Stages of a Development Application

Stage 1. Pre-lodgement – Getting it right at the start

The pre-lodgement stage is the front end of the development assessment process. If you get the front end right you are likely to have a simple development application (DA) process. Giving us an assessment-ready application, with all required information will not ‘guarantee’ approval – however, it will promote an efficient process, saving time and money, for both you and us.

Planning laws and controls

In NSW development applications (DA) are assessed under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. When assessing a DA we must consider all relevant planning laws and controls to ensure growth and development is managed.

This includes the Local Environmental Plan (LEP)Development Control Plans (DCP) and Council policies.

Yass Valley Local Environmental Plan 2013
The Yass Valley Local Environmental Plan (LEP) 2013 sets out the primary planning provisions. Through zoning and development standards, they guide the ways in which land is used and managed.

Development Control Plans and Council Planning Policies
Development Control Plans (DCPs) provide further guidance to support the Yass Valley LEP 2013. A number of planning related Council policies may also prescribe controls relevant to your development.

The draft Comprehensive Yass Valley Development Control Plan (YVDCP) 2018 is currently being finalised. The existing DCP’s should continue to be used as development guides until such time as the YVDCP 2018 comes into effect.

State Environmental Planning Policies
In some instances we may also need to consider State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs), which are certain rules which cover development and planning issues across NSW. SEPPs may override our Local Environmental Plan (LEP)Development Control Plans (DCPs) or Council policies.

NSW Planning Portal and Online Mapping
You can use the NSW Department of Planning & Environment’s Planning Portal to assist you in finding planning information about your property.

Through the NSW Planning Portal you can search for your property and find out the most relevant planning layers and controls that are applicable.

Building in restricted areas

Bush Fire Prone Land
Bush fire prone land is land that is likely to be subject to bush fires. Development on bush fire prone land has to comply with Planning for Bushfire Protection 2006.

Development applications for dwellings, commercial uses or subdivision on bush fire prone land will generally need to be accompanied by a bush fire assessment report. The NSW Rural Fire Service has assessment tools that you can use to prepare a bush fire assessment report. For complex developments or sites that are highly bush fire prone, you may need to get a qualified consultant to prepare a detailed report.

You can find out whether a property is bushfire prone by:

  • Searching for property information on the NSW Planning Portal. The ‘hazard’ planning layer will show on the map if the land is bush fire prone. The whole property is considered bush fire prone if any part of the property is covered on the map.
  • Requesting a Planning Certificate which will provide written confirmation on whether a property is bush fire prone.

Flooding
We must consider whether a development is compatible with a flood hazard, including the risk to life and property. Flood studies for Yass, Gundaroo and Sutton were adopted in 2016. The flood studies model a number of different flood scenarios, including anticipated levels, velocities and the flood risk category. A Floodplain Risk Management Plan (FPRMP) for Gundaroo and Sutton have also been adopted. It is anticipated that a similar plan will be prepared for Yass upon a successful grant application.

If your land is identified as being subject to flooding in a 1% annual exceedance probability (AEP) flood event (formerly referred to as a 1 in 100 year event), you may be required to address the development controls in the relevant floodplain risk management plan. For complex developments or sites that are highly flood affected, you may need to get a qualified consultant to prepare a flood analysis and assist you in preparing a development which complies with the development controls and is compatible with the flood hazard.

It is also important to be aware that the National Construction Code NCC/Building Code of Australia BCA also contains certain construction standards for development on flood affected land. You can find out whether your land in Yass, Gundaroo or Sutton is likely to be affected by a 1% AEP flood event by:

If your land is affected by a 1% AEP flood event, it is recommended that you contact us for pre-lodgement advice prior to lodging your development application.

Terrestrial Biodiversity
In 2018 the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 came into effect for new development applications. We are required to consider the impact of a development on terrestrial biodiversity, including threatened species. The Act also establishes the Biodiversity Offset Scheme (BOS). The BOS may require an offset for certain developments which cross prescribed thresholds for the clearing of native vegetation (including native grasses) or have a significant impact on threatened species.

The Office of Environment and Heritage’s terrestrial biodiversity page contains more information on the Act and when a development application may trigger entry into the biodiversity offset scheme.

Heritage

It is important that we preserve our heritage for the future generations. There are special rules that apply for properties which are heritage listed, are in a heritage conservation area, or are known or likely to contain Aboriginal objects or places of significance.

