Bylaws and Governance

Every municipality must compile and keep updated a list of policies that may be considered in making planning decisions (decisions made under Part 17 of the MGA).Website_Slideshow_Gen info Opens in new window

Hierarchy of plans
When making decisions about land use in Cochrane, Council considers the well-being and long-term interests of the community, and also ensures the proposed development aligns with provincial legislation, statutory documents, bylaws and policies (see below for more).

For example, a resident who wants to add a garage to their property must first apply for a Development Permit. The Development Permit must meet requirements outlined in the Land Use Bylaw. The rules in the Land Use Bylaw are established by Council’s vision described in the Municipal Development Plan, which in turn adheres to regulations in the Municipal Government Act.

Cochrane's statutory documents can be changed through our statutory plan amendment process.


Town Council
Cochrane’s Council is the elected governing body of the Town of Cochrane. Council sets public policy and direction and adopts bylaws, including statutory planning documents such as the Land Use Bylaw.

Cochrane Planning Commission

The Cochrane Planning Commission (CPC) acts as a subdivision authority or development authority for the Town, CPC consists of five public-at-large members and two Town Councillors appointed annually by Town Council.

Subdivision & Development Appeal Board

The Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (SDAB) is a quasi-judicial board that hears and determines appeals to decisions of a Town subdivision authority or development authority. SDAB consists of seven public-at-large members and one Town Councillor appointed annually by Town Council.

Provincial/Regional plans

  • Intermunicipal Development Plan with Rocky View (2001)
    This plan provides a basis for cooperation and communication between the Town of Cochrane and Rocky View County on matters of mutual interest.
  • South Saskatchewan Regional Plan (Government of Alberta)
    This plan establishes a long-term vision for the South Saskatchewan Region and aligns provincial policies at the regional level to balance Alberta's economic, environmental and social goals.
  • Calgary Metropolitan Region Board
    This board was established by the province in 2017 to work towards longterm, sustainable growth for the Calgary Region.

Master Plans

  • Connecting Cochrane (Transportation Master Plan)
    Connecting Cochrane is our transportation master plan that includes illustrations of future transportation networks for pedestrians, cycling, vehicles and transit
  • Open Spaces Master Plan (OSMP) (2012)
    The Open Spaces Master Plan guides the management and development of the Town of Cochrane’s open space system over the next 20 years.
  • Recreation Master Plan (2008)
    The Parks, Recreation and Culture Master Plan guides future development of parks, recreation and culture facilities in our community.

Cochrane's guiding documents

  • Municipal Development Plan (approved 2008)
    Municipalities in Alberta are required by the provincial government to have a Municipal Development Plan (MDP) in place. This statutory plan describes land uses, coordinates land uses and future growth patterns with adjacent municipalities, provides for municipal and school reserves and transportation systems and guides future development.
  • Cochrane Sustainability Plan (2009)
    Cochrane residents showed their commitment to a sustainable future when they launched the Cochrane Sustainability Plan (CSP) project in the spring of 2008. The goal was to create a roadmap to a sustainable future that would guide the town for the next 50 years.
  • Growth Management Strategy (2013)
    Growth Management Strategy is a non-statutory planning document that aligns other plans, policies and strategies for the orderly and appropriate growth of Cochrane, as identified in the visions and objectives of the Cochrane Sustainability Plan and Municipal Development Plan.
  • Area Structure Plans (ASP)
    An ASP is drafted when a new parcel of land is identified for development in the Town of Cochrane. Using the Municipal Development Plan* (MDP) as a reference, this statutory plan guides and directs specific land use, subdivision and development decisions that determine the form a community will take. Check the Neighbourhoods page for current ASPs.
  • Integrated Neighbourhood Design Guidelines (2013)
    Great neighbourhoods make a great community. We developed the Integrated Neighbourhood Design Guidelines to identify the components of great neighbourhoods so we can make sure they're included.
  • Neighbourhood Plans
    Follow ASPs and provide more details for the area they cover. Plans are organized by neighbourhood.
  • Land Use Bylaw 01/2022 
    Every homeowner or business owner in Cochrane is impacted by the Land Use Bylaw (LUB), even if they don’t know it. Before their building was built or before their neighbourhood was developed, the Land Use Bylaw established rules to govern what could be built where and for what purpose. The Land Use Bylaw is the most specific and often the most powerful tool in the hierarchy of planning documents. It is used to implement the community’s shared vision for development in Cochrane. Current and recent LUB amendments

Policies and guidelines

  • Heritage Design Guidelines (2000)
    Cochrane has a number of heritage guideline documents to reinforce and promote architectural aesthetics that reflect Cochrane's unique natural environment, western heritage and sense of place.
  • Green Building Strategy (2013)
    Green Building Strategy for commercial, industrial, and institutional uses. This policy will guide the implementation of green building technologies in Cochrane for new commercial, industrial, and institutional development.
  • Renewable Energy Framework (2015)
    Cochrane's Renewable Energy Framework provides guidance around the management of renewable energy in the Town and helps encourage the uptake of renewable energy in the community.
  • Telecommunication Antenna Structure Siting Protocols (2016)
    The Telecommunication Antenna Structure Siting Protocols establish standards that allow the Town of Cochrane to influence the placement of telecommunication antenna structures proposed within Town limits.