The DA process

Prior to lodging a development application (DA) with Council it is helpful to understand the requirements and be fully aware of the process.

Your Guide to the Planning Process by the NSW Department of Planning provides useful information on the planning system in NSW. This short video explains the process of lodging an application using the NSW Planning Portal.

The steps below outline how to lodge a DA with Council, providing links to the relevant sites and documentation.

Step 1 - Preparing your application

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Due to the current situation with respect to COVID-19, the following services are not available:

  • Meetings with Development Support Officers
  • Development Advisory Panel (DAP meetings)

Council provides a range of pre-lodgement advice services to assist with development enquiries.  We aim to work with you towards a successful outcome as quickly and cost effectively as possible. The benefits of pre-lodgement advice include:

  • Access to all the professionals who may be involved in assessing your application at an early stage, and to save you time and money in preparing your application;
  • Understanding early in the process what it is you are trying to achieve; and
  • Agreement on what is required, as well as what is (or is not) possible on the proposed development site.

 Click here to view Council's pre-lodgement advice services.  

The NSW Planning Portal is a helpful online tool to assist with the process of identifying 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

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Due to the current situation with respect to COVID-19, all development applications (including modifications and reviews) are to be lodged through the NSW Planning Portal.

Before you can lodge your first DA (including modifications and reviews) using the NSW Planning Portal, there are a couple of steps you need to take to register. Follow the instruction below. If you need assistance, please contact Council's Development Support Officer on 02 6626 7025 or 


Step 2.1. Create an account on the NSW Planning Portal - Click here to create an account.
Step 2.2

Log in to the Portal to complete the online application form and required attachments depending on the development you are proposing.

The DA Matrix and Checklist(PDF, 308KB) identifies what documentation is required to be submitted to Council in conjunction with a DA (including modifications and reviews). Applications will not be accepted unless all required documentation is submitted to Council.

The minimum requirements include:

Please note that format, file size and documentation naming conventions used when uploading documents must meet Council's Digital Application Requirements(PDF, 494KB)

Step 2.3 Once the application is submitted through the Portal, an initial review will be carried out to check the information provided is sufficient for Council to accept as a DA.
Step 2.4 Where it is identified that further information is required before the application can be lodged, the Planner will contact the applicant to request the further information. Once adequate information is provided, the DA can be accepted.
Step 2.5

When the application has been reviewed and considered ready for lodgement an invoice will be forwarded to the payee as nominated by the applicant for payment of the associated DA fees.

Assessment of your application will not commence until the DA fees have been received by Council.

Step 2.6

Once fees have been received, the application will be registered and available on Council's Application Tracker. You can track the progress of your application through the various assessment stages, through to determination.

The Planner assessing an application will communicate with the nominated Applicant on the application.


Helpful links:

Planning Portal Guides

Council links and guides


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/or public exhibition in the Byron Shire Echo. 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 agenices
  • 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.

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).

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 complete the relevant application form and lodge this along with the relevant plans to the consent authority.

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



Need further information?

Council's Development Support Officers (DSOs) are available to answer planning related questions. To speak with a DSO