General information for lodging a planning application
This information describes the process involved in preparing and submitting an application for development and how the Southern Midlands Council goes about in their assessment of that application.
Planning Permits are required for any use and development that is not considered exempt, ‘NPR’ (No Planning Permit required) or prohibited in accordance with the applicable Planning Scheme. You may require a planning permit from Council prior to undertaking one of the following:
- Building works/modification including additions
- Change of use of a building (e.g. from a residence to a B&B)
- Land clearing
- Excavation and/or placement of fill
- Erecting signage
- Make other modifications to a building or land
This process allows Council to assess a proposal against current regulations to ensure that development fits within the desired character of the area; that neighbour’s rights such as privacy are protected; and no environmental harm is caused to the environment.
Development approval forms the first of 2–3 separate consents. The planning permit process is typically the first of several other approvals that you will require. For instance, you will require a Building Permit for most construction works. You may also require other approvals such as a Special Plumbing Permit for on-site wastewater disposal or approval from Council or other organisations to construct vehicular access or connect your land to reticulated services. You must not commence construction or change of use until all necessary approvals are in place.
It is important to receive a planning permit prior to proceeding with building and other approval processes, particularly in terms of engaging consultants to certify engineering and building plans as the planning permit could require modifications to the building design and additional consulting costs.
Council’s Customer Service Officers are the first port of call for enquiries relating to planning applications and can advise you of whether you will need to lodge a planning application if you are in doubt. If your proposal is of a commercial nature, please contact Council’s Development Services Unit for this advice.
The assessment process
Any application is assessed against the planning scheme and in accordance with the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993 (LUPAA). The LUPAA provides a maximum time period of 42 days for Council to determine an application. However, within 21 days Council can issue a formal request for additional information that may be required to determine a discretionary application and 28 days for a permitted application. An application and this request will stop the 28 and 42 day timeframe.
How a planning scheme operates
A Planning Scheme will specify that a particular proposal has either a No Permit Required (NPR), Permitted, Discretionary or Prohibited status. This status is set by the Table of Uses or in other provisions (for instance, an application that is permitted in the Table of Use will become discretionary or prohibited if the design does not comply with development standards such as boundary setbacks).
The Table of Use, which type of use and development are classified to be NPR, Permitted, Discretionary or Prohibited uses. A table is provided within each zone which details the status of a particular development type. If the use or development type is not listed with the table then it is automatically a prohibited use.
A comprehensive list of general exemptions is provided under Part 4 of the Planning Scheme.
The five classification types: Exempt, NPR (no planning permit required), Permitted, Discretionary and Prohibited are discussed as follows:
The Planning Scheme lists the types of use and development that are exempt from requirement planning approval under Part 5 and Part 6 of the Planning Scheme. It is however noted that despite an exempt status, building and plumbing approvals may still be required from Council.
Any use not listed as exempt will require assessment against the Planning Scheme to determine if the development is classified as NPR (no planning permit required), Permitted, Discretionary or Prohibited, which are described below.
NPR (No Planning Permit Required):
An NPR use or development means that the proposed use or development complies with the relevant provisions of the Planning Scheme (including development standards and schedules) and therefore does not require a Planning Permit. Generally, the types of applications that are considered NPR use or developments are dwellings in the residential zones and agricultural activities in rural areas.
Permitted (no public notification):
A Permitted use or development means that an application must be lodged with Council (as a Planning Authority) for a Planning Permit and Council may then consider approving application providing that all the relevant provisions of the Planning Scheme are complied with. A permitted proposal means that Council may the application. It may also apply conditions if an application is approved.
Discretionary (public notification required):
A discretionary use or development requires a planning application to be lodged with Council (as a Planning Authority). The application can either be approved with or without conditions or alternatively refused by Council. A discretionary proposal requires a 14 day public notification period during which a person may make a representation to Council in support or opposition of your proposal. The advertising period also requires Council to place an advertisement in the Mercury Newspaper, a sign erected on the property boundary and letters sent to the adjoining property owners.
A discretionary proposal may be approved or refused based on the merits of the application and any decision may be appealed to the Appeal Tribunal (see https://www.tascat.tas.gov.au/resource-and-planning).
Prohibited (Council must refuse the application):
A prohibited proposal means that Council (as a Planning Authority) cannot grant approval as the particular use or development is stipulated as being a Prohibited development within the respective zone. Applications can also become prohibited if certain provisions of the Planning Scheme are not complied with.
Once a planning application is lodged with Council, and the application is considered valid (i.e. the relevant planning application fees have been paid, the planning application form is signed and dated and the relevant information and plans are submitted with the application to the satisfaction of Council), Council has 42 days to make a determination on the application (6 weeks) if it is discretionary and 28 days if it is permitted.
However, Council may request additional information within 21 days of a valid application being received. Additional information is requested if it is apparent that further information is required to be lodged. If additional information is requested, the 28 day or 42 day assessment period does not run while the request for additional information has not been answered to the satisfaction of Council.
If the application is a discretionary application, the advertising process is also undertaken within the 42 days.
How to make a representation to a development application
Should a representation be received objecting to the development application during the public notification phase of the application (advertising period for an application), the application will be required to be considered at the next available monthly meeting of the Council.
If the application is to be considered at a Council meeting a report and recommendations will be provided to the meeting so that the Council as a Planning Authority can then make a decision regarding the application.
Where necessary the time in which a decision is to be made on an application can be extended by written agreement with the Council.
Right of appeal
Section 61 of the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993 (LUPAA) provides for planning appeals following a Council decision. Any person who lodged a representation to Council may appeal the decision.
