Development permits

Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option
Related info

Building & property information

Home improvement hub

Rezoning land

New house construction

Building a commercial space

Starting a business



Important terms

Development is a term used to generally define the following activities:

  • the subdivision of a parcel of land
  • the erection or replacement of a building / structure
  • the additions or repairs made to a building / structure
  • the change of use (or intensity of use) of a parcel of land, a building or a structure
  • the demolition of a building / structure

Land use district: A land use designation is assigned to all parcels of land within the City. It describes uses that are either permitted or discretionary, as well as specific rules for these land use districts as explained in the Medicine Hat Land Use Bylaw.

For maps and specific information on each land use district in Medicine Hat, see Zoning and Land Use.


A Development Permit is a written approval issued by the City of Medicine Hat to confirm that the proposed development meets the requirements of the City's Land Use Bylaw and all statutory planning documents.

A Development Permit may stipulate some of the following conditions: the allowed use of the property, intensity of that use, building height, building site coverage, setbacks from property lines and other other buildings, and parking requirements.

A Development Permit (DP) allows a specific type of development on a specific parcel of land in the City to proceed according to the Medicine Hat Land Use Bylaw. DPs are issued by the City's Planning staff.

A Building Permit (BP) allows construction of a building or other structure to proceed on condition of compliance with the Alberta Building Code which addresses building and fire safety. BPs are issued by the City's Safety Codes Officers.

A development permit (DP) is required for most forms of development within the City.

DPs allow the City to ensure that a development does not infringe on the rights of neighbours or other affected people, and that it complies with the Land Use Bylaw.

You are required to have a valid DP before you can apply for a building permit to construct a building or structure, or to apply for a business license.

Types of projects requiring a development permit:

  Construction of a home or other building
  Construction of garage, deck or large shed
  Relocation of any building
  Placement of a manufactured home
  Some building demolitions
  Occupation of a commercial building
  Some business relocations
  Start of a home-based business
  Addition of a sign
  Increasing the size of a sign, or changing the type of sign
  Change in use of a building or parcel of land (to a Discretionary use)
  Change in intensity of use of a building or parcel of land
  Certain types of renovations
  Fences more than 2.0m high
  Retaining walls more than 0.6m high

(Not a complete list)

Certain projects may not require a development permit if they comply with all applicable development regulations and other requirements of the Land Use Bylaw. These are listed in section 2.2 of the Land Use Bylaw. However, it is best to check with us first regarding your plans, rather than making an assumption which may be costly to you.

Planning & Development Services
2nd floor, Medicine Hat City Hall
580 1st Street SE
Phone 403-529-8374

You can also find information about permits needed for specific residential developments by visiting the Home Improvement Hub.

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 discretionary, 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.

All development permit applications must meet the land use regulations of the property, such as allowable activities, lot dimensions, lot area, etc. The Land Use Bylaw (PDF) outlines the uses and development regulations of a particular zone. See specifics in Zoning and Land Use.

The City's Planning staff will help you through the process. Phone 403-529-8374.

All land in the City of Medicine Hat is assigned a land use (zoning) designation. Within each type of district, land uses can be permitted, prohibited or discretionary. For maps and specific information on each land use district, see Zoning and Land Use

Permitted use:

  Indicates that a land use (eg. retail store) is allowed within a land use district (eg. Regional Commercial 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.

Prohibited use:

•  Indicates that a land use is not allowed within a land use district.

What if I can't meet one of the regulations?

  You have the opportunity to apply for a variance on development permit applications. However, you cannot apply for a use that is prohibited.
  Depending on the variance requested, the application may be considered by a Planning/Development Officer or by the Municipal Planning Commission.
  You also have the opportunity to apply for a Land Use Bylaw amendment in which you could request to change a specific regulation, land use, or the land use district for a parcel of land. 

See below: After you have submitted an application.


Changing a business location

If you operate a business and intend to be relocating, you may not need a Development Permit if:

  The type of business is a Permitted Use in that Land Use District; and
  There will be no increase in the gross floor area; and
  There is no change of use from the previous occupant (example: staying as a retail store); and
  There will be no additional exterior signage, nor changes to the size of existing signage.

