Development Application Process
A Development Application (DA) is a formal request for consent to carry out proposed development, such as building, landscaping or other works, subdivision of land, or change of use on the land, that cannot be carried out as exempt or complying development.
You must lodge a DA and have it approved by Council before you commence these works.
Note that it is an offence to carry out development without the required development consent or to carry out development or building work that is not in accordance with a development consent issued for a proposal. The relevant development consent must be obtained from Council before carrying out the works, otherwise your works may be deemed to be unauthorised works.
Once a DA is lodged, it follows a set process through Council. The time taken for an application to progress will vary depending on the complexity and completeness of the application. An application that includes all relevant information and responds promptly to requests for additional information will help avoid unnecessary delays in the assessment process.
Preparing a Development Application
Preparing your proposal
In preparing the design of your proposal there are many factors to consider, and coming up with a desirable, effective and permissible design solution is not always easy. Depending on the scale of your development, you may need the services of a draftsperson, an architect and/or town planner to prepare the plans and necessary documents for your DA. Your consultants will be able to advise if you need to consider engaging other professionals such as a landscape architect, heritage expert, surveyor, traffic engineer or stormwater engineer.
Placing importance on preparing a high quality application will assist in ensuring an efficient and timely assessment. Good developments, whether small or large, succeed because projects are well conceived as part of a thorough site analysis process, have been designed having regard to council’s planning rules, and are well documented to enable Council to carry out its assessment.
Having taken into consideration the planning framework, you should also consider how your proposed development can achieve the most desirable outcome and minimise impacts on your neighbours and the surrounding environment. It is advised that you consult with your neighbours as early as possible, so that their concerns can be addressed in your design, rather than in the DA notification / exhibition period, where the issues may cause delays in the assessment and determination of your proposal.
What policies and planning controls apply?
The first step in preparing a DA is to find out what policies and planning controls apply to your site. This involves considering legislation and policy documents, and site specific development constraints.
There are a number of documents that you may need to consider when preparing your DA. These include:
- Rockdale Local Environmental Plan 2011;
- Botany Bay Local Environmental Plan 2013;
- Rockdale Development Control Plan 2011;
- Botany Bay Development Control Plan 2013;
- relevant Council policies, including technical specifications; and
- any relevant State Environmental Planning Policy.
These documents will provide you with the development controls relevant to your property, and identify any constraints on the land which may affect your proposal.
You will need to determine if your proposal requires approval from another government agency (referred to as Integrated Development). This can include:
- an EPA licence activity;
- destruction or damage to an Aboriginal relic;
- dredging or reclamation of any waters;
- extraction or harvesting of raw water from streams;
- earthworks within 40 metres of the foreshore or a watercourse;
- earthworks, hoardings or structures within a public road;
- erection of a structure, carrying out of works etc, on a public road under the Roads Act 1993;
- extraction or use of groundwater;
- item or place under an interim or Permanent Conservation Order;
- aquaculture Permit;
- permit for dredging / reclamation;
- permit for harm to marine vegetation; or
- permit to obstruct fish passage.
Applications received by Council for Integrated Developments will be referred to the relevant approval body and they must include sufficient information for the approval body to make an assessment of the application. The relevant fee must be paid by cheque made out directly to the relevant approval body.
You will also need to determine if your proposal is considered Designated Development, that is, development that is high impact or located in or near an environmentally sensitive area. There are two ways a development can be categorised as Designated Development:
- the class of development is listed in Schedule 3 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 as being designated development; or
- a Local Environmental Plan or State Environmental Planning Policy declares certain types of development to be designated.
Examples of Designated Development include chemical factories, quarries and sewerage treatment works. If a development application is categorised as Designated Development, the application:
- must be accompanied by an Environmental Impact Statement;
- will require public notification for at least 28 days; and
- can be the subject of a merits appeal to the Land and Environment Court by objectors.
To lodge a DA with Council, you must complete both a Development Application Form and Development Application Lodgement Checklist (or Demolition only DA checklist). You may also be required to submit a Party Wall Consent form and Disclosure of Political Gifts or Benefits (these forms are all found in Commonly Used Forms).
All development applications must be lodged with the consent of all the owners of the land clearly included on the Development Application form. If ownership has recently changed, a Certificate of Title will be required to verify the new owner(s) of the land. Additionally, if your property is a strata unit, and you are proposing any development beyond your unit entitlement, you will need to get the approval of the Owner’s Corporation. Further, if your proposal impacts a ‘party wall’ (a common wall with an adjacent property), consent of all adjacent impacted landowners is required.
All development applications must include an estimated cost of the works proposed. The estimated cost must be based on industry recognised prices, including cost for materials and all labour for design, construction and/or demolition (and including GST). Please note that Council will check the estimated cost provided on the application form, and may question the cost if the estimate appears understated. For developments of $500,000 and over, a ‘Value of Assessment’ by a Quantity Surveyor is required.
Council's DA Lodgement Checklist provides you with a list of all of the relevant technical information, plans and drawings required for successful submission of your DA. This includes preparation of a Statement of Environmental Effects (SEE), regardless of the scale of the development proposal. A SEE outlines the potential impact of a development proposal, both during construction and after the development is complete, and identifies the measures proposed to manage and minimise any potential impacts and protect the environment.
If my DA complies, will it be approved?
A DA is not decided solely on whether it satisfies all of the controls contained in an LEP or DCP. When Council considers a DA it is assessed against all the relevant planning laws, however a central feature of the DA assessment system is that each proposal is decided on its individual merits.
Many criteria must be considered by Council. Controls contained in the LEP and DCP are very important but Council also considers the adequacy of the proposal in relation to the particular site and the surrounding neighbourhood. In some instances a proposal may comply with all relevant standards but still be refused. Conversely, there may be a proposal that fails to completely satisfy some controls, but has enough merit to warrant approval.
Lodging a Development Application
Lodging your DA
You can lodge your application in person at the DAS counter, or mail your application in. You can also ‘drop and go’ if you do not have time to stay for your application to be processed. Mailed in and ‘drop and go’ applications must be accompanied by the appropriate fee payment or the application will not be accepted and will be returned. Council accepts submissions of DAs at the following locations:
- Eastgardens Customer Service Centre, 152 Bunnerong Road, Eastgardens;
- Rockdale Customer Service Centre, 444-446 Princes Highway, Rockdale; and
- By mail: PO Box 21, Rockdale NSW 2216.
Applications must be lodged between the hours of 8:30am and 4pm, Monday to Friday and between 9am and 12:30pm Saturday. A preliminary assessment of the DA will occur to determine whether all the necessary information has been included for Council to accept the application. It is therefore recommended that you come in to Council at least 30-45 minutes prior to close of lodgement, to provide adequate time to check through your submission (longer if your proposal is exceptionally large or complicated).
Note that Council can reject your application if it does not contain the required information (you may therefore be asked to return with additional information prior to lodgement of the DA, as Council do not hold incomplete applications).
When lodging an application, you are required to provide all documentation on CD or USB in accordance with the Electronic Guidelines and Naming Convention for upload to Council's electronic document management system. Council can also reject your application if electronic documents are not saved and named in accordance with these Guidelines.
Successful lodgement of the application is further subject to payment of the applicable fees and charges (summary outlined below).
[Please note that you can also submit a Combined DA and Construction Certificate (Council Certifier), which provides a 15% discount of the fees. Should you wish to consider this option, please discuss with a DAS Officer.]
Tracking your DA
Once a DA is accepted and lodged, Customer Service will complete registration of the application and provide you with a receipt and DA number. If you have mailed in your DA, or left as a ‘drop and go’, your application will generally be reviewed within 1-2 business days. Once accepted, Council will mail a receipt and DA number to you. You are then able to track the progress of the application online on Council’s DA Tracker.
When lodging development related applications, there are a number of associated fees required. Council’s Fees & Charges Schedule outlines all applicable fees, with the main potential fees to be aware of summarised below:
Development Application fee:
- The development application fee is based on the estimated cost of works.
