Development application process

What can I do on my property?

The starting point for all land use and development enquiries is to determine the zoning of your property under the relevant Local Environmental Plan (LEP). Particular development standards, for example setbacks and fence heights, are outlined in the Byron Development Control Plan (DCP). In July 2014, the Council adopted a new LEP and DCP, which has revised certain provisions, restructured the documents and renamed the zones throughout the Shire.

It is also important to note that some areas are not yet zoned under the Byron LEP 2014 and are zoned as a Deferred Matter or DM and revert back to the Byron LEP 1988 and DCP 2010 for assessment. This occurred in areas of environmental significance and will be allocated a zoning in the future.

Once you have established the zoning of your property, the land use matrix and permissible uses within the LEP can be used to identify the types of development that you can conduct at your property and if you need a Development Application.

To ensure that you have the correct information relating to your property, Council strongly advises that you purchase a Section 149 Zoning Certificate. Byron Council issues two types of certificates:

  • 149(2) certificate ($53)
  • 149(2) & (5) certificate ($133) which includes information on dwelling entitlement

To obtain a 149 Certificate complete the online application form and submit it to Council. While the planning certificate will state all the relevant planning instruments that apply to the property, it does not outline specific development standards or terms of the instruments.

Once you have determined what is permissible on your property and are considering a development, you are then required to address the more detailed planning controls of Council's Development Control Plan.

Depending on the works that you are proposing or the location of your property, you may also need to refer to State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPP).

For additional information refer to Council’s ' Development related plans, policies and strategies ' page.

Lodging a Development Application (DA)

Planning law is complex and specialised.  Whilst Council officers can advise you on some aspects of your proposal, they cannot prepare the application for you, or give you detailed technical or legal advice.  Should you decide not to prepare the application yourself, you can engage an experienced consultant or consultants to assist you.  Please note that Council staff cannot recommend consultants.

If your proposal requires development consent, you need to lodge a development application with Council.  It is usually helpful, both to you and to Council, if you first liaise with a Development Services Officer (DSO) at the Customer Service Counter, or by telephoning 02 6626 7025 to discuss your proposal.

The DSO may suggest that you meet with the Development Advisory Panel, for a Pre-lodgement meeting. The panel is made up of Council specialists who can advise you on the specific needs of your proposal.  To arrange a meeting, please refer to the Pre-lodgement Meeting Information form.

Once you have decided on your proposal, first read the Development Application Help Guide available from Council, and then fill in the Development Application Form, and any other forms that the Help Guide says you need to complete.

Once your application is ready to submit, it is recommended that you lodge the application directly with the DSO at Council's Administration Building. The DSO will review your application to ensure all information is complete and the application can be accepted. They will also advise you of the fees required to be paid.

How will my DA be processed?

Once your application is lodged, it will be given a preliminary check to make sure it is complete.  It will then be referred to one of Council’s Assessment Officers, who are trained in disciplines including Planning, Engineering, Building and Environmental Assessment.  Council will write to you, advising who is managing your application, how to contact that person (including an email address, which is the preferred means of contact), and details of any additional information you need to submit before the application can be assessed.

Depending on the issues involved, the assessment officer may call on additional expertise such as traffic engineering, environmental health or ecology to assist with the assessment.  Council may also need to refer your application to various government departments for their consideration, and may need to advertise it for community comment.

Your application will be considered in terms of Council and NSW Government Planning Instruments and Policies, including

  1. Byron Local Environmental Plan 2014
  2. Byron Development Control Plan 2014
  3. North Coast Regional Environmental Plan
  4. State Environmental Planning Policies

and other applicable policies and legislation.  The assessment officer may request a meeting or additional information from you to assist with that assessment.  The assessment officer will then prepare a report and recommendation for determination of the application, based on the results of the assessment.

How long will it take?

The development assessment process relies on co-operation between you as the applicant, and the Council and its staff as the determining authority.

It is your responsibility to provide Council with all of the information it must have to assess your application.  It is Council’s responsibility to assess your application efficiently, professionally and impartially, in accordance with its statutory obligations.

The time taken to determine a development application will be affected by a number of factors, including:

  1. Whether you have had discussions with Council staff prior to lodging your application, to seek some guidance about Council’s requirements;
  2. Whether you have submitted sufficient information, and the quality and professionalism of that information, to enable Council to meet its legal obligations to assess your application;
  3. The response to your application from your neighbours and the wider community;
  4. Whether Council considers there is a need for you to vary your proposal to meet planning requirements or community concerns;
  5. Responses from government agencies involved in assessing your application;
  6. The resources available to process your application; and
  7. Whether your application can be determined entirely under delegation, or whether it needs to be reported to Councillors at an Environmental Planning and Local Approvals Committee meeting.

