As-of-Right Development

Getting started with a new development

Thinking of adding an extension on to your house? Or want to buy a plot of land and build something new? 

Before you get started, it’s important to understand the rules and laws surrounding development in Halifax. Some development needs special approval by Regional Council, but that’s rare. 

Most development in the municipality is what’s called “as-of-right” development. That simply means that you have the right to develop your property as you see fit, as long as your development complies will all zoning regulations.

Land development within a particular community is based on Regional Council’s policies as stated in the area Municipal Planning Strategy (MPS). The policies are implemented through the corresponding Land Use Bylaw (LUB) and the Regional Subdivision Bylaw [PDF].

After you’ve determined what kind of projects are allowed where you live, contact a development officer at the As-of-Right Development Office. They’ll tell you which permits you need for your particular plan and walk you through the process.

How do I know if my plan is considered “as-of-right” development?

You can use ExploreHRM to determine which Land Use By-law is in effect in your community. The Land Use By-law will give you a good sense of what you can and can’t do in that area.

If you aren’t sure if your development requires special discretionary approval by Council, contact 311. Any landowner with questions or concerns are encouraged to call 311 or email

Development on Lots of 25+ Acres

Landowners considering development on lots of 25 acres or more must first refer to the appropriate Land Use By-law to ensure their lot meets the necessary requirements to be eligible for a development permit from the municipality. Lots of 25 acres or more can be created in rural areas through a provincial exception. However, landowners must adhere to the municipal zoning regulations required to develop on these properties, specifically the requirement of sufficient road frontage of 100 feet or more. Staff cannot issue permits for development unless Land Use By-law requirements are met, regardless of how a lot was created. Any landowner with questions or concerns are encouraged to call 311 or email