental site assessment completed at the time of the area structure plan preparation.
  • Should a phase 2 environmental site assessment or any further assessments be required, this will be required at the outline plan stage and at the expense of the developer.
Biophysical inventory
  • To document existing physical environmental conditions, identify physical constraints to future development (such as wetlands, excessive slopes and riparian areas), identify key environmental and natural features.
  • To recommend mitigations to uphold the form and function of the key environmental and natural features of the ASP area.
Historical Resources Act approval (HRIA)
  • The City will consult with Alberta Culture and Tourism and the Historical Resources Act regarding clearance for future development within an ASP area. HRIA may be required at the outline plan stage if development activity may impact any historic resources.
    • The developer is responsible for the cost of preparing an HRIA.
What follows an area structure plan?
Following adoption of an ASP, a developer will prepare an outline plan, providing additional details that are required for a fully developing a neighborhood. To ensure a logical sequence of development, City Council must approve an ASP prior to the commencement of an outline plan and any development occurring.

See entire planning and land development process

Land development process