Zoning

The City of Medicine Hat's Land Use Bylaw has been in effect since 2013.

It outlines the rules and regulations for development of land in Medicine Hat for each district (zone) as well as the process of making decisions for Development Permit applications.

Use types

Permitted use

Indicates that a land use is allowed within a land use district. A City Planning or Development Officer must approve an application for a permitted use; therefore a Development Permit is still required. Conditions may be attached to the permit.

Discretionary use

Indicates a land use may be allowed after due consideration is given to the impact of that use upon neighbouring land. The Planning or Development Officer may approve the application with or without conditions, may refuse the application with rationale, or may refer the application to the Municipal Planning Commission, who may approve or deny it.


Land use districts

Residential

Low Density Residential District (R-LD)

Permitted uses: single detached houses and duplexes.
Discretionary uses: garages, backyard suites, secondary suites, cluster housing and home occupations.
See Land Use Bylaw section 6.2.

Medium Density Residential District (R-MD)

Permitted uses: multiple unit residential developments, single detached houses*, duplexes* and secondary suites*.
Discretionary uses: apartments, duplexes, secondary suites, backyard suites, garages, home occupations and live-work residences.

*provided they legally existed on a site as of January 1, 2015.
See Land Use Bylaw section 6.3.

Difference between Apartment and Multiple Unit Residential Development:

Apartment: A building that contains 3 or more dwellings, a common entrance for the dwellings to the exterior and an internal hallway system.

Multiple Unit Residential Development: A development consisting of one or more buildings containing three or more dwellings, with each dwelling having its own separate and direct entrance to the exterior.

Mixed Use

Mixed Use District (MU)

Permitted uses: retail and consumer services, business and professional offices, business support services, restaurants, government services, health care facilities, health care offices and day care facilities.
Discretionary uses: animal services, apartments, artist studios, backyard suites, bars, clubs, community centres, cultural facilities, duplexes, drive-through services, education institutions, garages, garden centres, home occupations, hotels, industrial support services* or industrial operations*, live-work residences, markets, motor vehicle and RV sales, motor vehicle gas stations, motor vehicle service stations, multiple unit residential developments, parking facilities, places of amusement, places of worship, recreation facilities, secondary suites, self-storage facilities, single detached houses and accessory uses.

*provided they legally existed on a site as of January 1, 2016.
See Land Use Bylaw section 7.1.

Downtown Mixed Use District (MU-D)

Permitted uses: retail and consumer services, business and professional offices, business support services, restaurants, government services, health care facilities, health care offices and day care facilities.
Discretionary uses: animal services, apartments, artist studios, bars, clubs, community centres, cultural facilities, education institutions, garages, home occupations, hotels, live-work residences, markets, multiple unit residential developments, parking facilities, places of amusement, places of worship, recreation facilities, supervised consumption sites and accessory uses.
See Land Use Bylaw section 7.2.

Commercial

Neighbourhood Commercial District (C-N)

Permitted uses: retail and consumer services, business and professional offices, restaurants, government services, health care offices and day care facilities.
Discretionary uses: animal services, apartments, artist studios, bars, business support services, clubs, community centres, cultural facilities, drive-through services, live-work residences, motor vehicle gas stations, motor vehicle service stations, multiple unit residential developments, places of amusement, places of worship, recreation facilities and accessory uses.
See Land Use Bylaw section 8.1.

Regional Commercial District (C-R)

Permitted uses: retail and consumer services, business and professional offices, business support services, restaurants, government services, health care facilities, health care offices and day care facilities.
Discretionary uses: animal services, artist studios, bars, clubs, community centres, cultural facilities, drive-through services, educational institutions, gaming establishments, garden centres, hotels, markets, motor vehicle and RV sales, motor vehicle gas stations, motor vehicle service stations, parking facilities, places of amusement, places of worship, recreation facilities and accessory uses.
See Land Use Bylaw Section 8.2.

Highway Commercial District (C-H)

Permitted uses: business and professional offices, business support services, day care facilities, government services, health care facilities, health care offices, motor vehicle and RV sales, motor vehicle gas stations, motor vehicle service stations, restaurants, retail and consumer services.
Discretionary uses: animal services, artist studios, bars, clubs, community centres, cultural facilities, drive-through services, education institutions, funeral establishments, gaming establishments, garden centres, hotels, markets, motels, parking facilities, places of amusement, places of worship, recreation facilities and accessory uses.
See Land Use Bylaw Section 8.3.

Industrial

Business Industrial District (I-B)

Permitted uses: industrial operations, industrial support services, motor vehicle/RV sales, motor vehicle gas stations, motor vehicle service stations, self-storage facilities, business support services and government services.
Discretionary uses: animal services, artist studios, bars, business and professional offices, clubs, community centres, cultural facilities, drive-through services, education institutions, funeral establishments, gaming establishments, garden centres, greenhouses, health care facilities, health care offices, hotels, markets, motels, parking facilities, places of amusement, recreation facilities, renewable energy, restaurants, retail and consumer services, self-storage facilities and accessory uses.
See Land Use Bylaw Section 9.1.

