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Setbacks to Development

Section 13 of the Subdivision and Development Regulation (AR 43/2002) under the Municipal Government Act defines the setback distance required from a development for a residence, school, hospital, or food establishment to an operating landfill, non-operating landfill, waste storage site and hazardous waste management facilities.


The setbacks for landfills from a dwelling and public road or railway were initially established in regulation as early as 1936. The regulations changed over time to include schools, hospitals, food establishments, non-operating landfills, waste storage sites and hazardous waste management facilities.

What is the process to request consent for a variance?

The current regulation lists minimum setback distances and the requirements for various types of developments that can encroach or be encroached upon. The development authority (or Municipality) can request consent for a setback variance from Alberta Environment and Parks if the municipality first agrees that the development is suitable.

The following links provide the information that is necessary for a request application.

The setback distance from a residence, school, hospital, or food establishment to an operating landfill is 450 metres; from a non-operating landfill the setback distance is 300 metres.

The setback distance from a residence, school, hospital, or food establishment to a hazardous waste management facility is 450 metres.

Within a waste management facility there are different types of setback distances. Distances defined with the regulation include:

  • Building site
  • Disposal area
  • Property line
  • Working area

The following graphic illustrates how the setback distance can vary depending on the features considered within a waste management facility.

Example distances from Development to Waste Facility

Water Wells

Section 15 of the Nuisance and General Sanitation Regulation (AR 243/2003) under the Public Health Act defines a 450 metre setback distance for a water well providing water for human consumption from a landfill.


Page Information

Updated: Oct 22, 2017