Planning Processes Governing Port Macquarie-Hastings Council
This page covers the processes that Port Macquarie-Hastings Council is governed by when planning developments, proposals and masterplans.
If you are seeking information about development control processes refer to Development.
If you are seeking information about development controls (ie the permissibility of development proposals), refer to Development Provisions.
State Environmental Planning Policies
The State Government (more specifically the Minister for Planning) can prepare State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs) relating to any matter that, in the opinion of the Minister, is of State or regional environmental planning significance. These can range from State-wide standards for exempt and complying development or identification of what is classed as major development, to site-specific matters such as the Port Kembla coal loader.
The legislation controlling the preparation of SEPPs is found in Divisions 1 & 2 of Part 3 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.
More information about SEPPs applying within the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council area can be found under State and Regional Provisions. Note that the current range of SEPPs contain many provisions that qualify or override the provisions of LEPs.
The preparation of SEPPs may, but need not, involve public participation. Apart from this, Council is not involved in the preparation or alteration of SEPPs, other than perhaps to bring to the attention of the Department of Planning a provision in a SEPP that appears to require amending. This can also be done by any person.
Development Control Plans
Councils can prepare Development Control Plans (DCPs) to expand upon development controls in SEPPs and the LEP with local development policies, though they cannot contradict or restrict the SEPP or LEP provisions. DCPs must involve public exhibition prior to commencement, and only need to be approved by the Council. Where a Council's determination of a development application is challenged in the Land and Environment Court, the Court cannot override the provisions of SEPPs or LEPs, but only considers DCP provisions (and how consistent the Council has been in applying them).
The legislation controlling the preparation of DCPs is found in Division 6 of Part 3 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979and in Part 3 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000.
Whereas previously Councils could have multiple topic-based and area-based DCPs, the EP&A Act now requires that no more than one DCP apply to any parcel of land, though a DCP can adopt (or incorporate) the provisions of another DCP. There can be a single DCP for the whole Council area, or different DCPs for different areas.
More details on the current Port Macquarie-Hastings Development Control Plan can be found under Development Control Plan.
If land is identified as an urban release area in Port Macquarie-Hastings LEP 2011, clause 6.3 of the LEP requires that a DCP be prepared, addressing the issues referred to in that clause, prior to any development consent being granted. (There are some exclusions in clause 6.3 (4).) Generally the developer would draft a DCP amendment in consultation with Council staff, and that would be the basis for Council processing a DCP amendment.
In all cases, if an amendment to the DCP is being sought, it would be appropriate to discuss the matter with Council staff, to discuss the scope of the proposed change, and what information would be required prior to Council giving consideration to commencing the formal process of amending the DCP.
Note also the information below relating to political donation disclosures.
Local Environmenal Plans
Councils are required to prepare Local Environmental Plans (LEPs) for their area, containing land use zonings, development control tables relating to those zones, and other relevant provisions.
Between 2005 and 2011 Council has prepared a new LEP based on a Standard Instrument (Local Environmental Plans) Order 2006. This implements a high level of standardisation of LEP provisions across the State. Note that the new "Standard Instrument" LEP uses a completely new set of land use definitions to those that people were familiar with.
The legislation controlling the preparation of LEPs is found in Divisions 1 and 4-5 of Part 3 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979and in Part 2 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000. In addition, Council has to satisfy State Government requirements, as found on the Department of Planning website.
Process for amending LEPs
In summary, the process involves submission of a "Planning Proposal", prepared in accordance with the requirements of the Dept of Planning, to the Department for assessment by a "Gateway" Panel. The Panel determine whether the proposal is compatible with Government requirements, and if so, what steps are to be taken in processing the proposal. Depending on the nature of the proposal, it can be necessary to seek further information, consult Government agencies, seek public comment through public exhibition, prior to Council reviewing the proposal and submitting (or not) the proposal for approval by the Minister for Planning.
For minor matters the Department of Planning can waive some of these requirements.
For a person seeking to have an amendment made to the LEP, the recommended process is:
- discuss their proposal with relevant Council staff, to get some indication of the key steps and issues,
- do an initial assessment of the issues to be addressed in the drafting of a Planning Proposal (see below), to highlight any areas of difficulty,
- draft a Planning Proposal, and seek comments from Council staff,
- finalise the Planning Proposal, and lodge with Council with relevant fees, and political donations disclosure (see below),
Council will formally assess the Planning Proposal, possibly seek further information, and the Council will consider a staff report and recommendation on the Proposal. If supported, it will be referred to the "Gateway" Panel. The Panel will determine what actions it requires. This can include requiring further information from the proponent. Aprt from this, the proponent may not need to do any more prior to finalisation of the Planning Proposal.
If a Planning Proposal is placed on public exhibition, anyone making a submission is required to include a political donations disclosure (see below).
Political donations disclosure
- a person making a formal request to Council to initiate the making (including amendment) of a LEP or DCP is to disclose all reportable political donations or gifts (if any) made within the relevant period to anyone by any person with a financial interest in the application.
- A person who makes a relevant public submission to a council in relation to a draft LEP or DCP is required to disclose all reportable political donations and gifts (if any) made within the relevant period by the person making the submission or any associate of that person.
The relevant period is the period commencing 2 years before the request or submission is made and ending when the application is determined.
Reportable political donations or gifts include:
- all reportable political donations made to any local councillor of that council,
- all gifts made to any local councillor or employee of that council.
Council will not consider a Planning Proposal, or a submission during a public exhibition, unless it is accompanied by a Political donations disclosure (34KB) (even where there are no donations to disclose).
These requirements similarly apply in relation to development applications. Further information is available under Council & Meetings / Political Donations Disclosures relating to Development Applications.
This is a brief overview - refer to section 147 of the Act for complete information.
Matters to be addressed in a Planning Proposal
Section 55 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 specifies what a Planning Proposal should cover. In addition, the Department of Planning has released Guide for Preparing Planning Proposals, July 2009, available on their Gateway Process webpage.
The scope of matters that a Planning Proposal could have to address is set out in the table below, though it is unlikely that all would need to addressed for any one matter.
Rezoning of rural land - commonly people seek to have rural land rezoned for urban development - this is tightly governed by the Mid North Coast Regional Strategy and Council's Urban Growth Management Strategy - it is extremely unlikely that rural land not identified in those documents could be rezoned for urban development.
|State (& Commonwealth)||Local|
|Regulatory - Planning|
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|Strategies, Policies, Manuals, etc||
A Department of Planning databaseprovides access to other potentially relevant documents.
NOTE: * Involves mapping.
It is also important to note that both the State Government, through their Planning Reforms program (and the evolving Codes SEPP), and Council, through the Port Macquarie-Hastings Urban Growth Management Strategy have extensive and ongoing planning review processes. It is strongly suggested that you review these emerging processes in order to gauge their possible impacts on any proposed development.
Finally, another key consideration for most new developments is the legislation and policy control of Section 94 Developer Contributions.
To assist with clarification or guidance on planning matters a Duty Planner is available at the counter of the Port Macquarie Office or by phone (02 6581 8111) between the hours of 8.30 am and 1:00 pm from Monday-Thursday.