Planning and Development Services has received several inquiries in the past few years from residents and landowners regarding the potential for developing an event venue on rural land in Strathcona County. An event venue is not currently a listed use in any of the rural zoning districts of the County’s Land Use Bylaw.
A rural event venue may fit within the objectives and policy of the County’s Municipal Development Plan (MDP) on the basis of it being oriented to agri-tourism or nature-based tourism in the Agriculture Large Holdings, Agriculture Small Holdings and Beaver Hills Policy Areas of the County. However, there are some land use challenges associated with this type of use, such as the size of venues, potential impacts on adjacent landowners (nuisance, traffic, etc.), provision of adequate servicing and so on (for a more detailed list, please see FAQs below).
If you are interested in discussing potential opportunity to develop a rural event venue on your property, please contact Planning and Development Services for more information.
1. What are some land use challenges associated with a rural event venue?Permanent link to What are some land use challenges associated with a rural event venue?
Land use considerations for a potential rural event venue that determine the scale and intensity of use as well as impact on adjacent landowners and County infrastructure include, but are not limited to:
- size of event venue buildings;
- frequency of events and hours of operation;
- provision of adequate on-site parking;
- provision of adequate servicing;
- number of patrons attending and the impacts including noise, light, or other nuisance impacts, particularly from any outdoor components of the events;
- increase in traffic;
- accessory uses such as overnight accommodation for event guests; and
- how it is directly associated with agri-tourism or nature-based tourism.
Agri-tourism means tourism with direct involvement between the tourist/consumer and the agricultural community.
What is nature-based tourism?
Nature-based tourism means any tourism activity/experience directly related to natural attractions or the natural environment whether for relaxation, discovery or adventure.
4. Where in the County can rural event venues be considered?Permanent link to Where in the County can rural event venues be considered?
In looking at whether a use could be added to the rural zoning districts, the County is guided by the direction and policies of the Municipal Development Plan (MDP) which is the County’s overarching policy document that guides land use.
Although the MDP directs new commercial development to urban areas, it does enable consideration of agri-tourism or nature-based tourism in three rural policy areas: the Agricultural Large Holdings Policy Area (ALHPA), the Agricultural Small Holdings Policy Area (ASHPA), and the Beaver Hills Policy Area (BHPA), as shown on this map.
5. What is the intent of the Agriculture Large Holdings Policy Area (ALHPA)?Permanent link to What is the intent of the Agriculture Large Holdings Policy Area (ALHPA)?
The primary intent of the Agriculture Large Holdings Policy Area is to support and promote the development of extensive agricultural operations on large un-fragmented lands and to provide for limited commercial and residential uses that support these operations.
6. What is the intent of the Agriculture Small Holdings Policy Area (ASHPA)?Permanent link to What is the intent of the Agriculture Small Holdings Policy Area (ASHPA)?
The primary intent of the Agriculture Small Holdings Policy Area is to allow for opportunities such as agricultural operations, small scale commercial and associated residential that supports the agricultural viability of the area.
7. What is the intent of the Beaver Hills Policy Area (BHPA)?Permanent link to What is the intent of the Beaver Hills Policy Area (BHPA)?
Conservation of the Beaver Hills Moraine is the primary intent of the Beaver Hills Policy Area. The area is also intended to support agricultural operations, recreation, tourism and limited rural residential.
8. What are some potential costs I should be aware of if I want to develop a rural event venue in Strathcona County?Permanent link to What are some potential costs I should be aware of if I want to develop a rural event venue in Strathcona County?
Costs to an applicant that may be necessary to achieve an event venue in the rural area include, but are not limited to:
- Alberta Building Code requirements (designing a building for public/assembly occupancy, provision of fire water, washrooms, etc.);
- provision of adequate on-site parking;
- site specific improvements to public roadways;
- provision of adequate waste and sewage disposal on site;
- preparation of technical studies (such as, but not limited to, geotechnical studies, Agricultural Impact Assessments, biophysical assessments and traffic impact assessments);
- mitigation of potential nuisance impacts from a venue;
- public engagement; and
- Land Use Bylaw amendment and permitting application fees (including but not limited to the creation of a site-specific Direct Control Zoning District and associated rezoning of the subject property).
In addition to a potential Land Use Bylaw amendment application, development permit and Safety Code permits (building, electrical, plumbing, gas) as required would need to be approved for any proposed event venue. In this regard, it is recommended that proponents discuss their proposal with a County Safety Codes Officer to determine potential costs of meeting the Alberta Building Code for an event venue use in the rural area as these may be significant.
9. What if I want to use an existing building for a rural event venue?Permanent link to What if I want to use an existing building for a rural event venue?
In addition to any amendments to the Land Use Bylaw that would be required to allow for this, existing structures (such as barns, storage buildings, etc.) may require significant improvements to meet applicable building and fire codes to allow for public/assembly occupancy. In some cases, the infrastructure required to support a rural event venue use (water, wastewater, fire water) would not be available and private on-site systems (which may be costly) would have to be constructed to accommodate the use.
Land Development Planning
Last updated: Thursday, December 29, 2022
Page ID: 51146