The Development Application Process

Most people thinking about developing their property, whether they be larger developers or people wanting to do additions to their house, will generally ask Council the same type of questions:

  • What uses are allowed on my property?
  • Do I need to get an approval from Council?
  • If an approval is needed, what information is needed to submit an application and what costs are involved?
  • What is the process for Council to assess an application?
  • Do I need any other approvals?
  • When can I start building?
  • Who signs off on (or certifies) my completed building?

This page provides you with the answers to the front end (or the assessment stage) of the process.

If you are considering any form of development that requires a Development Application (DA) approval, you will follow a sequence of steps contained in the following five stages:

Stage 1 - Preparation and Lodgement

Stage 1 - Preparation and Lodgement

The Development Application Preparation and Lodgement Guide explains how to prepare a Development Application to Wagga Wagga City Council. It provides a guide to the following steps needed for the submission of an application:

  • Step 1 - What Council controls and policies apply?
  • Step 2 - Preparing plans, drawings and other material
  • Step 3 - Preparing the statement of environmental effects
  • Step 4 - Completing the application form
  • Step 5 - Lodging the application form and fees  

The Guide is to be used in conjunction with Council's Development Application Checklists, to assist applicants in preparing and completing your plans and other supporting documentation.

The Guide also includes information on how to Modify a Development Consent (Section 96 application) and how to request a review of the determination of a development application (Section 82A review).

The Development Application Preparation and Lodgement Guide and also to the relevant application forms, attachments and checklists that are necessary for the preparation and lodgement of applications can be found on the Application Forms, Attachments, Guides and Checklists page.

Stage 2 - Public Notification

Stage 2 - Public Notification

What forms of public notification are carried out for Development Applications?

It is important to us that you have a say in the development of the Wagga Wagga LGA. As a part of the Development Application (DA) process, certain developments are advertised and notified to the public for comment.

Section 1.10 of the Wagga Wagga Development Control Plan 2010 (refer to Chapter 1) requires that adjoining property owners be notified of a DA by way of a letter.

In addition to the above, some developments are required to be advertised in the local newspaper, The Daily Advertiser, and to be advertised locally by a sign placed on the street frontage of the subject property. This is referred to as Advertised Development and Clause 1.10 of the Wagga Wagga Development Control Plan 2010 defines what development falls into this category.

During any notification period, the application and any plans and specifications relating to the development may be inspected at the Council Administration Centre, corner Baylis and Morrow Streets, at any time between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday (public holidays excepted).

How long do you have to make a submission?

Depending on the type of development, an application can be advertised for anything from 7 days to 30 days.

Council considers applications as soon as possible as part of its service to local residents and applicants. As a result, submissions must be lodged within the submission period indicated in the notification letter or advertisement. Should your submission be lodged after the close of this period it is possible that Council may have determined the application prior to receipt of your submission.

How should a submission be made?

Submissions must be in writing and should be addressed to the General Manager within the period specified. Submissions should relate directly to the work proposed and its possible impact on surrounding property or the locality. If any submission is made by way of objection, the grounds of objection must be specified in the submission.

Council staff can assist you when viewing plans and specifications 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 nor is it appropriate that they assist you in formulating your objection, should you have one.

Please provide the following information in your submission (if appropriate to the development):

  • The development application number
  • The address of the development
  • Your telephone number  

You should only address those issues relevant to the development application. You can use photos or sketches to clarify your concerns.                                                               

Persons lodging submissions are required to declare political donations (including donations of more than $1,000) made in the previous two years. For more details, including disclosure form, visit the Disclosure of Donations page on this website.

What happens to your submission?

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 assessment report prepared on the application.

If minor amendments are made to the application (or amendments made to overcome concerns raised) following the notification period and before the DA is determined, you may not be re-notified.  However, your earlier submission will be considered during the final assessment.

All relevant matters raised in each submission will be taken into consideration during the assessment process. Details of how each matter raised in the submissions has been addressed are documented within the assessment report.

Please note that any group of pro-forma objections (including petitions) will be considered as one objection only.

