Information for neighbours
Council’s Development Control Plan (DCP) sets out requirements for notifying neighbouring properties of Development Applications. These requirements include who will be notified and for how long and have been designed to enable owners/occupants to be notified where they may be affected by a development proposal.
Notification letters will be sent to those properties identified in the Development Control Plan via Australia Post. The letters will include:
- Details of the address of the subject property
- Description of the proposed development
- How to view the plans of the proposal
- The number of days the application is being notified for
- The name of the Council officer who is assessing the application
- An email and postal address to send your submission
Notification is one of the first stages of the DA process. Each application goes through a step by step process which can be summarised as follows:
The DA process
This is where the application is received by Council, payment for the fees taken and entered into Council’s system. It is then sent to Council’s Development Assessment team for action.
Allocation to Assessment Officer
Once the application has been lodged, Council’s Development Assessment team will allocate it to an Assessment Officer. This is the officer responsible for the assessment and process of the application. Enquiries should be directed to this officer and if they are unavailable, their Team Leader may be able to assist you.
Notification to surrounding properties
The application is then notified to surrounding properties as required by the Development Control Plan. This notification includes letters to the property owners, occupiers, a sign on the subject property, information on Council’s web page and in some cases, an advertisement in the local paper.
Referrals to internal and external specialists
Depending on the subject site and the proposed development, advice from both internal and external specialist may be sought and or required under legislation. In these circumstances information about the application are sent to the specialists seeking their input. Specialist advice may be sought on (but not limited to) heritage, trees, storm water, parking, environment, biodiversity, trains, maritime, roads, fire, health etc.
Initial review by Assessment Officer
The Assessment officer will carry out an initial review of the application upon receipt.
In most circumstances, a site inspection of the subject site will be carried out. The extent of the site inspection and the attendees will largely depend on the proposed development.
A preliminary assessment of the application is carried out against the relevant controls. This will include consideration of any submissions that have been received.
Request to provide additional information or to withdraw the application
Once the preliminary assessment is carried out, the Assessment officer may find that additional information is needed to complete the assessment or to resolve issues. If the application has fundamental issues which cannot be easily resolved, the Applicant may be requested to withdraw the application.
If you have made a submission and the application is withdrawn, Council will advise you in writing of the withdrawal.
The Assessment officer will then prepare an Assessment report taking into consideration all matters required under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, which includes any submissions received.
Peer review of assessment report
Once the application has been lodged, Council’s Development Assessment team will allocate it to an Assessment Officer. This is the officer responsible for the assessment and process of the application.
Enquiries should be directed to this officer and if they are unavailable, their Team Leader may be able to assist you.
Once determined the Assessment Officer will notify the applicant in writing.
After the determination
Once the application has been determined, a Notice of Determination will be issued to the Applicant. This notice will provide:
- If the application was approved – Conditions of consent
- If the application was refused – the Reasons for the refusal
Parties who made a submission to the application during the assessment period will receive written advice about the outcome of the determination. If a copy of the Notice of Determination is not available on Council’s web page ( Track Development Applications section) you may lodge a request for a copy of the document through Council’s Customer Request Management System.
If the application was refused, it may be appealed to the Land & Environment Court by the Applicant. If this occurs and you made a submission, Council’s Legal team will advise you of the appeal and how you can be involved.
If you disagree with the Outcome
There are no appeal rights for objectors if they disagree with the decision made unless the development in question is Designated Development.
In other instances, any person may, however, take legal action to challenge the validity of an approval on the grounds that the decision to grant the approval (including the process followed) was not made according to the law.
Further information is available on the Land & Environment Courts web page
Prior to works or occupation
If the application was approved, this is normally subject to conditions relevant to the development which may require certain works to be done prior to the commencement of works or occupation. If you want to understand what these may be it is important to get a copy of the Notice of Determination. (see above ‘after the determination’).
Most consents issued provide a period of 5 years for the consent to be activated. This means work on the subject site may not commence straight away. Prior to works commencing, a sign identifying the details of the Principal Certifying Authority (PCA) should be erected.
If the application was approved, this is normally subject to conditions relevant to the development which may require certain things to occur during the works. There will also be conditions relating to the hours that work can occur and any protection that needs to be put in place to protect the surrounding environment. If you are concerned about how the works may impact you, it is important to get a copy of the Notice of Determination. (see above ‘after the determination’).
Any complaints in relation to building work or a development site should be referred to the Principal Certifying Authority (PCA) in the first instance because they are responsible party. They generally also have more information about the site and may be able to resolve the concerns or complaint quickly.
Contact details for the PCA should be provided on a sign at the front of the development site. If you are unsure who the PCA is the information may be available on Council’s web page or with our Customer Service team. More information on the responsibilities of a Principal Certifying Authority can be found on the Building Professionals Board web site.
Once you have had an opportunity to review the plans of the proposed development and if you have any concerns with the proposal, it is recommended that you prepare a submission to Council. Submissions should be clear and concise and outline your concerns.
If you wish to discuss the application, please contact the Assessment Officer whose contact details are provided on the notification letter. The Assessment Officer is the person responsible for the application and will have the best knowledge of the application.