Heritage Listed Properties and Items
Heritage listing a property can be at a national, state or local level. You can find out whether your property is a listed heritage item by:

If your property is heritage listed, please be aware that special rules apply for development; buildings cannot be demolished or redeveloped without approval from us and trees on the property may also require approval prior to lopping or removal. Detailed plans and reports must be lodged if you want to renovate, build something new or subdivide; showing how you will maintain the heritage values of the property. These rules also impact on what can be built next door to a heritage listed item so as not to detract from its heritage significance.

The draft Yass Valley Development Control Plan (YVDCP) 2018 is currently being finalised and will contain a number of specific controls relating to development for heritage items. We also engage a specialist heritage advisor to assist us in assessing development applications and providing pre-lodgement advice. If your land includes a heritage item, it is recommended that you contact us for pre-lodgement advice prior to lodging your development application. In some circumstances we may suggest that a pre-lodgement meeting with Council’s heritage advisor is arranged.

Heritage Conservation Areas
Binalong, Bowning, Gundaroo and Yass also have areas identified as a ‘heritage conservation area’ under the Yass Valley Local Environmental Plan 2013. The heritage conservation area aims to maintain and enhance the existing character of the area, ensuring that new development is sympathetic to heritage values.

You can determine whether your property is in a heritage conservation area by searching for property information on the NSW Planning Portal. The ‘heritage’ planning layer will show on the map if the land is within a heritage conservation area. The draft Yass Valley Development Control Plan (YVDCP) 2018 is currently being finalised and will contain a number of specific controls relating to development in heritage conservation areas.

If your property is within a heritage conservation area, it will generally be expected that the design of any new development is sympathetic to the heritage values of the area and any nearby heritage items. If your land is within a heritage conservation area, it is recommended that you contact us for pre-lodgement advice prior to lodging your development application. In some circumstances we may suggest that a pre-lodgement meeting with Council’s heritage advisor is arranged.

Aboriginal Cultural Heritage – Due Diligence
We must consider the effect of development on the heritage significance of known or likely Aboriginal objects or places of significance.

The Due Diligence Code of Practice for the Protection of Aboriginal Objects in New South Wales (2010) provides a process to take reasonable and practicable steps to identify and protect Aboriginal objects and places of significance.

For some development applications we may require you to demonstrate how you have followed a due diligence process to determine whether the proposed development or activity may harm an Aboriginal object, particularly for development which involves significant earthworks.

Developer Contribution

When development occurs, it creates additional demand for infrastructure such as roads, footpaths, parks and community services. These costs alone can’t be met by us and the developer will be required to contribute to the cost of providing this infrastructure. These costs are known as developer contributions. Contributions may be imposed as a condition of consent or approval and may be in the form of payment of monies, dedication of land (such as a new park) or improvements to land. Some development types that may be subject to a development contributions include:

  • Secondary dwellings (granny flats), dual occupancies and multi-dwelling development
  • Subdivision
  • Commercial development
  • Development involving heavy haulage
  • Development involving an increased demand for water or sewage (head work charges)

Contribution plans provide the basis for what infrastructure is needed and how the costs are apportioned over an area. The current contribution rates are also available. Contact us for further information about any relevant developer contributions for your DA. We are also in the process of reviewing Council's Heavy Haulage Contributions Plan.

Putting your team together

In preparing your DA you may need an architect or building designer to prepare (and cost) your plans, plus a number of specialists, depending on your site and your proposal (e.g. land surveyor, engineer, town planner, waste water assessor).

You can find experienced people by:

  • Talking to friends and neighbours who have done similar work.
  • Looking at similar designs locally and asking the owners.
  • Searching professional organisation's websites.

As you move to construction you will need a principal certifying authority (Council or private), a principal contractor (builder) and any relevant sub-contractors. 

 

Pre-lodgement advice

We are here to help!
We realise that the building and planning process can be daunting, but we are here to help.

Complete our online General Development Enquiry Form and your enquiry will be assigned to a member of our planning and development team. The team member will acknowledge receipt of your enquiry within two business days and request any further information they need. We will aim to provide a response to straight forward enquires within 10 business days. It is important to be aware that for complex enquiries we may need to seek advice from other team members (e.g. engineers, heritage advisor) or external agencies. We will aim to provide a response to complex enquiries within 40 days – we’ll keep you informed of the progress along the way.

General Enquiry – Phone or In Person
General planning and development enquiries can also be made over the phone or in person during our opening hours.

If our friendly customer service staff are unable to answer your enquiry, we will ask for your preferred contact details and a description of your enquiry. The enquiry will then be assigned to a member of our planning and development team who will be in contact with you within two business days to discuss the enquiry and how they can be of assistance. We will generally have a member of the planning and development team available to answer simple phone or counter enquiries between the hours of 2:30pm to 4:30pm business days.

