So, you’re ready to build a home outside of Calgary or Airdrie, and get a bit more bang for your buck. There are plenty of advantages in building beyond the limits of a big city, and Carstairs has them all – lower costs, less traffic, and more space for growing families, all within a short drive of the city’s amenities. But before you settle in and start to draw blueprints for a home in town, here are five things to know about building a house in Carstairs, AB.
These will all vary slightly depending on which residential zone you are in, so be sure to check in with official municipal bylaws if you need more information.
1) There’s a limit to how high you can build
While every county and even subdivision will have its own guidelines, there is a general height restriction for residential structures in the town of Carstairs. This is usually set at 10 metres (about 33 feet) from the front of grade – from the top of the dirt/soil at the front of the house – and that means your house can have two floors as well as a walkout basement.
Out in Mountain View County, which surrounds Carstairs, the limit is 10 metres from the average grade around the house perimeter. So, if you’re planning a walkout basement, it can make it more difficult to build a two story home.
2) The lots are generally bigger and cheaper:
Tired of those overpriced cookie-cutter lots in the city? In Carstairs and the surrounding area, home parcels are usually wider and bigger, even though the cost is a fraction of what you pay in Calgary or even Airdrie. This means more curb appeal and other features, like three-car garages with tandem bays for backyard access.
If you’ve ever tried to squeeze down the narrow passageway between two buildings to get to the backyard, you know what a difference a few extra feet of space can make. In Carstairs and Mountain View County, side yards start at a minimum of five feet wide, as measured from the property line. This means two adjacent homes can have 10 feet or more of uninterrupted space between them, which is perfect for making walkways, patios, fences, rock gardens, and other landscape features.
One thing to note, though: even though the property is cheaper, the taxes are likely to be set higher, as the commercial and taxpayer base is smaller than a city. However, this usually evens out since they are calculated as a percentage of a lower home price.
3) Homes should be built to last
The bylaws of Carstairs say that once a building has been set up on a piece of property – be it a workshop, a detached garage, or even just a small shed – it can’t be moved again without jumping through a lot of legal hoops. In fact, you can’t even move a building from a different piece of property to a parcel within the town, unless you have an explicit development permit with plans and a paid performance bond.
In short, pre-built homes that used to sit elsewhere, or mobile homes in general, aren’t your best option here. But really – with so many options from neighbourhood builders like Thomas Built Homes, why would you want those anyway?
4) Don’t forget to get the right permits
Whether you’re just adding a small deck or constructing a brand-new house, don’t forget about the right development and construction permits. These permits make sure that any work you do fits within safe parameters of the house’s fundamental supports, the utility connections, and the overall environment around the house. They also take into account things like trash disposal and noise, ensuring that the work doesn’t infringe on anyone else’s quality of life too much. After all, small towns are all about being a good neighbour!
Speaking of which…
5) Be considerate of your neighbours
From rules about signage and light blocking to specific instructions on parked vehicles, traffic routing, accessory buildings, and projections, many Carstairs construction bylaws in residential areas are meant to minimize conflict between neighbours.
Before you start to build, think about how new developments will affect the surrounding lots: will you block their sunlight? Will water run-off from your roof land on their lawn? Will your landscaping interrupt the conservation bylaw that says you must conserve natural drainage courses, trees, shrubs, and other native plants?
Moving into a community means you’re a part of that community, and it pays to act in everyone’s best interests. So, keep that in mind when you’re laying out your dream home – because if you’re in it for as long as you think, you’ll have the same neighbours for a long time.
Custom Home Building in Carstairs, Alberta
Luckily, you won’t have to be an expert in these areas – or even remember them all the time – because professional home builders like us will be there to guide you along. We’re not here to mass-produce homes for everyone, but we do take pride in every single one we create, whether it’s a fully customized plan or one that’s “Move-In Ready”. We never cut corners, rush into or out of a job, or walk back on our New Home Warranties. In short, we’re here for the long haul, because we know when it comes to a home, you are, too.
Interested in designing or finding a home that’s a perfect fit for you in central Alberta? We’re always willing to chat and help bring your vision to life. Reach out today and let’s get started!