General Industrial District (I-G)

Permitted uses: industrial operations, industrial support services, motor vehicle/RV sales, motor vehicle gas stations, motor vehicle service stations and government services.
Discretionary uses: adult establishments, animal services, business support services, education institutions, funeral establishments, garden centres, greenhouses, markets, parking facilities, places of amusement, recreation facilities, renewable energy, restaurants, resource extraction, salvage facilities, self-storage facilities and accessory uses.
See Land Use Bylaw Section 9.2.

Heavy Industrial District (I-H)

Permitted uses: government services, industrial operations, industrial support services, motor vehicle service stations and self-storage facilities.
Discretionary uses: greenhouses, renewable energy, resource extraction, salvage facilities, developments employing industrial processes that use hydrocarbons as feedstock, and accessory uses.
See Land Use Bylaw Section 9.3.

Other

Historic Clay District (HC)

Permitted uses: business and professional offices, government services, and retail and consumer services.
Discretionary uses: apartments, artist studios, clubs, community centres, cultural facilities, day care facilities, duplexes, education institutions, garages, garden centres, greenhouses, home occupations, hotels, industrial operations, live work residences, markets, multiple unit residential developments, places of amusement, places of worship, recreation facilities, restaurants, single detached houses and accessory uses.
See Land Use Bylaw Section 10.1.

Community Services District (CS)

Permitted uses: government services, health care facilities, health care offices, day care facilities, business and professional offices.
Discretionary uses: apartments, artist studios, clubs, community centres, cultural facilities, education institutions, garages, home occupations, live work residences, multiple unit residential developments, places of worship, recreation facilities and accessory uses.
See Land Use Bylaw Section 10.2.

Open Space District (OS)

Permitted uses: recreation facilities and government services.
Discretionary uses: campgrounds, cemeteries, community centres, cultural facilities and accessory uses.
See Land Use Bylaw Section 10.3.

Utilities District (U)

Permitted uses: installation and/or construction of any large public utility infrastructure.
See Land Use Bylaw Section 10.4.

Airport District (A) 

Permitted uses: airport hangars, airport operations and facilities, parking facilities and protective services.
Discretionary uses: business & professional offices, business support services, clubs (aviation-related only), drive-through services, education institutions (aviation-related and may include temporary residential facilities), industrial operations (relating to storage or shipping of materials, goods or equipment only), government services, hotels, motor vehicle gas stations, motor vehicle rental services, restaurants, retail & consumer services, aviation-related research, testing or manufacturing, and accessory uses.
See Land Use Bylaw Section 10.5.

Future Urban Development District (FUD)

The purpose of this district is to protect lands identified as future greenfield development areas from premature subdivision and development.
Permitted uses: single detached houses that existed on the date of enactment of the Land Use Bylaw, regardless of whether they are non-conforming buildings or non-conforming uses.
Discretionary uses: agricultural uses, animal services, backyard suites, garages, garden centres, greenhouses, home occupations, renewable energy, resource extraction, secondary suites, self-storage facilities and accessory uses.
See Land Use Bylaw Section 10.6.

Direct Control District (DC)

The purpose of this district is to allow City Council to exercise particular control over the use and development of specific sites or buildings. DC designation is used to manage special one-of-a-kind situations which have unique characteristics.
See Land Use Bylaw Section 10.7.

Rezoning land

Rezoning is required if you wish to develop your site (engage in a land use) in a manner that is not allowed by the current zoning. If you are a property owner, or an agent acting on behalf of a property owner, and wish to rezone a property, the process is described below.

The rezoning of a property involves changing a portion of the Land Use Bylaw. Therefore, an application must be made to the City Clerk to amend the Land Use Bylaw. Applications will be referred by the City Clerk to the Municipal Planning Commission and the General Manager of Planning & Development Services for comments.

It's advisable to contact Planning & Development Services as a first step. A Planning or Development Officer can let you know whether the department will support or discourage the application, based on feasibility and potential impacts to the neighbouring properties. This is not an indication of the final decision of City Council, but it may provide you with a measure of guidance in whether you wish to continue forward with your application.

 

How to Apply

  1. Complete a Land Use Bylaw Amendment Application form;
  2. Write a short statement describing the reason for the application. Note:  If the application is for a redesignation to Direct Control District, provide written reasons why particular control should be exercised over the site and why another land use designation is not appropriate;
  3. If you are not the registered owner of the site, you must provide satisfactory evidence that the application is authorized by the registered owner;
  4. Have a copy of the Certificate of Title for the site, issued by a registry office less than 30 days before your application submission;
  5. Have a drawing of an appropriate scale showing: location of the site, its relationship to existing land uses and developments within 60 metres, and proposed zoning;
  6. Application fees are payable when you apply. 2021 rates: Rezoning $5,044.25; Text amendment or Direct Control rezoning $6,524.90.
  7. Submit your application (in person or by mail) to:

City Clerk
3rd floor - Medicine Hat City Hall
580 1st Street SE
Ph. 403-529-8220
Email City Clerk

While there is no official time limit to rezone a property, the total time may take between 4 to 12 months, depending upon the complexity of the application.

If the rezoning application is approved, you must still apply for a Development Permit to approve any new land use, and apply for a Building Permit to approve any new construction.

If City Council is of the opinion that the rezoning benefits the community at large, Council may direct that the application fee be returned to the applicant.