Are you an agricultural landowner thinking of constructing a farm building? Although Red Deer County does not require you to apply for a building permit or development permit for a farm building on a parcel greater than 20 acres, there is important information for you to be aware of in order to avoid any future financial and/or regulatory pitfalls.
As per the Alberta Building Code, farm buildings may include, but are not limited to, produce storage facilities, livestock and poultry housing, milking centers, manure storage facilities, grain bins, silos, feed operation centers, farm workshops, and riding arenas not used by the public. Farm buildings may also house farm equipment such as combines, balers, sprayers, etc.
Currently the Alberta Building Code does not require building permits for farm buildings. However, if the farm building has electricity, gas, or plumbing you are required to pull all relevant safety code permits.
With regards to farm building requirements within Red Deer County’s Land Use Bylaw, the following rules must be met:
- front yard minimum setback of:
- 46m (150 ft) from a Provincial Highway or gravel County Road; or
- 20m (66ft) from a paved County road; or
- 7.0 (23 ft) from an internal subdivision road;
- rear yard minimum setback of 7.5m (25 ft);
- side yard minimum setback of 7.5m (25ft);
- building height cannot exceed 25m (82 ft);
- total building coverage cannot exceed 45% of the parcel.
Should a farm building be constructed without adhering to the Land Use Bylaw, it may impact your ability to sell your property in the future. Real Property Reports (RPR) are often requested at the time of a property purchase, which requires the County to review compliance of the property; it is often at this stage that we find structures that are in non-compliance. Structures found to be in contravention of the Land Use Bylaw forces landowners to apply for setback relaxations, or worst case, actually move the structure to ensure compliance prior to finalizing a sale.
When considering a farm building, we would also encourage you to think carefully about your future aspirations of the building. It is very difficult and costly to convert a farm building to a residential, commercial, or industrial use suitable for human occupancy. Simply put, when a farm building is no longer being used for an agricultural use, it is no longer exempt from the Alberta Building code. Should your aspirations also include hosting public events within your building (i.e. u-picks, markets, etc.), Red Deer County’s safety codes and fire services must complete a building inspection to ensure that Building and Fire code requirements are met.
In summary, if you are an agricultural landowner thinking of constructing a farm building, please come into the County office and talk with us. During the infancy stages of your project we can help ensure that your proposed building meets all the required setbacks and the intended use is in line with the Alberta Building code. Should you have any questions related to farm buildings in Red Deer County, please contact us:
Planning & Development