Approval Pathways

There are nine different planning approval pathways in NSW, depending on the size and scale of a development. The most common of development types in Hunters Hill are:

  • exempt development
  • complying development 
  • local development.

What is Exempt Development?

Exempt development is very low impact development that can be done for certain residential, commercial and industrial properties. For example decks, garden sheds, carports, fences, repairing a window or painting a house. As long as the proposed works meet all of the development standards as identified in the State Policy for exempt and complying development, approval may not be needed.

What is Complying Development?

Complying development is development that has a greater impact than the exempt development options, but is still considered to have minor environmental impact on neighbourhood amenity, which can be addressed by predetermined development criteria.

Complying development is a combined planning and construction approval for straight forward development that can be determined by Council or a private accredited certifier. Complying development applies to homes, businesses and industry as well as allowing for a range of things like the construction of a new dwelling, alterations and additions, new industrial buildings, demolition of a building and changes to business use. Generally this process is via a fast track pathway process as the application is generally determined within 10-20 days.

Complying Development requires self-assessment prior to lodging an application to ensure that Complying Development standards have been met. There is no leniency to the development standards, where a development cannot meet these standards a traditional development application is required to be made to Council. 

What is Local Development?

If a development is not exempt or complying development, it requires a Development Application (DA) to be lodged with Council. This is usually because the project may have a level of environmental impact such as heritage and river front area impacts. This process involves a merit-based assessment and is generally intended for projects that require notification and consultation with the neighbouring properties and the broader community to ensure the community can have their say.

Legislation and Regulations

The organisation that assesses and determines a DA or CDC is called the consent authority. The consent authority is guided by the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979, the State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs) and our Local Environmental Plan (LEP).

The majority of exempt and complying development types and their development standards are specified under: