+ RMA Rural Municipalities
of Alberta

Resolution 26-06F

Transfer of Development Rights

January 1, 2006
Expiry Date:
December 1, 2009
Active Status:
Municipal Governance and Finances
Vote Results:

WHEREAS rural municipalities are faced with many planning challenges and growth pressures; WHEREAS there is pressure on rural municipalities to subdivide agriculture lands to meet some of these challenges; WHEREAS rural municipalities are in need of tools which reconcile competing land uses in a way that is effective, equitable, and an efficient use of public dollars, and which conserve valuable landscapes in an unimpaired state; WHEREAS the clustering of urban/rural development can be achieved and unsubdivided agricultural land preserved through a Transfer of Development Rights from one parcel of land to another parcel of land;

Operative Clause:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the AAMDC lobby the provincial government to implement enabling legislation at the provincial level to facilitate and guide the development of a Transfer of Development Rights program that includes the ability to register these rights on the land title.

Member Background:

Transfer of Development Credits (TDC)/Transfer of Development Rights programs direct development to areas deemed most appropriate while concurrently promoting conservation in other areas by allowing development potential to be transferred from a ‘conservation’ parcel, augmenting that potential on a ‘designated development’ parcel. The mechanism is voluntary, market-based and enduring. An extensive review by Arlen Kwasniak, professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Calgary, has identified no significant legal barriers, and concluded “an Alberta municipality has jurisdiction to develop all aspects of a typical TDC program,” yet the absence of enabling legislation continues to discourage Alberta municipalities from pursuing these programs. At least four rural municipalities in Alberta are actively investigating how to apply Transfer of Development Credits program. In consultation with ratepayers, Wheatland County implemented, in its new Land Use Bylaw, a Subdivision Credit Area Transfer (SCAT). A SCAT provides a landowner with the ability to voluntarily transfer development rights from one land parcel to another. Since March 2006, when this provision was included in the Land Use Bylaw, two applications for SCAT have been approved.

RMA Background:

The AAMDC has no resolutions currently in effect with respect to this issue.


The Government of Alberta recognizes the interest of municipalities for additional economic tools to assist in achieving conservation and other land use planning objectives. The Government previously felt that the consideration of additional economic tools may be addressed as part of a general review of the Municipal Government Act. However, Bill 36, the Alberta Land Stewardship Act includes provisions for the transfer of development credits. This bill, introduced in April 2009, is meant to implement the Land-use Framework. The AAMDC will monitor the potential implementation of this proposed legislation and its impact on the issues outlined in this resolution.

Provincial Ministries:
Municipal Affairs
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