Development Application Process

Before lodging a development application (DA) with Council it is helpful to be aware of the process.

Your Guide to the Planning Process by the NSW Department of Planning provides useful information. 

This short video explains the process of lodging an application using the NSW Planning Portal.

The steps below outline the process of submitting a DA with Council, with links to relevant websites and documents.

Step 1 - Preparing your application

  • Council provides a range of pre-lodgement advice services to help with development enquiries. 
  • Review the DA Matrix and Checklist(PDF, 377KB) to ensure you provide the correct information and documents for your development type. Your application may be delayed or returned if the information is not provided.  
  • The NSW Planning Portal can help to identify what may be permissible on your property. You can access planning controls which may affect your property or land and investigate development options based on planning controls.

Helpful links:

Step 2 - Lodging your DA

DAs (including modifications and reviews) must be submitted to Council using the NSW Planning Portal.

When a DA is submitted, Council will carry out a completeness check of the supporting information. If more information or clarification is needed, the applicant will be notified and asked to provide the information.

Once the information is considered sufficient to lodge, fees will be invoiced. On payment of fees, assessment will start.

Lodge a Development Application

This short video provides a simple explanation of how to use the Portal to lodge a DA.

Step 3 - Application Assessment

When a DA is submitted, Council is required to undertake an assessment of the application in accordance with the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (as amended). At this stage there are requirements for notification and public exhibition, referrals to other agencies and assessment of the application against the various planning regulations.

Notification and Public Exhibition

Depending of the development proposal, some applications may require notification to adjoining properties and public exhibition. Council's Community Participation Plan(PDF, 13MB) sets out the requirements based on development types when notifying the community of DAs . In some cases, minor development may not require any notification or public exhibition at all.

Applications on exhibition are available to view on Council's Application Tracker. Submissions can be lodged within the Application Tracker under the 'Exhibition Details' tab.

If you need to make a submission on a DA, refer to Making a DA submission for more information.


Council must consider a number of statutory matters when assessing your application. These are outlined in section 4.15 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and include:

  • the provision of any environmental planning instrument ie. state environmental plans, regional environmental plans, and local environmental plans
  • the provision of any draft environmental planning instrument (that is or has been placed on public exhibition)
  • any development control plans
  • the likely impacts of the development (including environmental impacts on both the natural and built environments, and social and economic impacts in the locality)
  • the suitability of the site for the development
  • advice from internal and external agencies
  • any submissions made
  • the public interest

Council or the consent authority may then grant development consent, usually subject to a number of conditions, or may refuse your application.


Step 4 - Determination

Council officers have delegation from the General Manager and the elected council (councillors) to determine certain applications on behalf of Council. The elected council determines applications that are outside of staff delegation.

Regionally significant development applications (DAs) and certain other DAs are determined by the Northern Regional Planning Panel. The Panel is an independent body and their determination is not subject to the direction of the Minister for Planning.

What happens when my application is determined?

Council will write to the applicant and provide a notice of determination.

If your application is approved, you will receive a copy of the conditions of consent, approved plans, and any other relevant documents. If your application is refused, you will receive the notice of determination with the reasons for refusal.

The DA is valid for a period of five years, in which time works must commence or the consent lapses. Once the development has commenced, the consent cannot lapse.


Step 5 - Post-determination

Once you have obtained development consent, there may be a number of other applications, certificates or notices your proposal may require.

Deferred Commencement approval

If your consent has been issued as a Deferred Commencement approval, there are conditions you need to satisfy before your consent is operational. 

Once the conditions have been satisfied, use the NSW Planning Portal to request an Operational consent.

Modification of consent

You may apply to modify your development consent provided that the proposed development as modified is still substantially the same development. Section 4.55 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 stipulates the requirements for modification of consents. There are three categories that a modification of consent may fall into:

  • 4.55(1) minor error, misdescription or miscalculation
  • 4.55(1A) minimal environmental impact
  • 4.55(2) other modification where the modified development is substantially the same development as the development that was granted consent

To modify a consent, you must submit an application. Refer to Apply for a development application for more information and to submit the application.

If the proposed modification does not fall into one of the above categories, you must lodge a new development application.

Review a development application decision

If you’re unhappy about a decision we’ve made about your development application or your application to modify development consent, you can appeal to the NSW Land and Environment Court.

A less costly option is to apply for the decision to be reviewed by Council. The review is undertaken by a senior planning officer.

All review applications must be made through the NSW Planning Portal. Refer to Apply for a development application for more information and to submit the application.

Construction certificates

A construction certificate is an approval to carry out building work or subdivision work in accordance with a development consent. You must obtain a Construction Certificate before works can commence.

You may lodge an application with Council for a Construction Certificate at the same time you lodge an application for development consent, or after development consent is granted. Contact Council's Certifying Team who can provide a one-stop-shop service by assessing your application in conjunction with the development application.

To lodge your application for a Construction Certificate after you have obtained development consent, you have two choices:

After you have obtained development consent and an approved construction certificate, you must give at least two days notice to Council of your intention to start building or subdivision works.

The Notice of Commencement advises Council who you have nominated as your principal certifying authority for your development, the date you intend to start works, and the details of the builder for your development (either the licensed builder or owner builder).