To what extent do Council consider your submission?

The matters which Council may consider are set down under legislation such as the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and relate to environmental impact. Issues such as moral objection, commercial competition or personal circumstances of an applicant or objector cannot be given weight in Council's assessment.

Local Environmental Plans, Development Control Plans and the Building Code of Australia are matters that must also be considered. These provide controls to assess the proposal. They include issues such as overshadowing, privacy, heritage, urban design and view corridors.

Your comments will be considered in conjunction with Council's legal responsibilities, the interests of the community at large and the reasonable expectation and rights of the applicant. Council will carry out a balanced assessment of these interests in the analysis of any application and may elect to vary the application of its "controls" based on the merits of the proposal.

Details of how each matter raised in the submissions has been addressed are documented within the assessment report.

How are applications determined?

Development Applications lodged with Council are determined by one of the following bodies:

Assessment reports prepared by staff are reviewed by senior staff before being finalised. Generally, less complex or non-controversial matters are dealt with under delegated authority.

Where the number of submissions received in response to an advertised or notified development application is 10 or more, the application will be referred to Council for determination. Objections will continue to be considered on the basis of merit and relevance.

Please note that any group of pro-forma objections (including petitions) will be considered as one objection only.

How will you know when a matter will be reported to a Council meeting?

Any person who makes a written submission on a particular DA will receive prior written notification if the DA is to be referred to a Council Meeting or a meeting of the Southern Region Joint Regional Planning Panel (SRJRPP). If you are interested in the status of an application please contact the officer dealing with it or consult the duty town planner or building surveyor at Council.

Council generally meets on the last Monday of each month, commencing at 6.00pm. SRJRPP meetings are only convened when required. The public are welcome to attend both Council and SRJRPP meetings which are all held in the Council Meeting Room at the Civic Centre.

The agenda and business papers are generally available on the Council Meetings section of this website. People who have made submissions on an application will be notified in writing if that matter has been placed on the agenda. The agenda contains a copy of the assessment report and recommendation for every application on the paper.

Making an address at the Policy and Strategy Supplementary Council  (or SRJRPP) Meeting

Objectors, applicants, or any other interested persons relating to a DA or other matters may address the Councillors and Senior Staff through prior application, at the Policy and Strategy Supplementary Council Meeting. This Meeting is generally held on the second Monday of each month, commencing at 6.00pm.

Similarly, objectors, applicants, or any other interested persons may also apply to address the Southern Region Joint Regional Planning Panel (SRJRPP).

Addressing the Committee
To address the Policy and Strategy Supplementary Council Meeting (or the SRJRPP), a Public Address Application Form must be filled out and submitted to Council. A public address application must be approved in the first instance by the Director Planning, and the by the General Manager.

Is a public address application likely to be rejected?
Generally, two addresses may be made in favour of a report and two against it. In an instance where more than two applications are received in either direction, the applications received in Council first are likely to be approved.  

Who can speak?
Where a number of people wish to speak on the same matter a spokesperson should make a single presentation.

Addressing Councillors, Panel Members and Senior Staff
You may speak for five (5) minutes, although a short extension may be allowed. Councillors may then ask questions. You are not permitted to ask questions of Councillors or Council staff.
Following any questions from Councillors or Panel Members, the General Manager or senior staff may make a comment if appropriate.

Presentation of Written Material
You may ask an officer to distribute any materials such as written statements, drawings or photographs. If you wish to distribute such materials to each Councillor or Panel Member, you will need seven (7) copies and if you wish to include senior staff in the distribution you will need at least five (5) additional copies.

Electronic Information
Any person who wishes to make an electronic presentation should advise Council by 2.00pm on the day of the Policy and Strategy Supplementary Council Meeting or by 5.00pm on the day before the SRJRPP meeting. Computers, Overheads and Data projectors are available.

Appeals/Complaints Process
Any complaints or allegations regarding the conduct of Councillors, Panel Members, management or staff must be in writing and directed to the General Manager. It is unacceptable for people in their address to Council, or in their responses to questions, to make allegations that any resident, member of Council staff, Councillor, Panel Member or other person has acted improperly with regard to their duties or obligations, or has acted in a way that would be unlawful.

