Skip to content

Canmore direct control districts to see potential development authority change

“That’s really not the level of decision-making council should be concerned with,”

CANMORE – A series of direct control districts in Canmore could switch development authority from the planning commission and council to the Town’s planning department.

Canmore council gave first reading to a proposed amendment – which will see a public hearing take place March 5 – for eight direct control districts.

A staff report highlighted the swap in who has final say in development decisions would improve the speed of any development proposal brought forward for the districts.

“As this council has seen, we’ve had presentations come forward with respect to the high school that really slows things down because it has to wait for a council meeting, be prepared for an agenda when it really could’ve been approved by the development officer had authority been granted,” said Mayor Sean Krausert.

He further noted council previously decided on an application for a deck earlier in its term due to it being in a direct control district under council’s authority.

“That’s really not the level of decision-making council should be concerned with,” he said.

Council previously gave direction last year for staff to return for options for possibly removing council and planning commission as development authorities in certain direct control districts.

In Canmore’s land use bylaw, there are 42 direct control districts.

According to a staff report, 25 of those would need text amendments to have the development authority switched to Town staff from the planning commission or council. The remaining 17 don’t need text amendments, with Town staff already the development authority or the main development in a district.

The report noted Town staff would return in two separate requests for amendments for the remaining 17 districts later this year.

It added other districts would likely need more engagement with developers and the public before being brought forward.

Harry Shnider, a senior development planner with the Town, said municipal staff are in the process of speaking with property owners in the Silvertip area. He added they’ll also be doing the same in Spring Creek Mountain Village for future potential direct control district changes as well as Three Sisters Mountain Village area in the spring.

Of the districts, the most recent to be brought to its development authority was in December when council approved a development permit for Canadian Rockies Public Schools (CRPS) to explore a second floor addition to Canmore Collegiate High School. The project, if CRPS chooses to move forward, could see a new classroom and multi-purpose room added.

In the Silvertip district, three separate applications from 1 Silvertip Trail were heard from planning commission last year ranging from excavation, stripping and grading of the land; changes to multiple outdoor signage; and exterior renovations.

Council previously authorized changes to the planning commission in applications it could hear such as variances to community architectural urban design standards, proposed variances between 11 and 20 per cent not specified in a direct control district and applications to amend previous planning commission decisions.

The staff report stated any development decision from Town staff can be appealed at Subdivision and Development Appeal Board, while council decisions are final.

“If we’re going to devolve the authority process and authority responsibility down to the development officer, we need to have a mechanism of appeal if an applicant or an affected party adjacent to the development doesn’t agree with what the development officer has approved or refused,” Shnider said.

According to the report, all property owners within 60 metres of the impacted districts were notified and eight queries were received ranging from the scope of the amendments, potential development or redevelopment being considered and employee housing.

The TC-1 Town Centre Creekside direct control district had employee housing as a permitted and discretionary use, which Town staff is recommending its removal.


  • Bridge Road Townhouse DC District (Canmore Planning Commission)
  • Canmore Collegiate School DC District (council)
  • Civic Centre DC District (council)
  • Mallard Alley Guest House DC District (Canmore Planning Commission)
  • Seventh Street DC District (council)
  • Silvertip Trail DC District (Canmore Planning Commission)
  • Spray Village DC District (council)
  • TC-1 Town Centre Creekside DC District (council)
push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks