8.20 General Definitions

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Abandoned Sign means a Sign that has fallen into a state of disrepair, or a Sign that is not in a readable state.

Abut means immediately contiguous to or physically touching. 

When used in reference to a Lot or a Site, Abut means that the Lot or Site physically touches another Lot, Site, or piece of land, and shares a Lot line with it.

8.20 General Definitions - Diagram for Abut

Accessory means a Use, building or structure that is naturally or normally incidental, subordinate, and devoted to the principal Use or building, and located on the same Lot or Site

Alley means a narrow roadway primarily intended to give access to the rear of buildings and parcels of land. 

Amenity Area means:
a. with respect to Residential Uses, space outside a Dwelling or Sleeping Unit provided for the active or passive recreation and enjoyment of the occupants of a Residential development, which may be for private or communal use and owned individually or in common, subject to the regulations of this Bylaw;
b. with respect to non-Residential Uses, space provided for the active or passive recreation and enjoyment of the public, during the hours the development is open to the public, that is owned and maintained by the owners of the development, subject to the regulations of this Bylaw; and
c. with respect to both Residential and non-Residential Uses, may include indoor or outdoor spaces, Platform Structures, Rooftop Terraces, and Accessory structures.
Typical examples include a Common Amenity Area, a Private Outdoor Amenity Area, or a Public Amenity Area.
8.20 General Definitions - Diagram for Amenity Area


Architectural Elements mean building details used to accentuate entrances, windows, storefronts or other prominent building features to create visual interest. Architectural Elements include details such as varying rooflines, mouldings, arches, lintels, columns, cornices, and sills.

Arterial Road means a Street that carries larger volumes of traffic including motor vehicles, public transit, and active transportation modes, travelling between areas, having relatively few and controlled vehicle access points. Arterial Roads are identified in Bylaw 15101, as amended.


Banner Sign means a Temporary Sign that is constructed of non-rigid material capable of being displayed without the use of a flag pole.

Bare Land Condominium means a condominium development containing Bare Land Condominium Units, created specifically through subdivision and registered as a condominium plan in accordance with the Condominium Property Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. C-22.

Barrier-free means an absence of obstacles, allowing people with physical, cognitive or sensory impairments safer or easier access to Pathways, open spaces, amenities, facilities, services, activities, or areas within a building.

Typical examples of obstacles include steps, doorways that project into a Barrier-free path and a lack of access between building floors.

Basement means the portion of a building or structure that is wholly or partially below ground level. A Basement has a maximum Height of 1.83 m above Grade measured from Grade to the finished level of the floor directly above.

8.20 General Definitions - Diagram for Basement



Caliper means the trunk diameter of a tree measured at a point 300 mm above the top of the root ball.

8.20 General Definitions - Diagram for Caliper


Cannabis means a cannabis plant and anything referred to in Subsection (a) of this definition but does not include anything referred to in Subsection (b) of this definition:
a. Cannabis includes:
i. any part of a cannabis plant, including the phytocannabinoids produced by, or found in, such a plant, regardless of whether that part has been processed or not, other than a part of the plant referred to in Subsection (b) of this definition;
ii. any substance or mixture of substances that contains or has on it any part of such a plant;
iii. any substance that is identical to any phytocannabinoid produced by, or found in, such a plant, regardless of how the substance was obtained.
b. Despite Subsection (a) of this definition, Cannabis does not include:
i. a non-viable seed of a cannabis plant;
ii. a mature stalk, without any leaf, flower, seed or branch, of such plant;
iii. fibre derived from a stalk referred in Subsection (b)(ii) of this definition; and
iv. the root or any part of the root of such a plant.
Cannabis Production and Distribution means a Minor Industrial development that is used mainly for 1 or more of the following Cannabis-related activities:
a. producing, cultivating, or growing Cannabis;
b. processing raw Cannabis materials;
c. making, testing, manufacturing, assembling or in any way altering the chemical or physical properties of semi-finished or finished goods and products made from Cannabis;
d. storing or shipping materials, goods and products made from Cannabis; or
e. distributing or selling materials, goods and products made from Cannabis to Cannabis Retail Stores or to individual customers.

Commercial Vehicle means a vehicle that is intended or designed for commercial purposes or is used for commercial purposes.

Copy means the letters, graphics or characters that make up the message on the Sign face.

Council means the Council of the Municipal Corporation of the City of Edmonton.


Dangerous Goods means products, materials or substances that are:
a. regulated by the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations SOR/2001-286, as amended; or
b. classified as controlled products under the Hazardous Products Regulations SOR/2015-17, as amended,
and are produced, processed, handled, stored, used, or disposed of on a Site



Development Permit means a document authorizing a development, issued by the Development Planner pursuant to this Bylaw or any previous Bylaw governing land use within the city of Edmonton, and includes the plans and conditions of approval.

Digital Copy means the portion of a Sign that contains Copy that is remotely changed on or off Site and incorporates a technology or method allowing the Sign to change Copy without having to manually or mechanically replace the Sign face or its components.

Directional Sign means a Sign providing direction to pedestrian or vehicle traffic. Typical examples include exit and parking Signs.

Dormer means an extension of a room that projects vertically beyond the plane of a sloped roof, typically to allow for a window opening into the room.

Drive-through Services means an activity associated with a Use that requires 1 or more inbound or outbound queuing spaces, and provides rapid customer service to people within a motor vehicle.

Dwelling means a self-contained unit consisting of 1 or more rooms used as a bedroom, bathroom, living room, and kitchen. The Dwelling is not intended to be moveable, does not have a visible towing apparatus or visible undercarriage, must be on a foundation, and connected to utilities.



Facade means any exterior outward face of a building measured from corner to corner.

8.20 General Definitions - Diagram for Facade


Fence means a structure that is constructed at ground level and used to prevent or restrict passage, mark a boundary, or provide visual screening, noise reduction, or Landscaping. A Fence is not a Privacy Screen.

Flag means a piece of cloth or similar material, typically oblong or square, attachable by one edge to a pole or rope that displays the symbol or emblem of a country, province, territory, municipality, or institution.

Flag Sign means a Ground Sign made of a piece of cloth or similar material typically attached on 1 side to a pole or rope that is used for advertising the symbol, emblem, or Logo of a business. This does not include Flags or Banner Signs

Floor Area means the area of a building or structure, contained within the outside surface of the exterior and Basement walls. Where a wall contains windows, the glazing line of windows may be used.

Floor Area Ratio (FAR) means a building or structure’s Floor Area in relation to the total area of the Site that the building is located on, excluding:
a. Basement areas used exclusively for storage or service to the building, or as a Secondary Suite;
b. underground Parking Areas and Drive Aisles within Parkades;
c. areas used for Bike Parking Spaces located within a building;
d. Floor Areas devoted exclusively to mechanical or electrical equipment servicing the development; and
e. indoor Common Amenity Area.
8.20 General Definitions - Diagram for Floor Area Ratio

Where described as a Modifier in a regulation, this is represented as the letter “f” accompanied by a number on the Zoning Map.

Front Lot Line means:
a. the Lot line separating a Lot from an Abutting Street;
b. in the case of a Corner Lot, the Front Lot Line is the shorter of the Lot lines Abutting a Street;
c. in the case of a Corner Lot formed by a curved Street, the Front Lot Line is the shorter of the 2 Lot line segments between the point determined to be the actual corner in Section 5.130, and the 2 points at the endpoints of that Lot line; or
d. in the case of a Reverse Housing development, the Front Lot Line means the shortest Lot line that is furthest from and opposite the Lot line Abutting the Alley.
8.20 General Definitions - Diagram for Front Lot Line


Frontage means:
a. where used with reference to buildings, the total linear distance measured along the length of all Facades facing a Street; or
b. where used with reference to Sites or Lots, the total linear distance measured along the length of all Lot lines that Abut a Street


Garage means an Accessory building, or part of a principal building, designed and used primarily to store vehicles and includes carports. A Garage does not contain a Drive Aisle.

Grade means a geodetic elevation from which the Height of a building or structure is measured, calculated in compliance with Section 5.70.

Green Building means a building that strives to balance environmental, economic, and social considerations in design, construction and operation. Energy, water and resource efficiency; occupant comfort and well-being; Site development and community context; and the economics of building construction and operation are key considerations. In comparison to conventional buildings, Green Buildings take advantage of natural processes to generate less waste, less pollution, and reduce their overall environmental footprint.

Green Parking Lot means a Surface Parking Lot with limited Impermeable Material, substantial tree cover and plant material, and surface runoff directed toward Landscaped basins, thus encouraging on-Site stormwater management and eliminating or reducing the need for mechanical drainage connections. 

Environmental performance targets include measures for reducing the urban heat island effect, improving pedestrian infrastructure, comfort and safety, using energy efficient fixtures and recycled materials, managing stormwater runoff on-Site, and preserving and enhancing the environment.

Green Roof means the installation of vegetated roofs and site/building systems that either reduce the amount of stormwater runoff and/or reuse stormwater on-Site or within buildings. Also known as Green Roof tops, vegetated roofs, planted roofs, rooftop gardens, or eco-roofs which utilize a variety of techniques for growing vegetation on a building rooftop. 

“Extensive” Green Roofs are usually lightweight green roof retrofits on existing building roofs, and cannot usually accommodate foot traffic. “Intensive” Green Roofs usually involve a deeper soil layer, and are easier to incorporate into new building designs.


Hard Surfaced means ground that is covered with a durable, dust-free material constructed of permeable or Impermeable Material. Typical examples include concrete, asphalt, pavers, or similar material.

Height means a vertical distance between 2 points.

Where described as a Modifier in a regulation, this is represented as the letter “h” and a number on the Zoning Map.

Hen Enclosure means an Accessory building designed for hen keeping and may include a hen coop consisting of an enclosed covered shelter for hens, and/or a hen run consisting of an enclosed area used to protect hens and allow for free movement.


Identification Sign means a Sign that contains only the name and addresses of a building, Site, premises or occupants and the activity carried on in the building, Site or premises, but does not include any other advertising Copy.

Impermeable Material means materials that do not allow water to infiltrate into the ground.

Typical examples include building coverage, asphalt, concrete, and other paving materials installed in a manner that prevents infiltration. This does not include materials such as gravel, river rock, wood chips, bark mulch, permeable pavers, permeable concrete, permeable asphalt, soil pavement, and wood decking with spaced boards.

Inclusive Bike Parking means a horizontal Bike Parking Space that accommodates non-standard bikes, or spaces for bikes that are difficult to lift. 

Typical examples of non-standard bikes include cargo bikes, fat tire bikes, e-bikes, handcycles, or bikes with trailers.


Landscaping means the preservation or modification of the natural features of a Site through the placement or addition of any or a combination of the following:
a. soft landscaping elements such as trees, shrubs, plants, lawns, gardens, and ornamental plantings;
b. decorative Hard Surfacing elements in the form of patios, Pathways, and paths consisting of materials such as bricks, pavers, shale, crushed rock, or other suitable materials, excluding monolithic concrete and asphalt; and
c. architectural elements such as decorative Fencing, walls, and sculpture.
Landscaping does not include decorative Hard Surfacing used for, or contained within, Parking Areas, Driveways, or vehicle access areas.

Logo means a readily identifiable symbolic representation used exclusively by an individual company or person to simplify product or business recognition which contains no additional advertising message.

Long Term Bike Parking means a weather-protected, secure location for bicycles where access to the enclosure is limited to authorized individuals only. Typical examples include a room within a residential building or workplace, an enclosure within a Parkade or a cluster of bike lockers or cages.

Lot means:
a. a quarter section;
b. a river lot shown on an official plan, as defined in the Surveys Act, that is filed or lodged in a land titles office;
c. a settlement lot shown on an official plan, as defined in the Surveys Act, that is filed or lodged in a land titles office;
d. a part of a parcel of land described in a certificate of title if the boundaries of the part are described in the certificate of title other than by reference to a legal subdivision; or
e. a part of a parcel of land described in a certificate of title if the boundaries of the part are described in a certificate of title by reference to a plan of subdivision.


Main Street Development means human scale and people-focused development that creates an active streetfront and comfortable public realm through:

  • building or Podium placement close to the Street
  • orienting buildings and main entrances towards the Street
  • high quality building design that provides visual interest, weather protection, and articulation to minimize the perception of massing; 
  • transparent windows along the Ground Floor to support pedestrian interaction and visible storefront displays; and
  • locating vehicle parking underground or to the rear or side of buildings.

Mass Transit Station means an existing transit facility, or a future transit facility with a Council-approved concept plan, that includes an LRT stop or station or an area where multiple buses are able to stop simultaneously to allow transfers between other transit routes. A Mass Transit Station may be located on private or public property. 

Typical examples include LRT stops and stations, transit centres or other major stops served by mass transit routes.

Mural means a piece of artwork located on a wall, including a painting, fresco, frieze, photograph, picture, image, illustration, or graphic presentation that does not contain advertising in any form. It does not contain Digital Copy

Mural Sign means a Wall Sign that is a piece of artwork, including a painting, fresco, frieze, photograph, picture, image, illustration, or graphic presentation that includes advertising. It does not contain Digital Copy


Natural Area Management Plan means a document that ensures all responsibilities and actions necessary to support the conservation, preservation or restoration of a protected natural area.

Nuisance means the external impact caused by an activity that is reasonably likely to interfere with the use and enjoyment of an individual's property, due to: 
a. the frequency, time of day and day of the week the activity occurs; 
b. the proximity of the activity to neighbouring properties; 
c. the nature and use of the surrounding area; or
d. the effects of the activity on the surrounding area.   
Typical examples include emission of noise, smoke, dust, vapour, odour, heat, light, fumes, or unsightly or unsafe conditions, or use of toxic or hazardous materials. 


Overlay means additional development regulations superimposed on specific areas of the Zoning Map that supersede or add to the development regulations of the underlying Zone.


Pathway means a Hard Surfaced path of travel that is located on private property that cannot be used for motor vehicles.

Platform Structure means a structure intended for use as an outdoor Amenity Area that may project or be recessed from the wall of a building. It may include guardrails, parapet walls, pergolas, or similar features. 

Typical examples include: balconies, decks, porches, raised patios and verandas. This definition does not include a Rooftop Terrace.

Public Amenity Area means an Amenity Area including open spaces, parks, plazas, locations of art, seating areas, and other amenities at ground level that are complementary to the adjacent streetscape and are visually and physically accessible to the public.

Public Space means space that is part of an establishment and which is open to the public and not restricted to only employees. Public Space includes any private non-sale hospitality area where products manufactured within the premises are provided to private groups for tasting and sampling. This definition does not include kitchens, administration offices, bathrooms, or food or drink preparation areas.


Recreational Vehicle means a motorized or non-motorized vehicle or structure designed for recreation and travel purposes, and is not a Dwelling. Typical examples include motor homes, travel trailers, fifth wheels, truck campers, tent trailers, park model trailers, camper van conversions, small utility trailers, boats, snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, jet skis, or motorcycles and trailers to carry them.

Religious Assembly means a Community Service development used for worship and related religious activities. Typical activities include chapels, churches, convents, gurdwara, monasteries, mosques, parish halls, synagogues, and temples.

Renewable Energy Device means a device where energy is derived from sources that are not depleted by using them, these include:
a. Co-generation production of electricity and thermal energy from the same source, for example, rejected heat from industrial processes can be used to power an electric generator and surplus heat from an electric generator can be used for industrial processes or for heating purposes (also referred to as combined heat and power – chp).
b. District Energy refers to a group of buildings sharing one energy supply for both heating and cooling (does not produce electricity).
c. Solar Collector means a non-reflective device, used to collect sunlight that is used to convert radiant energy from the sun into thermal or electrical energy.
d. Geothermal/ Earth Energy refers to tapping the heat of the earth itself kilometres deep into the earth’s crust. This type of energy is also referred to as geothermal energy, though geo-thermal usually refers to the energy derived from areas much deeper beneath the earth’s surface.
e. Wind Energy Conversion System commonly known as Wind Turbines refers to wind power that is produced by the wind turning rotors mounted to a turbine. This energy is converted to electricity which can be used immediately, stored in batteries or fed back onto the power grid.

Reserve Creation means the act of adding land to an existing Reserve or creating a new Reserve for a First Nation by Order in Council or Ministerial Order.

Retaining Wall means a structure constructed to support and resist lateral pressure in order to retain earth, rocks, water or similar materials.

Roof Sign means a Sign installed against, on, or above a roof, or on or above the parapet of a building. 

Row Housing means a building that contains 3 or more principal Dwellings joined in whole or in part at the side, the rear, or the side and the rear, with none of the principal Dwellings being placed over another. Each principal Dwelling has separate, individual, and direct access to ground level.


Safety Codes Act means the Safety Codes Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. S-1, as amended. 

Seasonal or Holiday Decorations means temporary ornaments and displays installed in conjunction with seasonal, religious, cultural or other holiday activities where such ornaments and displays contain no local or general advertising of specific commercial services, merchandise or entertainment.

Seasonal Shelter means a Community Service activity where the primary purpose is to provide accommodations not continuously throughout the year for people requiring shelter for a temporary duration. This may also include health, cultural, or recreational programming, individual support services, meal service, and administrative offices, where such services support the primary purpose of the Seasonal Shelter.

Secondary Suite means a Dwelling that is subordinate to, and located within, a building in the form of Single Detached Housing, Semi-detached HousingRow Housing, or Backyard Housing. A Secondary Suite is not a principal Dwelling. A Secondary Suite has a separate entrance from the principal Dwelling, either from a common indoor landing or directly from outside the building. A Secondary Suite has less Floor Area than the principal Dwelling. A Secondary Suite is not separated from the principal Dwelling by a condominium conversion or subdivision.


Sensitive Use means, for the purposes of determining when a risk assessment is required, an activity or development where the acceptable annual risk threshold of human fatality is below 0.3 in a million. This typically includes emergency response services, critical infrastructure, large gatherings of people, and places where populations require assistance with evacuations. 

Setback means the distance that a development, or a specified portion of a development, must be from a Lot line. A Setback is not a Yard. A Setback only applies to development on or above ground level.

Short Term Bike Parking means a convenient and publicly-accessible parking location for bicycles that can be easily located from the main entrance of the building it serves. Typical examples include bicycle racks or bicycle corrals.

Sign means any visual medium, including its structure and other component parts, illuminated or not illuminated, that is used to identify or provide information, or to advertise a product, service, place, activity, person, institution, or business. A Sign does not include Flags, interior window displays of merchandise, or Signs painted on or attached to a motor vehicle located on a Street or Alley.

Typical examples include: Freestanding Signs, Fascia Signs, Portable Signs, Projecting Signs, Banner Signs, placards, Murals, Mural Signs, and those attached to or painted on a vehicle or trailer that is parked on a property and being used for advertising purposes. 

