Development (planning) application – application process

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 practice. 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In addition, some of the City’s policies and information sheets will be superseded by the changes introduced by WAPC.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.

Lodgement

Once an application has been lodged with the City it will be checked to ensure all necessary information has been provided. If any further information is required prior to the City accepting the application, the applicant will be notified of the required information.

If your application is considered complete and is accepted, further plans and/or information may need to be requested following a detailed planning assessment prior to the City being able to determine the application.

Acknowledgement of application

If the development (planning) application has been lodged online, or no payment was made at the time of lodgement, an invoice will be emailed to the applicant providing details for payment. The processing of the application will commence once fees have been paid in full.

Following payment of your application fee, an email or letter acknowledging receipt of the application will be sent.

Assessment of application, site visit and consultation

Once an application has been acknowledged, an Urban Planner will assess the application taking into consideration the relevant planning requirements. This includes the City’s Local Planning Scheme No. 3 (LPS3), the R-Codes (for residential development), and any relevant structure plans and local planning policies.

It is common for City officers to visit a property during the assessment process. This is to assist in determining the potential impact a proposal may have on the street or adjoining property. Should an inspection be required the City may contact the landowner to arrange a suitable time.

As part of the assessment of an application, the City may need to advertise the application for public comment.

The applicant will be contacted directly if further information or amendments are required after an assessment is undertaken.

Decision on application

Following the application being assessed and resolution of any issues, the decision on the application will be issued. The decision letter and plans will be sent to the applicant.

Most applications are able to be determined by City officers under delegated authority. This generally includes residential applications and minor commercial development. Some applications may need to be referred to Council or the State Government for determination. After a full assessment has been completed the City will notify the applicant if an application requires determination by Council or the State Government.

Timeframe

The City endeavours to process all applications in a timely manner. Depending on the complexity of your application, and if additional information is required during the assessment, the timeframe to process an application will vary.

The City statutory timeframes for the processing of development (planning) applications are:

  • 60 days to determine applications where no consultation is required
  • 90 days if any consultation is required.

These timeframes may be extended in agreement with the applicant.

If a development (planning) application has been lodged online, the progress of the application can be tracked through the City’s eApplication service.

If any application has been lodged in person or via post, please contact the City’s Planning Services for updates. It is recommended that applicants wait four weeks before contacting the City for an update to allow time for your application to be progressed.

To assist the City in processing applications as quickly as possible, it is necessary to ensure all relevant information is provided at the time of lodgement, and additional information required through the assessment is provided promptly.