Tips for submission writing
Explain what element/s of the proposal you are concerned about and how it will impact you or your neighbourhood;
Provide your address. If we don’t know what property you are writing from, it is difficult to understand the concerns;
If there is a solution that would resolve your concerns (ie inclusion of a privacy screen), tell us what that solution is;
If you have numerous concerns, address each concern under a separate heading;
- Use dot points where you can;
- Include photos where they assist in explaining your concern; and
Include your contact details (email address & phone number)
Make the submission too lengthy as the critical aspects of your submission may be obscured by the length of the document. If your submission is long (greater than 3 pages) include a dot point summary list at the beginning of the submission.
Make an assessment of the proposal against the controls, this is what the Council officer will do as part of the assessment. Council officers want to know what your concerns are.
- Refer to matters that do not relate to the proposed development;
- Slander anyone (please note that submissions are public information and copies may be sought from the Applicant or other interested parties)
Once Council has received your submission it will be reviewed by Council’s Assessment Officer. You may be contacted if a site inspection of your property or clarification of your concerns is needed.
The concerns raised in your submission will form part of the assessment and will be discussed in the Assessment Report. Council will write to you if the application will be considered at a public meeting and include details of that meeting date. Once the application is determined, if you have made a submission, you will receive advice from Council advising of the outcome (ie whether the application was approved or refused).
If you are interested in obtaining information about proposed developments surrounding a particular property, you may wish to look at a third party web page Planning Alerts as Council does not currently have the function for parties to sign up to a mailing list. Signing up to this web page will not affect whether Council notifies you of particular development proposals, as required by the Development Control Plan
Frequently Asked Questions
Why have I been notified of the application?
Council has received a Development Application for a property within the vicinity of your home or business which may affect you. Any concerns you have about the proposal should be relayed to Council in writing so they can be taken into consideration in the assessment.
How long do I have to make a submission?
Submissions should be lodged within the period indicated in the notification letter. This is generally 14 days, but can in some cases be longer. Should your submission be lodged after the close of this period Council may have determined the application prior to receipt of your submission.
What kind of submission can I make?
Submissions must be in writing and should relate directly to the work proposed and your concerns regarding this, its possible impact on surrounding property or the locality. Council staff can assist you in viewing plans and related documentation and can answer questions on specific technical issues. Staff are not in a position to comment on the merits of the proposal at notification stage.
Do I need to disclose a political donation or gift if I make a written submission?
Section 147 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 imposes a disclosure requirement on all persons who make a submission (whether objecting to or supporting the application). A disclosure is required if the person making the submission has made any reportable political donation or gift in the previous 2 years prior to making the submission and up to the time that the application is determined. It is an offence under the Act to fail to make a disclosure of a reportable political donation or gift. Further information can be found at the Political Donations section of Council’s website.
What happens to my submission?
Your submission can be either lodged via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, faxed, posted or hand delivered. It is not necessary to send multiple copies of your submissions to Council. Council will send you a letter acknowledging the receipt of your submission. Council does not provide a specific response to the matters raised in submissions as these are addressed in the report prepared on the application.
If minor amendments are made to an application before it is determined, you may not be renotified but your earlier submission will be considered.
To what extent will Council consider my submission?
The matters which Council must consider are determined by laws such as the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, 1979 and the Local Government Act, 1993. The matters listed for consideration are related to environmental impact. Matters such as moral objection, commercial competition or the specific personal circumstances of an applicant or objector cannot be given weight in Council's assessment.
In addition, Local Environmental Plans, Development Control Plans and Council Policies are matters that must also be considered. These controls set the framework, which forms the basis of applicants' expectations to carry out work on their property. They address issues such as overshadowing, privacy, heritage and streetscape.
Your comments will be considered in conjunction with Council's legal responsibilities, the interests of the community and the reasonable expectations and rights of the applicant. Council will balance these competing interests when making a decision.
Who determines the applications?
Generally applications can are determined by Council officers under delegated authority.
Assessment reports prepared by staff are checked and endorsed by senior officers before being finalised.
Where Council officers do not have delegation, these matters are referred to the relevant Planning Panel. Further information on who will determine the application can be found here
What happens if Council refuses an application or imposes a condition which the applicant thinks is unreasonable or onerous?
An applicant may request Council to review the decision or appeal to the Land and Environment Court of NSW against any decision, or any conditions imposed by Council.
Will my representations remain confidential?
No. Submissions may be viewed and copied by any person under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009. Only the address of the person making a submission can be kept confidential if that person satisfies Council's General Manager through a statutory declaration, that the safety of that person or their family would otherwise be at risk.
Are Councillors involved in the Development Application process?
Councillors are not involved with the assessment or determination of Development Applications.
In previous years, some Council’s granted delegation to officer’s to determine certain type of applications and the remainder would be reported to a meeting of Council for determination.
In late 2017 the State Government moved to change this by making Local Planning Panels mandatory in all Council’s within the Greater Sydney region and Wollongong. The Local Planning Panel is to carry out the functions of Council (in terms of its role as the consent authority under the Act).
The Local Planning Panel for Inner West Council is referred to as the Inner West Planning Panel (IWLPP).
Councillors are involved and continue to represent the community on planning matters in their critical role in establishing what the planning controls and objectives are for the area. These are often in direct response to issues raised by our community.