Development Permits

To build any structure in Cochrane, you need an approved development permit before work can start. Applications for permits must comply with the Land Use Bylaw and include detailed information about the building and its connections to Town services and utilities. 

Development means:

  • A building
  • An addition to a building
  • Replacement or repair of a building
  • Construction on, over or under a building
  • Construction on, over or under an addition to a building
  • Any excavation or stockpile of material
  • A change of use of land or a building
  • Action that results in or is likely to result in a change in the use of a land or building
  • A change in the intensity of use of land or a building
  • Action that results in or is likely to result in change to the intensity of use of land or a building

Looking for a recently approved development permit?

General Rules

Cochrane's Land Use Bylaw sets out rules that must be followed for a proposed development to proceed, as well as permitted and discretionary uses in each land use district.

Permitted uses

  • Allowed in the district under the Land Use Bylaw
  • Must conform with all applicable provisions of the Land Use Bylaw
  • May be approved either with or without conditions

Discretionary uses

  • Allowed at the discretion of the Development Authority
  • May or may not be compatible with the neighbouring uses, depending on the circumstances
  • May be approved with conditions 
  • May be refused


Smaller projects do not require development permits. If your structure is 10m2 or more, you must get a permit. 

Thinking about applying for a Development Permit?

Step 1: discuss your project with Planning staff as soon as possible. We can provide early guidance, describe the process and ensure you are headed in the right direction.

Step 2: complete and submit a  development permit application form. We'll also ask you to pay the application fee when you submit your paperwork.

Tip:use the checklist to make sure you have everything you need

Step 3: do you need a development notification sign? Find out here.

Step 4: apply for a  building permit and, if applicable, electrical, plumbing and gas permits (after the Notice of Decision is issued). 

What happens next?
Once we receive your application, Town staff give it a thorough review and determine if there is sufficient information to make a decision. If we need more information, we'll get in touch to let you know what's missing. 

In some cases, your application is circulated to various Town departments and outside agencies for comment. We'll let you know if there are any comments so you can address them.

The Development Authority (Development Officer or the Cochrane Planning Commission-CPC) renders a decision on the application as soon as possible (within 40 days; longer if you have granted an extension). CPC meets on the third Wednesday of each month.

After reviewing the development proposal, comments and recommendations, the Development Officer or CPC may approve the application, place conditions on the approval or cite reasons for refusal. 

Development Authority decisions may be appealed to the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board. To appeal, complete and submit a Notice of Appeal form within 21 days of the Notice of Decision appearing in the local newspaper.

Time Extensions

If you have been issued a Notice of Decision for your development permit application and it includes a condition that your development permit must be issued within 1 year or have the development completed in 2 years, you may request an extension to complete the requirements. Please complete and submit a Time Extension form 40 days before the date in the condition and include a letter describing why an extension is needed an pay the fee.