Development Process

As an incorporated municipality inside a national park, the Town of Banff has unique responsibilities that include maintaining the town as part of a world heritage site, serving as a visitor centre and preserving a character that reflects its spectacular, natural setting.

All development and redevelopment must be reviewed for compliance with the Banff Community Plan, the Land Use Bylaw and the Banff Design Guidelines. Parks Canada may be involved in areas such as subdivision and rezoning.

When is a Development Permit Required?

A development permit is required for most types of development: 

  • Constructing, substantially altering or renovating any building, garage or accessory structure such as a shed or a deck
  • Demolishing or moving a building
  • Expanding or substantially renovating your store, shop, office or commercial enterprise
  • Establishing or expanding a transportation service
  • Changing or intensifying the use of a lot or building
  • Installing, relocating or changing a sign
  • Developing an unfinished basement or other part of a building
  • Opening or expanding a home occupation or bed and breakfast operation
  • Significantly changing the landscaping or grading of your property (including removing trees)

Commercial Use Development Allotment is needed before a development permit can be issued for commercial developments involving an increase in floor area. Commercial developments involving an expansion of floor area or an increase in the intensity of use of land or a building are required to provide additional parking and housing for staff as a condition of development approval.

Do I Need to Submit an Environmental Assessment?

Most development proposals in the Town of Banff require an environmental assessment under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA). The Town of Banff and Parks Canada have established a Model Class Screening Report (MCSR) to simplify the environmental assessment process for routine projects conducted within the townsite. A separate environmental assessment may be required if your development project cannot be classified as a routine project.

When is a Building Permit Required?

A building permit is required for most development and redevelopment proposals to ensure compliance with the Alberta Building Code and Safety Codes Act. Contact the Planning & Development department to find out if your project needs a building permit.

When is a Sign Permit Required? 

A sign permit is required to install, alter or relocate any sign within the town, including: wall signs, window signs, hanging signs, canopy/awning signs, directory signs, menu boxes and freestanding signs.

Can Development Approvals be Appealed?

Yes, by applying to the Development Appeal Board, within 14 days of issuance of a decision, or 30 days for subdivision permits. Download the Development Appeal Board Guide and Notice of Appeal Form (PDF).