- You may also be required to pay (depending on the type of development):
- a tree inspection fee;
- a neighbour notification fee;
- a newspaper advertising fee;
- subdivision fee; and/or
- a footpath inspection fee.
- An additional fee will be required if the development is integrated or designated development.
Should you require a fee quote prior to lodgement of your DA you can phone or email Council. Council will require the following details in order to generate the fee quote:
- address of the property;
- brief description of works proposed;
- estimated cost of work (including GST);
- number of street frontages; and
- any trees on the site / within 5 metres of the property.
Note that lodgement of amended plans initiated by the applicant after lodgement of the Development Application will incur a separate fee.
Additional post determination fees:
Following the Determination of the DA, it is important to be aware that the following potential additional fees may apply:
- Long service levy: The NSW Parliament has put a levy on building and construction work costing $25,000 and above (inclusive of GST). The levy is paid by the owners of a building or construction project into a fund administered by the Building and Construction Industry Long Service Payments Corporation.
- Footpath crossing deposit: A footpath crossing deposit is applicable for developments over $25,000. This is refunded at the conclusion of the works, following an inspection of all affected footpaths to ensure no damage to Council property has occurred.
- Development contributions: Your development may also require a development contribution (section 7.11 or section 7.12 development contributions). This is a payment towards the capitol cost of providing essential community facilities such as open space and car parking.
Variations to Development Standards
Clause 4.6 request to vary development standards
Development consent cannot be granted for development that varies a development standard (such as building height or floor space ratio), unless accompanied by a written request from the applicant. The written request must justify the variation by demonstrating that compliance with the development standard is unreasonable or unnecessary in the circumstances of the case, or that there are sufficient environmental planning grounds to justify the variation. The written request must adequately address the matters required by Clause 4.6 (3), and demonstrate that the proposed development will be in the public interest because it is consistent with the objectives of the particular standard and the objectives for development within the zone in which the development is proposed to be carried out.
Variations to development standards register
Council is required to maintain a register and report Clause 4.6 variations to the Department of Planning. The following Development Standards Variations (formerly SEPP 1) have been approved by Council:
Assessment of Development Applications
Referrals and Allocations
Once lodged, development applications are considered at Council’s Development Services Clearing House meeting. The role and objectives of Clearing House are to:
- ensure that all DAs satisfy the requirements of Council’s DA lodgement checklists and relevant pieces of legislation;
- confirm notification and exhibition requirements;
- ensure appropriate referrals as required (eg: engineering, etc); and
- allocate applications to an assessment officer.
Neighbour notification and advertising
Council is required to notify certain applications, and in some instances Council will also advertise particular applications. The Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000, and the Rockdale and Botany Development Control Plans set out the requirements of what types of development should be notified and exhibited and for how long, for each type of development.
Notification and exhibition periods are generally between 14 and 30 days. During the notification and advertising period, interested parties are invited to view the proposal and make a submission on the proposal.
- be in writing;
- quote in the subject heading the application number, the address of the site and the assessment officer’s name;
- contain your name, address, and contact phone number;
- any objection should clearly state the impacts that the proposal will have upon the amenity of your property or residence, and where possible make positive suggestions as to how the development could be improved;
- be relevant (civil disputes between neighbours or private rights such as covenants cannot be considered); and
- be with Council before 5pm on the closing date for submission.
Please note that, in accordance with Council’s legislative obligations for development application notification, all submissions will be uploaded onto Council’s website for viewing with the associated development application and supporting documents. Please therefore clarify whether you would prefer private details to be withheld.
DAs can be viewed on Council’s website through the DA Tracker. Please refer to Council’s Infosheet - Guide to making a submission.
Council considers all public submissions received before making a decision about a DA. All objections are reviewed to assess whether they are relevant to the application, relate to issues that could be considered adverse and whether the comments are reasonable.
Preliminary assessment and site visit:
With all new development applications received, along with proposed modifications, Council will consider:
- relevant planning policies;
- s4.15 evaluation; and
- any impact on local amenity.
Council will determine who may be detrimentally affected in terms of the above criteria, depending on the type and scale of development, and following an inspection of the application site.
