Development Application Process

The Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) is the principal law overseeing the assessment and determination of development proposal in NSW.


There are some activities that are classed as exempt or complying development which is permitted without council approval or with a complying development certificate, all other activities including the subdivision of land, erection of a building, the carrying out of work etc. require a development application (DA).


The first step in a DA process is to review the Local Environment Plan (LEP) to see if the proposed development is permissible on the site and to determine the other planning controls which may apply. These controls are generally outlined in the Development Control Plan (DCP). All development applications require a Statement of Environmental Effects (SEE) to be submitted with the application. This report outlines any potential impacts the development may have on the environment, adjoining properties and the community.


Additional reports which may be required for the development application include;


Bushfire Assessment Report – Required for land which is mapped as bushfire prone


Servicing Strategy – Outlining how the proposed development will be serviced within the areas current capacity


Traffic Impact Assessment – Outlines the impact of the proposed development on the local road network and determines if any improvements are required to mitigate impacts.


Flood Level Survey – Required for land which is mapped as flood prone to set the finished floor level of a proposed building.


Landscape Plan – Outlines proposed landscaping including street trees, entry walls and private landscaping.


Once a DA is lodged, the council will notify the neighbours and advertise the development application in the local newspapers. If development is integrated other government departments will need to assess the project, for example Bushfire Assessment Reports have to be approved by the Rural Fire Service prior to council granting consent. The council will assess the application based on its impact on the environment, to the adjoining neighbour’s properties and the community. It will also be assessed to verify that the proposed works comply with local development standards, appropriate Australian Standards, council’s policies and the Building Code of Australia. If the application meets the planning controls and environmental impacts are acceptable the council will grant development consent subject to conditions.


A development approval is valid for five years. If after five years work as conditioned are not well underway the development application lapses and a new DA must be applied for if you wish to pursue your proposal.


You can prepare your development application yourself, however this can be a complex process which requires good knowledge of the legal requirements and the local planning controls. Incomplete or misleading applications can be costly and result in time delays.


Stewart Surveys have extensive experience in preparing development applications, statements of environmental effects the above mentioned report which may required. Please contact our team to discuss your next development and the development opportunities for you land.