Home Occupations

A home occupation is any business that operates out of a dwelling, and is allowed under Cochrane’s  Land Use Bylaw   provided it meets all bylaw requirements. The basic rules for all home occupations are: 

  • No outside storage of goods and materials related to the business
  • No signs nor advertising, excluding that found on a business-related vehicle
  • No nuisances by way of noise, vibration, smoke, dust, fumes, odours, heat, glare, or electrical or radio interference, detectable beyond the property limits
  • Maximum of 30% of the gross floor area of the principal dwelling
  • No businesses that require utility or mechanical servicing beyond what would generally be expected for a residential use, or businesses that require a significant amount of cash or valuables to be stored on site

There are two types of home occupations, which are differentiated by whether clients are visiting the business or not. Read more about the types of home occupations and the requirements for each below.  

Home Occupation- Class 1 

  • A home occupation-class 1 is a home business which does not involve any client or customer visits to the dwelling and does not have any employees working on-site which do not reside in the home. 
  • A home occupation- class 1 requires a business license to operate but does not require a development permit.

Home Occupation- Class 2

  • A home occupation- class two is a home business which involves up to six (6) client or customer visits to the dwelling per day and involves no more than one (1) employee working on-site who does not reside in the Dwelling Unit.
  • In addition to the two (2) parking stalls required for the dwelling, home occupation-class 2’s also require one (1) additional stall for the business, and 1 per employee that resides outside the home.
  • A home occupation-class 2 requires both a business license and development permit to operate. 

Thinking about starting a home-based business?  

Step 1:discuss your proposal 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 home-based business development permit application. Pay the application fee

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

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 and we conduct a site visit. 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) will render 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.


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.