Planning and development enquiries can be complex and require specialist input. It is therefore recommend that enquires are made in writing using the general enquiries form in the first instance. This will allow us to determine how best to answer your enquiry and ensure that accurate advice is provided.

Pre-Lodgement Meeting
A pre-lodgement meeting with a member of the planning and development team is encouraged where the planning rules or process is not clear, you wish to vary planning controls, or there are specific contentious issues (eg. heritage, flooding, stormwater).

Before requesting a pre-lodgement meeting, we kindly ask that you consider whether it is necessary. General enquiries can be made in writing using the General Development Enquiry Form in the first instance. Both our website and the NSW Planning Portal also contain a large amount of helpful information.

If a pre-lodgement meeting is necessary, you will need to complete Form 216 - Pre-Lodgement Meeting Request. We also ask that you provide us with a copy of any relevant plans and an outline of the items you wish to discuss. This will allow us to assign the request to the most relevant members of our planning and development team, as well as allowing us to prepare for the meeting.

A member of our planning and development team will contact you within two business days to arrange a time for a meeting, which we will aim to schedule within 10 business days. Pre-lodgement meetings are allocated for a 30 minute slot, so it is important that we all come prepared. Pre-lodgement meetings will be held at Council’s administrative office, unless the team member specifically requests that it is held on site. Following the pre-lodgement meeting, the team member will follow up on any outstanding queries and send you an email with a brief summary of the items discussed during the meeting. 

Costs

Building and development can be expensive. You should consider any additional costs which may apply to your development. These could include:

  • The DA fee, including the cost of referral to State Government agencies.
  • The construction certificate fee and fees incurred in the building process including inspections, engineer’s certificates etc.
  • Any development contributions payable.
  • Conditions that may be imposed by Council such as bonds to cover damage to roads, environmental clean ups, or dilapidation surveys of attached properties.
  • Water and other service connections.

Fees are generally based on the estimated cost of the development. View Council's current fees and charges, which are located below. Contact us for further information about the relevant fees associated with your DA. 

 

Get talking to your neighbours

When you are preparing your plans think about how it will look from and impact on your direct neighbours and across the street. Once you have a clear idea of your proposal, you should discuss it with your neighbours. Ideally, you should contact them early in the process. Consider issues such as privacy, solar-access, views and visual impacts. In many circumstances your direct neighbours will be notified and provided opportunity to comment once the DA is lodged. 

 

Prepare your DA

The type of information that accompanies a DA will vary depending on your proposal and site. See our page on planning & building forms for the information that may be required to accompany your DA.

 

  

Stage 2 - Lodgement and Initial Administration

Lodge an assessment ready application

When you have filled out all the required forms you can lodge your application. A completed DA will generally include:

  • Completed forms
  • Any necessary specialist reports.
  • All matters required for a DA as listed in the EP&A Regulation (Schedule 1, Part 1); and
  • The required fees.

More information on the necessary documentation can be found on our common application types page.
Lodgement can be made:

  • Over the counter - 209 Comur Street, Yass
  • Via the Planning Portal 
  • Post - PO Box 6 YASS NSW 2582

Lodgement is the formal start of the DA process. We will check that all the information has been provided and calculate the relevant fees. If the information you provide is adequate and when the fees have been paid, the application will be ‘lodged’ and the assessment process started. If the information is inadequate, we may not lodge the application or could ‘stop the clock’ on the assessment until the required information is provided.

It is your responsibility to provide all the required information and to make sure your DA provides enough detail to enable us to make a decision. Getting this right will save you time and money.

 

Neighbour notification and advertising

Once your DA is lodged, formal neighbour notification may occur. Notification can take a number of forms:

  • Individual letters to local residents.
  • On-site notice.
  • Advertisement on our website 
  • Advertisement in the local newspaper and community publications.

Neighbour notification is a key element in the DA process. Raising issues can be a positive, value adding exercise as all stakeholders work together for a mutually beneficial outcome. During the neighbour notification, the plans and application are made available on our website and at the Council office.

 

Referrals (Internal and External)

Once your DA is lodged, formal neighbour notification may occur. Notification can take a number of forms:

  • Individual letters to local residents.
  • On-site notice.
  • Advertisement on our website and Facebook page.
  • Advertisement in the local newspaper and community publications.

Neighbour notification is a key element in the DA process. Raising issues can be a positive, value adding exercise as all stakeholders work together for a mutually beneficial outcome. During the neighbour notification, the plans and application are made available on our website and at the Council office.

 

Allocation of your assessment officer

An assessment officer will be allocated to you and they will be your key point of contact. The assessment officer will contact you to acknowledge receipt of the application and provide you regular updates during the assessment.

