NEW DA Search Tool
Lane Cove Council has
enabled a feed of their planning application alerts to
<http://www.planningalerts.org.au/>. Hence it is now possible for GCA members
and Greenwich residents generally to monitor the
lodgement of planning applications for the Lane Cove
is provided without warranty
or liability for omission.
THE ASSESSMENT PROCESS FOR
RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT IN GREENWICH
This brief guide has been
prepared by the Greenwich Community Association to provide
residents with information about the development assessment
process in Lane Cove. The Association does not see its role as
that of “community policeman” – it is up to individual
property owners to exercise their rights to pursue
applications or to challenge developments that concern them.
However, residents are always free to raise their concerns for
discussion at our public meetings.
The Association may lodge
objections in its own right in the case of clear non
compliance with Council planning codes. However, the
complexity of planning legislation and competing aspirations
means that the Association will initiate an objection in its
own right only in exceptional circumstances.
Whilst we have
endeavoured to provide accurate and up-to-date information, it
must be emphasised that this is a complex area. Readers are
advised to seek legal or town planning advice if they are
contemplating a development of their own or initiating
objections to a development by another party.
The Greenwich Community
Association assumes no liability for actions or decisions
taken that are based upon information contained in the
THE ASSESSMENT PROCESS
THE CONSTRUCTION PHASE
Council’s controls over residential development in Greenwich
are contained in two documents:
* Lane Cove Local
Environmental Plan 2009
* Lane Cove Development Control
documents can be accessed on Lane Cove Council’s website
Development is also
controlled by planning policies of the New South Wales
Department of Planning called State Environmental Planning
Policies. These policies generally relate to specific aspects
of development such as affordable housing or guidelines for
developments that do not require Council approval.
It is necessary to look
at all sets of controls to get a clear picture of the
development assessment process in Greenwich.
Lane Cove Local
Environmental Plan 2009 (LEP)
This document outlines the
zonings that apply in the Lane Cove Council area and the
activities permitted within each zoning.
It also outlines
the main development standards applicable in each zoning such
as building height, floor space ratio (FSR), lot size
Detailed maps are available on Council’s
website showing applicable restrictions for each property –
all you need is an address. The link to follow for this
information is http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/mapindex?type=epi&year=2010&no=49
Take care to note the exact
colour of a property’s zoning – some of them are rather alike!
If you are still
unsure about the zoning for a property, apply to Council for a
Section 149 Certificate
Lane Cove Development
Control Plan 2010 (DCP)
In 2010 Lane Cove Council
consolidated all detailed development controls into one
document known as the Lane Cove Development Control Plan. Both
residential and commercial development requirements are
covered in this document.
This scope of the DCP is, of
necessity, wide ranging – specific sections of the DCP can be
Planning Policies (SEPPs)
The New South Wales Department of
Planning has approved a number of policies that must be
adhered to by local councils. Councils are not normally
permitted to deviate from these policies without approval of
The list of these
policies can be accessed on http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/PlanningSystem/Legislationandplanninginstruments/ListofStatePolicies/tabid/78/language/en-AU/Default.aspx
The policy that is likely
to impact most frequently on development in Greenwich is known
as State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying
Development Codes) 2008.
document outlines development or work that can be undertaken
without the requirement for Council or neighbours’ approval
(“exempt development”) and development or work that can be
processed under a fast track system through Council
without the requirement for consultation with neighbours
There are many other
SEPPs in operation in NSW. There may be times when the details
of a development proposal seem quite out of the normal range
of Council’s LEP and DCP provisions – this may be because it
is covered by a separate SEPP. In most cases, Council has
little power to prevent such a development if it falls within
the guidelines detailed in the relevant SEPP.
LEP, DCP and SEPPs –
It is necessary to look closely at these
three documents to get a clear picture of what a Greenwich
resident can do to their property and what rights they have in
respect of what other people do to theirs.
And please be aware that things can
change from time to time – we will endeavour to update links
etc but we repeat our advice to seek professional help if your
question is complex.
THE ASSESSMENT PROCESS
Check the Classification
of a Property under the LEP
It is important to be very
clear about the classification of a property within the LEP as
this may impact on the process of assessment of a development
Council has designated some parts of
Greenwich as requiring additional protection due to heritage
characteristics or location near watercourses, foreshore etc.
If a property is located in such an area, the application and
assessment process may be subject to controls that differ from
those for other parts of Greenwich.
Properties so designated can be
identified on the Council zoning maps http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/mapindex?type=epi&year=2010&no=49.
The State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt
and Complying Development ) Codes 2008 permits property owners
to carry out some work to their properties without the need to
seek Council approval (”exempt
.Works that are classified as “exempt development” are those
that generally have little impact on surrounding properties –
they include improvements such as barbecues, clothes lines,
water tanks etc.