Identification of (any) issues and request for additional information:
Council may request additional and/or revised information in order to adequately assess your application. Council's Housing Applications Policy commits Council and Applicants alike to the timely assessment of applications and it is therefore essential that you respond within the 14 day timeframe provided.
Failure to lodge the requested information, including not responding in time or not providing the right information, will result in your proposal being determined on the basis of the information before Council, which will likely result in refusal.
[Note that if you have submitted a combined DA and construction certificate, if any plans require changing during the DA process, these will also need to be amended for the construction certificate to ensure concurrent issue of the development consent and construction certificate.]
Following assessment of the application, the assessing officer will prepare a report that will inform the determination process.
Determination of Development Applications
Council delegated authority:
Once your proposal has been assessed by a Planner, it will be determined by the relevant Officer under delegated authority (either Coordinator Development Assessment, or Manager Development Services), or by the Bayside Local Planning Panel.
Bayside Local Planning Panel:
The Bayside Local Planning Panel is charged with determining a range of development applications on behalf of Council and reviewing and making recommendations to Council about planning proposals. Applicants and objectors will be notified when a DA is to be considered by the Panel, and given the opportunity to speak at the meeting. Further details regarding the Bayside Local Planning Panel and how to register to speak at a meeting can be found here.
Sydney Eastern City Planning Panel:
The Sydney Eastern City Planning Panel is the consent authority for proposals that have a capital investment value of more than $30 million. Council will receive, notify and assess the proposals with an assessment report and recommendation submitted to the Panel for determination. The Panel considers the following:
- Council or Crown developments with a capital investment value in excess of $5 million;
- eco-tourism facilities that have a capital investment over $5 million;
- particular designated developments; or
- private infrastructure and community facilities with a capital investment value in excess of $5 million.
After your Development Application has been assessed and determined, a Notice of Determination will be send to you which will provide you with an outcome of the assessment with either conditions of consent or reasons for refusal. This sets out the terms of the consent and appeal rights, or the reasons for refusal. A Notice of Determination is also given to each person who made a comment or objection on the DA.
Post Determination Options
The following options are available to you following the determination of your application:
|Development Application Notification (consent or refusal)|
|Commence construction:||Seek a modification to the development consent:||Seek a review of the determination:||Appeal to the Land and Environment Court:|
|- obtain a construction certificate in order to commence building works;||- (see further information below).||- (see further information below).||- the applicant has six months from the date of determination to lodge an appeal.|
|- appoint a Principal Certifying Authority to administer the conditions of consent;|
|- undertake building inspections during the construction phase; and|
|- obtain an Occupation Certificate to certify that the building is safe and suitable to be occupied.|
Modification of a development consent
If the design of your proposal changes after you have a Development Consent for a development, you can seek modification to the Consent. Modification applications are made under S4.55 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.
There are three types of modification applications:
- a Section 4.55(1) application is to correct a minor error, mis-description or miscalculation;
- a Section 4.55(1A) application is a minor modification involving minimal environmental impact;
- a Section 4.55(2) application is for all other modifications (environmental impacts are not minimal).
A Development Consent can only be modified if the Council is satisfied that the proposed development remains ‘substantially’ the same development. The applicant must provide evidence that if the modification were carried out, the development would be substantially the same as the application that was approved. It is recommended that you contact either a DAS Officer or the Development Officer who dealt with the DA to discuss the modification prior to lodgement.
Applications for modifications to a development consent must be accompanied by a completed Application to Modify a Development Consent form, including electronic submission of the necessary information and documentation as contained within the checklist, and payment of the required fee (based on the type of modification and notification / advertising requirements).
Review of determination
If you are dissatisfied with Council’s determination, you may:
- apply for a review of the determination with Council (the request must be made in writing and the review determined within six months of the determination date); or
- appeal the decision at the Land and Environmental Court (the appeal must be lodged within six months of receiving your determination).
Applications to review a determination must be accompanied by a completed Review of Determination form, including electronic submission of the necessary information and documentation as contained within the checklist, and payment of the required fee (based on the type of works and notification / advertising requirements).