• Do I need approval for my development or building project?
Simple buildings like a small cubby house will not require approval. Some other projects will not require approval but will require certification as complying development if they fit within the NSW guidelines. Everything else requires approval, usually from Council. Some projects require approval from multiple authorities (eg liquor licence, anything in a bushfire or mine subsidence area or beside a highway, creek or waterway). Sometimes it is better to obtain all the State approvals or exemptions prior to lodging an Integrated Development Application with Council (eg jetty).
• I went into Council to ask about my project, but I left confused about my next steps.
Call so we can discuss your objectives, your property, Council and State requirements, and the process for you to advance (or to simply stop).
• How can I find a property that is suitable for my project?
Focus on the permitted land uses within each zone, as described in an area’s Local Environment Plan (www.legislation.nsw.gov.au then EPIs, then look for the first letter of the local government area). You may need to check the LEP’s Dictionary (at the end) to find a land use definition that lawfully fits your project. You will need deep pockets, a long lead time and a good town planning consultant if you like a block but the use is prohibited there.
• A real estate agent says I can put my business into these leased premises, but the previous tenant was a different type of business. What do I have to do?
We would submit an application to Council for a “change of use”, with documentation to justify your business proposal. Avoid signing an unconditional lease before approval has been gained.
• I have received a breach notification letter from a public authority about my property/ business. What happens next?
Talk to us, or to your lawyer rather than ignoring the letter. Stop doing whatever has been objected to. Usually breach notices are staged, with a notification of intention to breach coming first, which we would stall (if possible). An application seeking approval to do what you want to do is likely to follow, in order to remediate the breach.
• What right do I have to object to my neighbour’s project?
Adhere to the notified deadline for Council’s receipt of submissions. Develop your arguments and obtain professional advice: some aspects can be objected to successfully, others cannot because they meet the planning rules. Usually, you can lobby and address staff, Councillors, the Joint Regional Planning Panel or Planning Assessment Commission about your concerns (especially the impact of the proposal on you or others nearby).
• Council has provided inconsistent information about a property I am interested in. How can I clarify it?
Email the information so we can provide advice about it, and can clarify what you might do next.
• To what extent can details of my project break the planning rules? The rules simply do not fit my site.
Some variations are possible, and there are 3 escalating methods for appealing planning standards at the application stage (before going to Court). Focus on achieving the planning objectives.
• What reports will be required with each application?
Check Council’s website for DA guidelines, or DA matrix or similar. The required reports for different types of development will be listed as “yes, no, maybe”. Be cautious about relying on verbal advice from Council.
• What is the process for changing the zoning on a block or otherwise gaining approval for what I want? This is too highly regulated for me!
It is a long process, starting with a Planning Proposal. Check:
• Where can I do best in property development and what are the risks?
Call us: that is a long conversation.