Development (planning) application – what requires approval

On 18 December 2020, the Planning Regulation Amendment Regulations 2020 were gazetted by the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC). These amendments introduce various improvements to local planning processes and the first stage of these changes became operational on 15 February 2021. In the context of development applications, the amendments generally relate to the following:

  • Exemption of small residential developments (such as some patios, water tanks, cubby houses etc),
  • The introduction of a ‘deemed-to-comply’ check process so a preliminary assessment can be undertaken by the local government to determine if planning approval is required for single houses, as well as
  • Removing the need for planning approval for certain change of use applications.

The Regulation amendments will mean some of the City’s processes will change, so people who frequently do business with the City’s Planning Services may find the assessment process different to normal practise. This includes (but not limited to) requiring all of the necessary information up-front as part of the application and the City only sending one ‘request for information’ for non-complex applications to address any issues identified during the assessment.

In addition, some of the City’s policies and information sheets will be superseded by the changes introduced by WAPC. The City is currently in the process of updating the City’s documents, but in the meantime, if any inconsistency exists between the Regulations and City’s information, the Regulations will prevail.

As a result, certain development which currently requires planning approval may be exempt from 15 February 2021. For further information on the specific exemptions under the Amendment Regulations, please visit the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage website or contact the City’s Planning Services on 9400 4100.

A development application is an application made under the City’s Local Planning Scheme No. 3 (LPS3), and is required for most forms of development. If approval is required, it must be obtained before starting any works.

Residential development

  • A patio to a single house or grouped dwelling, except where:
    • it is not visible from the street;
    • the wall/post is no greater than 3.5 metres in height from natural ground level; and
    • the cumulative length of the new patio, and any attached structures does not exceed 9 metres in length, and the posts and roof are setback a minimum of 0.5 metres from a side or rear boundary; and
    • all other requirements of the City’s Local Planning Scheme No. 3, deemed-to-comply provisions of the Residential Design Codes or the replacement requirements of the City’s Residential Development Local Planning Policy, a requirement of an applicable structure plan, or other local planning policy.
  • An outbuilding (shed) to a single house or grouped dwelling, except where:
    • the outbuilding is less than 10m²;
    • abuts no more than two boundaries;
    • it is located behind the street setback area;
    • the wall height is less than 2.4 metres and ridge height is less than 4.2 metres; and
    • all other requirements of the City’s Local Planning Scheme No. 3, deemed-to-comply provisions of the R-Codes or the replacement requirements of the City’s Residential Development Local Planning Policy, a requirement of an applicable structure plan, or other local planning policy.
  • Single house (a house or building works on green title lot or strata lot with no common property) where the development:
    • does not satisfy the planning requirements of Local Planning Scheme No. 3, deemed-to-comply provisions of the Residential Design Codes  or the replacement requirements of the City’s Residential Development Local Planning Policy, a requirement of an applicable Structure Plan, or other Local Planning Policy.
    • is located in a bushfire prone area and:
      • is on a lot greater than 1,100m²; and/or
      • has a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) rating of BAL-40 or BAL-FZ.
  • A single house (ancillary dwelling) that does not meet the deemed-to-comply provisions of the R-Codes.
  • Grouped dwelling (house on a strata lot with common property, or more than one house on a lot) or associated development where the development:
    • is for a new grouped dwelling(s);
    • is a carport, garage, boundary wall/fence, retaining wall, pergola, veranda, or external fixture associated with an existing grouped dwelling that does not satisfy the City’s Local Planning Scheme No. 3, deemed-to-comply provisions of the R-Codes, the City’s Residential Development Local Planning Policy, or a requirement of an applicable structure plan or other local planning policy; or
    • is located in a bushfire prone area.
  • Multiple dwellings (dwelling on top of each other) and any associated development (including patios, pergolas and outbuildings).

Commercial development

  • Construction of and additions to non-residential buildings.
  • Home Business or Home Occupation.
  • Short-term Accommodation, including bed and breakfast, holiday house and other holiday accommodation.
  • New signs that are visible externally from a property/building.
  • Masts and antennas (including satellite dishes) where the requirements of the City’s Satellite Dishes, Aerials, and Radio Equipment Local Planning Policy are not met.
  • A change of land use from one use to another (for example, from an office to a shop), unless the proposed use is permitted in the zone in which the business is located and has no works component that requires development approval.

The purpose of lodging an application for development approval is for the City to assess your proposal to ensure it meets the requirements of Local Planning Scheme No. 3, and any applicable activity centre plans, structure plans, local development plans, and state and local planning policies.

In addition to an application for development approval, a building permit may also be required.