Sign Area means the entire area of the Sign on which Copy is intended to be placed. In the case of a double-faced or multi-faced Sign, only half of the area of each face of the Sign used to display advertising Copy must be used in calculating the total Sign Area.

8.20 General Definition - Diagram for 8.20_Sign area


Sign Structure means any structure that supports a Sign, including materials used to conceal or improve the visual appearance of the structural parts.

Site Coverage means the total horizontal area on a Site
a. covered by buildings and structures that are 1.8 m or more in Height above Grade; or 
b. covered by a Parkade that is 1.0 m or more in Height above Grade.  
This definition includes cantilevers, but does not include steps, eaves, cornices, or other similar projections.

Sleeping Unit means a room in a residential building that is used for people to live, that is available through an accommodation agreement and is not self-contained. Sleeping Units have shared access to facilities such as cooking, dining, laundry, sanitary, or general living facilities in the same residential building. A Sleeping Unit provides accommodation for a maximum of 2 people.

Soft Landscaping means Landscape materials that allow water infiltration and absorption into the ground to reduce stormwater runoff and to be capable of supporting living plants, such as trees, shrubs, flowers, grass, or other perennial ground cover. This does not include materials that prevent water infiltration or materials such as artificial turf, decking, bricks, and pavers.

Stepback means the horizontal distance a building Facade is stepped back from the building Facade immediately below it.

8.20 General Definitions - Diagram for Stepback


Storey means that portion of a building that is between the top of any floor and the top of the floor above it. 

If there is no floor above, the Storey is the portion of the building that is between the top of any floor and the ceiling above it.

If the top of the floor directly above a Basement is greater than 1.83 m above Grade, the Basement is considered a Storey.

8.20 General Definitions - Diagram for Storey

Street means any public roadway other than an Alley and includes boulevards, sidewalks and street furniture.

Supportive Housing means a building, or part of a building, containing 1 or more Sleeping Units or Dwellings that provide accommodations and on-Site or off-Site social, physical, or mental health supports to ensure an individual’s daily needs are met.


Text Amendment means an amendment to Part 2, Part 3, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7 or Part 8 of this Bylaw, subject to the approval of Council.

Temporary Sign means any Sign that is relocatable or removeable from a Site and that is located on a Site for a limited duration.

Tower means, unless otherwise specified in a Zone, a building greater than 28.0 m in Height, with special design constraints applying to life/safety measures, structural support, wind, sunlight, and skyline impacts.


Use means the purposes or activities for which a piece of land or its buildings are designed, arranged, developed or intended, or for which it is occupied or maintained.



Wall Sign means a Sign that is located on a building wall for the purpose of being viewed from the outside. Wall Signs do not project further than 0.4 m from the building wall, or extend beyond the eaveline or roofline, or beyond the horizontal limits of the wall.

Warning Sign means a Sign providing a warning to the public, including such Signs as "no trespassing" or "private driveway" Signs.

Water Retention Structure means a structure designed to retain a large volume of water, a minimum of 0.378 cubic metres. 

Typical examples include swimming pools, skating rinks, ornamental ponds, hot tubs, whirlpools, and spas.

Window Sign means a Sign that is painted on, attached to, displayed on, or displayed behind the inside or outside of a window, so that it is intended to be viewed from outside the premises. Window Signs do not include merchandise on display.


Yard means the part of a Site unoccupied by any portion of a building or structure. A Yard is not a Setback.

8.20 General Definition - Diagram for Yard


Year-round Shelter means a Community Service activity where the primary purpose is to provide ongoing accommodations for people requiring shelter for a temporary duration. This may also include health, cultural, or recreational programming, individual support services, meal service, and administrative offices, where such services support the primary purpose of the Year-round Shelter.


Zone means a specific group of listed Uses and Development Regulations that regulate the Use and development of land within specific geographic areas of the city. Zones are contained in Parts 2, 3 and 4 of this Bylaw.