Appeals must be made to the Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the Appeal Tribunal).
The Appeal Tribunal contact details are on its website at https://www.tascat.tas.gov.au/home.
An appeal of this decision or conditions of the permit to the Appeal Tribunal must be made within 14 days in accordance with section 61 of the LUPPA.
The appeal needs to be in accordance with relevant directions of the Appeal Tribunal that apply to the lodgement of an appeal – further information is available from its website at https://www.tascat.tas.gov.au/resource-and-planning/tribunalprocedures/lodging_an_appeal.
Some applications are required to be referred to and assessed by further statutory bodies and regulatory agencies. Such examples include:
- Development involving impacts upon threatened native vegetation communities or on the coast will be referred to the Policy and Conservation Advice Branch of DPIPWE.
- Development adjacent to a State Road (such as a Highway) must be referred to the Department of State Growth whom may impose conditions. A separate permit will also be required to be obtained from the Department to carry out any works within the state road reservation.
- Any development requiring new sewer or water connections (such as multi-unit developments, commercial developments and subdivisions) must be referred to TasWater who may impose conditions of approval relating to servicing infrastructure and head works charges.
Penalties for undertaking development without approval
Under the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993, a fine may apply for undertaking work without development approval.
Information requirements for planning approval
Council has various application forms which are available on its website.
Information about planning scheme requirements is available from the Council’s Planning Scheme at http://www.iplan.tas.gov.au.
Other planning information is also available from http://maps.thelist.tas.gov.au/listmap/app/list/map.
Each application form includes a checklist of information that may be required.
At a minimum, each planning application must include:
- An application form;
- The payment of all prescribed fees (which are available on Council’s website);
- A written explanation of the proposal including justification for the particular design response;
- A copy of a recent Certificate of Title;
- A site plan (1:100 or 1:200 preferred) showing all existing and proposed buildings, dimensioned setbacks, cut and fill, vegetation to be retained or removed, car parking and vehicular access including sight distance and all other information required to be assessed for the application; and
- Floor plans and building elevations.
Note: If building work is proposed as part of a development following planning approval, then the design of the development plans needs to be provided by a licensed designer at the building application stage. Therefore, consideration of engaging a licensed designer at the planning application stage should be considered by applicants;
Note: When a building application is been prepared the plans for that application need to be prepared by a designer licensed in Tasmania. Therefore, for any plans to be prepared for a building application that is to be lodged following a planning approval the building plans need to be provided by a designer licensed in Tasmania.
Any commercial application must also include details of the nature of the business, the number of staff, operating hours, equipment used and expected noise levels, expected waste and proposed disposal, location and design of signage and expected delivery vehicle requirements and all other information required to be assessed for the application.
If the land is not connected to sewer, a Site and Soil Evaluation and System Design prepared by a suitably qualified person to show that wastewater can be disposed of on site is required.
Council may also require reports from suitably qualified persons to assess risks from land hazards, such as bushfire, or other impacts of the proposal, for example, a traffic impact assessment. The application form includes a checklist of potential reports that may be required.
Mandatory site plan and other details required to be provided with applications
- North point and scale (minimum of 1:200)
- Boundaries and dimensions of the site and relevant easements
- Location of all existing buildings and structures, noting what is to be demolished and what is to be retained
- Location of all significant trees
- Details of site drainage and roof / stormwater disposal
- Existing (if applicable) and proposed vehicular access point from adjoining roads onto the land
- Location of car parking and access for occupants and visitors
- Type, height and construction of boundary fencing and retaining walls
- Location of existing infrastructure including service lines, side entry pits and bus stops
- Undisturbed contours of the land
- Location of any proposed signage
- Site and ground level elevations and dimensions
- Information regarding any applicable Codes that apply to the site (refer to the Planning Scheme and to codes that apply to the proposal).
If you don’t own the land
If you do not own the land you may still make a planning application but must first notify the owner of your intention to do so. If, however, your proposal is located on land owned or administered by the Crown or Council then the consent of the Crown or Council is first required. If you require Council’s General Manager to sign the application you must write to the General Manager and include all detail of the planning application that you intend to lodge.
- Additional plans and details may be required depending on the nature of the development proposed.
- It is not possible to provide ‘in principle’ approval prior to lodging a planning application.
- If you intend to construct other buildings on your land in the future you may wish to include those in a current application to avoid the cost and time of making a different application in the future. Provided that a large component of the total approval is substantially commenced within two years of approval, you will not require a new approval to continue with the remainder at any time.
- All planning approvals for development applications must be substantially commenced within 2 years of the permit approval date otherwise the permit will lapse. If those approved works have been substantially commenced during the initial 2 year period but are not completed within that timeframe, it is possible to seek an extension of time from Council for the works to be completed by. However, there needs to be sufficient evidence of those works having been substantially commenced, for example, infrastructure and other works carried out on the property. Applicants seeking an extension of time must ensure they make their application well before the expiry of the initial 2 year permit period so this leaves sufficient time for the Council to then consider their application and make a decision either granting or refusing the application before the permit expiry date.
- It is often helpful to keep your neighbours informed of your proposal as this may allow potential issues to be addressed without incurring unnecessary cost or delay.
- It is an offence to undertake use or development (including land clearing and site excavation) without a planning application. Council's compliance officers investigate unlawful buildings and use and failure to comply can result in financial penalties.
How do I obtain further information?
For more information regarding the planning approval process, please don’t hesitate to contact Southern Midlands Council.