In order to be classified
as “exempt development” work must adhere to the specific
standards and specifications detailed in the Part 2 of the
SEPP - http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/scanview/inforce/s/1/?EPITITLE=%22State%20Environmental%20Planning%20Policy%20(Exempt%20and%20Complying%20Development%20Codes)%202008%22&nohits=y
and must not impact on areas
of environmental sensitivity.
Provided a property owner
adheres strictly to these requirements, Council and neighbours
have no legal right to challenge the carrying out of exempt
The State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt
and Complying Development ) Codes 2008 permits property owners
to carry out some work to their properties through a fast
track approval process without the requirement for public
notification of plans (“complying development”).
It must be
noted that the complying development provisions do not apply
to any properties that have been included in the Heritage Map
or the Foreshore Building Line Map, Riparian Land Map,
Environmental Protection Area Map in Council’s LEP.
property owner who plans to undertake work in this
classification must ensure that the specifications and scope
of work fit within the guidelines specified in Part 3 of the
It is recommended that property owners
seek professional advice about whether their proposed work
will fall within the complying development category.
If a property owner
wishes to begin complying development, it is necessary to
apply to Council or an Accredited Certifier for a “Complying
If it is
intended to make an application through Council, it is
advisable to look at Council’s checklist for Complying
Development applications on http://ecouncil.lanecove.nsw.gov.au/trim/InternetFormDocLink.asp?RecId=528046
The form required to
apply for the Complying Development Certificate can be found
If a Complying
Development application is in order, Council or an Accredited
Certifier must issue a Complying Development Certificate
within 10 working days. This process can take place without
any consultation with neighbours. However, work may not
commence under the Complying Development Certificate unless
nearby residents have been given at least 2 days notice that
work is about to commence. On 5 March 2011 Councillors
resolved to notify adjoining owners once a Complying
Development Certificate had been issued by Council and this is
now being implemented.
If Council or the
Accredited Certifier refuses to issue a Complying Development
Certificate on the grounds that plans do not fit within the
specifications of Part 3 of the SEPP, it will be necessary for
an applicant to submit a Development Application with Council.
There is no right of appeal for refusal to issue a Complying
proposed development cannot be classified as either exempt or
complying or a complying development application is not
permitted owing to the location of a property, it is necessary
for a proposed development to be submitted as a Development
Application, normally known as a “DA”.
Lodging a DA
Council’s website contains a useful
checklist of the information that may be required to support a
DA – it is advisable to consult this list and to have a pre-DA
meeting with Council officers to avoid delays later in the
assessment process http://www.lanecove.nsw.gov.au/Council%20Services/Development%20Control/Development%20Application%20Approval%20Processes/Development%20Forms/DevelopmentForms.htm
Once a DA is accepted
over the counter by Council, it will be allocated a reference
number. It is possible to track the progress of a DA using
this reference number on Council’s DA Tracking facility
DA Notification and
The DA will then be
assessed by Council officers for compliance with Council’s
technical requirements whilst at the same time being notified
to the public as Council officers consider appropriate.
Notification procedures may vary depending upon Council’s
assessment of the need for this to occur. However, Council is
legally required to advise adjoining property owners and it
routinely informs Councillors. The Greenwich Community
Association also receives notification of DAs in the Greenwich
area and copies of supporting plans. All members of the public
may view the Council’s DA tracking facility if they are
interested in the detail of a DA after it has been lodged with
It is at this stage that
submissions may be made in relation to a DA. Council
stipulates that such submissions must be made within 14 days
of notification but late submissions made before a decision
has been reached will be accepted.
submissions are made available for inspection on Council’s
Comments can also be
addressed to relevant Councillors by both the applicant and
those wishing to make submissions - contact details for
Councillors can be accessed on http://ecouncil.lanecove.nsw.gov.au/trim/DocumentLink.asp?RecId=5966/05
Council is required to
make a determination on a DA within 40 days of receipt of an
application. However, if Council requires additional
information from an applicant, the 40 day clock will stop
until the required information has been provided.
assessment process may sometimes require interaction between
an applicant and parties opposed to a DA – this may include
community consultation, site meetings, mediation.
will then prepare a report that has regard to comments from
Council officers, from authorities that may have an interest
in a DA eg RTA, and from community input.
members normally have delegated authority to make a
determination on consent or refusal of a DA..
However, a decision will be made by Council’s Planning and
Building Committee or by the full Council if the DA has been
“called in” by a Councillor . A Councillor will normally
call in a DA in response to notification by an applicant or by
objectors who have expressed concerns about aspects of a DA.
The Planning and Building
Committee will only make a determination if all members of the
Committee agree unanimously with the recommendations of
Council officers. Failing this, the matter will go to Council.