Our resources and the assessment officer’s time is best spent assessing your application. We usually have a lot of applications to assess and frequent calls will slow this process. It’s recommended that you wait for your assessment officer to contact you. If there is a significant issue or need for clarification, your assessment officer will contact you.

Key points of contact will be:

  • Initial acknowledgement.
  • Site inspection.
  • Request for additional information.
  • Notice of the decision.

Remember if you have engaged someone else to be the applicant on your behalf then we will contact them, not you. In some instances we may also request to speak to a member of your specialist team.

 

How long will it take?

Processing time is directly related to the complexity of your development and the quality of information supplied to us. We will aim to determine straightforward DAs within 40 days if all the required information has been included.

 

 

Stage 3 - Assessment 

All DAs must be formally assessed. This means that the site must be inspected, neighbours consulted, referrals completed, reports drafted and recommendations made.

The six matters that we must consider (under section 4.15 of the EP&A Act) are:

  • All plans and policies that apply 
  • Impacts of your proposal on the natural and built environment and the social and economic impacts in the locality.
  • The suitability of your site for your proposal (e.g. physical characteristics, availability of access and services).
  • Any submissions (such as from neighbours or other groups).
  • Any comments or agreements/approvals from any NSW Government agency.
  • The broader public interest.

Additional Information Requests
If you get the ‘front end’ of the application lodgement process right then we will most likely have all the information required to make a decision. However, it may be necessary for the assessment officer to contact you, or your consultant, and request clarification or additional information. It’s helpful if you can respond quickly and it’s best to get your experts to talk directly with us if further clarification is needed.

Stage 4 - Determination 

There are three possible outcomes for the determination of a DA. 

Development Consent - Granted, with conditions 
DA Refusal - With reasons
Deferred Commencement Consent - A consent that does not operate until one or more important matters are resolved. This is not a common outcome.

Who makes the decision on your DA?
Decisions on DAs are made in accordance with Council’s policy, DA-POL-18 Development Assessment & Decision Making. For most developments the decisions will be made by staff, however in certain circumstances applications may be reported to a meeting of Councillors, including where:

  • There is a significant variation to a development control or policy.
  • There have been three or more reasonable and unresolved objections.
  • It is an application ‘called in’ by Councillors.

Conditions
Your development consent is a legal document and is extremely important – you must build according to the conditions to avoid possible penalties or having to take costly rectification measures. As an owner, you should carefully read and discuss these conditions with your certifier and building team members, as the conditions may modify the proposal you submitted.

Conditions also require you and your team to take steps prior to or at key stages e.g. prior to the issue of a Construction Certificate, prior to/during construction and prior to the issue of an Occupation Certificate.

What if i want to modify an approval?

If you wish to change a condition of your consent or amend details of your approved plans, you will need to lodge Form 10 - Modification of Development Consent. As it is unlawful to undertake works that are different to your development consent, it is important that you have any changes approved.

Below is useful information about modifying an approval.

Limitations on modifications

The modified development must be substantially the same as the development that was originally approved. If the modified development varies too much from the approved development, a new Development Application must be lodged with us. You are encouraged to contact Council staff, preferably the assessment officer of the original application, to discuss your proposed modification prior to lodgement.

The onus is on you to demonstrate that the modified development will be substantially the same as that originally approved. 

 

Types of modifications

There are three types of modifications permitted under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

4.55(1) Modifications involving minor error, misdescription or miscalculation
There is an error on an approved plan and/or condition of consent and the error is minor or trivial (e.g. incorrect calculation or wording). The form of the development will not change and therefore the impacts of the development do not need to be re-assessed. On this basis, notification is generally not required.

4.55(1A) Modifications involving minimal environmental impact
The modified development will be substantially the same as that originally approved and will have minimal impact on the amenity of surrounding properties and the environment. This type of modification could consist of internal/external design changes or a change to hours of operation. Depending on the extent of the modification, notification may be required.

4.55(2) Other modifications
Impacts resulting from changes may impact on surrounding properties and the environment and therefore, more detailed assessment is required. This type of modification could consist of increasing the height of a building or increasing the number of traffic movements. Due to the potential impacts, notification will be undertaken.

 

 

Lodging a modification application

Once you have confirmed that the proposed change/s fits into one of the above modification types, you can lodge Form 10 Modification of Development Consent. Your application must be accompanied by plans and details of the proposed changes and, if necessary, a statement justifying that the modified development will be substantially the same as that originally approved.  

 

Fees

The fee for a modification is dependent on the type of modification you are undertaking. The fees are set out in Council’s Fees and Charges located here