Zoning and land use

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What is a Land Use Bylaw?

A Land Use Bylaw is required for every municipality in Alberta as per the requirements in the Municipal Government Act. This includes the division of the municipality into land use districts (zones).

The City of Medicine Hat's Land Use Bylaw (4168) has been in effect since August 6, 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.

icon_PDFLand Use Bylaw (entire document)


Click section to see detailed land use map. (Maps overlap).

 MH_LUB-keymap2017-sm north northwest northeast west east central southwest southeast

1 - North

2 - Northwest

3 - Northeast

4 - West

5 - Central

6 - East

7 - Southwest

8 - Southeast

icon_PDFView larger overall map

 


Examples of types of land uses include a detached house, a retail store, a school, a factory or a restaurant. Each land use district has certain land uses that are permitted, others are conditional upon approval, and some uses are prohibited.

If, for example, you are planning to construct a building, start a business, undertake renovations or redevelopment, erect a sign, or establish a secondary suite, then the types of land uses allowed within the district will directly affect your plans. The City's Planning staff will help you through the process. See Development Permits.

Land Use Bylaw amendments: To change the land use designation of a specific parcel of land, an application must be made to amend the Land Use Bylaw. See rezoning land.



Permitted use

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

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.

 

 
TYPES OF LAND USE DISTRICTS
The list below provides an overview of land use designations, and the types of development they are intended for.

 


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 (PDF)

 

Medium Density Residential District (R-MD)

Permitted uses: townhouses, single detached houses*, duplexes*and secondary suites*.
Discretionary uses: apartments, garages and home occupations.
*provided they legally existed on a site as of January 1, 2015.
See Land Use Bylaw section 6.3 (PDF)



Mixed Use District (MU)

Permitted uses: retail and consumer services, business and professional offices, business support services, hotels, restaurants, markets, education institutions, government services, health care facilities, health care offices, community centres, places of worship, cultural facilities, clubs, places of amusement, day care facilities, live-work residences and artist studios.
Discretionary uses: drive-through services, motor vehicle/RV sales, motor vehicle gas stations, motor vehicle service stations, parking facilities, self-storage facilities, greenhouse & garden centres, animal services, bars, industrial support services*, industrial operations*, garages, apartments, townhouses, duplexes, single detached houses, backyard suites, home occupations and accessory uses.
*provided they legally existed on a site as of January 1, 2016.
See Land Use Bylaw section 7.1 (PDF)

 

Downtown Mixed Use District (MU-D)

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



Neighbourhood Commercial District (C-N)

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

 

Regional Commercial District (C-R)

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

 

Highway Commercial District (C-H)

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



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, government services, funeral establishments, parking facilities, greenhouse & garden centres and animal services.
Discretionary uses: renewable energy, retail and consumer services, markets, drive-through services, hotels, motels, restaurants, business and professional offices, health care facilities, health care offices, education institutions, community centres, cultural facilities, clubs, bars, places of amusement, recreation facilities, gaming establishments, artist studios and accessory uses.
See Land Use Bylaw Section 9.1 (PDF)

 

General Industrial District (I-G)

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

 

Heavy Industrial District (I-H)

Permitted uses: industrial operations, industrial support services, renewable energy, resource extraction, motor vehicle service stations, government services, self-storage facilities and salvage facilities.
Discretionary uses: greenhouse & garden centres, special outdoor recreation, developments employing industrial processes that use hydrocarbons as feedstock and accessory uses.
See Land Use Bylaw Section 9.3 (PDF)



Historic Clay District (HC)

Permitted uses: industrial operations (ceramic, clay & brick industries only), greenhouse & garden centres, community centres, government services, cultural facilities, education institutions, clubs, live-work residences and artist studios.
Discretionary uses: retail and consumer services, restaurants, markets, business and professional offices, hotels, places of worship, recreation facilities, places of amusement, day care facilities, single detaches houses, duplexes, townhouses, apartments, home occupations, garages and accessory uses.
See Land Use Bylaw Section 10.1 (PDF)

 

Community Services District (CS)

Permitted uses: government services, education institutions, health care facilities, health care offices, business and professional offices, community centres, cultural facilities, places of worship, day care facilities, recreation facilities, clubs and artist studios.
Discretionary uses: apartments, townhouses, home occupations, garages and accessory uses.
See Land Use Bylaw Section 10.2 (PDF)

 

Open Space District (OS)

Permitted uses: recreation facilities and government services.
Discretionary uses: campgrounds and accessory uses.
See Land Use Bylaw Section 10.3 (PDF)

 

Utilities District (U)

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

 

Airport District (A) 

Permitted uses: airport related facilities and services, industrial operations (aircraft & aerospace industries), retail and consumer services, markets, business and professional offices, business support services, hotels, motels, restaurants, motor vehicle gas stations, motor vehicle service stations, education institutions, government services, health care facilities, health care offices, community centres, places of worship, cultural facilities, clubs, recreation facilities, places of amusement and parking facilities.
Discretionary uses: industrial operations, industrial support services, drive-through services, bars, gaming establishments, motor vehicle/RV sales, self storage facilities, greenhouse & garden centres and accessory uses.
See Land Use Bylaw Section 10.5 (PDF)

 

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.
Discretionary uses: agricultural uses, greenhouses & garden centres, animal services, renewable energy, resource extraction, self storage facilities, home occupations, garages, backyard suites, secondary suites and accessory uses.
See Land Use Bylaw Section 10.6 (PDF)

 

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 (PDF)