Who can I talk to during the assessment of my DA?

Council will write to advise you of the name and contact details of the Planner assessing your application.  That person should always be your first contact point for any enquiries you have about your application.  Contact by email is preferred.  Council will advise you if the person assessing your application changes for any reason.

Who determines my DA?

Most applications (around 97%) are determined by Council officers under Delegation from the Council.  The remainder are determined by the elected Councillors, based on a report from the Director, Sustainable Environment and Economy , to the Ordinary meeting.

How and when the application is determined depends on the level of delegation given to Council officers, the level of objection received from the public, and whether elected Councillors wish to make the determination.  If your application is determined at a meeting of the elected Councillors, you may request the opportunity to address the meeting.

Will my DA be advertised or notified to adjoining neighbours?

Most development applications will be advertised or notified to neighbours for comment.  Whether or not your proposal needs to be notified, and the way it will be notified, is determined by Part A14 of DCP 2014, which aims to define the most appropriate level and means of public participation for different types of development.

If your application has to be advertised or notified, further fees will apply.

Construction Certificates

If your proposal involves building or structural work you will almost always require a construction certificate, as well as a Development Application, before you can commence work.

You may apply for a Construction Certificate at the same time as you submit your development application if you wish. Otherwise you can apply at any time after lodging your DA.

Other Approvals

You may need other approvals, either from Council or from other government departments, before you commence work.  For example, you may need approval from Council under the Local Government Act, 1993 (water and sewer work, connection of Stormwater pipes, etc.) or the Roads Act, 1993 (Driveway).

You can apply for these approvals either as part of this development application or separately, at a later date. If you choose not to apply for these approvals with your development application, only planning matters will be assessed with the development application.  However, your development may not commence until you have obtained those other approvals from Council. If you do choose to apply now for these additional approvals with the application your development may commence once development consent and the approval are granted, provided you first comply with any prerequisite conditions of the consent and approval.

Certain other types of development require specific approvals from NSW Government departments as well as development consent from Council.  These are called “Integrated Development”

Development application Process

The various stages and key steps involved in the Development Application process are summarised below.

1.   Pre-application consultation

    1. Obtain a DA Information Package from Council and read the Help Guide
    2. Discuss your proposal with the Development Support Officer; arrange a meeting with the Pre-lodgement meeting if appropriate
    3. What other applications/approvals are required?  See the Help Guide in the DA Information package

2.   Preparation and lodgement of application and initial administration

    1. Complete all required forms and checklists – see the Help Guide
    2. Include owner’s consent and all required fees – contact the Development Support Officer for fees applicable
    3. Ensure all required information is included, eg Statement of Environmental Effects and sets of plans – see the Help Guide in the DA Information Package
    4. Lodge your application with the Development Support Officers at Council, or by mail
    5. Council reviews the information provided, advises you of the planner assessing your application and any additional information needed

3.  Referrals and Public Notification

    1. Where applicable, adjoining owners are notified by letter and notice will be placed in the Byron Shire News
    2. Where applicable, external referrals are sent, eg. Department of Planning, Transport NSW, National Parks and Wildlife Service, etc.
    3. Where applicable, internal Council referrals are sent, eg. engineering, environmental health, etc.

4.   Assessment

    1. Site inspection, planning assessment (Section 79C EP&A Act)
    2. Liaison with applicant if required
    3. Submissions from public and internal/ external referrals received
    4. Report prepared recommending either approval (with conditions) or refusal (with reasons)

5.   Determination

    1. Decision by Council officer under delegation, or by Councillors at a formal meeting, in which case you may address the meeting
    2. Formal 'Notice of Determination' and stamped plans to the applicant.
    3. Determination advertised within the Council Notices section of the Byron Shire News.

6.   Development commencement

    1. Refer to conditions of consent
    2. Apply for a Construction Certificate before work commences, issued either by Council ( Building Certification Unit ) or a Private Certifier
    3. 2 days notice to Council before commencement of any works
    4. Inspections during construction either by Council (Building Certification Unit) or Private Certifier
    5. Final inspection, all conditions satisfied
    6. Occupation certificate issued
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