2024 Penalty Grace Period

Did You Know? Important Information About Accessory Buildings/Structures on Your Property

Did You Know? Important Information About Accessory Buildings/Structures on Your Property

Did you know that, with few exceptions, the accessory buildings/structures on your property require a development permit? The Municipality of Crowsnest Pass understand that many of our residents may not be aware of these requirements, and we want to provide you with important information that can help you come into and stay in compliance.

While permits may or may not be required for certain structures, this is not an enforcement campaign and instead the Municipality wants to empower you to take charge of your compliance during this grace period. It's entirely up to you to take advantage of this grace period for penalty fees by obtaining the necessary permits, ensuring your accessory buildings align with municipal standards.

The grace period serves as a window for residents to bring their structures into compliance without incurring penalties. Acting now means avoiding potential fines after June 30, 2024, should a compliance certificate request or other development application be submitted. We encourage you to seize this opportunity and contribute to a well-regulated community.

Understanding Accessory Buildings and Structures

An accessory building/structure is any building/structure that is detached from the principal building on the lot. This includes, but is not limited to, decks, flagpoles, communication antennas and their structures, outdoor washroom facilities, retaining walls, canvas or fabric covered structures, shipping containers used as an accessory building/structure, swimming pools, carports (even when attached to the principal building), detached garages, garden sheds, and hard-topped gazebo structures.

The focus of this information brochure is on sheds. For information on other types of accessory buildings/structures, please contact the Planning & Development Office.

Whether your accessory building/structure is on a permanent foundation or is movable, it may still require a development permit under certain conditions.

Here's the Scoop

  • One Accessory Building Under 10m² (108 sq. ft.): You don't need a development permit for one accessory building/structure per parcel, as long as it's smaller than 10 square meters (108 square feet), is not located in the front yard, meets all the setbacks, and complies with other development standards outlined in our bylaws.
  • Additional Accessory Buildings/Structures: However, if you already have an accessory building/structure, under 10m2 on your property, you will require a development permit for any additional accessory buildings/structures, regardless of their size or foundation type. For example, if you have a shed that is 5m2, you will require a development permit for a new shed or structure of any size, whether it's on a permanent foundation or is movable.

Why Development Permits for Accessory Buildings/Structures?

Development permits for accessory buildings/structures are in place to ensure the safety, aesthetics, and overall quality of our community. These permits help us manage issues related to setbacks, property lines, and other factors that impact the overall well-being of our neighborhoods.

Why is there a 10m² (108ft²) threshold for when a shed requires a development permit?

Prior to February 2023 the threshold in the Land Use Bylaw for a shed requiring a development permit was 13.93m² (150ft²). In contrast to the Land Use Bylaw, the National Building Code 2019 Alberta Edition requires that an accessory building of 10m² (108ft²) or larger requires a building permit. By having two different thresholds for the two sets of legislation caused considerable confusion, e.g. when a resident was advised that a shed of less than 13.93m² (150ft²) did not require a development permit, they may have assumed that they could proceed to build the shed, not realizing that a building permit was required to avoid a contravention under the National Building Code 2019 Alberta Edition. Bringing the threshold in the Land Use Bylaw into congruence with the National Building Code 2019 Alberta Edition, removed the possibility of confusion.

Reduced side and rear yard setbacks

In Bylaw 1165, 2023 the Council reduced the side and rear yard setbacks for an accessory building from 1.2m (4ft) to 0.6m (2ft) in response to many residents communicating to the Planning & Development Office that the yard setback space between their accessory building and the property line was “lost or dead space” that could be better utilized in their yard. This reduction does not apply to an accessory building that contains a secondary suite.

Penalty Fees for Starting a Development without the Benefit of a Development Permit

In Bylaw 1152, 2023 Council increased the penalty fee for a development that was started without the benefit of a development permit to five times the regular application fee. This means that for a typical shed that was built without first obtaining a development permit, the fee with penalty could be $1375.

Grace Period

Sheds and other accessory buildings/structures are the types of development where non-compliance is often discovered through a Compliance Certificate review, more than any other type of development. This means that many residents may face a penalty fee when this is discovered. The Municipality believes in education and collaboration with our community. Therefore, from January 1 to June 30, 2024, we are offering a grace period during which no fines or development permit fees* will be issued if you submit an application  to bring your existing** accessory buildings/structures into compliance with the bylaws. This period is an excellent opportunity for you to understand the requirements and make any necessary adjustments to your property.

*Safety Codes Fees and Permits MAY apply

**Permit fees still apply to new construction

How to Get Started

To learn more about the requirements for accessory buildings/structures and to apply for a permit, please visit our official development page here: 

Everything You Need to Know About Development in the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass

or make an appointment with our Development Office by calling 403-562-8833. Our dedicated team is here to assist you throughout the process and answer any questions you may have.

Stay in the Know, Crowsnest Pass!

We appreciate your cooperation and commitment to making Crowsnest Pass a wonderful place to live. Together, we can ensure that our community remains safe, beautiful, and compliant with our Land Use Bylaw.

Your participation in this effort is vital, and we thank you for being an essential part of our community.