The DA Assessment Process

1. Provisional Development Application
Ashfield Council has introduced a new Development Application Lodgement Process aimed at reducing processing times and assist applicants with the submission of their Development Application.

The manner in which the new service will operate is that, you can submit your completed Development Application at Council’s customer service counter without the need to pay the Development Application fee at this stage and also there will be no checking of your submission at the counter which means that you can simply submit your application with no questions asked. An acknowledgment letter containing an identification number will be issued confirming your submission. Always use this identification number as a reference whenever you need to contact Council about your submission.

Council’s planning staff will then review your submission in detail before it is formally accepted and processed. The aim of this is to assist you in lodging the necessary information and documentation with a view that the DA can be determined efficiently without delays thus enabling you to proceed with the project on hand.

Within 10 days of the initial lodgement, Council will inform you in writing of next steps in having your application processed which is likely to include:-

  • Letter informing that your application is considered to be acceptable and can proceed to the formal lodgement and assessment phase subject to the payment of the required fees which will be itemised in the letter; or
  • Letter informing that minor additional information is required together with the required fee in order for the application to be accepted for processing; or
  • Letter informing that your proposal significantly lacks the required information and/or is not at an acceptable level in which case your submission will be returned and a request will be made requiring you to contact Council’s planning staff to discuss the proposal in detail.

2. Assessment of your Development Application
Once your submission is converted into a formal Development Application, it is assigned a Development Application reference number. Behind the scenes there is a lot of data entry and statutory record keeping requirements. The file also needs to be physically created and registered. An Assessment Officer from the Development Assessment Services area of Council will be assigned to process your DA.

Your application is then:

  • Notified to adjoining neighbours or members of the public likely to be affected
  • Advertised in the local newspapers
  • Advertised locally by a sign placed on the street frontage of the property
  • Some applications may not be notified depending on the nature of the proposal (eg: internal work) and further information regarding notification requirements are contained within Ashfield Council’s Notification Policy

The application is advertised for a 2 to 3 week period depending on the nature of the proposal, during which Council will accept submissions from the public. The officer assessing the application will decide whether the proposal follows Council's planning controls, whether the plans should be amended and whether to recommend approval of the application by the Council. Submissions regarding the development are taken into account at this stage.

After the notification period is over an Assessment Officer will complete your DA assessment. This process will take account of statutory requirements, Council's adopted codes and policies and any submissions from the public that may have been received.

If all submissions have been considered and resolved, and your application generally complies with Council's development standards it may be approved without going to a Council meeting. Otherwise applications may be referred to a Council meeting for a decision. Usually applications are decided by a meeting of Councillors but if they need more information to come to a decision, then the application may become a deferred item a site meeting or in-house meeting of the parties involved takes place

Council meetings have full power to make decisions regarding all Development Applications which are considered. The applicant will receive a letter from the Council within approximately one week of the decision being made. If the DA has been approved the letter will containing development consent and stamp approved plans or direction to pick up the consent and stamped plans from Council's Customer Service Centre (monies may need to be paid at this time), if the application has been refused, the determination will be posted to the applicant. All interested parties that lodged a submission during the assessment period will receive a letter advising them of the determination.

3. Referrals

  • Internal referrals
    Depending upon the complexity of each application, numerous internal referrals, such as to Council’s Engineers, Heritage Officers, Building Surveyors and Environmental Health Officers, etc. may be necessary. Each of these professionals then undertakes a review of the application documents relevant to their considerations. For example, Heritage reports will be sent to the Heritage Officers to review.
  • External referrals
    In order to meet legislative requirements, referrals may be necessary to NSW Departments and Authorities (such as the RTA, Department of Planning, etc.) that provide Integrated Referral conditions (General Terms of Approval). In some cases, concurrence is required to be given before we can grant any development consent.

Any one of these experts or external referral bodies may require additional information from the Applicant. If this is necessary, we will communicate this to you as soon as we are made aware of the necessity for such information.

4. Determination

Ashfield Council will determine whether your development application is approved or refused, usually at a Council Meeting.  Council officers can determine some development applications under delegated authority of the Council.

5. Once your Development Application is Approved or Refused

Once Council has determined your DA, either by approval with certain conditions or refusal, you will be advised in writing of the decision.
Conditions attached to an approval may include:

  • Payment of certain charges for work on Council land, eg footpaths
  • Payment of charges to protect trees
  • Payment of contributions toward community facilities (such as libraries, parks etc) that future residents may need.
  • Payment of the State Government Long Service Levy payments for builders - and as of 1 January 2006 the current levy rate is 0.35%* of the value of building and construction works costing $25,000 or more (*subject to change).

Applicants who are unhappy with a decision can apply to have Council review its decision or can appeal to the Land and Environment Court. The Duty Officer will explain the process. However there are fees payable.