Speaking in this forum does not provide any protection from civil action that could arise if you make defamatory statements or comments.
A Public Address form for the Policy and Strategy Committee Meetings is located on Council's webpage.

Will your representations remain confidential?

Please note that submissions may be disclosed to Councillors, Council Officers, Consultants to Council, the Southern Region Joint Regional Planning Panel, and members of the public. Submissions, summaries of submissions and names and addresses of persons making submissions may also be included in publicly available reports relating to Development Applications and other matters. You are not required to include personal information including your name and address in the submission, however if you do not, any objections may not be considered in their full context or be given appropriate weight.

The Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 and the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act requires submissions made in response to development applications to be publicly available as open access information unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure. Information in your submission may be deleted by Council in order to facilitate disclosure of the rest of your submission if it is in the public interest and it is practical to do so.

Stage 3 - Assessment

Stage 3 - Assessment

Summary of main steps of Development Application Assessment

  1. Once you submit your DA, it is assigned to an assessment officer who will undertake an initial review of the application and the associated documentation and plans.
  2. If necessary, your application will be sent for expert referrals to applicable bodies internal and external to Council.
  3. If additional information is required to enable Council to complete its assessment, you will be notified in writing.
  4. Once all necessary information has been provided, most applications then have an advertising and notification period where local residents are able to comment or object to your development.
  5. Upon completion of any notification period, we then assess your DA.
  6. You are then notified of the determination (approval or refusal) of your DA.

The input of different areas of Council in assessing Development Applications

The assessment of DAs often requires multi-disciplinary input from different parts of Council, beyond the main town planning and building assessment officers. Depending on the type of development proposed, the application may be referred to the following areas of Council for assessment and comment.

    • Planning Directorate - Subdivision Section and Plumbing Section
    • Infrastructure Services Directorate - Infrastructure Planning Section, Traffic Section and Waste and Stormwater Services Section.
    • Environmental and Community Services Directorate - Environmental Compliance Section, Landscape Design Section, Tree Management Section, Environmental Health Section and Community Services Section.
    • Commercial and Economic Development Directorate - Economic Development Section and Property Section.

Comments and recommendations received from these areas of Council are taken into consideration by the assessing officer prior to a final recommendation being formulated.

Referral to Government Agencies

With certain types of development, Council may seek input from certain government agencies which may provide expertise in relation to a particular issue associated with the proposal.  In these circumstances, Council will refer the development application to a particular agency for its comment.  Examples of this may be a referral of an industrial development that presents potential noise or odour issues to the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.

With other forms of development, specific legislation stipulates that development applications must be referred to certain agencies and that Council must take into consideration any comments received when determining the application.  An example of this type of development would be a development that will produce large traffic volumes and that requires access to a state highway (such as the Sturt Highway).  State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) 2007 stipulates that Council must refer this type of application to the Roads and Maritime Service and must take into consideration any comments received.

Some developments may also require a specific approval or license from another authority (eg the NSW Rural Fire Service or the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage) under other legislation. This is known as Integrated Development and Council must refer the application to the relevant authority and seek its general terms of approval.

For further information on Integrated Development click here.

What matters are taken into account in Council's Development Application Assessment?

The NSW Planning system sets out how a DA must be assessed. These criteria fall under a series of headings generally known as 'matters for consideration'. For those interested, these matters are contained in section 79C of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act (1979).

Any relevant state, regional or local environmental plan

These are known as environmental planning instruments (EPIs) and are important statutory controls for assessing a development application.

