Council improving the development application process
Thursday 25 May 2017
Council on Tuesday night approved a new Development Assessment Policy aimed at speeding up the development approval process for ‘mums and dads’ developers and reducing costs.
The policy, which targets small scale housing approvals such as alterations and additions, new single dwellings and dual occupancies will apply across the enlarged inner west local government area.
Administrator Richard Pearson said the improvements are designed to speed up processing times, simplify the process for all applicants and to create greater predictability for neighbours about the scale of development which might occur next door.
“Council is in the process of integrating and updating the development assessment systems of the former Leichhardt, Marrickville and Ashfield councils into the new Council,” he said.
“At the same time, Council is taking steps to improve the development application and assessment process. The first phase of this initiative we approved on Tuesday night focuses on Council’s upfront consultation with and education of applicants to make the process simpler for everyone.
"The trick in DA assessment is to ensure that applications received either conform with Council's planning controls or that variations are well justified and that impacts on adjoining residents are acceptable.
"Best practice DA assessment involves thorough pre-DA consultation so that when an applicant lodges a DA there is reasonable confidence that it will not require major amendment," Mr Pearson said.
Proposed initiatives include:
• Prioritising up-front discussions with Council through new, dedicated, and customer-focussed services at the pre-lodgement stage.
• Offering more efficient and improved pre-lodgement, lodgement and post-lodgement processes.
• Streamlining the development application process to reduce time taken for approvals.
Mr Pearson emphasised that these process changes will see no reduction in neighbour notification or consultation with all applications continuing to go through Council's public exhibition requirements.
"But what we are hoping is that if plans are lodged which are closer to Council's expectations, there will be less neighbourhood angst as a result of the sort of speculative proposals which we currently see from time to time."
Mr Pearson said Council will also host a series of information seminars starting next month designed for applicants and owners wishing to carry out renovations to their residential properties.
“Although these seminars do not provide advice on the specifics of development proposals of the individuals attending, they do provide a good general overview of the development assessment system which can be helpful in guiding expectations,” he said.
Some of the topics covered included in the upcoming sessions include navigating the town plan; what is a ‘development standard’; how your alterations and additions can contribute to local urban character and streetscape; the importance of speaking to neighbours about your additions before lodging an application; and how Council arrives at a decision.
The next seminar will be held between 7pm and 9pm on Wednesday 14 June at Leichhardt Town Hall at the Council Chambers (enter from Marion Street).
RSVP to reserve a place on 9367 9230 or via firstname.lastname@example.org or view Council website for more information including updates on other seminar dates.