If a determination is to
be made by Council, the DA item will appear on the Agenda for
the Council meeting in which the DA is to be discussed. The
Agenda will contain copies of reports by Council officers and
the text of a proposed determination including, in the case of
a recommended approval, conditions of consent – the
Agenda and supporting papers can be accessed on http://www.lanecove.nsw.gov.au/Your%20Council/Meetings%20and%20Reports/Business%20Papers%20%26%20Minutes/BusinessPapersandMinutes.htm .
Proposed dates for
Council meetings and meetings of the Planning and Building
Committee can be located on http://www.lanecove.nsw.gov.au/Your%20Council/Meetings%20and%20Reports/Business%20Papers%20%26%20Minutes/BusinessPapersandMinutes.htm
Applicants and objectors
have the right to address Council at Planning & Building
Committee or for a maximum of 3 minutes before commencement of
formal business at a Council Meeting. If it is preferred, a
representative such as an architect or town planner can speak
on behalf of any party – it is best to be brief and concise.
Matters of detail should have been covered in earlier
discussions with Councillors and staff.
The determination process
may lead to refusal of a DA or consent with conditions – the
scope of the conditions will depend upon the complexity of the
DA and on the objections received.
If Council has not made a
determination within 40 days (or for a longer period if the
clock has stopped during the assessment process), it is deemed
to have refused the application and the applicant has rights
to appeal the refusal as if it had been formally refused.
Appeal against a
grant or refusal of a DA
Under Section 82A of the Environmental
Planning and Assessment Act 1979 an applicant has the right to
ask Council to review a refusal but an objector does not have
a right to seek a review of consent.
Again, the applicant can
ask for the determination to be done by Council, rather than
the staff under delegated authority.
If the request for review
is unsuccessful, an applicant has the right to lodge an appeal
with the Land and Environment Court within six months of the
determination. In the case of residential DAs, objectors do
not normally have the equivalent right to appeal against a
consent determination – legal advice should be sought if this
Validity of a
Complying Development Certificate or DA
A Complying Development Certificate
or a DA is valid for a maximum of 5 years from date of
determination unless any works have commenced before that
Modification of Plans
in Complying Development Certificates and DAs
will become obvious that there are errors in approved plans or
that the original plans require modification for reasons that
were not contemplated at the time of application. An
application to amend plans must be submitted to Council as a
Section 96 application.
For details of Council requirements
In cases involving minor
errors or where modifications will have minimal environmental
impact , Council (or the Private Certifying Authority) may
approve the Section 96 application without public
notification. In other cases, Council may require public
THE CONSTRUCTION PHASE
The conditions relating to the construction phase for
exempt developments are set out in the State Environmental
Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008
– refer to Part 1 Division 2 Clause 1.16.
Works must comply strictly with
the specifications listed for the specific work – these
specifications can be found in Part 2 Division 1.
As has been stated above,
Council approval for such work is not necessary and neighbours
are not required to be consulted or notified provided the code
The conditions relating to the construction
phase of complying development for houses are set out in the
State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying
Development Codes) 2008.
Part 3 Division 2 details
specifications for specific aspects of the work eg building
height, landscaping, garages.
Part 1 Division
2 and Part 3 Division 3 contain the more general requirements
as to the initiation and management of the construction phase.
Work cannot commence
until a Complying Development Certificate has been obtained
from Council or an Accredited Certifier.
Neighbours within 20m of the property
must be given 2 days notice that work is to commence.
a DA has been approved, it is necessary to obtain a
Construction Certificate from Council or an Accredited
Certifier. The purpose of this certificate, among other
things, is to ensure that the final plans comply with
Council’s consent conditions and with the standards of the
Building Code of Australia and other relevant authorities.
If the Construction
Certificate is issued by an Accredited Certifier, it is
necessary to lodge copies of all documents with Council within
2 days of the signing of the Construction Certificate.
When a start date for
work has been established, it is necessary to give 2 days
notice to Council by lodging a Notice of Commencement. This
notice must specify the Certifier who will be supervising the
It will be the
responsibility of the Certifier to monitor the entire building
phase and to issue an Occupation Certificate at the conclusion
of the process. It is illegal to reside in the property
until the Occupation Certificate (final or interim) has been
Further detail about this stage of the development
process and links to relevant forms can be found
Risks of Non-compliance
with Codes or DA Conditions
If Council is concerned that
applicable codes or development consent conditions are not
being complied with, it has a range of sanctions available to
it, including the demolition of illegal works.
resident suspects that illegal work is taking place, they may
contact Council by phone or by lodging an email complaint.
Lane Cove Council views non –compliance
seriously – for further information on Council’s policy and
the reporting of non-compliant work refer to http://www.lanecove.nsw.gov.au/Council%20Services/Development%20Control/Illegal%20Building%20Works/IllegalBuildingWork.htm.