State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs) are instruments created by the State Government to cover matters which are of significance for the Environmental Planning of the State. SEPPs generally serve to alter Local Environmental Planning instruments by either providing more restrictions, relaxing existing provisions or doing both of these things. Examples of SEPPs that may be applicable to development occurring within the Wagga Wagga LGA include:

  • State Environmental Planning Policy No 55 - Remediation of Land
  • State Environmental Planning Policy No 64 - Advertising and Signage
  • State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) 2007
  • State Environmental Planning Policy (Rural Lands) 2008

A Local Environmental Plan, such as the Wagga Wagga Local Environmental Plan 2010, is an instrument prepared by a Council and approved by the Minister in respect of the whole or any part of the land within the Council's area. The provisions of the Local Environmental Plan relating to a given parcel of land provide a detailed outline of the uses to which the land may be put, generally with the consent of the relevant determining authority. For example the land use table contained in these instruments sets out what you can and cannot do on your land. If what you want to do is prohibited in the zone, Council cannot grant consent to your application.

LEPs may contain development standards such as floor space ratio, height limits and others. These are known as statutory standards. Council takes the position that an application should comply with these standards.

If you feel that in your particular situation there is strong justification to depart from a LEP standard you may be able to seek a variation to the standard under Clause 4.6 of the Wagga Wagga LEP 2010. Applicants should understand that the grounds put forward for the departure need to be compelling, as Council will view any departures from a statutory standard as a serious matter. Please contact Council's Planning directorate to the applicability of Clause 4.6 to your request and the process for seeking a variation.

Any draft environmental planning instrument that has been placed on public exhibition

From time to time Council will review its LEPs. During that review, Council is required to ensure that development proposals are not only consistent with existing LEPs, but the future planning intentions of Council and the community as indicated in a draft LEP. This also applies to any draft SEPP that is being prepared by the Department of Planning.

Any Development Control Plan (DCP)

Unlike LEPs and SEPPs, DCPs are non-statutory instruments which provide more detailed guidance to development. Council's position is that development should comply with standards contained in DCPs. However, it is recognised that standards within a DCP are intended to have a degree of flexibility and may be varied if a convincing case is put to Council that in the circumstances of the particular application the objectives of the standard are met despite the area of non-compliance.

It is also important to note that DCP standards often seek to control the impact that your development might have on your neighbour's property. The most common impacts that arise here include whether your development will unreasonably overlook or overshadow your neighbour's house or land. For this reason DCPs will contain minimum solar access controls and objectives to protect privacy.

Another common issue is the scale or size of your development and whether, because of its size, it will unnecessarily or unreasonably dominate your neighbour's land or the streetscape from a visual perspective. DCPs will contain controls such as maximum heights, minimum setbacks and floor space ratio standards which aim to ensure that development proposals are consistent with existing development in your locality.

Council will carefully consider how your development performs against the objectives of the standards when making a decision as to whether or not a departure from a DCP standard should be granted.

It is always important to realise that DCPs are developed in consultation with the community and reflect both community and Council's expectations for development of land in the Local Government Area. A departure from a DCP standard will be carefully examined and you cannot be certain that a non-compliance will be permitted.

The likely impacts of the development

This is a very broad consideration and requires that Council assesses how your development responds to its urban or natural setting. In particular, Council is required to assess how the development relates to the character of the neighbourhood.

This does not necessarily mean that the development has to be identical to other buildings in the street. It does mean that in terms of height and size, the development should reflect the character of the locality.

Often, if a development largely complies with the development standards and objectives contained in the relevant LEP and DCP, Council is able to say that issues of scale and height are satisfied. However if a design is seen to be overbearing or out of character within its locality, mere compliance with statutory and non-statutory standards does not guarantee that your application will be supported.

Other issues that often arise under this consideration include matters of solar access, visual and acoustic privacy, heritage, context and setting, traffic and parking impacts, social and economic impacts and  flora and fauna impacts.

The suitability of the site for the development

This consideration requires that Council assess development against matters which are known constraints that limit development on certain land. In larger developments, and Masterplan sites, Council must consider issues such as transport demands, reticulated services (such as water and sewerage), open space and recreation to name a few.

In other developments, Council may need to consider issues such as natural hazards including flooding or bushfire or the effect of heritage listings.

Any submissions made and the public interest

In addition to those matters listed above, Council is also required to consider submissions to the application, whether made by concerned residents or state/public authorities.