If all these conditions are met, it is likely a Development Permit will not be required. However, your first steps are to apply for a Business License and a Change of Tenancy. A Safety Codes Officer will also review your application to determine if you need an Occupancy Permit, to ensure compliance with public safety regulations and that the City's records are updated. Please allow 7-10 business days to process these applications.

Apply online


Please review these user guides before you apply online:
icon_PDFUser Guide for ePermit (Development Permit)
icon_PDFUser Guide for ePermit (Business License)


Apply in person

You can print the application form you need, complete it and visit Planning & Development Services. Or just drop by and we will assist you.

  Business License (PDF)

  Change of Tenancy / Zoning Review Application (PDF)

  Occupancy Permit Application (PDF)

Application fees are payable when you apply. Therefore, applicants will typically pay in person at the counter of Planning & Development Services. The City accepts payments in cash, cheques and debit (not credit cards). See Fee Schedule.

Planning & Development Services
2nd floor, Medicine Hat City Hall
580 1st Street SE
Phone 403.529.8374

  For related information on changing property addressing or adding unit numbers to a property, visit Building and Property Information.

  To learn about the businesses allowed in various districts in the city, visit Zoning and Land Use.

  For information about starting a new business, visit Starting a New Business.




Please review this user guide before you apply online:
icon_PDFUser Guide for ePermit (Development Permits)


In person

icon_PDFDevelopment Permit Application

Follow the applicable checklist  for your specific development permit application. Each required form must be printed, completed and submitted in person with the plans and other requirements to:

Planning & Development Services
2nd Floor, Medicine Hat City Hall
580 1st Street SE

There is a fee associated with a DP application, payable when you submit your application.
See Fee schedule.

TIP: Prior to formally submitting your application, consider a pre-application meeting. You have the option to meet with a Planning or Development Officer to discuss your proposal and identify any major obstacles or opportunities. These meetings are not for general inquiries. The applicant must have a proposal ready to present. Pre-application meetings can be requested by contacting Planning & Development Services at 403-529-8374.

After you have submitted your application, we will contact you for missing information or further clarification, if necessary. However, this will delay your application, so it's important that your information is accurate and thorough.

Not sure which forms you need, or have other questions?
We are here to help! Call 403-529-8374.

Permit review

A Planning or Development Officer is assigned to each development permit and will be the file manager for the duration of the application. The file manager will conduct a thorough review of the application to ensure it is complete. If the application is deemed to be incomplete the applicant will be contacted. The review cannot continue until all required paperwork has been submitted. 

Once the application is deemed to be complete, a comprehensive review of the permit application will be completed by the file manager. Part of this review will be a Land Use Bylaw check to ensure the application meets all bylaw requirements. If there are any discrepancies, the applicant will be contacted by the file manager. 


Commercial applications or complex residential applications are circulated to a variety of affected City departments for review. Departments are given 14 days to respond. 


After your development permit has been approved it will be released. If you (the applicant) have signed the Voluntary Waiver of Claims and the building permit has been released construction can begin, even if the appeal period is not completed. 

Application refusal

If the application has been refused by the development authority, the applicant has 14 calendar days from the notification of the decision to appeal the refusal.
For information on the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board and filing an appeal, visit appeals.

What is the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board?

It is a board comprised of City Council representatives and public members who hear subdivision and development appeals from people in the community, and make decisions on those appeals.


The public notification of approved development permits are advertised in the Medicine Hat News. All approved permits are advertised. Interested parties are given two weeks to appeal the approval of discretionary uses or permitted uses through the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board. For information on the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board and filing an appeal, visit appeals.

Viewing plans

Plans for active or completed projects are available to the public. You may contact Planning & Development Services to view the plans at 403-502-8038 or, or come to the department on the second floor of City Hall.

After a Development Permit is approved by The City, the applicant has twelve months from the date the Development Permit was issued to commence development. The issue date can be found on the permit documents. If significant construction has not begun by this date, a new application, including full application fees, will be required to move forward with the development.

If a Building Permit requires an extension, there must be a separate application submitted.