Stage 4 - Determination

How is a Development Application determined?

Council must either approve (generally with conditions) or refuse a DA.

Development Applications lodged with Council are determined by one of the following bodies:

  • The elected Council (i.e. by the Councillors at a Council Meeting)
  • The Southern Region Joint Planning Panel
  • Council staff under delegated authority from the General Manager

Assessment reports prepared by staff are reviewed by senior staff before being finalised. Generally, less complex or non-controversial matters are dealt with under delegated authority.

Where the number of submissions received in response to an advertised or notified development application is 10 or more, the application will be referred to Council for determination. Objections will continue to be considered on the basis of merit and relevance.

Who can determine Development Applications?

Development Applications lodged with Council are determined by one of the following bodies:

  • The elected Council (i.e. Councillors at a Council meeting)
  • The Southern Region Joint Planning Panel
  • Council staff under delegated authority from the General Manager

A development application will be referred to Council in circumstances where:

  • any numeric control (in the Wagga Wagga Development Control Plan 2010) is proposed to be varied by greater than 10%;
  • the number of submissions received in response to an advertised or notified development application is 10 or more;or
  • where the Council or General Manager find it necessary to call an application up before Council.

The Council can defer, approve or refuse items based on a simple majority vote.

Council staff determine the majority of development applications under 'delegated authority' without the need to report to a Council meeting. Assessment reports prepared by staff are reviewed by senior staff before being finalised.

How is the applicant notified of a Determination of a Development Application?

You will be sent a formal Notice of Determination advising whether your development application has been approved or refused. A notice of consent will include a set of your submitted plans and documentation for the development that has been endorsed (i.e. stamped) as being approved.

The assessing officer will contact the applicant by telephone to advise them of the outcome of their application upon finalisation of the assessment. Upon finalisation of the documentation, Council will (where possible) email you a copy of the notice of determination.

Please note that a notice of consent does not become operational until you have received the original signed copy of the notice and the endorsed plans and documentation. Any construction works can not commence until you have also received a Construction Certificate.

Conditions of Consent

Any approval of development (consent) will generally be subject to conditions. The notice of consent will group the conditions into the following categories to assist you in determining at what stage of the development the condition must be complied with:

  • Prior to the release of the Construction Certificate
  • Prior to the commencement of works
  • During works
  • Prior to the release of the Subdivision Certificate (for applications involving subdivision)
  • Prior to the release of the Occupation Certificate or prior to operation
  • General

Failure to undertake development in accordance with any conditions of consent is illegal and may give rise to enforcement action.

Stage 5 - Post Determination

Stage 5 - Post Determination

Understanding a Development Consent

Once you have received your development consent you need to read the conditions, which will outline what needs to be completed before, during and after construction of your development.

If your approval involves any form of construction works, you will be required to obtain a Construction Certificate (CC) before you commence works. This requirement is mandatory if stated in your development consent. A CC can be approved and issued by either Council or a Private Accredited Certifier. Please view the Building & Construction section of this website for a more detailed outline of the processes required to advance a new development beyond a DA.

A Development Consent has a limited life that must be strictly observed. A consent given by Council will expire if not commenced within five years of the approval date.

It is also important to check if your conditions of development consent require Section 94 or 94A developer contributions or Section 64 sewer and water levies.

If there is something in your notice of consent that is unclear or that you don't understand, please contact Council on 1300 292 442 prior to proceeding.

Deferred Commencement

Sometimes applications are approved with a Deferred Commencement condition/s. A Deferred Commencement Consent has two parts.

Part 1 of a Deferred Commencement consent requires further information to be submitted prior to Council allowing that consent to continue. For example a specific report from an appropriately qualified person is required prior to release of Part 2 of the consent.

When the applicant or owner has the information ready a 'Request for Council to Review Deferred Commencement Condition' would be made to Council.

When the information has been checked by Council staff or Consultants to ensure that the document/s are satisfactory a letter is sent to the applicant advising the consent is now operative.

Positive Covenant

If a consent has a condition that requires a Covenant to be prepared it is suggested that a solicitor prepare the covenant for you.

Once the covenant is prepared, your solicitor will request Council sign a Positive Covenant Document (88B). Council will then return the signed document to the applicant for registration at the Land Titles Office. This ensures that the information is stored on the title of the land so it will never become lost over time with property exchanges.

Modification of Consent

If you wish to change or delete a condition of development consent, or amend details of your approved plans, you are likely to be required to lodge an application under Section 96 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

To qualify as a modification under Section 96, the development must be substantially the same as that which was granted the original consent. You are encouraged to contact Council staff, preferably the assessment officer of the original application, to discuss your proposed modification prior to lodgement.

Some modifications require some form of re-notification of adjoining and affected property owners and residents (and possibly re-advertising).

To lodge a Modification of Consent, you must complete an application form and provide accompanying written and plan information. Fees will be applied for both the application, as well as any required re-advertising.

If you have already obtained your Construction Certificate (CC) and you are seeking a Modification of Consent, you will also have to modify your CC. For more information on these processes, please contact either Council or the Private Certifier that issued your original CC.

If you have already commenced works and decide to make changes, you must firstly notify your Principal Certifying Authority (PCA).

It is unlawful to undertake works that are different to your development consent, and you run the risk of a variety of enforcement actions, including fines, notices to stop work, and possible legal action.

For all development applications received from 28 February 2011, an applicant may seek a review of a determination by Council in respect of a modification application under sections 96 and 96AA where council is the consent authority. This type of review is not available for modifications involving minor error, mis-description or mis-calculation (i.e. those lodged under section 96(1).

This type of review is also not available for modification determinations in respect of:

  • Complying development certificates.
  • Designated development.
  • Integrated development.
  • Crown DAs.
  • Determinations taken to have been made because the council has failed to determine the application (deemed refusals).
  • Determinations made by a Joint Regional Planning Panel.

Applicants have 28 days after being notified of a modification determination to request a review. Council must give written notice to the applicant as soon as practicable after the review is determined. The review decision may be further appealed in the NSW Land and Environment Court. An application form for a Modification of Consent can be found on the Application Forms, Attachments, Guides and Checklists page on this website.

Modification of Development Consent Fact Sheet

Reconsideration of Council DA decision - Section 82A and 82B Review of Determination

The provisions for a review of Council's determination of development application were updated through the Planning Appeals Legislation Amendment Act 2010 (PALA) and the Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Planning Appeals) Regulation 2011 (Planning Appeals Regulation), which commenced on Monday 28 February, 2010.

The processes for internal reviews of development applications now involve:

  1. Reviews of development applications rejected due to inadequate information when lodged (section 82B of the EP&A Act); and
  2. Reviews of development application determinations (section 82A of the EP&A Act).

Applicants for reviews under Section 82B need to make a written request to Council within 14 days of the being notified of Council's decision.

Applicants for reviews under Section 82A need to make application to Council any time before expiry of making an appeal under Section 97 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, ie within 6 months after being notified of Council's decision.

In terms of these reviews, Council may need to notify your neighbours and/or advertise the proposed amendments. Fees apply for the request as well as any advertising. The lodgement fees for these requests can be confirmed by either visiting Council's customer service counters at the Civic Centre or phoning Council staff on 1300 292 442.

An application form for a Review of Determination can be found on the Application Forms, Attachments, Guides and Checklists page on this website.

Appeal Process - Land and Environment Court

The Planning Appeals Legislation Amendment Act 2010 (PALA), taking effect from 28 February 2011, reduced the period within which a merit appeal for development applications must be lodged with the NSW Land and Environment Court from 12 months to six months.

The six month time limit for appeals will not apply to development applications lodged with a consent authority before the commencement of the PALA Act provisions on 28 February 2011.

The six month time limit for appeals to the Court in respect of modification applications under sections 96 and 96AA will not apply to determinations made before 28 February 2011. Where a development application has been amended during the section 82A or 96AB review process, any appeal made to the Court will be in respect of the amended application that was the subject of the section 82A or 96AB review determination.